Saturday, September 29, 2012

Safety Considerations #3 : The Accident

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                     AhPek Biker - Riding Adventures                  

Just less than a week after writing my piece on Riding Safety (see Safety Considerations #2 - My Thoughts On Riding Safety) I fell victim to my own lapse in alertness.

The Incident

I was on a ride - the Gangnam Style Ride - on 29th September 2012 with a group of bikers. The plan was to ride from Subang USJ to Jenjarom and back. The ride was schedule to end at around 1pm. But as I had another appointment at 12:30pm, I thought I would ride with them till Kota Kemuning and turn back while they continued on.

So I rode with them till the end of Kota Kemuning where it joins up with Kampong Batu 7, there I stopped and said my goodbyes and good luck to them.

After seeing the last of them riding off, I rode back the route we came from, along the KESAS Highway and headed back towards Subang Jaya. Although riding alone, it was nice too, and I took the necessary precautions like ensuring that all my lights (front, rear and helmet) were turned on. I also rode as far left as possible.

Along the way I also took nice photos, including a silohuette of myself - was this a foreboding of something bad to come?

Picture is a reenactment just after it happened, to show how it happened. 
As I approached the ramp leading from KESAS up to The Summit Commercial Complex of Subang Jaya, I saw that the traffic queue was long. I cycled to the left of them up the ramp. But motorcyclists kept on wanting to overtake me. So the first chance I had, seeing a widening splay in the road, I swung left. With my attention on the motorcyclists behind me, I did not notice a manhole cover-grating with its slots parallel to the road.

"Whoomp!" my front wheel went into the slots of the grating and I was sent flying, landing face-flat onto the road. A bit daze, I quickly got up and examined myself. I had abrasions on my face and hands. Pulling my bike up the curb, I washed my wounds and treated myself with my on-board first aid kit.

It was a good thing I was wearing a helmet too. Notice the dent and scratches on the front left of the helmet. Without it, I would probably have more serious injuries.

Surprisingly, my bicycle was still ride-able and I rode the 3km. back to our start point. Packing my bike into the car, I drove off to seek further treatment.

My reflections after this incident :

1. Do not be distracted, a lapse in alertness can cause accidents.
2. Always wear helmets and make sure there are securely tied. Remember NO HELMET NO RIDE!
3. Do not ride alone. Co-riders can and will help look out for danger and point them out.
4. Inform others of dangers along cycling route, eg poor manhole gratings, poor lighting, speeding traffic, etc.
5. Always have a first-aid kit on board.

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Reflections / Safety Considerations #3
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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Kuala Lumpur : World Car-free Day Ride #2 - Klang to Pulau Ketam 22/09/2012

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Malaysia / Kuala Lumpur-Selangor / World Car-free Day Ride #2 - 22/09/2012
                                    AhPek Biker - Riding Adventures                                 
Kuala Lumpur World Car-free Day Ride #2
Klang to Pulau Ketam : 22nd September 2012
Group Bike-Packing Ride:
1) Bike Ride from YMCA, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur to Klang, Selangor
(NOTE: This was covered under my blog post see World Car-free Day Ride #1)

Covered under this part:
2) Train Ride from Klang to Port Klang
3) Ferry Ride from Port Klang>Pulau Ketam>Port Klang
4) Train Ride from Port Klang>Subang Jaya>Sri Setia>Sentral>KTM Station

Distance covered : approx. 30km. (Bike ride only)
Time Taken : approx. 2:30 (riding time only)
Started : 0730hrs  Ended : approx. 1800hrs (All in time, including time on Pulau Ketam)


World Car-free Day Ride Map  (click for Map Link)
It was World Car-free Day, and to celebrate it we had rode our bicycles from Brickfields to Klang Town. At the end of Part 1, we had arrived in Klang, folded & packed our bikes into our carry-on bags, and were ready to board the train to Port Klang on the second leg of our journey (see World Car-free Day Ride #1)

The Train & Ferry Ride - A New Experience In Bike-Packing

We bought our tickets for the KTM (Keretapi Tanah Melayu, that's Malayan Railway) Commuter Train ride from Klang to Port Klang. It cost only MR1-00, much cheaper than the cost of driving a car between the two places.

