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Fragile - must be Italian
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I spent the majority of the past 10 days in Malaysia...a country located 25 hours away by airplane (pretty much on the Equator in SE Asia)...and a world away by culture.

Unlike most "tourists", I like to be adventurous when I travel (do the unexpected...sometimes unsafe). So while in Malaysia, I wanted to check out the countryside on a bike. I really wanted to try mountain biking in the jungle (sounds pretty cool), but given the fact that (a) this is their "rainy" season (read: muddy sh!t), (b) their trail systems are non existent on a map (need to hire a guide or just know WTF you are doing), and (c) their snakes hang in trees (OMG), I decided to skip the mountain bike and rent a road bike instead.

I pre-arranged to pick up the bike on Saturday for a Sunday AM group ride. Fortunately for me, the group met just 1/2 mile away from my hotel.

The group that showed up was really interesting -- some faster "racer" types, some regular-old middle-aged guys, a few young ladies, and even a woman in her 60's (she was sooooo cool!). There were Malaysians...Chinese...Japanese...and 1 older guy from Britain (out there for an extended work assignment). So basically I stuck out like a sore thumb.

And the equipment was somewhat interesting as well -- lots of Scott's (the host bike shop is a Scott dealer), some Giants, a Cannondale, a Colnago, and a few Meridas (? - never heard of that brand). A lot of people were also riding in Token carbon wheels (another brand I have never heard of).

In any event, the group started out rolling from a busy shopping plaza in Petaling Jaya (suburb of Kuala Lumpur, the main city)...and I damn near killed myself on the first mile. You see...Malaysia was once part of the British colonial empire...meaning they drive on the LEFT SIDE OF THE ROAD! I had no car -- took Taxi cabs instead (spelled "Teksi") -- so I didn't even consider what it would be like riding a bike on the opposite side of the road. Let me tell you -- it's weird. I made SOOOO many mistakes on that ride...turning into the wrong lane...passing on the incorrect side...looking the wrong way when mingling with cars....oh it was an experience.

We rolled out of the city along various streets, a few highways, and eventually ended up on a modern thoroughfare (similar to our Interstate) with a lane made just for bicycles and motor scooters. That was nice. I wish they built these in the USA.

The countryside in Malaysia around Kuala Lumpur (KL for short) once was dense jungle, but most of it has been mowed down and either replaced by new buildings (they are building everywhere) or by palm tree groves. Imagine seeing miles and miles of perfectly planted palm trees -- as far as the eye can see -- over the hilly terrain. It was pretty strange...but I was told that palm oil is a major industry over there.

When we got a little farther away from KL, the roads got narrower and the terrain turned more to jungle...thick, dense jungle. It was very pretty to see.

Since this is their rainy season, the weather was hot and humid -- probably 85F and 90% humidity. And along the ride we encountered a number of rainstorms that got us wet. But this is Malaysia, and they take it all in stride there.

We wound around lots of hilly roads, climed some long hills with very scenic vistas, passed a few interesting temples (80% of the country is Islam), and got to see some nifty open-air markets.

The turn-around point of the ride was a small town called "Batu Arang". There the group stopped and split up -- some of us went to a little Chinese cafe and ate a noodle dish...and others went to an Indian cafe to eat an interesting "pancake" (I forget what it is called...but it is something I have never seen in the USA).

The ride route was appx 120km, which is 70mi. I have no idea what our pace was because I intentionally left the bike computer at home. We were out riding about 4 hours.

Anyway, I don't want to bore you with any more of the details. But I did manage to take some photos with my cell phone. The phone got a little wet and the humidity kept steaming up the lens, so I apologize for the crappy quality.

It wasn't a mountain bike ride...but it sure was an adventure. :thumbsup:
 

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"Yabut"
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That's cool. I was also just recently in that area. I was working in Singapore for a while, which is right next door. Like you, I took a taxi everywhere. That's some crazy traffic. I think the "pancake" you are talking about is called a Roti Prata.
 

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Registered
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dgangi said:
I spent the majority of the past 10 days in Malaysia...a country located 25 hours away by airplane (pretty much on the Equator in SE Asia)...and a world away by culture.

Unlike most "tourists", I like to be adventurous when I travel (do the unexpected...sometimes unsafe). So while in Malaysia, I wanted to check out the countryside on a bike. I really wanted to try mountain biking in the jungle (sounds pretty cool), but given the fact that (a) this is their "rainy" season (read: muddy sh!t), (b) their trail systems are non existent on a map (need to hire a guide or just know WTF you are doing), and (c) their snakes hang in trees (OMG), I decided to skip the mountain bike and rent a road bike instead.

