My last urban night ride was in Houston in April 2010. The Six Thirty West End group still does a Tuesday evening and a Thursday evening ride through downtown Houston. I can still hear Juan R’s “Two Minutes” call at 6.28pm. And I can still taste the Tex-Mex at Jax Grill where we had regular post-Thursday ride meals.
I was delighted to hear that Van’s hosts urban night rides in KL. They start at 9pm so lights are essential. Of course when I was packing up my riding stuff in Den Haag I didn’t think I would need lights right away. My Niterider MiNewt Mini and Planet Bike Super Flash are in the sea freight, not to be seen until November sometime. So if I was going to ride on Tuesday evening I needed lights. When I was at Van’s on Monday, creak hunting with YC, I bought a Cateye Rapid 5 tail light. Raymond T at Van’s kindly lent me a headlamp. Good to go!
The Racun Cycling Gang met at the Decanter restaurant on Jalan Setiabakti in Bukit Damansara at 8.45pm for a 9pm start. We were a mixed group of nine riders. As was the case with the Genting Sempah ride the majority were on folding bikes, although Wan A was on a rather tasty looking yellow Specialized S Works Tarmac SL3. We headed out onto quiet residential streets with YC following behind in a car. The roads were still a bit damp from the afternoon rain. And my bike was still creaking!
Those were the least of my concerns though. Here is the elevation profile for the first twelve kilometres from my last ride in Den Haag:
Here is the elevation profile for the first twelve kilometers from the Tuesday night ride:
We weren’t even two kilometres into the ride and my heart rate was pushing 150 bpm. Which is not far short of my maximum heart rate. The rest of the ride was more of the same. A series of 7% to 9% gradients packed fairly together. Those low-geared folding bikes were starting to look good.
We were fortunate to have YC in a car following behind us. At the 4km mark we were all descending at some speed. I heard the unmistakeable sound of a bike hitting the pavement behind me. The damp road surface, wet leaves and speed had brought down one of our group. Fortunately he came away with only scrapes and bruises. YC took our unlucky rider to get his road rash cleaned up. The rest of us looked around for my headlight, which had fallen out of its handlebar mount at about the same time the accident happened behind me. We found the batteries and the light, less the battery cover and lens cover. The LED was still working so I stuck it back in its mount and rode on.
We made it safely up and down the rest of the climbs that made up this ride. We regrouped at the Decanter, loaded our bikes into our cars and drove down to a roadside stall for a lime juice and cycling chat. Which stretched to another lime juice and more chat. And a third lime juice and yet more chat. I’m not sure that “I was just out for a bike ride” worked as an excuse for why I got home at almost 1am.
* Title courtesy of The Wizard of Oz.