Thursday, September 17, 2015

Selangor : Guthrie Corridor Cycling

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Selangor : Guthrie Corridor Cycling
Guthrie Corridor Expressway: Bukit Jelutong to Kundang Interchange : 12th September 2015
Cycling Distance Covered : 48.42 km.
Time : 8:00 am - 11:15 am
Time Taken :  3hrs. 15mins. (including rest stops)

Route Recommendations :
1. The Guthrie Corridor Expressway (GCE) is an expressway that connects Bukit Jelutong to Rawang. It has an excellent motorcycle lane which is in good condition and with light traffic, so many cyclists are attracted to cycle there. Also there are several mini-dragon backs to push oneself even more.
2. Do start early as the GCE does not have well shade and it does get hot in the later part of the morning.
3. This is a pure cadence ride for those who want to build up their 3 S's - Strength, Stamina & Speed. There is not much to see along the way unless one gets out of the expressway; for example to Tasik Biru.
4. There are several rest areas to stop at to top up water, regroup, rest, etc. A good place would be the Elmina Rest Areas (both North-bound & South-bond) as these are roughly at the mid-points of the route.
5. As many cyclists ride this route, it's a good place to make new friends.

It's that time of the year in Malaysia, the HOT season. The weather was hot and this year it was compounded by the haze caused by open burning in Sumatra. The haze got so thick that even the sun was shrouded and it's glaring rays were subdued; one can even look at it without squinting or hurting one's eyes. Never-the-less, after a lull in cycling haze-wise, our legs were getting itchy. A couple of friends would be taking part in the Port Dickson Triathlon and were starting their training. A good place to do this would be at the Guthrie Corridor Expressway with its good motor-cycle lanes that have only light traffic. As an added bonus, there are several mini-dragon backs along the way.


Ride route Bukit Jelutong>Elmina R&R (North Bound)>LATAR Kundang Interchange>Elmina R&R (SouthBound)>Bukit Jelutong.
It's a straight forward ride along the GCE, from Bukit Jelutong till the Kundang Interchange of the LATAR expressway and then looping back.

A look at the above elevation of the route shows why the GCE is a favourite for cyclists. Other than the good condition of the motorcycle lanes on which to ride on, the route has a series of mini dragon-backs to taxed cyclists more.

First things first though - how to handle the haze. Well, one way was to wear face mask to filthy out the smoky air. It's a good way but then breathing through the bask was not easy, and it does heat up one's breathe and mist up sun-glassed.
Kim and Baki here looking like a doctor and a nurse.

Another way was to wear balaclavas; it's better than the face masks but these do not hamper breathing that much. That's me here, looking like one of those Ninja Turtles!

8:00am - After a breakfast of roti canai at Restoran Asam Pedas at D'Bayu neighbourhood commerical centre we rode off, cycling along the residential streets of Bukit Jelutong to head for the GCE.
Asam Pedas does serve some good nasi lemak and Nasi Melayu, but we had some serious cycling ahead and kept our meals light - the only bonus was my usual couple of half-boiled eggs.

Rode passed this fountain that was not looking so grand on account of the haze. The gloomy weather did put a damper on things; yes, we were here to to some cadence cycling but some nice views would have been encouraging.

We were riding at a good pace, within six minutes we were entering the GCE at Exit 3506A. Clear of heavy traffic, it was time to step up the pace.

The slopes along the GCE are gradual and not overly steep, so it does not hamper the smooth pace of cycling too much - there is no need to come down and push.

There were several under-pass tunnels, these are brightly lit and no surprising dangerous pot-holes too.

Passed by some streams, nothing much about those unless one wants to go down and explore the villages nearby. We did pass by the nearby Tasik Biru; apologies in my concentration, I missed out taking photos of that.

9:30am - We reached the Kundang Interchange averaging about 16km/h. Not too bad, considering that we were doing the GCE on 16" Bromptons, and that included a couple of stops. This is the turn back point, and some cycling onto the road to loop back to the motorcycle lane on the other side of the GCE is required.

