Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Kuala Lumpur : World Car-free Day Ride #1 - Brickfields to Klang 22/09/2012

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Malaysia / Kuala Lumpur-Selangor / World Car-free Day Ride #1 - 22/09/2012
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Kuala Lumpur World Car-free Day Ride #1
Brickfields to Klang : 22nd September 2012
Group Bike-Packing Ride:
1) Bike Ride from YMCA, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur to Klang, Selangor
(NOTE: This blog post covers this first part of our bike-packing tour.)

World Car-free Day Ride #2 covers the following parts:
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)
When Sam Cheong (affectionately called the Chief), of the Malaysian Foldies site and similarly named FaceBook Group posted invitations for this ride, I was very keen to join for so many reasons:
- It will be an bike-packing adventure of sorts with bike rides, train rides, boat rides and exploration of Pulau Ketam (also some riding there). Most of the previous rides I had been to were pure bike rides and lasted a morning or so, this one will last almost a whole day.
- I will be meeting Face2Face with some friends that I got to know only through FaceBook, notably the Chief.
- It will also be an educational ride as we will be riding mostly along bike lanes of the Federal Highway. Yes, we will be learning how to ride safely at the bike lanes.
- It will also be the first time that I will be visiting Pulau Ketam (I state this quite embarrassingly, seeing that I have been staying in the Klang Valley for decades!)

Sentral Station in the wee hours of the morning.
The day of the ride came and it was raining in the wee hours of the morning as I prepared to go down. There were concerns that the ride would be called off because of the rain. But   then I was surprised to see more than the registered riders present during the start.
This being World Car-free Day, many were dedicated to the theme of the day and did not drive to the start point. Some rode all the way from their house; others rode to the nearest train station, pack their bikes and took the train down to the nearby Sentral Station.

A few of us arranged to meet earlier to have breakfast together. Unfortunately, the coffee-shop with good hawker food opposite the YMCA (our start point) had closed. So we opted for the Restoran Kaveri at the back.

We went back to the YMCA compound for the scheduled 7:00am briefing by the Chief. He briefed us on the route - where the dangerous sections are, where we will have another briefing, where re-groupings will be carried out, where the bike ride will end and train ride start, etc. All rides should have such a pre-ride briefing, then all participants will be clear of what to expect and how to ride safe.

The Bike Ride - an Educational Experience

With all of us clear about the ride through the briefing, we started of towards Jalan Thambipillay and then headed toward Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad. Radzi, a strong biker acted as sweeper. The roads were wet from the morning rain, and those of us without rear mud guards received baptismal stripes at the back of our jerseys.

From there were turned of into Jalan Tun Sambanthan (formerly Jalan Brickfields) where the traffic was heavier, BUT this was not the route we will be taking to the Federal Highway biking lanes. It was a detour for some educational tips.

At the far end of Jalan Tun Sambanthan where it merges with the Federal Highway, the Chief showed us a tree trunk lying across the entrance to the bike lane. It was put there to stop bikes from entering the lane as it had been demolished. It's details like this that helps us bikers avoid such areas and detour accordingly. Imagine happily cycling there and having to turn back!

Not being able to get to the bike lane there, we turned back and headed down Jalan Tun Sambanthan. Fortunately, Sin and Kookkeong knew of an alternative route and led us on.

This route took us down the Jalan Ang Seng area of Brickfields.

Which in turn led us to an interesting path running adjacent and parallel to the elevated railway tracks.

And down some shady roads. It's a good ride!

At the far end of the shady road we finally hit the biking lane. Yellow painted drums were put across to prevent cars from accessing the lane. There were hardly any traffic on this lane here, most likely many couldn't find the access to it.

Here we stopped for another briefing, this one in more detail - 
1) To cycle single file as close to the left as possible as there will be many motor-cycles zooming past.
2) To be careful when entering the darkly-lit underpasses where many a accidents have happened.
3) Which underpasses could be flooded on account of the rain earlier in the morning.

Riding the bike lanes was interesting. We pass by many sights which we would not have appreciated while zooming pass them in our cars. Like this layers of road bridges, a new railway bridge and an old railway bridge.

Or these tall giant piers supporting the railway track more than fifty feet above us.

Cycling into this darkly-lit underpass with the oncoming glare of the open can be blinding. Vice-versa, coming in from the bright open lanes one gets momentarily blinded adjusting to a darker area. We had to be extra careful here as motorcyclists speed pass. I saw a motorcyclist almost ram into a fellow rider, his brakes screeching to slow down fast.

Out back in the open, we passed by the grandiose looking and towering Menara Telekoms.

And then Taman Jaya, one of the oldest park in Petaling Jaya. It seems so much cleaner these days. In the past, one could see debris and flotsam in it. Uughh!

Further on, near the St. Francis Xavier's Church, fellow biker Chung Tze Yang joined us. Welcome on board Yangman.

Nearing the Jalan Templer underpass, we found it blocked with the yellow hazard light on. It was flooded, and we had to use the interchange. Going on to the highway always gives me the shivers, with cars and motorcyclist zooming by. They don't realize that their rushing air as they pass close by sometimes makes us wobble - that's Science 101 : Bernoulli's Principle. The 3-foot clearance in passing cyclists can avoid this.

Siew Yung in blue & Chris in orange/white.
A little bit further, at the Seri Setia Station; Finty, Siew Yung and Chris Ng joined us. Welcome aboard.

I was surprised to see Lim Hui Min and Yong Sin Ng also joining us here too - didn't see their names in the FB Joined List. But it was a pleasant surprise, they are such a cheerful couple and always brighten up any rides they are in.

Sharing the biking lanes with the motorcycles - well, the key word is SHARE. Even if the motorcyclists don't to their part, we cyclists have to do our part to ensure safety. Ride single-file as far left as possible, give them ample room to overtake. Also, a cyclist's profile is negligible when compared to a car or even a motorcycle, so advertise you presence. Wear bright colors, put on your front & rear lights even during the day - make you & your bike stand out! That's my humble newbie opinion.

As we will be getting off the bike lane nearer to Klang town, we had a quick regroup at the Kris Monument.

We reached Klang town and exited at the Berkeley Round-about. Riding through the local streets we soon reached the Little India of Klang where we will be having a late breakfast.

Breakfast was at the scheduled Chong Kok Kopitiam, just right next to the Klang Railway Station. The place, a favorite with locals, was packed and we had to get stools to sit at a corridor adjacent to the shop.

They serve a nice and simple Malay dish called Nasi Lemak which went well with their Hainanese coffee.
What's this? Having Malay food in a Chinese coffeeshop in Little India? That's Malaysia for you - it's multiracial!

Finishing that interesting meal, we folded our bikes and packed them into our carry-on bags, crossed the road to the Klang Railway Station and were ready to proceed on to our next stage of the journey.

Here's Kookkeong with bike packed in, ready to board the train for Port Klang....
Mooooving Onnnnnn!

This end the first part of our World Car-free Day Ride.

For the next part see
World Car-free Day Ride #2

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 #1 - 22/09/2012
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  1. Love yr blog. Keep on riding and the struggle for cycling

    1. Thanks Emacro.
      Hope my adventures have kept you entertained.