Totting our bikes onto the railway platform we waited for the train. We are taking the 11:00am train, so it should be coming any minute now from the look of the station clock.

Boarding the commuter train, I was surprised to see that it was a modern up-to-date coach and most importantly, it was hygienically clean! This is my first time taking the train in ages, and my impression of old, rickety dirty trains is now replaced with the idea that taking the commuter is not so bad. Perhaps on another day I will take my family to Pulau Ketam via the commuter.

Arriving at Port Klang we unloaded our packed bikes onto the pavement, arousing the curious stares of passer-byes. I could imagine that little boy saying "Look Mom! It's a train! It's a plane! It's Super... Nope, it's a bicycle".

Our group photo here shows the excitement and anticipation of going on to the boat ride stage of our journey.

The ferry ride costs RM7-00 per pax one way, there is no discount for a return ticket. Posted here is the ferry's schedule for others who may want to plan a trip to Pulau Ketam.

The ferry although comfortably sized, could not accommodate our bikes inside, we had to put them on the holding area at the roof of the ferry. We formed a chain to quickly load up our bicycles there. I was a bit apprehensive about having my bike up there, the holding area had only a 6-inch low railing at it's perimeter edge. My ears were on edge too, listening for any "Plooomph!" sound of a bike falling into the sea. Luckily, the sea was calm that day, and we & our bikes had a safe ride.

Like the KTM commuter train, the ferry was modern, clean, air-conditioned and with adequate life-jackets. Another pleasant surprise for me, I really must get out more often without using my car!

Pulau Ketam

As we approached Pulau Ketam (in English Crab Island), it was low tide and the ugly exposed barnacle-clad legs of the jetty met my eyes. Not a very good first impression, but then I better reserve my judgement until I was on the island.

At the waiting area of the jetty, we unpacked and unfolded our bikes - Yes! We are going to cycle on the island!

The Chief gave a quick briefing, advising what to see on the island, what's nice to eat and the time we are to meet up again to leave the island.

Riding around the island, my feeling of the place changed. The island although basically in a mangrove swamp estuary, have houses sitting on stilted platforms. Most of these platforms are concrete with those in the older area being wooden. Even the pathways are on stilts. Impressive!

Bicycles for hire.
Pulau Ketam is the appropriate destination for World Car-free Day, I was most intrigued by the concept of the place - there are no cars or even motorcycles on the island! One gets around by walking or cycling. Visitors can even rent bicycles here at RM5-00 per day.
Everyday is World Car-free Day on the island!

I did not even see any vans or small trucks on here. Goods are transported by these motorized carts. Pulau Ketam should be given an award for its lifestyle.

After that quick tour of the island, we took a break for lunch, more riding after lunch. Got to top up the tummy first. Lunch was at Kia Hiong Huen restaurant. Did I say lunch? No it was not lunch, it was a mini feast!

For starters we had starchy-fried lala clams with bean sprouts. It was a simple dish, not overly tasty to kick off the meal.

Fish ball soup with choy sum - the fish ball had enough fish in them to be have that fishy smell and taste, and more importantly just the right amount of bounce in them for a good bite.

Stir-fried Mantis Prawns with tomato sauce and garnished with slices of large onions. Mantis prawns were once a poor man's dish but with the escalating cost of prawns, it has become a delicacy. The rice came with this and we started digging in.

Deep fried cuttlefish. I used to enjoy this dish, but now my poor old teeth find their rubberiness a challenge. Haha! Good to go with the beer though.

Stir-fried lala clams; this one is one of my favorites as I like the soupy sauce to go with rice. The ones here were super fresh, one can literally smell and taste the sea in them.

"Har Lok" - stir fried prawns with soy sauce. YummY!