Surprisingly, we did not meet many cyclists along the way, perhaps the haze had kept them away. One that we did meet was this Japanese man based in Malaysia, he was riding a new road bike and was training himself for a cycling tour in the near future. Despite the haze, he was ever-smiling.

Met this other local on a racer bike. Although he was on a race we did manage to pace him for a while; perhaps wanting some company, he was just taking it slow.

There were also only a few motorcyclists using the road. This fellow on the way to market with his chicken, beeped at us to encourage us on.

At the Elmina R&R Area, we stopped for a rest and also to chat with the Japanese man and admire his bicycle. It is a Taiwan-made "Swallow" touring bike...
NOTE: Nearby is the Elmina Interchange that would lead to another 30km Elminay Loop around the beautiful Elmina Valley.

... with Panasonic 26" "Panaracer" tires; these are hard to come by in Malaysia.

Baki who's familiar with the roads here advised against using Exit 3506 to get back into Bukit Jelutong as the traffic there was rather dangerous for cyclists to cross over. Instead he took us further down to the TUDM exit to get out of the GCE.

11:15am - We are back at D'Bayu and rewarded ourselves with some drinks at the Papparich outlet, like this three-layered honey-milk tea.
We took 3-1/2 hours to cover the close to 50 kilometre route. Take away a half-hour for rests and we averaged closed to 20 km/h; not to bad considering we did in hazy conditions.
Yup, we shall do it again and hopefully improve our time.

UPDATE 2020: The Elmina locality along the GCE has now been developed with nice areas to ride in, check out the extended Elmina Loop!

Since it was almost lunch time, might as well have eats. Tried this dried curry chicken noodles. Not too bad with that thick curry stirred into the dry noodles.

Desserts was this superb mini ice-mountain of corn, topped with mini basil seeds. YummY!

Till we ride again... Adieu!

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Photograpy by Brenda L Croft

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Malaysia / Selangor / Guthrie Corridor Cycling
If you like this, view my other blogs at Jotaro's Blog
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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Selangor : Sungai Chiling - Rubbish Clearing Ride 2015

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Malaysia / Selangor / Sungai Chiling - Rubbish Clearing Ride 2015
                                                       AhPek Biker - Riding Adventures                                                    
Selangor : Sungai Chiling - Rubbish Clearing Ride 2015
Kuala Kubu Bharu to Sungai Chiling Fish Sanctuary : 6th September 2015
Cycling Distance Covered : approx. 27 km.
Time : 9:00 am - 2:30 pm
Time Taken : approx. 5 hrs. 30 mins. (including stops for breakfast, lunch, photo shoots, rubbish clearing & swimming at Sg. Chiling, etc.)

Route Recommendations :
1. The Sg Selangor Dam is very picturesque, do stop there.
2. The fishes at the Sg Chiling Fish Sanctuary are very man-friendly, but do not catch or harm them, preserve nature - or one can be subject to a hefty fine.
3. The up-slope ride up from KKB to the fish sanctuary can be taxing, but it is an enjoyable wind-in-the-face ride, same goes for the cruise down.
4. Stock up with enough water for the climb up from KKB to the fish sanctuary, there is no water to be purchased at the Dam, only carbonated drinks from a vending machine.
5. Do pack the kaya (egg jam) puffs from Teng Wun Bakery in KKB, they have crispy, melt-in-the-mouth crusts.
6. Kedai Makanan Cyclist Stopover is a good place to have eats and chill with other cyclists.
7. If going by train, bring your bike bags along; it could be necessary to bag the bicycles.
8. Sungai Chiling is a nice place to camp at, some of our friends camped overnight there the day before the rubbish clearing.

