Getting owned by my clipless pedal

I have not taken my road bike out for more than 8 months. It sits at the corner, forlornly, with flat tires waiting for its turn to hit the road (or get back at me).

These days I much prefer my  mountain bike for a quick spin around the neighbourhood. The truth is maybe I’m getting lazy and enjoying the gear system of an MTB too much (especially the bail out “granny gear”) that makes climbing tough gradients easy while self-denying that my fitness level and muscle strengths had deteriorated after such a long period of riding hiatus.

On my MTB i have flat pedals which gives me much more control and flexibility during riding. On my road bike I have clipless pedals (yes the term “clipless” is a misnomer and confusing since you are actually “clipped” in) and it does takes some practice and a bit of time for your muscles to remember the required movement to click out smoothly, and more importantly, IN TIME, from the clipless pedals.

I’m sure everyone that is using or have tried and gave up (you are not alone) using clipless pedals already know what I’m talking about and the dangers I’m about to share.

This morning I finally took my road bike out for a spin at my regular route which consists of some steep climbs in very short intervals; sort of like a mini “dragon back”.

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I like this route since it quickly gets your heart pumping and your forehead sweating due to the short hard climbs and fast descents ; so fast that you are not able to catch your breath to recover fully.

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From the picture above you can see the multiple climbs behind me. To cut a long story short, after one of the descents i found myself losing speed fast on the way up on another climb; i tried to change gear but I made a mistake and caused it even tougher to pedal (at this point I’m really missing the “granny gear” badly).

10, 8, 6km/hr… arghhh..

I knew then that a fall was imminent; I managed to click out my left shoe but unfortunately lost balance and fell ungracefully sideways to the right side where I have not managed to click out yet. As I fell, I kept both my hands tight on my handlebar and braced myself tight in a riding position i.e. my thighs and knees tucked in.

Since it was like a slow motion fall, I didn’t get hurt, just some graze on my right elbow and ankle from the asphalt. I think my pride was bruised the most. Thank God I ride alone; if not my buddies will have a good laugh and will keep reminding me of this stupid mistake over and over and over again….

You may think you owned the bike but once in a while you gets owned by the bike 😂.

Ride safe everyone!

Riding the Dragon Back

There is always something about birthdays that serves as a reminder that my life is fleeting and the very process of ageing into another “number” makes me so aware of being just a mere mortal in this world. That realisation in itself is enough to make me feel thankful to the All Mighty for still being alive and renew my resolve to make each day of my life counts.

Usually on my birthday I like to do something memorable for myself. So when I turned 45 last December, before my wife and the kids woke up I sneaked out from my house to tackle the local “Dragon Back”, an undulating stretch of about 5.4 kilometers, not far from where I am staying. The “Dragon Back” is quite a challenging stretch for me but I always do it as a litmus test to see if I’m still fit or not. I supposed that by turning 45 today, I need the re-affirmation that “yes, I’m getting older but still healthy :-)”. Furthermore, cycling always clears my mind and what better way to reflect on life quietly than while you are cycling.

Getting ready for Dragon Back
Getting ready for Dragon Back

To get to the “Dragon Back” if you are in Shah Alam, drive up towards Bukit Jelutong to take the Batu Arang road leading to Puncak Alam. You can also take the Guthrie Corridor Expressway (GCE) and after paying the toll take the first exit to the left. As you drive you will pass townships like Sunway Kayangan, Kayangan Heights, and the big Cahaya SPK sign. Keep driving past the UiTM Puncak Perdana campus, Alam Budiman, Greenhill and once you passed the DB Schenker factory take a left turn towards Jalan Paip/Meru. Just after a few metres on your right there is a traffic light. The “Dragon Back” starts from there and you can already see the first climb which I called “The Wall”.

