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A Landmark Ride

The Racun weekend group rides are usually not longer than 60 km.  If we start at 7am we can get to Kampung Kundang for breakfast and back to Bukit Jelutong by about 9.45am or so.  Before the day gets too hot.  The temperature is the limiting factor when it comes to ride length.

As a result a number of the group have never done a 100 km ride.  We decided to rectify that yesterday.  Mark planned a route that would take us from where he lives in Damansara Jaya to the Ijok exit on the LATAR highway and back.  About 110 km according to Google Maps.

Nine of us met at the car park in front of the Damansara Jaya post office.  Marco, Marvin, Peng Soon and Shahfiq were the 100 km ride neophytes (although Marco came close with a 95 km ride last weekend).

The route from the start to the Guthrie Corridor Expressway took us past the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport.  From 1965 to 1998 this was Kuala Lumpur’s international airport.  When it opened the runway was surrounded by jungle and plantations.  This was still the case when the Saujana Golf and Country Club  opened its doors at the south end of the runway some twenty years later.

As you can see from the route map below it is hard to justify the “Country” in Country Club these days.

Century Ride Route

The airport and club are now hemmed in by urban sprawl.  Where there was once jungle and plantations there are now Ara Damansara, Kampung Bukit Cherakah,  Taman TTDI Jaya, Taman Subang Perdana, Kayangan Heights and a host of other residential and commercial developments.

Jet-engined aircraft now take off and land at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, which is about 80 km from the city centre.  Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport is still used by commercial carriers operating turboprop aircraft.

The roads in the area have expanded to cope with the increased traffic.   The flyover at the north end of the runway was new to me.  And when did Jalan Lapangan Terbang Subang and Jalan Sungai Buloh become four lane divided highways?

Jalan Sungai Buloh took us to the the familiar surroundings of the Guthrie Corridor Expressway.  We stopped at the little rest area behind the Lagong Toll Plaza to regroup before turning onto the KL – Kuala Selangor Expressway.

Lagong Toll Plaza

Photo courtesy of Shahfiq Abdul Manap

Our turn-around point was 20 km down the road at the Ijok exit.  Marvin looks ready for the return leg.

Photo courtesy of Shahfiq Abdul Manap

Photo courtesy of Shahfiq Abdul Manap

Marco, Peng Soon and Shahfiq (pointing skyward) look happy to be at the turn-around point too.

Photo courtesy of Mark Lim

We chose a hot day for this century run.  It was already quite warm by the time we got going again at about 9am.  Everyone was getting hungry as well.  Good thing a visit to our favourite breakfast spot was on the agenda.

Photo courtesy of Marco Lai

An hour later we were seated at Sharif Roti Canai.  The corrugated iron roof was radiating heat.  We were grateful to get a table under a fan.

We lingered under that fan for an hour.  Fortified by roti canai, teh tarik and soft-boiled free-range eggs we headed out to cover the 40 km back to Damansara Jaya.

The midday heat and a headwind made the going challenging.  We were all glad to get to the Elmina Rest & Recreation area where we could wash the sweat off our faces, pour water over our heads and sit in the shade for a while.

Congratulations to Marco, Marvin, Peng Soon and Shahfiq on their first 100 km ride.  Additional kudos go to Peng Soon, who hadn’t ridden more than 40 km in one go before.  He persevered despite aching legs and the heat.  In sneakers no less.

We will all be telling stories about this ride for a long time to come.

Flying the Colors

I thinned down my collection of cycling jerseys when we came home to Kuala Lumpur.  Among the jerseys that I kept were my local club jerseys.  The camaraderie that those jerseys represent makes them near and dear to me.

“Club” sounds a bit formal.  “Group” is a better word.  My first cycling group was West End.  So named because our rides started outside the West End Bicycles shop on Blossom Street in Houston, Texas.  The shop owner, Daniel Murphy, told me about the group and the rides that they do.  There are Tuesday and Thursday evening rides that start at 6.30 pm, and Ted’s Taco Ride on Sunday mornings.

I met Daniel not long after I started cycling.  In my days of riding my Trek 7.5FX hybrid bike in my baggy shorts, t-shirt and tennis shoes.  My first ride with the West End group was spectacularly unsuccessful.  I got dropped within the first few kilometers.  Dropped so badly that I lost sight of everyone’s tail lights.  I didn’t know the route so I had to go home.

The next ride went much better.  Largely due to a few riders hanging back to make sure I didn’t get lost again.  I can’t thank them enough for that.

The West End group introduced me to riding further than 16km / 10mi in one go, how to change a flat tube, what to bring with me on a ride, and the culinary delights of Jax Grill and Doña Maria.

West End Bicycles sold these jerseys.  I know about Frank, the dearly-loved and sadly-departed shop cat.  I don’t know anything about the dog in the shop logo though.  I can tell you that the West End group lives up to the motto on the collar.  Fast and Friendly.

West End

There have also been a series of 6.30 jerseys.  Including this one, which I no longer have.  I donated this jersey, along with others, to an aid organization in Den Haag.  Perhaps someone is still sporting this jersey somewhere in South Holland.

Photo courtesy of West End Bicycles

Photo courtesy of West End Bicycles

It took a while to find a group to ride with in Den Haag.  All the Dutch cycling clubs that I encountered were very serious.  In the typically Dutch way they were very well-organised and had excellent facilities.  They were also geared toward the competitive rather than the recreational cyclist.  Some even required that you met a qualifying time for membership.  Ride 40km / 25mi in an hour for instance.

