At the dawn of an overcast yet auspicious morning, the authorities of new and old gathered with cyclists and joggers to celebrate the completion and official opening of the massive new spiral bridge – officially known as the Jambatan Harapan, the Bridge of Hope For those that are unaware, this is a nod to the name of the winning party in the recent election, the Pakatan Harapan.
Much revelry was had at this grand structure that finally allows pedestrians and cyclists a safe way across the busy Penang Lim Chong Eu Expressway – a link between Queensbay Mall and the industrial zone
After going around the spiral bridge, you will find yourself on a wide new bicycle path heading straight towards the largest (and busiest) roundabout in Penang, with Krystal Point on the right.
There is a stream (read: big ravine) that runs along the bike path. However, the refuse from the surrounding plants and factories has turned it into a foul-smelling cesspool of stagnant floaties.
Still needs to be some beautification on both sides of the bike path, but the spiral bridge itself is a grand testament to just how much Penangites like to cycle (and show off)!
I hope the Bridge of Hope stands strong as a testament to the mighty will of the people of Malaysia, as well as a proud hope for a better tomorrow from this day forward.
Introducing the brand new Spiral Bridge of Hope – right in time to usher in a new era of Malaysian history!
This circular landmark can be found a few klicks south from the popular Queensbay Mall on the south-east side of Penang Island.
And it’s purposefully made with pedestrians, runners and cyclists in mind!
Although I’m sure motorcyclists will find their way up it, as they do.
With a height of 11 metres, a length of over 250 metres, and a gradual 5 degree slope (compared to some of the more ridiculous slopes we have here in Penang), this bridge was designed to not only be accessible by the physically robust or those with motorised assistance; even the most inexperienced cyclist and pedestrian can easily make their way up this tower bridge.
The new spiral bridge will act as both a safe passageway across the highway as well as a magical lookout point to this side of Penang Island. Although not immediately apparent from below, at its peak there is a large circular platform that provides quite the view!
To the west you can see all the way into Penang’s heart and suburban central, and to the east you gaze upon both of Penang’s massive bridges as well as Pulau Jerejak just 800m across the channel.
Maybe not so sightly at the moment with all the reclamation going on.
It was a clever idea to incorporate a viewing platform into this bridge; in doing so its value has been multiplied tremendously. The bridge is now more than just another overhead bridge – it is a potent tourist hotspot, a gathering point for landscape photographers, a place to relax and look up at the open sky.
So where does it go?
The spiral bridge starts from the south of Queensbay Mall in Bayan Lepas and stretches west across Penang’s busiest highway – the Lim Chong Eu north-south expressway. It bends around the tennis courts of Intel and along Penang’s Free Trade/Industrial Zone.
This bridge will serve to connect the coastal Bayan Bay area with the Sungai Nibong and the Bayan Baru area where Penang’s largest roundabout and Krystal Point are. All in all the project cost a decent 8.9 million, which is perhaps a little more than I would pay, but what do I know about building bridges?
The reason it is unofficially known as the Spiral Bridge of Hope is because the party that overthrew the previous government stronghold is named the Hope Party (Pakatan Harapan).
So here’s to hoping this bridge remains a beacon of our dreams and wishes for Malaysia for many years to come.
Medan is a mighty interesting place not a stone’s throw away from Peninsular Malaysia. It’s not a densely packed Asian metropolis – think of it as the Auckland of Indonesia. It’s got majestic mountains and substantial bodies of beautiful blue water.
Their sate is certainly saucy.
If you want to visit the legendary Lake Toba, then you’ve got to take a nice long trip inland – roughly 3 hours by bus across 180km.
The trip to Parapat, the primary port town that services Lake Toba and the immense island at its centre, is relatively serene and plain. There are a few rolling hills, with lots of paddy fields and simple estates on either side.
However, as you wind your way up the final stretches of bendy mountain roads approaching Parapat (oh, you will know), get ready for the breathtaking reveal!
Word on the streets is that KL has gotten some brand new blue (di da dum da) bicycle lanes, so I figured I’d check it out. And what better way than by bike!
Just so happens KL was hosting the World Urban Forum, where people gather to discuss things like city planning, global warming and how to grow veggies on your rooftop.
