Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Selangor : Bandar Utama to Damansara Perdana - Exploring The Hinterland

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Selangor: Bandar Utama to Damansara Perdana - Exploring The Hinterland
Bandar Utama to Damansara Perdana : 10th January 2016
Distance  : 12.82 km     Level: Medium
Time : not tracked
Time Taken :  It was a recce and exploration ride with some back-tracking.

Route Recommendations :
1. The route behind Bandar Utama is the nicest and greenest.
2. Some portion of the route is on gravel track, mud paths, etc.
3. Some section of the route cuts through narrow pathways with tall grasses, bushland, etc. It's best to bring along some mosquito repellent as there are mosquitoes there.
4. Foreign workers use the pathway from Pelangi Damansara to Mutiara Damansara as a short cut.
5. Further exploration required:
    a. To find an alternative route that does not pass the 
Mutiara Damansara sewage treatment plant.
    b. To explore the other side heading from 
Bandar Utama towards Kampung Chempaka.


PRELUDE

Jeffrey Lim is on unique person, starting with a small group of friends he started mapping cycling routes in Kuala Lumpur. This group got bigger and bigger as he organised more recce rides to explore as much as possible the different cycling routes (other than main, busy roads). This group is the Cycling Kuala Lumpur Mapping Project; and their efforts culminated in a comprehensive map that shows these routes (click here to download a Jpeg copy of this map). It is to his credit that he has been invited to seminars and symposium world wide where at some he was an invited speaker.
Lately, he posted a photo of an out-of-the-way area in Bandar Utama, showing a side of the township that still looked natural with a small stream running through (dare I say that he is eyeing to expand his cycle mapping area to beyond Kuala Lumpur?). This spurred a inquisitiveness within me as that area being close to my home was my neck of the woods. Also I had been involved in some development of the area a couple of decades back and was curious to see how much that locality have changed.
SO HERE WE GO!


THE RIDE


Cycling Route - Taman Tun Dr Ismail>Bandar Utama>Kota Damansara>Mutiara Damansara>Damansara Perdana>Kampung Sungai Pencala>Taman Tun Dr Ismail.
From Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) I headed towards Bandar Utama to find a road to the back of the township. Found it near The Club, and used the tracks to head towards Pelangi Damansara and then onwards to Damansara Perdana.


From TTDI, I rode towards Bandar Bandar Utama, riding below the shopping bridge that connects the old wing to the new wing. I was unsure where I would penetrate into the "hinterlands" and headed towards the BU3 area. From there I cut across the BU6 thinking that my destination would be there.
Oops.... I was wrong; I still had to cross over one main road, Persiaran Bandar Utama before I hit the backwaters.



Okay... that's was a good start... but what next?
I had two options, either go up the hill via Persiaran Bukit Utama or try some other route on more level ground. I was trying to head to Damansara Perdana, so the level route it was then.
The lowland route is via the road leading up to 9 Bukit Condo and then cutting across to The Club at Bukit Utama. At the far end of the Club Drive was a laterite road that led up a hill and a ramp on the left next to the clubhouse (this ramp can't be seen in the above photo as it is hidden by the building).


The ramp led to buggy tracks of the Bandar Utama Golf Course. These tracks skirt the greens of the golf course and would be lovely to ride on and explore further (Hah! Coming here, I found so much more for future exploration). But for today, my target destination was those tall electrical transmission towers which runs along the back boundary of Bandar Utama, after all I am exploring the hinterland of the township.
Best I get off the buggy tracks quick lest I be struck by a golf ball; people were playing there then.


But then I noticed a gravel road leading up-hill and thought to myself "Hey! There's another hill in this township other than Bukit Utama". Well since I am here might as well go up and see what's up there. Huffing and puffing I trudged my way up, hoping that up at the top I would be able to get a good panoramic view of the surrounding area. Sad to say, up there there was no view. It's overgrown with trees that blocked off any view.
So it's down again, back to the buggy track. On the way down, I noticed another fork; it led back to The Club, i.e. that gravel track I saw earlier.


Back at the golfing green, I espied a small pedestrian gate and it was not locked, so I did a quick push across the grass, through the gate and was out of Bandar Utama!
On the other side was a large Hindu shrine and to it's left another smaller shrine that caught my attention.


That smaller shrine was unique, it was actually two shrines. On the left was that of Lord Ganesh and on the right a Chinese shrine.