So a year had gone by before I heard of the Not Possibles.  A group made up largely of expatriates living in the Den Haag area.  Weather permitting, the Not Possibles meet outside the DAKA sports store in the Leidsenhage shopping center on Saturday mornings.  The route for the day often depends upon the prevailing wind, and is usually about 40 to 60km / 25 to 37mi long.

Th group was described to me as one that rode at a pace between 20 to 25kph / 12.5 to 15.5mph.  I learned on my first ride with them that this was not strictly true.  They averaged about 25kph / 15.5mph for the entire ride.  Including the slow rolling start from Leidsenhage, the stops at traffic lights and the slow rolling through built-up areas.  I spent most of my first ride with the Not Possibles frantically trying not to lose sight of the tail end of the group as it sped through the trees in the dunes.  This struggling on the first ride was becoming a bad habit.

A few months after I hooked up with the Not Possibles we decided that we needed group jerseys.  This is what we came up with.

Not Possibles

The Not Possibles introduced me to routes north, east and south of Den Haag (west was not possible because the North Sea gets in the way),  riding in the rain, harnessing a tail wind for 60km / 37mi and taking the train to get home, and the delights of apple pie and coffee at the Coffee Club.

I hooked up with a group of cyclists within a few days of arriving in Kuala Lumpur.  As soon as my bikes arrived I was off on a ride with the Racun group.  “Racun” is the Bahasa Malaysia word for “poison.”  In this case the name refers to how people are poisoned by the cycling bug.  One bike becomes two bikes becomes three bikes.  Every bright and shiny new accessory becomes a must-have.

The name is especially appropriate because the Racun group are linked to Van’s Urban Cycling Co.  Where new temptations are constantly presented.  Like the new Knog Blinder Road light.  I am not the only one in the group who is sorely tempted by this light.

The Racun group has introduced me to the world of folding bicycles, urban night rides, breakfast at Sharif Roti Canai, and orange + green apple + lychee juice.

Van’s was sold out of the original yellow and black Racun jerseys.  Fortunately for the new joiners a second batch of jerseys was made up.


The jerseys may be different, but they represent the same things.  A love of cycling, fun and friendship.  I fly these colors with pride.

Solo Saturday

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My regular Saturday riding buddies had other things to do yesterday morning.  So I rolled out of the D’Bayu car park in Bukit Jelutong on my own just as it was getting light.  There wasn’t a lot of color in the sky as the sun came up, despite all the clouds.


I got to the motorcycle lane alongside the Guthrie Corridor Expressway before 7am.  Not surprisingly the motorcycle lane was very quiet.  Riding alone always gives me the opportunity to notice things that I miss while on group rides.

Roadside Color

While I was the only cyclist on the motorcycle lane that early in the morning, this ride is a popular one.  The lane is well surfaced and relatively wide.  Most of the tunnels under the on and off ramps are well-lit, although there are a couple that provide an unnecessary  moment of concern as you pass from bright sunlight into darkness.  Especially if the tunnel comes immediately after a sharp turn.

Into a Tunnel

I took the slightly longer route to Kampung Sri Kundang.  Instead of taking the Jalan Kuala Selangor exit I rode further down the Guthrie Corridor Expressway to the KL – Kuala Selangor Highway interchange.  This option means riding about 3 km / 2 mi along the KL – Kuala Selangor Expressway.  That expressway, also known as the LATAR Expressway, does not have a motorcycle lane, but the  road shoulder is wide enough to accommodate cyclists.

KL _ Kuala Selangor Highway

I left the highway at Kundang Lakes Golf Club.

Kundang Lakes GC

From there it is a short 3 km / 2 mi to Sharif Roti Canai.  Breakfast there is the reason for riding this route.

Sharif Roti Canai

Another Place to Eat

Life in Malaysia is all about food.  So it stands to reason that cycling revolves around finding new places to eat.

Last week Mark had noticed a particularly well-patronized stall on the Kampung Sri Kundang route.  So we set out from Bukit Jelutong just before dawn to check that place out.  Our hope was that we would get most of our riding done before it got very hot.  The sun had other ideas.


So we kept the pace relaxed along the Guthrie Corridor Expressway and Jalan Kuala Selangor.  Mark slowed down as we made the left turn at Kampung Sungai Pelong.  He thought we were close to the stall he was looking for.   Sure enough, it was 300 meters down the road.


Sate Sri Subang has made a name for itself as a place to get good satay.  Satay is an archetypal Malaysian dish.  In my days of business-class travel on Malaysian Airlines, courtesy of my employers, the beef and chicken satay served onboard was always a highlight.

The satay grill comes to life in the evenings.  In the mornings the offerings are nasi lemak and nasi dagang.  Nasi lemak is available everywhere in Malaysia.  Nasi dagang is a dish more commonly found in the northern states of Kelantan and Terengganu.  It was no surprise that the ladies running the stall this morning were from Kelantan.  Immediately identifiable as such by their Kelantanese dialect.

Having been denied our nasi lemak last Sunday, we had our minds set on some today.  As we waited for our nasi lemak to be plated up we were tempted by a range of savory and sweet items laid out on the table.


Being weak-willed when it comes to food, we added curry puffs, pulut panggang, and kuih koci to our plates.

We will be stopping at Sate Sri Subang again.

So now we have two breakfast options during our Guthrie Corridor Expressway rides.  A stop at Sharif Roti Canai in Kampung Sri Kundang is compulsory though.  We haven’t found a better teh halia anywhere else.