In my case, I started cycling from home and I particularly enjoyed the descend towards Alam Budiman traffic light as the elevation there allows my bike and me to plunge down at an exhilirating speed on 53km/hour. First things first, I stopped for breakfast at my favorite mamak restaurant, Rahmath Bistro at Alam Budiman to fuel me for the “Dragon Back”.

Fuelling for the climb
Fuelling for the climb

After one “roti sardin” and two “telur tiga suku masak” later I started cycling slowly towards that starting point of the “Dragon Back”. As the climb starts so immediately/suddenly , it is always good that you warmed up your legs a little bit before you start to climb “The Wall”. Your fresh legs will get you above “The Wall” easily and once you are over the wall the whole view of the “Dragon Back” stretch is opened up for you to view as far as the eye can see.

Undulating road as far as the eyes can see
Undulating road as far as the eyes can see

I had never counted how many peaks and valleys there is in the whole 5.4km stretch (my guess is 6 peaks) but it is indeed so much fun to cycle there. I like the fact that not many people are aware of the place yet and the area is still very green on both sides of the road.

No traffic just peaks and valleys
No traffic just peaks and valleys

In the mornings, the air is fresh and almost no traffic. There is a lot of monkeys on certain stretches of the road. Occasionally you will see joggers running this stretch and groups of mountain bikers going to Bukit Ramlee for some off road climbing and the “pineapple cincau” drink at the top of the Bukit Ramlee.

Lots of monkeys on the trees cheering me on.
Lots of monkeys on the trees cheering me on.

At the end of the Dragon Back you will arrive at the intersection of the Jalan Meru Tambahan. I took a right turn going towards Bandar Puncak Alam. I stopped by the PETRONAS petrol station to rest for a while and refuel myself with a 100 Plus drink. Instead of going back the same route home through the “Dragon Back” I decided to make a loop taking the Jalan Batu Arang, passing Saujana Utama and back to Cahaya SPK. All in all I covered 32 km.

I felt good during the climb and the ride through the undulating Jalan Batu Arang to reach home. I’m blessed with good health and I hope I can still cycle and climb hills like some of my cycling buddies who are almost approaching 60 years old (Abg Zol, Abg Syaaban, Pak Ngah, etc). When I get to be their age, I hope I will be as fit as them too.

As I sneaked back into the house and got onto the kids’ room to cuddle them, I said softly to myself “Happy Birthday Haris”.

Bike Touring in Malaysia: Putrajaya to Malacca (Day 1: Putrajaya to Pengkalan Balak 114km)

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The night before my first long bike tour I could not sleep well, call it excitement, nerves or what have you, but my mind was occupied with anticipation.That morning, I was up earlier than my alarm clock and I double checked the contents of my panniers and took out several things that I felt I can live without. When I travel (via planes and cars) I do have a tendency of packing more than what I really ended up using so I was ruthless in packing this time. Every extra ounce meant an extra load to haul on the bike.

At the last weighing, both my panniers weighed a total of 25kg, add to that the 2-person tent, sleeping bag and a foam mat (yes, I like to sleep in a bit of luxury) the rear rack has to carry about 30kg of load (the rear rack has a rated 40kg maximum limit). My own weight is about 73 kg so that is easily 103kg combined. The bike itself is at least 15kg so we are looking at close to 120kg of mass to push up hills along the way although with such a weight I will be quite fast on the descent. 🙂

From Shah Alam, where I stay, my wife drove me, 50km to Precinct 15 Putrajaya where my brother, Nazry, is staying (I know some of you must be thinking, I might as well start cranking my bike from home. See Economics 101 of Cycling. I understand the argument okay..). I arrived early around 8am and from there we cycled out to the junction of the Putrajaya main highway to join up with Abg Zol who had just arrived in a van driven by his wife. Abg Zol is the coolest guy I’ve ever met, in our lingo we say “sempoi”, while both Nazry and I were riding touring bikes, Abg Zol was on his normal mountain bike complete with wide knobby tyres. He had a rear rack attached to his bike and instead of panniers he had what looked like a school bag tied securely with a bungee cord.