Cyclist clearing rubbish from slopes at Sungai Chiling.
Back in 2013, Johnny Ng of My Bicycle Shop had organized a few cyclists to ride up to the Sg Chiling Fish Sanctuary to clear up the rubbish there (... see The Sampah Ride blog).
Because the place is pristinely green and natural, it is a favourite haunt for picnickers and campers. Unfortunately, many who come to enjoy the place does not have the civility to keep the place clean and just strew rubbish all over. We did a good job the last time, but it has been a year and a half; and Johnny, although hoping that visitors will maintain the cleanliness of the place, felt that it was time to do another cleaning up. So he organized another ride event up to clean up the environment there, calling it the "Sg. Chiling Envrioment Clean Up".

This time he did more than gather cyclists to go and clean up the place, he got sponsors (such as Gardenia Bakeries to provide buns/breads) for the participants. Together with Cikgu Chin, he also wrote to the local council (Majlis Daerah Hulu Langat) to provide a rubbish truck for the collected rubbish to be trucked away. Unfortunately there was no positive response from the council.
Oh..... there was also a surprise by Johnny at the end of the ride!


Ride route - Kuala Kubu Bharu (KKB)>Sg Selangor Dam>Sg Chiling Fish Sanctuary and back.
This will be a short ride as our main intention is to go up to Sg Chiling Fish Sanctuary to clean up the place; also there were children and others who are riding up the slopes for the first time.
The turn-out was even much better than the previous time, more than sixty cyclist came. I guess many are now more concious of keeping our environment clean.

7:30am - Many of us were already at Kuala Kubu Bharu, to look for good eats for breakfast. Seeing that many will be attending this event - and expecting our regular joint, Madam Woo's Wantan Mee to be packed - some of use went over to Yoot Loy Coffee Shop.

This place good Nasi Lemak... and an awesome Hokkien Prawn Mee that comes close to those from Penang. Their soup was sweet and with a good prawny flavour; it's a wonder why we had not tried this place previously.
Okay... okay... the above photo does not look like yellow noodles, see, I was having it with Keow Teow instead!

Finished with breakkie, we went over to the Agro Bank, the start point of the event. By then many others had also gathered and it was like a community get-together of cyclists: meeting up with old friends and making new ones.
Spotted here were these three boys; it's great of their parents to bring them to join in the cleaning up exercise. It's good for them to see how others have defiled a lovely place and also good to instil clean and green values in them at a young age.

And this young chap (Ah Fatt's son) came with tools of the trade (rake and spade with long handles). We had learnt from our previous cleaning-up, these tools are needed to get to those nasty rubbish the had been strewn down steep slopes, and also do dig up non-degradable plastic bags that have sunken and got partly buried into the earth.

And these important three B's - Bread, Buns & Bananas. Sustenance for those who got hungry during their efforts. Breads and buns were sponsored by Gardenia while the bananas were sponsored by fellow cyclist David.

9:00am - Sin (of the hApPy HaPpY blogs) waved us of with a Malaysian flag.

The ride out of town was fairly uneventful except for these oil drums which made a good background for a nice photo.

The initial part of the route was a gentle manageable slope. What I like about it was that it was so shady, so GREEN!

Further up, the slopes became steeper and the shady trees disappeared. But still it was nice place to cycle as there was a cooling breeze. Many came down to push but were still all smiles.

At the Sungai Selangor Dam, the beauty of the water is gone. The water level has dropped and red laterite banks were exposed. It has been like this for more than two years.

This was how it looked like back then, the water overflowing with a roar of rivuletting white!

Almost near Sungai Chiling is this old iron bridge, a remnant of colonial Malaya days, still strong and steady. They do construct things well those days.

10:30am - We arrived at Sungai Chiling. Time for some sustenance, the sponsored food came in handy....
My.... those are big bananas, each large enough for two.

... and a quick group photo before we get down to serious work.