Stir fried Yeow Mak (Romaine Lettuce). Although they have to import their vegetables in from the mainland, this was crunchy fresh.

Steamed Yellow-fin Pomfret. Like the other seafood, this one was also super fresh and nicely steamed in light soy sauce, with spring onions and deep-fried shallots for garnishing.

Steamed Crabs garnished with slices of red chilli, ginger and spring onion. More aroma and flavor of the sea freshness. Too bad it was the wrong time of the month, and the crabs were without roe, otherwise it would have been 110% perfect.

Salted Deep Fried Prawn. This was one dish that I found unsatisfactory. The white-shell prawns used were fresh, but they were not crispy crunchy. Probably they used to little oil, or the oil was not hot enough.

Stir Fried Bamboo Shell Fish. This was the  pièce de résistance  to finish of the meal -  fresh tasty and succulent.
All in all, it was a wonderful meal we had for 11 pax. And we had 12 big bottles of beer to go with it. Cycling does work up a hearty appetite *grins*.

While the few of us were enjoying our meal, Yong Sin & Hui Min were at the local bicycle shop to attend to some repairs. Yong Sin's bike had a brake pad missing after unloading from the ferry.
Something DID fall into the sea after all; did I hear a "Ploop!" sound back then?

In the meantime, the Chief was hunting for Halal food for our Muslim co-riders; that's a sacrifice one has to make as a ride leader - attend to the flock first, personal needs come later.

After having had a good meal, this time some of us decided to do a proper bike tour of the island.

Not just bikers anymore, but tourist bikers, we visited this shop selling dried seafood. In the shops we could see dried fish maw (a favorite delicacy), dried prawns, dried anchovies, etc.

At one of the pathway was an entrance arch with an iconic crab on top to represent the island. Pulau Ketam translated into English means Crab Island. Probably back in the days when it was first named there must have been lots of large crabs here but it is not so these days; the crab we ate earlier although fresh and good was not of a good size.

We also made new friends with a small group of tourist who were curious about our folding bicycles and asked for a photo shot with the bikes.... not with us but with the bikes (sigh!)

Riding around some more, we noted that the islanders like to paint their houses in bright colors. Is it a trend or is there some other significance?

A temple to the sea gods, unique in the sense that it has statues of fishes, prawns and crabs on its roof instead of the usual dragon and phoenix.

Another temple, accessible via a rickety plank bridge.

At the Maybank, Pulau Ketam Branch. This small island is a quite self-sufficient community, with it's own banks, markets, temples, mosque, police station, post office, etc. 

Another Chinese Temple, this one with a interesting lotus topped entrance archway.

In our eagerness to explore the island we took a wrong turn and got lost! How can one get lost on a small island?

We were riding round in circles, crossing a same timber arch bridge three time. Anxious, as it was getting close to 3:00pm (our regrouping time for leaving the island), we asked the locals for directions.

We did manage to reach the jetty on time. Packing our bikes up again, we carried them down to the ferry and formed a chain to load them up.

Bikes and us safely on board, we headed off. Bye Pulau Ketam! It was nice making your acquaintance.

Back on the KTM Commuter Train, the rat race caught up with us fast - phone calls and messages had to be made.
We got off at our respective stations along the way, some at Subang Jaya, some at Sri Setia, etc.

It had been a good day overall, some learning, some new experiences, an interesting island; and most important of all meeting up with friends, new & old.

Till the next ride then, Adios Amigos!

Many thanks to :

Ride Leader - Sam Cheong

Ride Sweeper - Mohd Radzi Mohd Nor

Photo credits : Some of the photos in this blog are by Kookkeong Fong, Sin Tai Lim & Yee Patric. Thanks!

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Malaysia / Kuala Lumpur-Selangor / World Car-free Day Ride #2 - 22/09/2012
If you like this, view my other blogs at Jotaro's Blog
(comments most welcomed below. if you like this pls share via facebook or twitter)