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He is probably around 56 years old but later I discovered him to be one of the fittest and strongest rider in our group. That must be the benefits of cycling to one’s health.

The other group (Abg Syaaban, Herman and Muzammil) will cycle from Seri Kembangan and meet us en route. Our agreed meeting point was at the Putrajaya Challenge Park junction on the road to Dengkil and the original plan was to roll at 9am. Unfortunately, mother nature had other plans in store for us.

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That’s me in green with Abg Zol in orange at the meeting point.

When we arrived at the meeting point, the second group was nowhere to be seen and all of the sudden it started to rain cats and dogs as if the skies suddenly opened up to unleash the excess water it had been storing. We took shelter at a restaurant nearby for breakfast while we wait for the other group to join us. We had already finished our breakfast when they finally arrived, drenched, as it was still raining. After a brief introduction and checking out each others bikes and gears, they decided to have their breakfast so we waited for them.

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Breaking the ice over food, teh tarik and roti canai

On hindsight, I was glad it rained as we had a lot of time to get to know one another and what better way to break the ice other than through lots of roti canai and teh tarik.

By the time we finally made our move it was probably closer to 11am. Well, in bike touring, we have to play by ear sometimes and don’t be too hung up on the need to get to the destination quickly. As they say, bike touring is about the journey not so much the destination.

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Along the way, Muzammil noticed that his rear tyre was slightly under inflated so we decided to stop over at the Shell petrol station near Kota Warisan. As we had cycled for quite a bit, it was a good time for us to check our panniers and other items strapped to the rear racks to make sure that all was good.

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Abg Syaaban holding the bike while Muzammil pumped his rear tyre. Abg Zol and Nazry in the background.

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Herman checking out his front and rear panniers to make sure that the weights were balanced. I would say that his bike was the heaviest among the rest with his front panniers fully loaded with pots and pans, cooking utensil and gas burner and additional gas cyclinder.

Once we started going again, Muzammil was playing the role of pace setter upfront while Herman acted as sweeper at the end of the convoy. Both Muzammil and Herman kept close communication through walkie talkies. The dampness from the morning rain started to give way to heat of the afternoon sun. (check out my earlier posting on Cycling in the Malaysian Heat for some tips) I got my buff fully covering my nose and mouth, one for the shielding from the elements and the other one from the vehicles fumes as we were cycling on road shoulders.

Somewhere along the way near Sepang we came across this drinks and fruits stall, and under the hot weather, the icy cold fruit juices seemed so tempting. So we stopped for a while to enjoy our watermelon juice, coconut, etc to quench our thirst and to regroup as some of the riders seemed to be left behind for quite a distance at the back.

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This fruits and drink stall is a must stop if you are passing this route.

Feeling refreshed, our first destination was Sg Pelek to meet up with Pak Ngah, one of the founding fathers of the Darul Ehsan Touring Cyclist group. I know Pak Ngah from his FB postings but I have never met him in person. We arrived at Sg Pelek maybe closer to 2pm and Pak Ngah was already waiting for us in front of a bank with his Surly.

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Meeting Pak Ngah

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New friendship forged through love of cycling

I supposed it is true the notion that all cyclists are brothers as when we all make our introduction, there was instant chemistry and bonding as if we have known each other for quite a while. Pak Ngah was generous in offering to buy us lunch and we of course obliged, as the few hours of cycling was making us hungry. We chose a food stall across the street from the bank and we helped ourselves to “nasi campur” where you are handed a plate of plain rice and you then pick your own dishes (fish, veggies, chicken, etc) from those available. It is also true that food always taste better when you have good company (and hungry).

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We chatted about the journey so far and swapping cycling stories in general, it was fun hearing the different perspectives and experiences and we always ended up laughing (cyclists are a happy lot!)

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Nazry and Herman taking opportunity to check on phone messages, notice the clean plates too..

