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The Germans visit Malaysia Part 1

In October 2018 a group of R@SKLs had a wonderful time cycling in Germany. Thanks to excellent arrangements made by Ralf from Hong Kong, and Marc and some of his friends in Germany.

Being polite Malaysians, the grateful R@SKLs invited the Germans to visit Malaysia. To their surprise, the Germans accepted the invitation!

Not only that, they booked flights and would arrive in Kuala Lumpur on 1st November 2019 for a ten-day stay.

After several discussions over teh tarik, thosai and roti canai which began in mid-September, we had a plan. Which was a good thing because Marc, Patrik, Matthias and Dieter did board their flight from Frankfurt to Kuala Lumpur.

We didn’t realise it at the time, but this photograph was a clue, or more accurately a warning of what the next ten days would entail.

Photograph courtesy of Marc Linke

Day 1

Ralf had arrived one day earlier, and together with Chee Leong and Pai was on hand to welcome the others to Malaysia.

Their first stop after leaving the airport was Pegasus Cycles. CK and Danial reassembled their bicycles. Bike cases were loaded onto a truck and shipped to Penang.

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

You should already be getting a sense of the logistics required for our plan to work smoothly.

Getting bicycles assembled was important. More important was to introduce our guests to an essential part of Malaysian culture. Food.

TH took them across the road to the Grand Imperial restaurant in Plaza Damas for a dim sum lunch.

Photograph courtesy of Ralf Hamberger
Photograph courtesy of Ralf Hamberger

After lunch, we took the guys to the Hyatt House hotel, which was home for the next four nights. They soon discovered the infinity pool.

Photograph courtesy of Dieter Fecher

The last logistical piece for the day was to load the now-assembled bikes into Amy’s truck. Amy would take the bikes to the start of our Saturday ride.

Photograph courtesy of CK Lim

Day 2

We picked up the Germans at 6:30 am from their hotel and drove to Bandar Rimbayu. Our ride through the kampung roads to Bukit Jugra started at 7:30 am.

Map courtesy of Ride with GPS

It wasn’t long before there was a puncture.

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng.

A stop after 14km was a bit sooner than expected.

Photograph courtesy of Ralf Hamberger

There was another mechanical problem soon after that, so we had another wait at the 7-Eleven in Jenjarom. Fortunately, that was the last forced stop for the day.

Photograph courtesy of Marc Linke

The highlight of this ride, or lowlight, depending upon your point of view, was the climb up Bukit Jugra to the lighthouse.

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng
Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

We spent twenty minutes enjoying the view over the Langat River. Then it was time for food at our favourite Jugra ride restaurant.

Photograph courtesy of Ally

After a meal of rice, fish and vegetables we pedalled back the way we had come.

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

After crossing the Langat River we stopped at Cendol & AC Santan Sawit Ross. It was time to introduce our German visitors to cendol.

The guys made a few new friends.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim
Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Everyone finished the ride safely. Back at Mont Kiara, the guys demonstrated an essential part of German culture. Beer.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Heng Keng kindly hosted dinner at his home. Complete with roast suckling pig.

Day 3

The first and third Sunday of each month is KL Car Free Morning. Roads in the city centre are closed from 7:00 am to 9:00 am. It seemed like a good idea to do a city ride.

CK and Danial mapped out a 35km route which would take us past some city landmarks.

Map courtesy of Ride with GPS

The Germans rode the short distance from their hotel to Pegasus Cycles, where about twenty other cyclists were waiting.

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

We rode from Pegasus Cycles to Damansara Heights.

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

Then we stopped at the main entrance to the National Palace, which is the official residence of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) of Malaysia.

Photograph courtesy of Lai Voon Kiat

Our next stop was at the top of the climb up Changkat Tunku, which is popularly known s Mayor’s Hill. There is a good view overlooking the city.

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

We rode back down Changkt Tunku and into the Lake Gardens. The Tugu Negara (National Monument) is there.

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

We then rolled through Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square). To the left is the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, which used to house the British colonial government offices.

Photograph courtesy of Lai Voon Kiat

Next on the itinerary was the KL Tower. It is a 421 metres tall communications tower. It is the 7th tallest freestanding tower in the world.

Photograph courtesy of Lai Voon Kiat

The last landmark we visited was the PETRONAS Twin Towers.

We had ridden about 25km. It was time for thosai, roti canai and fried noodles with chicken. All washed down with fresh coconut water.

Dieter was suspicious of the fresh coconut ūüėÜ.

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

We finished the ride well before noon. To keep the Germans entertained, Pai took them to Batu Caves that afternoon.

