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SJICC Fellowship Ride

Graphic courtesy of St. John’s Institution Alumni Association

I went to St. John’s Institution (SJI) in the 1970s. The SJI alumni, known as Johannians, maintains strong ties with each other and to the school. One of these alumni groups is the SJI Cycling Club (SJICC).

An SJICC WhatsApp group discussion about a Fellowship ride started in July. A suggestion to ride from Kota Warisan to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and back turned into a plan. About forty SJI alumni signed up for the ride.

It was gloomy and damp when I left home this morning. The drizzle started when I was on the MEX Highway. It got heavier as I drove through Cyberjaya and Dengkil. It was still drizzling at the ride start time of 7:30 am.

Map courtesy of Rainviewer Storm Tracker

The wet weather put some people off. Twenty-three cyclists had turned up at Kota Warisan. As well as several friends on scooters and motorbikes. They had volunteered to be our outriders. All of us were wondering if we would ride, or just stay put and order more teh tarik, nasi lemak and roti canai.

At 8:00 am the drizzle eased up a bit. We decided to go for it. As Rashid said, it was time to apply Velominati rules #5 and #9.

Rule #5: Harden The F*** Up

Rule #9: If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.


Most wore their club jerseys. I don’t own one, so I hid at the back for this pre-start photograph. Jeff, the other rider in pink, is an old boy of Cochrane Road School. He was allowed to join us because he sells very nice bicycles 😂.

Photograph courtesy of Rashid Ghazali

Not long after we started riding, the drizzle turned into rain. We were thoroughly soaked when we got to our first stop at the Sepang International Circuit.

Photograph courtesy of Yasser Yaacob
Photograph courtesy of Rashid Ghazali
Photograph courtesy of Aston Choong
Photograph courtesy of Bernard Chong

The next stop was at the L32 end of KLIA runway 2. By that time, it had stopped raining.

Photograph courtesy of Khalid.

After watching a few aircraft landings, we rode the length of runway 3.

Photograph courtesy of ZackJ

Our last stop to regroup and buy a drink was at the PETRONAS station on Lebuhraya KLIA Extension.

Photograph courtesy of Nageb Abdul Majid

9.5kkm after that we were back at the Restoran Nasi Lemak Royale.

Photograph courtesy of FariQue

We hadn’t ridden very far. We had long forgotten all thoughts of a second loop. What was more important after a very wet ride was some signature nasi lemak and fried chicken.

It was a fun ride. Due in no small measure to the support car and the outriders who kept us safe on the roads.

There is already some chat about doing a longer ride.

Airports Take 2

My cycling buddies were quite amused by the story of my ride to KLIA and KLIA2.  Especially the part where I was escorted along the ELITE Highway by a PLUSRonda vehicle.  There are alternate routes to KLIA, and Liang suggested a ride along one of those routes today.  I was the only one able to take him up on his suggestion.

Liang and I met at Bukit Jalil, and by 6.45am we were on our way onto the MEX Highway.  At the Putrajaya Toll Plaza we exited left toward Putrajaya and Cyberjaya.  At the next cloverleaf intersection we took the exit to the Pintasan Dengkil Bypass.  5km / 3mi later we left the Bypass and rode into Dengkil town.

KLIAs Take 2 Route

Liang has a regular breakfast stop in Dengkil.

Photograph courtesy of Google Maps

Photograph courtesy of Google Maps

It is a simple place.  A canopy under the trees provides a pleasant space for some tables and chairs.  We watched other cyclists ride by as we breakfasted on iced Milo and roti canai.

We rejoined the Pintasan Dengkil Bypass and followed the signs toward KLIA.  14km / 9mi later we were at KLIA.  From there it was 6km / 4mi to the Arrival Hall at KLIA2.  We thought we would try our luck one level down from the Departure Hall, where I had trouble getting my bike into the building on my first ride to the airport.

This time we took no chances.



Photograph courtesy of Liang

The trolley trick worked.  We got a few interested looks from the security personnel, but were able to wheel our way around without questions.  We left our trolleys outside KluangStation while we had a drink and some nibbles.


Two happy cyclists!


Photograph courtesy of Liang

Photograph courtesy of Liang

Happy because we were able to get our bikes into the building.  And happy because the peanut butter and banana toast was awesome.

Photograph courtesy of Liang

Photograph courtesy of Liang

Watered and fed, we wheeled our trolleys back outside and reassembled our bikes.

We didn’t take a detour through Dengkil town on the way back to Bukit Jalil.  But we did stop at the Putrajaya Toll plaza and the Sri Kembangan R&R.  It had turned into a very hot morning, and after being broiled for an hour, we needed to rest in the shade and have a cold drink.

Take 2 was definitely an improvement over my first airport ride.  There is already interest in a Take 3.


Photograph courtesy of

Photograph courtesy of

My Flipside friends and I have amended the starting point for rides to the Guthrie Corridor Expressway and on to Kampung Sri Kundang etc.  The ride to the GCE now takes us past Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport.  I remember it fondly as Subang International Airport.  It was Kuala Lumpur’s main airport from 1965 to 1998.

The original Subang Airport terminal building is long gone, which is a shame.

Photograph courtesy of

Photograph courtesy of

It has been replaced by a less attractive, albeit modern, terminal.

Today I decided to ride to the airport that replaced Subang.  The Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), and the newly opened KLIA2, which is a low cost carrier terminal.

The first part of the ride was along the Maju Expressway (MEX).  The first time I rode along the MEX, I thought it would be my last.  There is one particularly tricky section, the Kuchai Lama Interchange, on the ride back to Kuala Lumpur.  The fact that the MEX is just about the only reasonable ride I can start from my doorstep, and it gets me to the KESAS Highway without having to drive there, now outweighs my nervousness about that interchange.