SERIOUS WORK was really required. Many visitors to the place, despite enjoying the beauty of the place, just had now sense of keeping it clean. Even the vicinity of the rubbish bins were strewn with rubbish!
A few conclusions can be drawn from the above photo: visitors wwere too lazy, monkeys had come and torn up the garbage bags, and probably more bins with covers is required and collection has to be more often.

 Even notice boards notifiying a RM1,000/= fine for littering was not a deterrent. Perhaps, the authorities have to do more policing and enforce the fines!
Well down to work then. 

Some photos of the rubbish clearing:
One group cleared the road, slopes and drains five hundred metres in each direction of Sungai Chiling's entrance.....

..... while others went in to clean up the mess along the access road leading into the river and the grassy open site next to the river.
The above indicates that a rubbish dump is located fifty metres away, and yet the litterbugs don't bother and just dirty up the place. CAN'T THIS PEOPLE READ? If they can't, then they should go back to school instead of coming picnicking or camping!

Not only have the litter-bugs simply strewn rubbish, some have even thrown the rubbish down slopes and deep into the undergrowth. We were persistent though, and really went deep to get to the difficult ones.

These two very very meticulous; just by using twigs, they dug into to remove broken glass from the earth.

Me and a few went to the camp sites running along the river. We would have thought that campers being lovers of nature would take care of it and not litter. But this was not the case. Sure some of them did have garbage bags to put their rubbish, but most just did not seem to care. We found lots of food packaging wrappers and plastic bags containing food waste, etc.; most of these were half buried into the earth and hard to get at too, requiring some digging to get them out....

... even damaged shoes were just left back!

Young or old, guys or gals, we all took our job well and did it without regrets.
Some went the extra mile, put in the extra effort. Johnny in his Facebook postings unofficially name Clement as "Man of the Day" ...

... and Kimmi as "Woman of the Day".

Hard work over, it was time for us to relax and enjoy the charms of the place. Sungai Chiling has cool, clear waters, and holds another secret...

... it's a fish sanctuary, the fishes here are protected by law. Most of the fishes here are Ikan Kelah and they are used to having humankind around. Through in some fish food and they will come swarming round.

Further downstream, at a quieter part of the river, Baki was having the fun of his life splashing around the cool water.

And of course we did not missed the good Malay Laksa sold by the friendly lady and her daughter at the stall at the open space next to the river.

12:45 - We took a group photo and was soon whooshing down the slopes .....

... in no time we were back at Kuala Kubu Bharu, at the Kedai Makanan Basikal Stopover. This is a place operated by David Chin (of Dave's Deli), and he has graciously hosted us to a lunch here.

The shop's decor was a throw-back to colonial times of half a decade ago. Sitting there and eating was indeed a comfortable experience as this was a cozy place that made us feel at home.
Lunch was a varied choice of fried mee, beehoon that went well with the curry chicken from a couple of big pots. There was also packets of Nasi Lemak, the renown Teng Woon Kaya Puffs and even durian cakes!

Dave was a sporting friend, and was happy to pose photos with us. He has retired to Kuala Kubu Bharu, a town has a cool climate being located at the foothills; a town that has still kept it's quiet old world charm.

At a simple ceremony here, Johnny presented to each of us this souvenir cup.
I believe all of us will treasure this dearly; and when drinking coffee from it each morning, we will be reminded to continue to keep our world clean and a better place to stay in.

Many thanks to:
- Johnny Ng for giving us this opportunity to do our little bit of community service.

- Cikgus SC Chin & Liliana Lee for the assistance and support.
- David Chin for hosting lunch at his lovely place.
- The other David for sponsoring the bananas.
- Kiki for sponsoring the gloves and garbage bags.
- and all who took part, for providing your warm friendship.

Of late, street art wall mural have sprouted out in this town. Do check them out when you are there.

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You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Malaysia / Selangor / Sungai Chiling - Rubbish Clearing Ride 2015
If you like this, view my other blogs at Jotaro's Blog
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