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Pak Ngah and Muzammil discussing the usage of the EDGE GPS

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Our two seniors but super cyclists; Abg Syaaban and Abg Zol (in orange)

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A Chinese Funeral Procession passing through the road while we were chatting

Time passes by so fast when you are having fun. As it was already late afternoon and we still had a long way to go, we quickly got ready to get going again. Pak Ngah said there is a short cut to Port Dickson if we take a small barge to cross the nearby river. This way we could bypass some major climbing stretch and save some time.

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Waiting for our turn to board the barge

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The fare to cross to the other side is 60 sen ?? per person

Pak Ngah led the way to the jetty and once we arrived at the other side of the river, Pak Ngah rode with us for a while to get us on to the right junction. Along the way, there were a lot of dogs by the roadside, Pak Ngah coolly took out his Dog Dazer and pressed away and amazingly the dogs just ignored us and let us pass without a fuss. Dogs and cyclists sometimes do not make good company and every cyclist needs to have his /her own Dog Strategy (see my earlier post on Dogs Love Bicycle for tips)

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Once we said Jumpa Lagi to Pak Ngah we were on our way to Port Dickson. The route we took has a nice kampong (village) and orchards scenery, and there were not many cars or lorries on this route so it was a pleasant cycling route.

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We passed by Kg Sungai Nipah that once gained global fame (or is it notoriety) because of the “Nipah Virus” that led to the culling of thousands of pigs in the Bukit Pelandok area. With that thought in mind, I raised my buff higher to my cheeks and found myself cycling a little faster.

We have now entered Negeri Sembilan, but the heat and exhaustion had started to creep in and taken its toll on our cycling speed. Herman, our sweeper, had been experiencing some muscle cramps, on and off, ever since we passed Sepang but the cramps were getting more intense as we got closer to Port Dickson.

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We stopped by the roadside to assess the situation. Abg Syabaan, the super human cyclist, offered to take off the front pannier load from Herman’s bike into his so that Herman’s bike would be lighter and perhaps could help in reducing his exertion when cycling. So we had to transfer the front rack to Abg Syaaban’s bike and load the front panniers.

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Transferring Herman’s front rack and panniers to Abg Syaaban’s bike

Instead of complaining, Abg Syaaban commented that with the additional front load his bike’s handling now felt more stable and he could get used to the idea of having the front rack there permanently (for free of course hehe).

(Lesson: Cycling together is about teamwork, and helping one another in their time of need. It is not about who crosses the finishing line first but to arrive at the destination together. I began to fall in love with this concept of group bike touring.)

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Abg Syaaban in Action

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Muzammil the always cool touring sifu

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Herman, the prime mover that hauled all that we need

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We arrived in Port Dickson late in the evening and stopped for a while to take a group picture with this beautiful mural in the background.

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One group picture for the album, Nazry took this picture

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That’s me, smiling gladly that the journey has reached it’s halfway mark

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Funny that I never noticed the mural being there before during the many times that I had drove into Port Dickson. Perhaps, living life at a slower pace when you cycle really allowed your senses to absorb more and you can stop when you like, as often as you like.

To me, the experience gained from bike touring is not just about eating up the big mileage getting from point A to point B, but it is an opportunity to get in touch with your inner thoughts (your mind really cleared up when you cycle), develop an appreciation and respect of the geographical landscape (respect the hills that you climb and enjoy the carefree wind in your face as you accelerate downhill) and enjoying the endless banter and cheerful interaction with your touring partners.

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The sun was almost setting around Si Rusa beach, Port Dickson

We stopped for dinner at a restaurant in Teluk Kemang not far after Port Dickson and as the night takes over from daylight, all our headlights and rear blinkers were attached and activated on our bikes.

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We cycled through the night, not much sceneries to capture on camera from then on, but the cool air invigorated us and made the cycling easy and fast.