Now I am pretty familiar with the entire 26km / 16 mi length of the MEX.  MEX is mostly elevated from the on ramp at Jalan Tun Razak to the Bukit Jalil National Sports Complex exit.  That means parapets and drainage gratings along both sides of the roadway.  Which makes for a fairly narrow shoulder to ride a bicycle on.

Photograph courtesy of

Photograph courtesy of

Once you get past Exit 2004 the parapets and gratings disappear.  More importantly there is much more of a shoulder to ride on.  Or walk on, as the case may be.

Photograph courtesy of

Photograph courtesy of

The new bit on this ride came after the Putrajaya Toll Plaza.  Most times I take the u-turn under the expressway and head back home (in red below).  This time I cut across to the right hand exit to get onto the Putrajaya Link (in green below).  This 8.8km / 5.5mi road links the MEX to the North-South Expressway Central Link, also known as the ELITE Expressway.

MEX to KLIA Ride

I was on the ELITE for about 10km / 6mi before exiting onto the KLIA Expressway.  From there it is about 15km / 9mi to the KLIA.  I rode up to and past the Departure Hall of KLIA before looping over the KLIA Expressway to get to the Departure Hall of KLIA 2.

This is the road through the departure level of KLIA.

Photograph courtesy of

Photograph courtesy of

This is KLIA2.


I had planned to stop at KLIA 2 for a coffee and some food.  Only to be told once I got there that bicycles are not allowed into the airport buildings.  I rolled my bike into the Departure Hall anyway, and bought a coffee.  Much to the consternation of airport security, who sent five people to intercept me as I left Starbucks.  They were nice enough about it, but I did have to sit on a bench outside while I drank my latte.

On the ride back along the ELITE I passed a vehicle like this that was parked on the road shoulder.  PLUSRonda is the team that patrols the Expressway and provides assistance to motorists.

Photograph courtesy of

Photograph courtesy of

A few minutes later I heard a beep behind me.  it was the PLUSRonda guys, with the blue lights on the truck flashing.  They told me that bicycles are not allowed on the ELITE.  I asked them to let me ride the remaining 8km / 5mi to the exit to the Putrajaya Link.  They were dubious out of concern for my safety, given the heavy and fast traffic.  They agreed to let me ride on, and followed behind me, lights still flashing.  I felt compelled to ride faster until I got to the exit.

The furore with security at KLIA2 had distracted me from buying anything to eat.  I also made the mistake of ordering a hot latte rather than an iced one.  Which I didn’t finish because I was hot.  So I shouldn’t have been surprised that I bonked on the Putrajaya link.  I made it up the first of the MEX climbs to the toll plaza, but I had to stop for a breather.  My arms were tingling.  A sure sign of hypoglycaemia.

I had 6km / 4mi between me and the Seri Kembangan R&R.  This is the elevation profile for that section.

Map courtesy of Ride With GPS

Map courtesy of Ride With GPS

So you can understand my relief when I crested that last slope and rolled down to the R&R in the distance on the left.

Photograph courtesy of Nazrey

Photograph courtesy of Nazrey

I felt much better after an ice-cold Sprite and a short rest under a fan.  With blood sugar levels restored, the rest of the ride back into Kuala Lumpur was fine.

Photograph courtesy of

Photograph courtesy of

Even that Kuchai Lama Interchange and the elevated parta.

Rapha Festive 500

Festive 500

I have not covered many kilometers in 2014.  Thanks in no small part to my extended time off the bicycle.  Both self-inflicted and health-inflicted.

My total mileage on 12th October 2014 was the lowest it has ever been on that date in the five years I have been cycling.  That was the day of my first ride in almost four months.  I rode as much as I could, and then had another month of no rides from 23rd November.  Rain and weekend travel are to blame.

Total Distance

Graph courtesy of VeloViewer

So the Rapha Festive 500 came at the perfect time to motivate me to add to my total kilometers ridden in 2014.  The challenge is to ride 500 kms between the 24th and 31st of December.

Rapha has partnered with Strava to keep track of riders’ mileage.  No small undertaking, seeing as 46,360 cyclists are currently in the challenge.

Strava is doing a great job of displaying every participant’s current mileage, and rank overall, by country, by age and by weight.  Strava is also providing additional motivation by presenting riders with ‘achievements’ as they meet interim targets.


I got the final one today.


I have ridden every day since Christmas Eve.  I am putting my vacation time to good use.

Heatmap courtesy of Strava

Heatmap courtesy of Strava

514kms over six days.  Mostly over the usual routes:  Genting Sempah (2), KESAS (3) and (6), and the Guthrie Corridor Expressway (4).

There were a couple of forays into new territory, starting with the first Festive 500 ride on Christmas Eve (1).  Keat, Mark, Marco, Fahmi and I started with a ride to a favourite nasi lemak stop in Kampung Cempedak.  But instead of following breakfast with a ride through Kampung Melayu Seri Kundang, we followed a back road toward Rawang.  Here we are, happy to be at the summit of the climb along Jalan Ciku.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

The ride that took me over the 500kms target was an entirely new one.  I drove my biker chick to the airport, then parked and pulled my bike out of the car.  It was raining quite hard, but that didn’t stop me from riding alongside runway 2, and the new runway 3 serving KLIA 2, watching aircraft come and go in a cloud of spray.


I didn’t want to continue onto the highway serving the airports, so I doubled back along runway 3 and went to Sepang.  I had fun, but would have enjoyed it more if it hadn’t been raining the entire time.


Weather permitting, I might get to 600kms by New Year’s Eve.  A relatively large total by my current standards, but paltry in comparison with 1,644kms already ridden by the person leading the Festive 500.  He has cycled almost 14,500kms in 2014.  He must be very fit.  And not have a full-time job.