Welcome to the bustling tourist towns of Da Nang and Hoi An, Vietnam! Ancient conflicts cannot be seen here, but rather a booming business landscape that attracts both near and far to behold.
On the dawn of the 9th December 2018, over a thousand cyclists took on the grueling climb from Ipoh up to Cameron Highlands after a heavy night of rain.
This year marks the fourth edition of the Darul Ridzuan Cycling Club (DRCC) King of Mountain series.
Going up the Simpang Pulai route, you find Ipoh is surprisingly close to Cameron Highlands.
You also get to admire a lot of the ominous limestone monoliths that Ipoh is famous for.
And it’s nice and misty in the morning.
One thing to note is the lack of shops or stalls along the way. The first major food joint is more than halfway into the climb, which is almost 50km!
And if you keep your eyes peeled, you can spot some of the remnants of the open mining they used to do in these parts. It’s looking a lot nicer now, but who knows how deep this man-made pit goes?
The stadium is always a popular spot for events in Bukit Mertajam. It’s a popular venue with the regular runners in the area, and there’s an Olympic sized swimming pool around the back. There’s also plenty of parking in the vicinity!
Uh…no, this isn’t the swimming pool.
The actual parking lot of the stadium is always converted into an exhibition and staging zone, with canopies, chairs and food trucks lining the boulevards.
The BM Charity Ride is one of the only cycling events in Malaysia that I know that gives long sleeved bike jerseys with a zippered pocket on the back.
But I digress. The ride itself was well coordinated – the major junctions were well guarded, although the overall police force was still a little thin.
The police worked very closely with the traffic marshalls to keep riders in line. There was a lot of whistling. At least I assumed it was from the marshalls.
There was sufficient signage, pointing out directions for riders as well as a few warning signs of impending doom.
There were a few fun climbs of significant elevation, but fortunately the climbs were short-lived and were mostly rolling hills, providing quick relief to fatigued riders.
The midway water station was very well manned and stocked, with plenty of bananas and bottled water to go round twice!
Riders were well taken care of, not just by the volunteers handing out goodies, but by the overwhelming number of media personnel – there were photographers and videographers and drones coming out our ears!
Pretty sure there were at least three DJI drones hovering at the starting point.
The route was quite pleasant, with a good view of the hills and palm plantations around BM.
It also took us through the old town of BM, ending up with a nice loop of 48 kilometres.
After the ride, there was lots of activities to keep participants occupied. Of course, the ever important food and drink!
It got hot fast today, so a lot of riders left without much ado. However, the ones that stayed got to try out e-bikes and sample tea and ice cream.
Also, there were lots of goodies for all the school children from the many (over 13) schools in the local region that the BM Charity Ride made contributions to. Always heart warming to see such support for our local schools. Or maybe it was just the heat from the scorching tropical morning sun.
Overall, a nicely organised ride with emphasis on safety and being family friendly. The speeches were short, the riders were rambunctious, the weather was wonderful. The downside is the pockets on the jerseys weren’t fully attached to the jerseys, resulting in many droopy pouches popping out people’s backs.
The Tour de SPS ride by the Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) concluded this 28th of October 2018, so here’s the event review!
Flag off was at 7:30am, and it was pretty punctual. Riders were funneled around the main police department building (IPD SPS), and the road around the block was a two-lane street, but it felt like a single.
Weather was top notch, with hardly any sun and a strong cloud cover. Nice and cool almost the entire ride, with a light breeze to waft our spirits.
The route was largely flat, with brief elevations over bridges. There were a couple of steep climbs towards the end of the ride, but apart from that they stuck very much to their 56km intended route.
There were two major checkpoints and water stations, with bananas and apples to supplement the water and 100Plus. Bananas depleted quickly at the first water station, but there was still plenty of stuff to go around.
Traffic control and marshall support was superb, with two officers at every major junction. To be fair, this event was run by the police, so you would expect them to hold nothing back.
The ride was open to all ages, and it was encouraging to see a large influx of junior and female riders.