Below you will find lengthy sequences of our journey along the blue bike lanes of central KL. We began in a beautified back alley of Chinatown, not far from the Central Market, and after travelling about 7.5 klicks we ended up back where we started.
Certainly takes you past some of KL’s nicer landmarks, although it’s a shame the paths don’t extend into Bukit Bintang. Cyclists love to shop, too!
Now onto the pictures in strange reverse chronological order!
A popular cycling route in the northern Malaysian region is the trip to the beach of independence – Pantai Merdeka. This independent stretch of beach is a prominent spot along the Kedah coastline, right at the delta of the Muda River where it meets the sea.
Typically we begin from the R&R just past the toll gates of the Butterworth Outer Ring Road (BORR, as the local cyclists call it). It’s a straight ride up from the Butterworth Ferry Terminal.
Straight roads and paddy fields greet you most of the way.
As expected of a sleepy coastal town, fishing is the go-to activity and thus the seafood is abundant. Mee Udang is a readily available dish, although I’m told the place we went to (a hill away from Pantai Merdeka) is the best.
And the best Mee Udang is actually at Pasir Salak, not Pantai Merdeka, although there is a stall at the food court there.
Pasir Salak is over a kilometre away from Pantai Merdeka, and is a little industrial zone with a little island (bemusingly named Leftover Island – Pulau Baki in Malay) just off the beach.
Not letting sleeping cats lie.
The road to Pantai Merdeka is fairly well marked out. However, there are a few alternate routes to reach the final stretch of beach, so definitely have a check beforehand.
Along the way to Pantai Merdeka, there is a prominent monument to the victims of the tsunami that hit the northern region back in 2004.
You can kind of make out the big stack of dinghies on the right.
Let me begin by telling you what a chore it is hauling ass over to the other side of the island before the crack of dawn.
As a cyclist, I’m no stranger to waking up at some ungodly hour to hit the dark, damp dirt on my bike. However, having to load up the bikes and rev up the steep secluded hills along the windy Paya Terubong Road really takes the cake.
Of course it is entirely worth it – all to catch a glimpse of the tranquil paddy fields at dawn and the fluffy fog that caresses the green, restless earth.
Of course, the company of jovial riders makes the journey much more enjoyable and memorable, albeit in a semi-conscious, sleep-deprived daze.
We passed lots of interesting places, like these prawn farms, and goat farms which was strangely populated by numerous non-goats. Among them a mouse deer and an ostrich.
Oh, and lots and lots of cats.
I can haz cheezburger?
We crossed many bridges and irrigation rigs and water-filled passages and drains.
And some residential plots.
And of course back to the green green grass of Balik Pulau.
The glorious dawn of nature. Witnessing it two days in a row really makes you think – why don’t I do this more often?
Because sleep. That’s what.
Dis is my bike now
What do you hoomans take me for? Some rag doll plaything that you ca-oh yeah, scratch right there. Yeah, that’s the spot.
Now I’m guessing you’ve been using the Strava app to map out your rides, and have recently discovered this super nifty feature known as Relive (Relive.cc, to be precise).
Relive has very cleverly tied themselves in with Strava, and once you sign up for the service this software will automatically (with the help of some code monkeys in the back) generate one of those ride videos like the ones you see on the Tour de France!
Do note that all Relive videos have no audio. You’ll just have to get creative.
Here’s how you can download the source video so you can add audio and otherwise edit the video:
Log your ride to Strava and wait for the Relive video to be created
Next to the Relive video, right click anywhere and select “View Page Source”
You will be taken inside the Matrix to view the source code
In here, search for a URL link ending in “.mp4”
Copy the entire link text
Paste the link into your browser tab and play it
You can click the download button in the corner, or right click and select “Save video as…”
You can now do with your Relive video whatever you please.
Do note that the copyright of the video may technically still belong to Relive.cc, so don’t go using it in any commercial setting without their permission.
Right before the destructive typhoon Damrey came through the north of Peninsular Malaysia, we took to the rural streets of Bertam and Kepala Batas on our bikes, in an effort to raise awareness for increasing the sustainability of our human exploits.
Overall not a tough ride: we started in Kepala Batas in the north of Penang state, and made our way westward towards the sea.
A very leisurely and almost entirely flat ride (save a few flyovers and bridges).
And here’s more biking action with musical accompaniment!