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

Pai dropped the Germans off at the Pavilion shopping mall. They found a German bistro that serves everything from pork knuckles and ribs to cold cuts and sausages. The place must have been a dream come true for our five visitors ūüá©ūüá™.

Dinner was close to the Pavilion, at the food stalls along Jalan Alor.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim
Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Unsurprisingly, the Germans ended the night in a bar ūüćļūüćļūüćļūüćļūüćļ.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

I Am Sure I’ve Earned That Second Roti Canai

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Calories Banner

My friends and I cycle for exercise, and for social interaction.  Some of that social interaction takes place while we are on our bikes. At least it does when we are riding at a moderate enough pace where talking whilst pedalling is physically possible.

Regular readers will know that most of that social interaction occurs over food.  Be it pre-ride, mid-ride, post-ride, or any combination of the three.  What the group wants to eat is often what determines where we ride.  For example, a hankering for roti canai will take us to Kundang.

Roti Canai Flat Bread, Indian Food, Made From Wheat Flour Dough.

Photograph courtesy of therakyatpost.com

Once in a while, the number of calories burnt during the ride is used as justification for a second roti canai, or whatever else has tickled the taste buds at the time.  Whatever calorie burn the Garmin bike computer reported must surely exceed the calories in two roti canai!

Calories Burned Bicycling com

Graphic courtesy of bicycling.com

Unfortunately,¬†bike computers don’t do a good job of estimating the number of calorie burnt. ¬†These devices use proprietary algorithms to calculate calorie burn. ¬†You are going to get different results from different devices, depending on the algorithms and the technology they use. ¬†There is no single international standard on how calorie burn should be measured.

Another contributor to inaccuracy is what I will call user “error”. ¬†The algorithms all use data like rider height, weight, gender, fitness class, etc. to estimate calorie burn. ¬†If a rider misstates their weight, for example, the estimated calorie burn will be less accurate.

The figures in the chart below are based on a 68kg / 150lb rider (so obviously not me) in constant motion; not including coasting, drafting, and descending.

Calories Burned Cycling Bicycling com

Graphic courtesy of bicycling.com

Lastly, accuracy is much improved with heart rate information.  So if you ride without a heart rate monitor, your Garmin will present you with nothing more than a rudimentary guesstimate of your calorie burn.  And more than likely overstating the number of calories you burnt.  Riding with a heart monitor reporting spurious data will also skew your calorie burn number.

DC Rainmaker has an informative blog post on this subject that you can read at How Calorie Measurement Works on Garmin Fitness Devices.

Even if we did have accurate calorie burn information, we would not necessarily be able to match our caloric intake to our caloric output.  Most of us have no idea of how many calories are in a plain roti canai (approx. 300), or a serving of nasi lemak (approx. 400), or in a Big Mac (approx 560), or in a bowl of cendol approx. 200).

Those figures come from MyFitnessPal, and are approximations.  Add egg to that roti canai, or a piece of fried chicken to that nasi lemak, and the calorie count will go up.

Calories Eating Bicycling com

Graphic courtesy of bicycling.com

Now I know that two plain roti canai and two bowls of cendol contain at least 1,000 calories.  Given my weight, height, and age, I have to ride at 26 to 32kph / 16 to 20mph for between an hour and 70 minutes to burn 1,000 calories.

It is a good thing that my social interactions while cycling are usually spread over three hours or so of pedalling at a decent pace.  So I do earn that second roti canai after all.  Plain of course!

 

Beat the Heat

Chris and I rode to Kampung Sri Kundang and back this morning.  We got on the road at 6.50am.  Just as it was getting light.

We made our usual stop for roti canai and teh tarik halia.  We have recently added soft-boiled kampung eggs to the breakfast list.  Fresh from the backyard chicken coop.  I will take a photograph of the bright orange yolks next time.

We were hungry.  Everything smelled so good.  It all tasted so good.

By the time I thought to take a photograph – this was the scene.

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The sun was out on our ride back to the 7-Eleven at Bukit Jelutong.  We got there before 10am so the thermostat was not yet on maximum.  We were sweating anyway.

A delivery truck pulled up.  We stood so close to the open doors we were almost inside the truck.  It was exactly what we needed.

IMG_1205

Whatever the Weather

My Not Possibles friends in Den Haag rode the Joop Zoetemelk Classic yesterday. ¬†By all accounts it was cold and windy, with a high of 8¬įC / 46¬įF. ¬†My West End friends in Houston are just about to start the Tour de Houston. ¬†It is a balmy 17¬įC / 62¬įF in downtown Houston now. ¬†It was 34¬įC / 93¬įF by the time Chon, Mark, Marvin and I finished our ride in Hulu Langat today. ¬†Houston wins the best biking weather award for this weekend.

