I read a WordPress post by Tempo Cyclist the other day, where he described the first ride he uploaded to Strava. That got me thinking about all the rides I have uploaded to Strava over the years.
Riffing off Tempo Cyclist’s post, I looked at my 1,000th ride on Strava. It was a ride to Genting Sempah, with good friends Mark and Ridzuwan, on 18th October last year.
Coincidentally, my very first ride in Malaysia, after moving back home from the Netherlands, was also up to Genting Sempah, on 7th October 2012.
The Genting Sempah climb is probably the most cycled route in the Klang Valley. I have done the Genting Sempah climb at least forty times since that first ride in 2012. There has always been dozens of other riders on Jalan Gombak with me.
The climb is generally considered to be from the Hospital Orang Asli (HOA) to the flyover at the summit, which is almost on top of the border between the states of Selangor and Pahang.
A lot of people start their ride from somewhere near the HOA. It all depends on where they can find a parking space.
The ride to the flyover is very pleasant. It is usually quite cool and shady. The average gradient is about 3.5%, but with some kickers along the way to get the heart rate up. And traffic is usually fairly light, although occasionally there are car clubs or motorcyclists blasting up the hill..
A number of troops of monkeys live in the jungle lining the road. It is not unusual to see some during the ride.
The bridge with 1.8km / 1.1mi to go to the summit is a convenient spot to stop to get your breath back before tackling the last two steep corners on the way to the flyover.
Near that bridge, you get a good view of the Karak Highway, which replaced Jalan Gombak as the primary route between Kuala Lumpur and Bentong.
Most riders turn around at the flyover.
If you are hungry, there is a McDonald’s one kilometer down the other side of the hill, at the Genting Sempah R&R on the Karak Highway. We often start the Genting Sempah ride with the intention of going to the McDonald’s, but change our mind at the flyover. The prospect of climbing 64 meters / 210 feet over 1km / 0.6mi from the McDonald’s back to the flyover puts us off.
If you want to go further afield for food, you can continue down the hill from the R&R for 5km / 3mi to the left turn to Bukit Tinggi, with its collection of kopitiams, or Hokkien coffee shops.
A popular alternative is Janda Baik. Instead of turning left to Bukit Tinggi, you turn right and ride under this arch.
My go-to place for breakfast in Janda Baik used to be Andak’s Place.
Sadly Andak’s Place has closed down.
An alternative is Kopi n Kraf.
If you are looking for a longer ride, continue straight down the hill, past the turnings to Bukit Tinggi and Janda Baik, for another 30km / 18.6mi to Bentong.
There are food choices for those who turn around at the flyover and head back down the hill. The food stall a few hundred meters from the HOA is a popular spot for a pre-ride or post-ride drink and meal.
A few of us have taken to starting our ride to Genting Sempah from where I live. Which adds about 40km / 25mi to the 32km / 20mi from the HOA to the flyover and back. More importantly, it allows us to stop at Santa Chapati, near the Tawakal Hospital, for lunch on the way home.
Good riding, and good eats. No wonder Genting Sempah is a favourite route.