From the shrines a narrow path led down to a gravel road, to the left it led back to the hills behind Bandar Utama and to the right onwards to Kota Damansara. I wanted to try going back up the hills but there was a locked gate and the monsoon drain in front of it acted like a moat making the whole area inaccessible. Nevermind, I will just go to the gate and have a look.


Peeking through the gate, I saw deers! Cool!
An "enterprising" fellow had cordoned off a large tract of the land and had turned it to his own private property, there's even notices on the gate stating this. Guess he must me the one who had reared the deer.


On the bridge I had a look at the stream that was there ages ago, now it has been turned into a storm drain. This view is towards Bandar Utama side, a metal bridge connects a condo car park annexe to The Club.


The view on the other side shows tall flats far away, those are in Kota Damansara. On the left were the walls of houses in Tropicana. Development has brought its toll on natural streams, many has disappeared and those remaining has been turned into storm drains to cater for the increase in water flow volume.


I made a U-turn and headed the other direction towards Kota Damansara riding below the tall electrical transmission towers that looked like giants standing there, making me feel puny indeed. In front is a busy main road, is this the end of the road for my exploration, will it be back onto normal roads?


At Persiaran Surian I espied that some tracks continued on the other side. Now for the tricky part, crossing the main road that seems to have non-stop traffic. Well, this old man was surprisingly still nifty and managed to waltz across.... that was just me daydreaming; actually I was more like a crab, trying to zig-zag clumsily over.


WARNING! Across the road is this unpaved road, there is nursery and they have guard dogs. Four dogs came rushing out wanting to attack me; I quickly came down carried up my bicycle and use it as a defensive weapon, swinging it in arcs to keep the ferocious barking dogs at bay until the lady caretaker came out to rein in her dogs.
I was surprised I could do that, perhaps fear pumps up one's adrenaline and give that extra power. So fear could be a good thing.


Beyond the nursery, the path narrowed downs and petered away until it was no more; on the left were Rain Trees bearing yellow flowers, these trees were at Sunway Damansara (Note: to self to explore there next round). Was this the end of the road for my exploration?


Fortunately I espied this make-shift work-shop with some slope exit on it's left. I carried my bike and trudged over the tall grass heading for that slope. Behind this was the Pelangi Damansara Apartments.


I was rather dismayed when reaching there; the whole place was just a big rubbish dump created by the irresponsible workshop operator. There were some sheets of plywood over the rubbish on the left and I slowly climbed up.


I rode round the car-parking compound of the apartments, at one far corner at the back was a red shrine and next to it a pathway!
Just for note, Pelangi Damansara is in Kota Damansara; the wall behind the shrine marks the boundary, over on the other side is Mutiara Damansara.


That path way ran behind a fence of a gated housing area in Mutiara Damansara. It was hardly possible to ride along here as at most stretches it was very narrow and on the one side was a steep slope that went about two metres down.
As I rode/pushed along this path, I noticed quite a number of foreign workers using it as a short cut between Mutiara Damansara to Kota Damansara.


The narrow pathway widened up and led to a park at PJU7. Lucky me again, the gate was opened.


Happiness! I am on the road again, no tall grasses, no pushing and most important of all NO MOSQUITOES!


My happiness was short lived. Riding further along, I tried to look for a way to get over to Damansara Perdana. The entrance to some areas like the Desa Mutiara Apartments and Surian Residences were all gated with guard posts. Back-tracking, I went into a road that led to the central sewage treatment plant that serves Mutiara Damansara, but this road was a dead-end.


Some where along that rode was a small hoarding with a small doorway leading to a path running beside the treatment plant. So in I went, and it was back to pushing again as the path narrowed down.


Ahead on the left was the large 132kVa electrical substation that serves this township. Slightly ahead were some roads.
Hurrah!


With that I had crossed over to Damansara Perdana, happily cycling along the road and passed this place. It's the MBPJ car pound, illegally parked cars a towed here.


I ended my exploration with a visit to a cycling buddy, SY. Through Warmshowers she was hosting a couple of cyclists from the Netherlands.
We adjourned for a nice dinner at May Chixuan and I rode back home using the more familiar route that cuts through Kampung Sungai Pencala.

CONCLUSION
The route I used was great for exploration, but it was not a suitable route to commute between the townships as there were stretches were it was not cycle-able.

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