by Tan Wei Jie
Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia. Situated 350km up north of Singapore, the City will play host to the 2017 South East Asian Games. Considered by many as the epicenter of Malaysia’s cycling, the city is splatted with many cyclists and bicycle shops. Planning for a cycling route is never of a problem with their wide variety of road and terrains. Options of fast flat roads around the city center for the speed demons or the long steep climbs on the outskirts for the mountain goats. Either will prove to be fun and challenging for everyone.
In lieu of the SeaGames fever kicking in, Velo Velo Club decided to host a 5 days trip up to Kuala Lumpur and explore some of the infamous climbs that paved the outskirts of the city.
On the minivan
Day 1 took us about 6 hours of traveling from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur via a chartered mini bus. The bus was nicely tailored to fit 6 riders and their bicycles, with some rooms to spare for baggage. The custom was relatively crowded as it was a public holiday, but everyone made it through the Singapore and Malaysia custom faster than expected. We managed to land ourselves a nice accommodation in Putrajaya. Coincidentally, it was situated just minutes away from what will be the epicenter of the all of the SeaGames Road races. After unloading the bikes and getting ourselves acquainted with our new home, we set off on foot to explore the neighboring area. Basic necessity was within 10 minutes walk away. A mini town housing multiple supermarkets and eateries have everything we needed for our stay. After grabbing our dinner and some groceries, we head back and set ourselves down for tomorrow's itinerary
Day 2 got us up bright and early as bike shop hopping was our top agenda. We managed to pop by some popular bicycle shops based on the local's recommendation. Top on our list was The Bike Artisan which was situated on top of a roll of nice cafes serving delicious coffee. Definitely a good post ride hangout spot. After an early dinner, we head back home to suit ourselves up for the Putrajaya Night Ride happening later at 8 pm. We decided to roll out relatively early and went for a lazy scenic ride exploring the surrounding area. Much like our park connectors, a nicely paved path runs along the river that surrounds the Putrajaya Boulevard. There were also food trucks parked along the path to served you some of the local delights.
Exploring the city before the night ride
Before long, it was half past 7 and we slowly make our way to the gathering point of the Putrajaya Night Ride. Happening almost every night of the week, we saw 50 over riders gathering outside a small Laksa Kiosk located along Putrajaya Boulevard. The ride will take us through the nearby highways that encircle the Putrajaya Boulevard. Fast pace the ride was with strong riders from neighboring clubs turning up. With no traffic lights to slow you down, the pace will be as fast as your legs can be. The main loop was about 40km long with an additional 15km extension around the Putrajaya Boulevard for the faster few. The rides end at where it started, so one can grab a quick serving of Laksa to ease their post ride hunger. If you are not a fan of Laksa, afraid not as the area is littered with other food options that just a short ride away, so nobody goes home hungry.
Jon looks tired....
Morning rain greeted us as we woke up early for the 2nd ride of the trip. Undeterred, we got dressed, loaded our bikes up onto a chartered van and drove down to meet with our Malaysian friend, William, over at Kajang district. The meeting point was a Chinese eatery that serves up some old school morning breakfast. We took our time with the breakfast and waited for the roads to dry out. Soon the sun came out and the road was drying up. Everyone finished up their coffee and began to roll off for the ride. William and his cycling buddies were kind enough to lead us for the ride. The route took us through the well-known Lekas Highway which played host to the annual Shimano Lekas Highway Ride. First time riding on the highway, it was a daunting experience rolling alongside speeding vehicles. However, the experiences soon took a positive turn as drivers greeted us with their horns as they drove by.
Weijie rocking his Morvelo kit and Carol on her TSH kit
Nice smooth tarmac paved our path for a good 25km with no traffic lights in sight. Clueless of the full details of the route, William decided surprised us and took us on a detour off the highway. We were surprised indeed. About 2km out, we were greeted with a 2km climb. Average of 5% gradient with the steepest at 9%, the climbs ended with a scenic view overlooking the Lekas Highway. After the descent, we were immediately greeted by another climb. Longer at 3.5km, the climb was much gentle with an average gradient of 4%, but a short 10% section did take our breath away. A long descend came after and soon we found ourselves in Seremban.
Everyone was so happy after the climb
We took a lunch stop over at Seremban before making our way back. Hungry from the morning, we popped by a popular bakery that serves up some pretty delicious puffs and buns. We bought ourselves some puff to accompany our lunch over at an eatery.
Puffs all fresh from the oven!