We rode from Kampung Batu 18 along Jalan Sungai Lui to the T-junction with the B32 and the B19.  Logically enough Jalan Sungai Lui follows the Lui River along the valley floor.  At the junction the only option is to turn left onto the B32 road.  The B19 is still closed 5km from the T-junction because of the landslide that dropped a section of tarmac into the reservoir.

Genting Peres Route

The B32 takes you to the border between the states of Selangor and Negeri Sembilan.  The border is at the top of a 10km climb that rises from 170 meters / 560 feet above sea level to 500 meters / 1,640 feet above sea level.  It was very misty at the start, which meant great views once we got about a third of the way up the climb.

IMG_1191 IMG_1188

Genting Peres isn’t the steepest climb in the area. ¬†Nevertheless we appreciated the stop to take photographs.

Genting Peres Photo Stop

Photo courtesy of They Wei Chon

It was still hard work, especially after we broke through the mist into bright sunshine.  I am sure I leaked the equivalent of a Camelbak Podium Chill bottle by the time I got to the summit.  Mark and Chon are waiting for Marvin, who got extra credit for doing the ride on a 29er mountain bike with knobbly tires.

IMG_1189

I explored a bit, and found these decorative blocks at the base of the “Terima Kasih. ¬†Sila Datang Lagi / Thank You. ¬†Please Come Again” sign behind the guys. ¬†Not bad for a sign that most people whizz past in cars.

IMG_1182

The plan was to go back the way we came to Kampung Batu 18, and then ride on to Sungai Chongkak Recreational Forest for a nasi lemak and teh tarik breakfast.   It was a hot and humid second half of the ride.  The thought of packets of tasty nasi lemak sustained us through the 6km climb to the restaurant.

IMG_1181

“What?”

Our disappointment was palpable.  Our mood was not improved by the very mediocre roti canai we ended up with at Kampung Batu 18.

There was one saving grace for all of us.  The thick undergrowth between where we always park and the river has recently been cleared.  So we could get to some cool water to wash the sweat off our faces and arms.

IMG_1190

There was another plus for me.  ISKY 2 has stopped ticking.

Thirsty Work

Nineteen of us set off from outside the 7-11 at Bukit Jelutong on the Van’s Urban Bicycle Co. group ride this morning. ¬†We were a roughly 50-50 mix of folding bikes and road bikes. ¬†Our route to Kampung Sri Kundang was a bit different this time. ¬†Instead of heading north on the Guthrie Corridor Expressway we took the hillier option along Jalan Batu Arang to the west. ¬†Hillier to the tune of ¬†200 meters / 650 feet of elevation in the first seventeen kilometers.

Kundang Route

We made regular stops to regroup and to ensure that no one got lost.  This was our first break at the bus stop outside the UITM Puncak Perdana campus.

Reverse Dragon's Back to Kundang 05

Photo courtesy of Van’s Urban Bicycle Co.

From here it was five more climbs before the right-hand turn toward Sungai Buloh and Kuala Selangor.  Everyone was relieved that the rest of the way to Kampung Sri Kundang was flat.  Hence the smiles at the traffic light at the junction with Jalan Kuala Selangor.

Reverse Dragon's Back to Kundang 02

Photo courtesy of Van’s Urban Bicycle Co.

Reverse Dragon's Back to Kundang 04

Photo courtesy of Van’s Urban Bicycle Co.

It was a warm morning, but there were lots of clouds in the sky. ¬†So we weren’t in direct sun.

Reverse Dragon's Back to Kundang 03

Photo courtesy of Van’s Urban Bicycle Co.

Even so the humidity was high so the ride was sweaty work. ¬†We were all glad to get to Kampung Sri Kundang. ¬†As always the roti canai and teh tarik was worth the ride. ¬†By the time we saddled up again the sun had come out in full force. ¬†It was at least 35¬įC / 95¬įF during the¬†33km back down the Guthrie Corridor Expressway. ¬†And a tough 33km for those who weren’t used to riding as far or climbing as much as we did today.

We were all hot and thirsty by the time we got back to Bukit Jelutong.  I had emptied both my bottles in addition to the two teh tarik I had with my roti canai.  I went straight into the 7-11.  Firstly because it is air-conditioned, and secondly to buy a 1.5 liter bottle of 100 Plus.  I had never drunk a liter and a half of anything in one go before.  There is a first time for everything.

OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2013

My alarm went off this morning at 4.15am.  It was time to get ready for the OCBC Cycle Malaysia ride.  Malaysia’s only mass participation cycling event on closed, public roads in Kuala Lumpur.

OCBC Route

Our start time was 6.15am.  That would give us time to complete four loops before the city streets were once again opened to motorcycles, cars, lorries and buses at 8.30am.

