Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Selangor : PJ Car Free Day Fun Ride

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                                                   AhPek Biker - Riding Adventures                                           
Selangor : PJ Car Free Day Fun Ride
Petaling Jaya : 11th May 2014
Public Ride Event Menara MPPJ>Bandar Utama>Kota Damansara>Tropicana>Ara Damansara>Taman Megah>Menara MPPJ
Cycling Distance Covered : 38.4 km.
Time : 8:00 am - 10:55 am
Time Taken : approx. 2 hrs. 55 mins. (including stops for rest & regrouping)


PRELUDE

The last time I rode in a Petaling Jaya (fondly called PJ for short) was at the Critical Mass Ride on 28th March 2014. It was the 2nd Critical Mass in PJ after an inaugural first one held on 28th February 2014 (... see blog).
The Critical Mass ride was a ad-hoc night one covering a short loop. This one will be organized by the Petaling Jaya city council, Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya (MBPJ). It will be a day ride covering 38 km.; some did complain that it is a long ride considering that MBPJ has termed it as a "FUN RIDE".
But then the Taiping Heritage Fun Ride covered a slightly longer 40 km. The recent Penang Round Island Fun Ride covered 87 km. So I think it's all about having fun, and not racing to finish the ride. More importantly is how these rides are organized to take into consideration participants' safety.


HELLO, MY FRIENDS!


I always like these events, it's like a get together where friends who have not seen each other get to chat and ride together. I also got to meet new friends like Hsien Lee, who contacted me through my AhPek Biker FB page; my apologies Hsien Lee, in the excitement I missed out taking a photo with you.

A few of our husband-wife friends came too. I envy these couples as I have been unsuccessful in getting my wife to take up cycling and join me in my rides.
Couples like Tengku Nash & Salsa; they always look great in their colourful and bright jerseys.


The ever-smiling couple, Hui Min & Yong Sin.


Another couple was Jason & Shirny. Shirny is a great supporter; even when she doesn't ride she helps out, like when she brought drinks over for us during our Songkran Double Loop Trail.


MIn Chan brought her brand new Tern Link D7i for its maiden ride. I think she is very happy with it. So were several admirers (of the bike, I mean :P) who had a good look of the bike during one of the regroup stops.


Siew Yung brought her dog, Patchy for the ride too.
Well, we bring the ones we love for riding; our wives, a new bike - so why not a beloved pet!



The Putrajaya Urban Riders came to lend their support.

Ok. Pleasantries over, chit-chat time is over. Time to get down to serious business.


LET'S RIDE!

The ride will take us from the start point, Jalan Yong Shook Lin, to two checkpoints - the first at Kota Damansara and the second at Ara Damansara. En route we will pass by several housing estates like SS2Bandar Utama, Tropicana, etc. Hopefully riding through these residential areas will stir up locals to the idea of cycling.


At the start point we were all gathered at yellow arch marking the start, eager to ride when ...


(Photo by SC Chin)
... the Start Arch came tumbling down. Luckily it was the type that's supported by air and no one got hurt. Some fiddling by inquisitive fingers on the blower fan had sent the air blowing away instead of into the arch tube.


8:00am : With a quick recovery the arch was up within seconds, the air-horn was sounded and we were flagged off!


The very first place we passed by was the old State Cinema. Unlike many stand alone cinemas which has been abandoned, it is still in operation mainly screening Indian movies these days.


Soon we were at Jalan Semangat, doing a first short stretch of climb, an important climb that will get us over the Federal Highway to the other side of PJ. The police and MBPJ officers had done a good job, the streets are clear of other traffic for us to ride freely through.


Just after 2.5 km., a first regroup at Bukit Bintang Boys' School. Hey! That was fast, maybe a bit too fast.
Perhaps the organizers wanted all to regroup after that first climb, OR perhaps traffic in front have not been cleared yet.



Approaching SS2, the new sleek towers of Menara Arab Malaysian Finance looming up in front.


Saw this roller bladder happily gliding along. There were not many of these fellows around, it was mostly us cyclists taking part. I guess the distance was a deterrent.


Free wheeling downhill at SS2, the early morning sun casting long shadows of us.


8:25am - Second regroup at Damansara Jaya Boys' School.


Further ahead, we saw several runners in red T-shirts. They are participants for a running event in aid of AIDS.


Garkean in his red T-shirt could have easily dismounted and join the runners; without his German army helmet, of course.


We are now onto the SPRINT Highway that leads to the North Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE), and a friend Michael was glad to see us approaching. He had been waiting here impatiently, eager to join us.


No, we did not ride onto the NKVE, it's to busy a highway to cycle on. Instead with a left turn up a ramp we rode into Bandar Utama. Here a young girl was riding the shady road on her Oscar Imagine bike, it's a 7-gear 20" foldie. She's a brave girl to take these 38 km. on just this bike when many older participants were riding lighter and better bicycles. The ride up the ramp had tired here a bit, her dad gave a helping push for a short while.


Riding through the roads of Tropicana, we had not even reached the halfway point. Patchy-boy seems to be doing alright, sitting comfortably in his basket as Siew Yung pedalled on.


9:00 am - Yahoo! We reached the first Checkpoint at Taman Rimba Riang Kota Damansara; many of the cyclists took to the shades of the park for a quick rest. Our stop here was rather short, it was more of a regroup. Letting us have another fifteen minutes more here would given us some time to explore the park a bit. No worries though, we can always cycle here ourselves in the future.


At the Third Regroup Point near the Sri Selangor Golf Course.
Huh! Another regroup, so soon? Probably some riders may be having difficulty at the rear.
There were some mumblings about having too many stops. I do hope that others do understand that this is a large group and the organizers were trying to keep everyone together in a closer pack so as to minimize the closure of roads to other traffic. Safety is paramount. Anyway, it was a good time for some chat and James, our Australian friend, took the opportunity to get to know JK better.


We are back on the streets of Tropicana, this time riding pass the spanking new high-rise condominiums.


10:05 am - Nash taking a rest at the 2nd Checkpoint. Looking at my route map, this "checkpoint" was different from the one shown in the organizers route map - which shows the 2nd checkpoint to be at Taman Ara Damansara.


We left the newer sections of PJ (Kota Damansara, Tropicana & Ara Damansara) through these tunnel underpasses below the NKVE. First over the NKVE and now under it!


This led us to the 4th Regroup point at Kampong Cempaka. Caught a young boy and his dad here. He was struggling at some of the slopes, but the dad was there to encourage him on. Good show, young man!


10:30 am - At the LDP (Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong), I was riding at the rear of the group; MPBJ ride marshals were directing riders to keep left as they will be letting the mainstream traffic through soon.


This young lady has a unique way of keeping out the sun from her face; just use a hand towel under her helmet as a veil to shade off the sun.


Freda said her goodbyes to us at Van's Urban Bicycle Shop in SS1. She had parked her car here.


Fifth and final regroup at Persiaran Pp Narayanan before we cross under the Federal Highway and back to the other part of PJ.


10:55 am - Finish!
Well done everyone!
It was a ride that did not have spectacular sceneries, but it did show many the different areas of PJ. We did not spend enough time at the Checkpoint parks but at least we now know where there are.
Many thanks to the organizers for this event, and to the marshals for making this a safe ride.


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