I pre-arranged to pick up the bike on Saturday for a Sunday AM group ride. Fortunately for me, the group met just 1/2 mile away from my hotel.

The group that showed up was really interesting -- some faster "racer" types, some regular-old middle-aged guys, a few young ladies, and even a woman in her 60's (she was sooooo cool!). There were Malaysians...Chinese...Japanese...and 1 older guy from Britain (out there for an extended work assignment). So basically I stuck out like a sore thumb.

And the equipment was somewhat interesting as well -- lots of Scott's (the host bike shop is a Scott dealer), some Giants, a Cannondale, a Colnago, and a few Meridas (? - never heard of that brand). A lot of people were also riding in Token carbon wheels (another brand I have never heard of).

In any event, the group started out rolling from a busy shopping plaza in Petaling Jaya (suburb of Kuala Lumpur, the main city)...and I damn near killed myself on the first mile. You see...Malaysia was once part of the British colonial empire...meaning they drive on the LEFT SIDE OF THE ROAD! I had no car -- took Taxi cabs instead (spelled "Teksi") -- so I didn't even consider what it would be like riding a bike on the opposite side of the road. Let me tell you -- it's weird. I made SOOOO many mistakes on that ride...turning into the wrong lane...passing on the incorrect side...looking the wrong way when mingling with cars....oh it was an experience.

We rolled out of the city along various streets, a few highways, and eventually ended up on a modern thoroughfare (similar to our Interstate) with a lane made just for bicycles and motor scooters. That was nice. I wish they built these in the USA.

The countryside in Malaysia around Kuala Lumpur (KL for short) once was dense jungle, but most of it has been mowed down and either replaced by new buildings (they are building everywhere) or by palm tree groves. Imagine seeing miles and miles of perfectly planted palm trees -- as far as the eye can see -- over the hilly terrain. It was pretty strange...but I was told that palm oil is a major industry over there.

When we got a little farther away from KL, the roads got narrower and the terrain turned more to jungle...thick, dense jungle. It was very pretty to see.

Since this is their rainy season, the weather was hot and humid -- probably 85F and 90% humidity. And along the ride we encountered a number of rainstorms that got us wet. But this is Malaysia, and they take it all in stride there.

We wound around lots of hilly roads, climed some long hills with very scenic vistas, passed a few interesting temples (80% of the country is Islam), and got to see some nifty open-air markets.

The turn-around point of the ride was a small town called "Batu Arang". There the group stopped and split up -- some of us went to a little Chinese cafe and ate a noodle dish...and others went to an Indian cafe to eat an interesting "pancake" (I forget what it is called...but it is something I have never seen in the USA).

The ride route was appx 120km, which is 70mi. I have no idea what our pace was because I intentionally left the bike computer at home. We were out riding about 4 hours.

Anyway, I don't want to bore you with any more of the details. But I did manage to take some photos with my cell phone. The phone got a little wet and the humidity kept steaming up the lens, so I apologize for the crappy quality.

It wasn't a mountain bike ride...but it sure was an adventure. :thumbsup:
Awesome read. I had the opportunity to go to Beijing pre-Olympics (when the bikes outnumbered the cars at least 2:1), and had this strong desire to explore the city on a bike. We saw probably 5 Westerners while we were there, two bold enough to do just that. After watching them ride around--me fearing for their lives--I thought better of it.
 

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Black and Sticky
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771 Posts
Great Experience

I also spent some time in Singapore. Was more into running then so did a lot of touring via feet versus rubber tires. Also ate some stuff that in other settings would have been considered bait.

Anyway thanks so much for sharing your experience and the pics! Very enjoyable.

Bob
 

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Fragile - must be Italian
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2,308 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
MyBike'sBroken said:
That's cool. I was also just recently in that area. I was working in Singapore for a while, which is right next door. Like you, I took a taxi everywhere. That's some crazy traffic. I think the "pancake" you are talking about is called a Roti Prata.
I was in Singapore for a week sometime in 2001. It was and still is my favorite Asian city -- so clean, beautiful, and modern. Some of the architecture there is stunning.

Back then I was much more into running so I did a number of jogging tours of Singapore from my hotel, the Copthorne...which was right on the Singapore River.

Last week I had a 10 hour layover in Singapore (from midnight to 10AM), but I decided to sleep the night in the transfer hotel in the airport instead of going out on a late night escapade. I really wanted to go into the city and hang out at a club, but I wasn't feeling very well and desperately needed the sleep. It was the right call. The Singapore Changi airport is definitely the most travel friendly airport I've been through.

Thx...Doug
 
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