Insert random artsy bike shot:
Alright, that’s enough bike photos. Back to the Tour de SPS!
The route took us through many nice forested areas and green paddy fields, over quiet mountains and around the Nibong Tebal rural district. A pleasant route with decent road conditions.
And for the post-event, there was a medal and solid food:
It was a little spicy, but rice and chicken! Usually would just expect some pickled veggies, or bread.
There were over a hundred lucky draw prizes, from hampers to bike helmets to a motorbike!
Perhaps one thing to do might be to put up some bike parking, as the entire courtyard became a bike dozing zone.
There was a Milo truck handing out drinks, as well as ample water and 100Plus. There was a truckload of bananas and bread to boot.
The lucky draw went by very quickly (largely due to the overcast skies and threat of rain) and was most efficient! The emcee did a great job keeping everyone entertained, and the general feeling was that was satisfaction.
Overall, a great ride event that kept participants around until the end of the event, which is relatively rare for cycling events these days. Safety and support were of a high standard, and everything worked out smoothly.
Keep up the good work, PDRM! Look forward to the Penang Bridge Night Ride (even though it starts in the middle of the night).
What better day to take a romp into the wilds of Langkawi than during monsoon season, with waves of precipitation crashing into us intermittently?
Don’t worry – it’s a rhetorical question.
We already did it.
There is this amazing stretch in the cycling trip where you get to jetski across a dam on your bike!
Yes, that’s right! Ride across a flooded dam on your bike!
Not to worry – it’s perfectly safe, assuming the current isn’t too strong or the water is too deep. You’ll be fine.
I mean, most people usually take ATV’s or trucks. But those guys are wusses.
Yeah, you heard me!
Through endless rubber plantations and paddy fields – lush greenery all the way!
And the occasional critter that will stop and stare.
To be honest, I think we’re the ones that stop and stare more.
Did I mention it was monsoon season?
So come join us into the wilds of Langkawi!
Yeah, come join us in this dark and creepy forest…
Another highly memorable section is this super secret pathway that extends out onto the ocean. Technically it’s private property, so I can’t tell you where the entrance is.
It’s part of a wave breaker wall that was privately constructed, but not very well maintained. It curves out over the west coast of Langkawi Island.
And off we go to another adventure!
The inaugural Asia Pacific Masters Games has just taken place, right here in Penang, Malaysia! Here are some brief glimpses of the Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games that took place in September of 2018.
Now I bet you’re sitting there like the Thinker, thinking to yourself:
What is the Masters Games?
Well, put simply – Masters refers to veterans, or those who are typically outside the range and considered “past the prime” for competitive sports.
Basically the Masters Games is an all-encompassing international multi-sport event, like the Olympics, but for all ages and abilities!
Anyway, this is the opening ceremony for Penang’s Asia Pacific Masters Games.
It went off with several bangs.
And of course some speeches.
And some snazzy song and dance to keep everyone entertained.
And of course some colourful things to thrill the throngs!
Did I mention there were a lot of bangs?
And here’s the swimming segment of the Masters Games:
And here’s the cycling segment:
Healthy drinks and sporting events are made for each other! Hope he’s ready for some good business!
If you’ve been to a remotely competitive sports events, there is one thing you inevitably experience – waking up and being outside at an ungodly hour before the sun has even risen.
You will have experienced the day and night in the course of that event. This is the day and night of the Kerian International Duathlon.
But first, stay in school, kids:
Here are some glimpses into the Kerian International Duathlon (the fourth edition):
Did I mention getting up at the crack of dawn?
And then there’s the transition area where you set up a nice little home for yourself in the darkness of night:
And there’s the end! That was fast!
Don’t worry guys, he’s fine.
On the day of Eid al-Adha – the Day of Sacrifice in Malaysia, we did a rowdy ride around Penang Island. We witnessed and endured much, with the rain coming down on us halfway through our ride. There were also some rather gory scenes, with public slaughter of livestock (it isn’t called the Day of Sacrifice for nothing), which I will spare you.
It’s mostly our usual cyclist shenanigans.