By 5.00am my Racun Cycling Gang buddies were arriving at the entrance to my apartment building.  The ride started in front of the Petronas Twin Towers.  The building I live in is 500 meters from the Twin Towers.  So I had access to some of the most coveted parking space in the KLCC area.

At 5.30am we were gathered in front of Restoran Pelita, about two-thirds of the way to the start.  That was where we met those of our group who had parked further away and had ridden to the KLCC.

Time for some last-minute adjustments before we rolled to the start.

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This ride was billed as one of the largest of its kind in Malaysia.  It certainly seemed that way as we waited amongst about 5,000 other riders at the start.

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There were riders from Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and from further afield. ¬†Being amongst so many riders was a bike-spotter’s dream. ¬†The “splash the cash” award went to the rider on the bike right beside us at the start. ¬†I had never seen a Specialized S-Works McLaren Venge¬†in the wild before.

The only difference between the bike in the photo above and the one we saw this morning was that the Zipp 404s had been swapped out for a Mad Fiber carbon wheelset.

Photo courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

Photo courtesy of Procycling at procyclingwarehouse.com

So it was with the heady sight of a RM 54,000 / US 18,000 bicycle disappearing into the darkness ahead of me that I started the ride.

Photo courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

Photo courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

I soon forgot all about the Venge as what was supposed to be a fun ride exploded around me.

For some reason the organisers had given each of us a timing chip.  Perhaps that was the reason for so many people blasting along the fairly narrow start chute at maximum speed.  Sadly a number of riders came to grief a few minutes later along Jalan Raja Chulan when they hit a pot hole at speed in the pre-dawn darkness.  From the pieces scattered along the edge of the road I think at least two riders are in the market for new carbon front wheels.  A few others required medical attention after going down hard.

Mark L picked up a double puncture along the same stretch of road.  Fortunately we had a spare inner tube each so he was able to fix both flats.  The upside, if you could call it that, of having a double puncture is that by the time we got rolling again the sun was up, and the high-speed riders were all ahead of us.

The rest of the ride was a lot of fun.  A few meandering cyclists notwithstanding.  After the drama of the flat tires there was a short climb into the Lake Gardens followed by a u-turn back down the hill.  We rode past the Bank Negara Malaysia (Central Banks of Malaysia) building and through a wooded and quieter part of the city.  The second half of the loop took us back past the office blocks, shop houses, hotels and apartments of the city center.  It was a treat to ride on streets that are usually clogged with traffic.

Photo courtesy of Yuri Wong.

Photo courtesy of Yuri Wong.

When I was sixteen I cycled to school along some of these same streets.  So I really appreciated the opportunity to ride through a city center that has changed dramatically since then.

The morning ended in the best way possible.  I made it safely to the finish in front of the Twin Towers, where I got my participant medal.

Photo courtesy of Irene Cho

Photo courtesy of Irene Cho

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Then it was back to Restoran Pelita with the Racun gang, where we traded ride stories between mouthfuls of roti canai, nasi lemak and teh tarik.

Roll on 2013

My plan for a morning ride on New Year’s day suffered a serious blow as I sat in a traffic jam at 2am. ¬†The injury proved fatal to my plan. ¬†The official time of death was 5.45am. ¬†Which was the time when I turned off my alarm, rolled over and went back to sleep.

So my first ride of 2013 was on 2nd January. ¬†There were about twenty of us who set off from¬†Van’s Urban Bicycle Co¬†for an evening ride around Kelana Jaya. ¬†Most people were riding what Van’s specialises in – folding bicycles. ¬†I had not ridden this route before I so was very happy to stay at the back of the group and take in the sights.

Kelana Jaya

As you can see from the route this was an urban ride in every respect. ¬†Van’s occupies shop space in 3 Two ¬†Square, which sits in a group of commercial buildings on the edge of a large residential area. ¬†We alternated between busy main thoroughfares and quieter neighbourhood streets. ¬†We rode past restaurants, schools, banks, mosques, sports facilities, a park and of course lots of homes.

3 Two Square

Naturally we had to stop for refreshments at a mamak restaurant a kilometer or so before we got back to Van’s. ¬†We parked our bikes in front of the closed pharmacy next to Al-Ehsan restaurant.

Parked

As is often the case in the evenings folding tables are set up on the sidewalks, and where possible, on the edge of streets as well.  We joined some tables together and plonked ourselves down on plastic stools.  We tucked into what else but roti canai, nasi lemak and teh tarik.

We didn’t cover many kilometers, but that isn’t the point of the Racun Cycling Gang rides. There will be time enough for kilometers and climbs this weekend. ¬†This was a good start to the year.