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Bright lights from the oncoming vehicles sometimes shone our path, in the horizon we saw sporadic glittering lights from the villages, beautiful like fireflies in the night. Occasionally we heard dogs barking and howling breaking the quietness of the night. The dogs must have been spooked by our presence or something else.

Once we crossed the Sg Linggi bridge we have arrived in Malacca. Our final destination for the night was Pengkalan Balak, where Abg Syaaban’s family home is located. Our legs were weary but our spirits high. When we reached Pengkalan Balak it was already around 10pm, we were too tired to set up camp by the beach and Abg Syaaban insisted that we sleep in the living hall of his house. We were not complaining, after all it was nice to be indoors after being outdoors facing the element for the last 14 hours.

Our first day journey had been completed and we have covered a distance of 114km. We stopped a lot of times and our cycling speed was not the fastest but hey, this is bike touring, after all, it is about the journey not the destination. Good nite. Zzzzzzz.

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Next Day 2 Pengkalan Balak to Malacca Town 62km

Bike Touring in Malaysia: Simple Malay phrases for survival on the road

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One thing good about the internet, it is borderless and distance does not mean anything anymore. You can skype with a friend at the other side of the world, thousands of miles away real-time. Of course you still have the different time zones to deal with. Malaysia sits on GMT + 8 hours so by the time I wake up in the morning a friend in London will about to go to bed. The different time zones are great when you have a blog, once you upload a post, you technically will get a view around the clock from people all around the world.

For this blog, most of the views comes from my friends in Malaysia but given that the love for cycling is universal, I do get occasional visits from United States, Turkey, France, Belgium, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia. I do appreciate and welcome their visit to my blog.

While bike touring, communication can either make the adventure enriching or frustrating for the cyclists. In Malaysia, any foreign tourist or bike tourist will not encounter a lot of communication problem as English is widely spoken side by side with Malay, our national language. In fact when a Malaysian speaks to another Malaysian, you can probably understand 50% of what they are talking about since the current lingo borrows from English a lot (if you ignore all the “lah” and “maa” probably your understanding will increase to 60%). However, if you travel to really really rural areas, into some far flung villages, maybe you would face some “lost in translation” moments.

Just in case you somehow end up in places where no one understands English, I’ve compiled for you some simple Malay words and phrases for you to get by during those awkward moments. Malay is a very simple language, let me show you.

When you entered a village in the middle of nowhere and you see a person you want to greet, you just say “Hello” (see I told you it is easy.. you don’t need the fancy Ni Hao, Sawadee kap, Namaste, etc).

The three things during bike touring that could probably go wrong are your tyre, your tube and you need a pump (if you lose yours along the way). So while pointing to your bicycle (the Malay word is “basikal” pronounced “bicycle” ) you can say the Malay equivalent of the three items: one is tayar (pronounced “tyre”), the second is tiub (pronounced “tube”) and third is pam (pronounced “pump”). How much easier can it get ???

If you feel a bit more adventurous and want to mingle with the locals you can try these two important phrases that can quickly build a friendship with whomever you meet along the road (don’t worry I won’t trick you into saying something vulgar unknowingly hehehe).

The first one is probably the most important and most powerful word in the entire Malay vocabulary that you will ever learn, saying “Thank You” in Malay.

Thank you = Terima kasih (pronounced as “Tree.ma.car.say”). In a direct translation, “terima” means “receive/accept” and “kasih” is “love or compassion”. So technically when someone does nice things to you, you thank them by saying “please accept my love/compassion”. (Isn’t that a beautiful concept?)

In return the recipient will say “Sama Sama” (pronounced “summer summer”) which literally mean “same to you too”. Malaysians are very hospitable, friendly and polite people (unless they are driving). Saying “terima kasih” with a smile goes a long way and immediately creates a bond between you and the recipient. And if you keep saying “terima kasih” several times in a span of a 10-minute conversation world peace can created. 🙂

The second phrase to say, the one that will seal the deal in your newly formed friendship, at the moment when you are about to leave a place is to say “Jumpa lagi” (pronounced “joompa laggy”).

