I was so excited to finally do my first long ride in Kuala Lumpur today that I could hardly sleep last night. So it was no hardship to be up at 5.30am for breakfast. That gave me time to drive the 27 km to Bukit Jelutong. I got to the rendezvous point at 6.50am. Mark L. arrived shortly thereafter, followed by Wan A. By 7.30am we were a Racun Cycling Gang of four roadies and three foldies, ready to get on the road. We weren’t the only ones heading out for a ride this morning. The car park quickly filled up with all sorts of vehicles that disgorged all sorts of bikes and riders.
Mark led us on what he described as a Reverse Dragon’s Back ride. Which meant tackling the six hills that make up the Dragon’s Back at the start of the ride rather than at the end. A wise choice in my book given the potential for roasting sunshine by midmorning.
As it turned out we were lucky with the sun. It was humid and fairly warm, but it stayed overcast for most of the morning. I was glad that I had sunscreen on though. I picked up some color in spite of the cloud cover.
Riding in Kuala Lumpur reminds me of riding in Houston. The Houston weather, at least in the summer, rivals Kuala Lumpur’s for heat and humidity. More to the point, riding in Kuala Lumpur requires cycling alongside all manner of motorized vehicles. Fortunately I had a gentle reintroduction to sharing the road. The Sunday traffic was relatively light. This is Mark coasting down one of the humps on the Dragon’s Back with just the occasional car for company.
Some of the major tollroads have separate motorcycle lanes. Which of course make excellent bike paths. Almost like the ones in the Netherlands. After the Dragon’s Back and a stop for a drink we rode for 30 km on the motorcycle lanes alongside the Guthrie Corridor Highway. The road surface is excellent and as it was a Sunday there were very few motorbikes out.
What is different here as compared to Houston and Den Haag is the lush and verdant foliage that covers everything beyond the shoulders of the roads. Vegetation quickly reclaims any cleared land. In just a few years secondary jungle takes hold.
The route that Mark chose was one that few other riders were on today. We had long stretches to ourselves, including one 5 km section where Mark and and I were able to cruise along at better than 40 kph. We stopped at regular intervals to regroup, including at the point where we would leave the highway. Once back together again we returned to the urban roads. From there we gently pedaled the last 2 km to where we had parked our cars. Which just coincidentally was right in front of a ‘restoran mamak.’
These are very popular restaurants run by Indian Muslims. These restaurants grew out of the roadside stall equivalent known as ‘gerai mamak.’ Some gerai and restoran mamak are open 24 hours a day. All serve a variety of food and drink, including the ubiquitous roti canai and teh tarik. Those make up the standard order at the end of a ride in Kuala Lumpur, in the same way a koffie verkeerd and an appelgebak met slagroom put the finishing touch to a ride in Den Haag.