Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Penang : CFAL5

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Malaysia / Penang / CFAL5
                     AhPek Biker - Riding Adventures                 
Penang : CFAL 5 (Campaign For A Lane #5)
Penang : 8th September 2013
Public Ride - Round Penang Island
Distance covered : 82.8 km.
Time Start : 7:00 am     Time End : 1:15 pm
Duration : 6 hrs 15 mins.

Route Recommendations :
1. If riding slower than others, especially at the start point, keep to the left for the faster riders to overtake.
2. Do not stop suddenly! Signal your intention to stop and slow down, edging to the road side before you stop.
3. Bring along adequate water, especially if you intend to ride fast and may think of not stopping at the watering stations.
4. At the two climbs (after Bayan Lepas, and from Sungai Pinang to Telok Bahang), pace yourself; there is no point in straining yourself just to go fast as later one may develop cramps like I did.
5. Going down slope after the 2nd climb towards Telok Bahang, do take extra care as the road has many sharp bends.


I am going to approach this blog from a different angle. Instead of a blow by blow account of the ride along the route (... like the one in Penang: Where To Go Event), I will just look into the highlights. Links to interesting areas in Penang. are also included, feel free to click on those to learn more about the island.
The CFAL (Campaign For A Lane) is organized by the G Club, a renown club that represents the interests of cycling in Penang. Their aim is to increase awareness of bicycling as a healthy sport and lifestyle, and ultimately have cycling lanes built. Seems like they are quite successful as many cycling lanes can be seen coming up in Penang (... see Launching Of The Green Road Sharing Concept).
This year the event celebrated it's 5th edition. Yes, five years have passed since the inaugural and the numbers of participants have swelled year by year.

A friend asked me "What dirves cyclist to take part in CFAL?". My answer would be - For some it is to prove & excel themselves; for many it would be the fun of cycling camaraderie. And yet for others, it was simply a feeling of "I was there!".
Her next question was - "What's the difference between it and other cycling events?"
Quite simply put, unlike cycling races, like Tour de France eg., anybody who feels they are physically up to it can take part. It does not matter whether one is old or young.

It does not matter whether one use an expensive top of the range carbon frame bike, or a foldie (folding bike), a mountain bike, a recumbent, or even a cheap made in China road bike. All can take part, they just have to make sure that they & their bikes are in good condition.

Compared to OCBC Cycle Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, CFAL is much, much more challenging. The route is a 85 km. round Penang Island, one that includes two difficult climbs.


Distance: 82.80 km.     Level: Hard

Dawn start at the Esplanade.

Along the Jelutong Expressway, adjacent to the Flying Birds sculptures.

Queensbay Mall.

Approaching Bayan Lepas, the new Penang 2nd Bridge can be seen on the left. It has yet to be opened.

At Batu Maung, we faced the first round of rain, a light rain that lasted for about twenty minutes.

Just after Teluk Kumbar, we met a flying saucer... ok... it's a reservoir.

First Drink Station ...

... and just after that, the daunting first climb.

Coasting down slope after the first climb, in the sea ahead is Pulau Betong.

Just before Balik Pulau, it started raining heavily. Still we cycled on steadily, pedaling furiously against the strong wind.

The rain got even heavier and the winds stronger as we approached Sungai Pinang, getting nearer to the second climb; my camera lens are clogging up! The wet roads of the bends at the second climb will definitely be slippery, best we cycle with more care.

Fortunately, the rain stopped and we were able to coast down the roads of the second climb; albeit with care on the still wet road.

At Titi Kerawang, many cyclists stopped for a breather. It's a good place to rest, with a nearby small waterfall, the place is cooling and therapeutic.

The Telok Bahang Dam; another favorite stop as it is very scenic with the waters of the dam blending in with the sea & sky in the background.

Cycling along the coastline of Batu Ferringhi  That little small islet is called Lover's Isle; do lovers really go there or is the island shaped like two lovers? And it's opposite Moonlight Bay, how more romantic can it get?
My legs are cramping up, love is furthest away on my mind!

At Tanjong Bungah, the tall condos stands out tall & proud.
The trial green cycling lanes here were put to good use during this event.

Sampans in the sea at the Northam Road end of Gurney Drive.

Hurrah! I managed to finish the CFAL round Penang Island ride.


My Penang friends happily waiting for me at the Shell Station, Weld Quay.

Cyclists No.0001. She was cheeky; when I told her that she has a nice number, she replied that she's nice too!

A lady cyclist who came all the way from Singapore, I think her name is Amy. She took on CFAL riding a Brompton. It's no easy task as the Brompton, although a good touring bike, is not built for speed or climbing up slopes.

A recumbent cyclist takes on CFAL too! Yes, people on all sorts of bicycles can take part. 

Video of Unicyclist at CFAL5.
Another brave and skillful fellow rode a unicycle. He must really have good balance especially when taking on the bending slopes of the second climb - a sheer will of determination. (click on photo to see the video)

Another brave one, doing it on the small "Carry Me" 6-inch wheeler.

The avid bike tourer, Ricky Lee. He has gone on quite a number of solo cycling tours overseas, his next trip - to Brazil!

The young took part too; like this little boy on a bike that's properly equipped ... and with end horns too!

The older ones were there too, like Master Chang here who hails from Kota Kinabalu. I met him during a stop for a quick meal at the rustic laksa place in Sungai Pinang.

Another friend, Pang Wey. She's another bike packer - having cycled round Taiwan for a month, staying/camping at police stations & schools.

And a surprise meet along the first climb - Diane, a fellow blogger from Singapore. I like here blogs, it's lively, chirpy and colorful. See for yourself at her blogs at Unfold And Cycle.


Somewhere just after Balik Pulau  a lady cyclist took a bad fall and suffered a nasty cut to her head. Saw some other Penang friends there, who answered my inquisitive look with "Agnes fell, she's hurt". She was hospitalized for a night; luckily she was wearing her helmet and other than the bad cut, she was quite alright.

Because of the rain, the wet roads were treacherously slippy. Another friend fell at Batu Ferringhi and injured his leg.

Many punctures happened along the way. Fortunately, cyclists are a resourceful lot and can repair these on the go. The cyclist above is safety-smart - always pull off to a safe road shoulder to do repairs, and try not to brake and stop suddenly.


The first-aiders who provide important on the spot medical assistance.

Ambulances to quickly get more seriously injured cyclists to the hospital.

Police outriders to control other traffic and ensure a smooth ride with minimum stops.

Ride marshals to direct the cyclists, don't want any of them to land up at the wrong place.

Event assistants, handing out mineral water and.... BANANAS too!

The all important support trucks provided by the local council; to send those who cannot complete the course some how or other back to the finish point.

For more photos see AhPek Biker's Face Book Photo Album CFAL5.

You may also like :

Putrajaya : The New Year Eve Interpark Ride

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Malaysia / Penang / CFAL5
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)


  1. Hi there really love your redbull jersery ,can i actually buy from you? can send me email at thanks

  2. Dear Alan,
    Unfortunately I don't think the CFAL5 jersey is for sale. I tried to by once when I missed a previous year's ride and could not.
    You could try you luck and write to the organizers:
    This is their web page :