It is the equivalent of “I’ll see you again”. “Jumpa lagi” is a more forward-looking phrase with a tinge of hope to see each other again instead of saying “Selamat Tinggal” (which is “Goodbye”) which indicates finality, as in “that’s it, I’m outta here for good” kind of flavor.

There you go, two simple but effective phrases. I hope you learn something new from your visit today.

Terima kasih and Jumpa lagi.

Economics 101 of Cycling

There is a growing debate and criticisms of recreational weekend cycling activities that claim to be doing good for the environment ie “greenwashing”. Some claims that only utility cycling (carrying and transporting goods on a bicycle, trishaw, etc) and bicycle commuting for work or school (activities which otherwise would be done using vehicles that consume fossil fuel) are the only true form of “green” and “sustainable” cycling.

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Personally, I am not planning to take side on this as I support all forms of cycling and like to see more people getting into cycling whether in commuting daily or just for the weekend recreational rides. But just for the fun of it I would like to see these two cycling forms (recreational vs commuting) through the economic lenses.

Let us start by generalizing a typical recreational cyclist:
• Basically a weekend cyclist that rides once or twice a week
• Most probably rides a mountain bike or a road bike
• The bikes are normally top of the line (lighter, faster) with accessories
• Cycling with full jersey, pants, helmet and all the other cycling gears
• Transport the bike by car to the cycling events or cycling spots (ie Putrajaya)
• Sometimes drive 50km one way just to cycle 20km (or even further for out of state jamborees)

The economics for a recreational cyclist in a month:
• Assume: Petrol price per litre :RM1.90 can go for 10km (so 0.19 sen per kilometer)
• Cost of petrol : 50km x 2 ways x 4 times a month = 400km x 0.19 sen = RM76
• Toll to Putrajaya from Shah Alam : RM6 x 2 ways x 4 times a month = RM48
Eating post cycling : RM10 x 4 times a week = RM40
• Cost to health (massage sprained body and calf after cycling) : RM40/hour x 4 = RM160
• Cost to environment for emission driving 400km to cycling venue: unable to calculate
• Total quantifiable cost for a month of recreational cycling : RM 324 (Spent)

Let us now look at a typical commuting cyclist:
• Commute daily to work for a distance of 25km one way
• Using “normal” bikes; could also be mountain or road bikes but not top of the line models (fear of getting the flashy bikes stolen). The motto for bike commuting is the less attractive looking the bikes the better.
• Bicycles are normally heavier with mudguards in case it rains and locks, bell and bike stand and rear rack for carrying loads.
• Cycling using normal clothes unless there is changing facility at the destination
• Sometimes do not wear a helmet (Note: I advise to always wear a helmet even for a short ride)

The economics for a commuting cyclist in a month:
Assume: Petrol price per litre : RM1.90 can go for 10km (so 0.19 sen per kilometer)
• Savings of petrol : 25km x 2 ways x 20 times a month = 1,000 km x 0.19 sen = RM190
• Savings on Toll of 30km road stretch (assume) : RM6 x 20 times a month = RM120
• Savings on Parking cost : RM150 per month (KL rate)
• Total quantifiable cost savings for a month of commuting cycling : RM 460 (Saved)
• Contribution to the environment for reducing the emission from fuel based vehicles : Priceless

There you have it folks, based on the assumed scenario (not scientifically proven though) a typical weekend recreational cyclist would spend RM 324 per month while a typical commuting cyclist will save RM 460 per month.