With hunger satisfied and water bottles filled, we rolled off for home. The return was a thrilling experience with a long 7% descend down into the Lekas Highway. The 5km stretch was gone in just 3mins and soon we are back on familiar roads. Soon we saw storm clouds rolling in behind us as we make our final push back. Turns out to be a blessing as the clouds block out the scorching afternoon sun. Luck was on our side as we manage to finish our ride right before the sky pour on us.
TLC joining us in the Fight Cancer jersey
40 minutes later, we are back at our place in Putrajaya. After quick wash down of the bikes, everyone took their turns for the shower. It was almost 6 pm after everyone had cleaned themselves and dinner were top of the agenda. We decided to take a gamble and took an hour long drive up to an interesting restaurant recommended by our Malaysian friends. Situated on the top of a scenic hill off Ampang Jaya, getting to Veg Fish Farm Thai Restaurant proved to be a bit of a challenge. But it was all worth the trouble as we were served with a wide spread of delicious food cook in Thai and local Malaysian style. The food was pretty fresh with produce pick from their backyard farm. Everyone left the restaurant happy as well as a few kg heavier. Food coma hit us hard as we make the long journey back home.
The 4th day was the highlight of the trip as we challenge ourselves to tackle the infamous Broga loop. Our planned route took us through the 3 Infamous climb and other smaller peaks along the way. The day starts with an hour drive to an eatery located in Kampong Batu Lapan Bela where we will meet up with our Malaysian friends. The eatery was very easy to spot with multiple bicycles hanging out on the bicycle rack provided by the eatery’s owner. We started our ride with eggs and toast before making our way to the very first climb. Nicknamed Hantu, the first climb sits just 12km out from the eatery. The quiet winding road stretched all the way up the climb with the morning mist shielding us from the sun. The ghostly climb stretched 3.5km long at an average gradient of 6%. Present too were some double digits segments that haunt our still half asleep body. After a fast 2.5km descend down Hantu, we continued on a 49km journey through the rolling hills of the Broga Loop before the next major climbs.
Our first try on Broga Loop
What awaits us ahead was a climb up the road of Bukit Tangga. 5km long and an average gradient of 6% the 4 lanes road was nicely paved with smooth tarmac. The most exciting part of the trip was what that came after the climb. As the phrase goes, what goes up must come down, the long 5km descend Bukit Tangga was just exhilarating. Easily hitting the speed of 70 odd km per hour without pedaling, the descent will test all your guts and skill. A relatively flat 18km journey took us to a small town of Titi where we had our lunch stop. Lunch was served from a popular eatery that cooks up delicious Wonton noodles. Everyone made quick work of their lunch and took some time to rest before pushing off for the final climb.
Lunch Point at Broga
It was about 1 pm and the roads were scorching hot from the Sun. With stomach and water bottle filled, everyone continued the final push to the last climb under the blazing sun. A 13km journey leads the rider to the start of the final big climb. The climb will take the riders on a 14km ride up through 3 peaks with Genting Peres on the last. The first climb up to the 1st peak is 4.5km long with an average gradient of 5%, followed by a quick descent down to the bottom of the 2nd peak. 2.6km with an average gradient of 4% was the climb up to the 2nd peak. After another quick descend comes the toughest part of the ride. Exhausted, the riders have to dig deep riding up a 2 km climb with an average gradient of 8%. Thankfully a support van was present at the top of Genting Peres for riders to rest and hydrate. Gradually, more riders began to cross the peak. With everyone accounted for, we began the long descent back down to the morning’s eatery.
Weijie making sure everyone is back
With more than 7 hours on the road, everyone was totally exhausted and hungry. After a quick gulp of homemade barley by the eatery, we load our bike up and make our way for dinner. Lucky for us, the Veg Fish Farm Thai Restaurant was just 15 minutes drive away. Still drenched in our sweaty cycling kit, we sat ourselves down and munch away on the sumptuous dinner. Spirit was high as everyone was chatting away and reminiscing the afternoon ride. Talks on the next trip back have already begun over the dinner table.
Happy meal after the ride
As we make our way back to the van, we gave our heartfelt thanks to our Malaysian friends who had lead up through the rides. We waved them goodbye as we slowly roll off for the journey back to Putrajaya. As we got ourselves clean up for the night, we slowly began to pack for tomorrow's early departure.
The journey back home was quick as we reached the custom pretty early, avoiding the weekend crowd. To end the trip on a high, all of us sat down for one sumptuous meal together before disembarking on our journey home.
To see more of our road trip, check the photos here.