Monday, September 28, 2009

It's time for cycling...not F1

Isn't it ridiculous? We pay for highway usage, and still, we have traffic jams? Wait...that's like blaming others when we our selves are the culprits.

You see, Malaysians just like to drive. Either it's to schools, or work, or meeting up with friends. Partly the problem is there's not much alternatives. Partly is our demand for driving is always there. On average, last years passenger new car sales in this nation was 450,000 cars.

We yearn for comfort in our own car. And we aren't going to sacrifice this privilege for less. Going green? yea...rite.

Rather than blaming others for our traffic woes, we need to seriously look at our way of getting around. We could do so, by riding a bicycle. If not to work, then maybe, just maybe, to your nearest shops, and neighbourhoods. We need to humanise our roads. KL ain't big. I've rode a bike all over KL, and it's a pretty small city.

I choose to ride a bike, so that I could leave my car for longer distance, or off peak hours.

As many cyclist and triathelets do read this blog, well, it has to start from you guys. What's the point of training on cycling, just for the sake of triathlon? Make it a point to cycle to work once in awhile. If you could conquer 180km one shot, what is KL? Have problems with sweat? Get over it by bathing in the office. Find your own way.

Don't blame the government, public transport, or the hot weather, or others. Try to look at ourselves, and how much we drive, and how much we spent just travelling in a car.

If many Europeans can adopt cycling in their lifestyle, I don't see why not for malaysians.

We can change this....if we want to.

And if you can join this group:

Commuting To Work On Bicycle

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ultra cycling: 3 days, 650km

The beach was littered with jelly fishes..

Pulau's close enough to swim across. And a good place to camp for one night.

It's really hot...

Faisal ...

finally reaching cherating...

It wasn't a planned ride. And I didn't intend to go back home for raya either. Then Faisal suggested we ride to Cherating. At first I thought it was cool, since riding from KL to cherating would be at least 300km. But it is supposed to start from kuantan, since his wife's house is near the town.

I made some mental assessment if it was doable to ride to kuantan, then cherating, then back to kl. One way to kuantan will be at least 12 hours, plus stops roughly. But the unknown part is, this is to be done on the first day of raya, after a month of fasting. And almost no training except for a few rides and run.

But it has to be done. Driving back would be a bore.

This time, I got a few clothing, 2 spare tubes, 1 new tyre, and the whole backpack is 3.2kg. I started at around 7am, then proceeded northwards at MRR2. Just a few k on the road, met with Lee and Yap in their pickup with some MTBs. I told them I was going back KL, and then made my way again.

Upon reaching HOA, there were, but not many cyclist going up. Mainly the MTBers were doing their round. I passed a few of them, and thought of chasing one person in orange shirt, whom I thought was pretty fast. Later did I knew it was Wendy Wong on her kuota heading towards Bentong. We talk for awhile, and then she exited at Bkt tinggi for breakfast.

The road towards Bentong was fast, and I was doing 35-40 zooming along. Then it's detouring for a 15km at the highway before reaching Karak. It had took me almost 4 hours to come here.

Then it's going through Temerloh, where I had difficulty finding any eateries open. So, I just settled on an ice cream, bread, and 100 plus. Usually it's normal lunch with rice after riding so long. Stopping at Temerloh clocks at 145km. Another 125 to go.

Then it's Maran, Sri Jaya, and then Gambang. Gambang marks the last 30km, and the road ahead is pretty flat. I tried pushing up the average speed from 27, so I had the bike going 30,35 and topping 40.

Finally reaching my house at 6pm after almost 11 hours on the road. I was pretty happy with the 27.4km/h average in 270km.

I don't know if I could cycle the next day, but my legs feels ok. So I cycled to Telok chempedak to meet up with Faisal. I was surprised it was only 9km from my house to the beach. The sea was peaceful with an odd sense of calmness in the morning. And it was a refreshing sight compared to KL.

We started around 8am and went towards beserah, batu hitam, then reaching the port. Now the road was pretty pretty flat, but the wind was vicious since it's so near the sea. On the trip towards cherating, we both had turns pulling. But on the way back, there's was just no energy left in my legs, so I had Faisal pulled me.

I made a mental note to cycle more on the coastal roads. The view is scenic, with kampung houses, and cows loiterring.

Now Cherating is a pretty iddlyic beach spot. Water seems nicer compared to TC, but we still found rubbish nearby.

Then later we stopped at Batu Hitam for ABC. It was heaven with the strong wind from the sea blowing at our faces.

Upon reaching TC, we were pretty baked. The sky was blue, and there was not much of cloud in the sky.

Mileage was 100km.


3rd day. After having some breakfast, I started the long ride back KL at 7am. It had rained the previous night, and the air was fresh with dew. But I knew it wasn't going to last.

I reached Gambang at an average speed of 30kmh. But afterwards, it was a slightly slower cruising speed. Sure enough, the sun was high and up. And the bag I was carrying more or less became a hindrance on the speed and comfort. I realized it was 3.2kg, when I used the weighing scale of the fruits seller in Sri Jaya.

Now, the road is relatively flat, but there are some long climbs as well. Not as bad as Bukit Hantu, but more like peres kind of. I remember the one before reaching Sri jaya, where it's a 2km way up. And there's major long climbs after Temerloh.

I was not bonking, yet. But it was mentally boring cycling for so many hours. I tried some mind games like trying to hold a particular speed for 2-3km. There were a lot of things going through my mind, because you were constantly trying to find the least dangerous path on the road. There could be pebbles, holes, that could have you ended up in a crash.

I also noticed Malaysian motor cyclist and drivers, acted dangerously on the roads. Not surprising, I passed by 1 car-and-car crash, and one motorcycle death. The ambulance were also busy up and down. These people asked for it. If you were on a motor cycle doing 100kmh and slip, you were pretty much mangled.

Soon, I reached karak around 3pm. I estimated 4 hours back from here, which should just be enough. Then it was heading towards Bentong. And since I was there, I thought it would be a good idea to have some ice kacang.

Afterwards it was a long long ride back Sempah. Frankly, I was almost bonking. And I prefer the steep climb up Sempah at Bukit Tinggi, compared to the monotonous ride before that. At least you can see the elevation gaining, and the view changes

Had a stop at Sempah, and did the final climb in earnest. The distance is still far, but this point marks the end of all of Pahang, and as I looked back, I can't help wonder at the distance traveled behind.

The evening sun shone shyly among the trees, as the darkness inches by. The route downwards was a reprise, and I was eager to get out of this jungle growth route.

Then it was passing the Gombak toll, MRR2, and back, in one piece to Cheras at 8pm. It was 13 hours on the road with a mileage of 280km, and always harder back to KL due to the climb.

Tired, but I still managed to meet up with Ray, Tony and Joanne for dinner.

To summarize, total mileage in 3 days is 650km with no training. Now could that mean, I could ride KL-Gua musang-Cameron highlands-Tapah-KL in 3 days? Probably....

Sorry not much pics because my Nokia went swimming..., but Faisal would have some pics in cherating later.