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Pictures credit: Liyana Kamaruzaman
But like what we like to say in Malaysia “Tak kesah lah bro, yang penting enjoy!” (No worries brother, in the end everyone enjoys) 🙂

Note: USD1 = RM3.50

Bringing (Sexy) Cycling Back

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Sixty years ago, I could imagine that cycling must be so commonplace in Malaysia. In many old P Ramlee movies like Bujang Lapok, Seniman Bujang Lapok, and Ibu Mertuaku, we can see that cycling was a major mode of transport for the common people while the rich segment of our society was being driven around in their imported Ford Model T wearing tailored suits and tight kebayas (think “Kassim Selamat”, “Samseng Kg Dusun” and the “Azizah” song playing in the background).

Bicycles were once powerful and influenced our history. The Japanese invasion of Malaya on 8 December 1941 started with the onslaught of Japanese soldiers on bicycles cycling down from the Thailand borders into the town of Kota Bharu in Kelantan. (Note to self: Abang Zol suggested that one day we should re-trace that particular cycling route).

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Pictures sourced from internet

With economic growth and prosperity in Malaya then (now Malaysia), primarily driven by the wealth of our natural resources through the export of tin, rubber, petroleum and later palm oil; the commonplace and humble bicycles as a personal mode of transport have been displaced initially by scooters (Italian Vespa, Lambretta, etc that go well with slick hair do and sunshades) and later bigger motorcycles (British makes ie Royal Enfield, Norton, and then Japanese Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, etc) and then small and boxy cars such as the early Fiat and first generation Honda cars and later all kinds of vehicle brands and makes that we see crowding our road today. This development trend in personal mobility is not only unique to Malaysia, I personally witnessed this trend from my regular travel over the years into China and Vietnam too.

Coincidentally (or maybe not) with the widespread effects of prosperity, introduction of 24 hour mamak restaurants and the disappearance of cycling as a major mode of personal transport, what used to be unheard of health issues such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetics and high cholesterol have now become commonplace in our society. Thank god, in the last few years we have seen a major revival of cycling in our country and more bicycles again on our roads. The return to cycling is not only confined to the youngsters but also the young-at-hearts alike. The good thing is, cycling is a good form of exercise that one can still cycle even beyond the age of 70 years old, if health condition permits.

I am not sure what actually triggered the cycling revival; was it the popularity of the Le Tour de Langkawi series that led more people to buy road bikes and those funny tight-fitting spandex pants? or was it the BMX generation has now grown up and cycling has become part of their DNA that they moved en masse into mountain biking ? or the older and born in the 60s, “basikal Chopper” generation are now experiencing middle-age crisis and trying to get in touch with their lost youth while at the same time dealing with their receding hairlines and bald spots (by the way, nicely covered by cycling helmets so you could still look good in pictures but don’t forget to take a deep breath and hold that stomach too).

The general evolution of the typical modern day cyclist in Malaysia normally started with the road bike, once the other cycling kakis started to ride faster than him (and the jerseys do not fit anymore after size 2XL), he then turned to a mountain bike (yeay, it has 30 speed so you could still do the Dragon Back with ease) and finally when his average cycling speed has been reduced to 15km/hour he will switch to a touring bike (this is the stage I’m at right now). Along the way, in between mountain to touring, he may have picked up a folding bike to ride around the housing area in the evenings too.

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I am very happy that cycling is back in Malaysian in a big way. Cycling events are being held regularly at the national and local levels and are attracting thousands of people participating at a time (my view on Mass Cycling here). People are getting together socially for cycling, mixing around and forging new friendship though their common love for cycling. The cyclist brotherhood (and sisterhood) cuts across the boundaries of race, religion or social status. For example the Darul Ehsan Touring Cyclists (DETC) group, has more than 300 members from all walks of life. The only requirement for entry is that you love to cycle. If you are a cyclist you are one of us.

June 2013 116

Let’s get on our bikes and starts pedaling!

Note : “Bringing Sexy Back” is a song by Justin Timberlake, in case you’re wondering….

“All Glory Comes From Daring To Begin”

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Saya selalu juga membaca blog blog kisah kembara berbasikal mengelilingi dunia yang kadang kadang memakan masa lebih dari setahun dan saya selalu berfikir mampukah saya meninggalkan kerjaya, isteri dan anak anak dalam tempoh yang begitu lama untuk mengejar minat berbasikal dan mengembara. Saya tabik kepada mereka mereka yang mampu melakukan pengorbananan sedemikian tinggi.

Sebenarnya sudah ramai juga rakyat Malaysia yang telah berjaya melengkapkan cabaran mengelilingi dunia dengan cara kembara berbasikal. Mungkin kisah mereka tidak diberikan publisiti yang meluas supaya dapat menjadi inspirasi kepada golongon muda hari ini.

Saya pasti ramai terutama yang masih muda belia yang tidak tahu atau telah terlupa siapakah Dato’ Hassan Nawawi Abdul Rahman?

Dato’ Hassan Nawawi dan adiknya  Ridhuan merupakan anak Malaysia yang terawal berjaya mendapat pengiktirafan mengelilingi dunia dengan basikal. Mereka berbasikal selama 389 hari sejauh 26,565 kilometer mengelilingi dunia pada 2002.

Berikut adalah maklumat kayuhan mereka:

Jarak

Negara

Tarikh

1 387 km

Thailand

4 Januari – 17 Januari 2001

150 km

Myanmar

18 Januari – 28 Januari 2001

786 km

Bangladesh

28 Januari – 3 Februari 2001

2 420 km

India

4 Februari – 3 Mac 2001

2 338 km

Pakistan

4 Mac – 4 April 2001

2 540 km

Iran

5 April – 2 Mei 2001

2 033 km

Turki

3 Mei – 1 Jun 2001

745 km

Greece

1 Jun – 9 Jun 2001

1 309 km

Itali

10 Jun – 30 Jun 2001

1 089 km

Perancis

30 Jun – 16 Julai 2001

166 km

England

17 Julai – 25 Julai 2001

5 059 km

Amerika Syarikat

26 Julai – 27 September 2001

693 km

Jepun

28 September – 6 Oktober 2001

488 km

Korea Selatan

7 Oktober – 21 Oktober 2001

2 483 km

China

22 Oktober – 6 Disember 2001

871 km

Vietnam

7 Disember – 27 Disember 2001

250 km

Laos

28 Disember – 31 Disember 2001

1 758 km

Thailand

1 Januari – 27 Januari 2002

26 565 km

18 negara

389 hari

Sumber : Wikipedia

Yang menarik, Dato’ Hassan Nawawi memulakan pengembaraan mengelilingi dunia beliau pada usia 46 tahun (usia saya sekarang) dan pada waktu itu sedang berada di puncak kerjayanya. Kesimpulannya, jika sesorang itu betul betul minat, usia dan alasan tidak ada masa untuk melakukannya bukanlah halangan sebenarnya. “Keberanian untuk bermula punca segala kejayaan” (All glory comes from daring to begin) merupakan mantra beliau yang begitu baik sekali, terima kasih Dato’ Hassan Nawawi.

Dato’ Hassan Nawawi pada masa ini adalah YDP Majlis Perbandaran Kajang dan saya di fahamkan beliau masih lagi aktif berbasikal pada usia 59 tahun dan tidak lokek untuk berkongsi pengalaman dan sumbangan tips tips untuk kembara basikal berjarak jauh.

Pengalaman kembara berbasikal beliau telahpun dibukukan dan boleh di dapati dalam Bahasa Malaysia dan Bahasa Inggeris. Pada pendapat saya buku beliau amat menarik dan memberikan satu inspirasi untuk yakin mencapai sesuatu tidak kira dalam bidang apa sekali pun.

  1. Cabaran berbasikal mengelilingi dunia : Wira Daratan : Rhythm Publishing, 2003.
  2. Cycling around the world challenge Land Hero :Rhythm Publishing, 2003.