Touring by bicycle is one of the best ways of seeing a country. Getting in touch with the people and the place is easy while riding. Cycling Malaysia takes a look at cycle touring in this multi part series, and how you can get into it.
Cycle touring is something that is easily done by anyone with any fitness level. It is a matter of choosing your destination and getting on your bike. A ride can be anything from a quick day trip to have lunch outside the city, to an epic, multi-day, multi country tour. It all comes down to your planning, preparation and mind set.
Checking The Bike Should Preferably Be Done The Day Before A Ride, So That There Is Time To Deal With Any Problems
For those new to long distance riding by bicycle, choosing the correct route is important. Too difficult, and you are likely to give up before you get there. In this case, the route chosen was a day trip to Kuala Selangor from the city, along a ‘B’ country road that was mostly flat. This route was also chosen because there are a lot of places to stop and take refreshments, an important consideration for new riders, or those who are less fit. Taking a well travelled route also means that help isn’t too far away if something goes wrong.
Since this was only a day trip, there wasn’t much to do in the way of packing. 2 panniers were used to carry camera gear and tools, but weren’t really necessary. The load could have easily been stored in a single backpack. The bike was checked carefully for functionality before starting off. This included checking that the brakes were working, the gears shifted smoothly and properly, that the tyres were inflated to the correct pressure and the wheels and fork moved without stiction or binding. Other nuts, bolts and mountings were checked to ensure that nothing was loose. Checking the bike should preferably be done the day before a ride, so that there is time to deal with any problems. 2 water bottles were carried more for insurance than anything else, since it was planned to get refreshments along the route.
Touring by bicycle is about riding at your own pace. This isn’t a race, so pacing is important. Having a set destination in mind, you can calculate the pace you need to keep to arrive at a specific time, including stops. Depending on the time you set off, bear in mind traffic conditions can be heavy along certain points of the route. This is where riding aware and defensively is required. The time at which you ride will also decide what kind of protection you may need from the Malaysian sun. Sunglasses or shaded protective eyewear is compulsory, and sunblock would be a good idea for those who tan easily. The nice thing about cycle touring is the ability to stop almost wherever you like. Keeping hydrated is important, so keeping a couple of water bottles filled and ready is a good idea.
Kuala Selangor is a fishing town that is famous for its seafood restaurants located by the river. It is also the location of a wetlands park, and for its fireflies. Located an easy 70 kilometer ride from Kuala Lumpur, it is a favourite weekend destination for foodies. Bukit Melawati is a small hill that gives good views of the surrounding countryside. You can feed the silver hair monkeys by purchasing bananas from vendors. At the bottom of the hill is a wetlands park where you can watch and photograph raptors and migratory birds. Across the river in Pasir Penampang you can find several seafood restaurants which Kuala Selangor is famous for. There is more development on this side of the river, with a big shopping mall and many new commercial and residential developments in progress. If you plan to stay the night, you can take a firefly boat tour from Kampung Kuantan, which is located on the river about 7 kilometers from Kuala Selangor town.
Cycle touring is something everyone can do. A specialised touring bicycle isn’t really necessary, nor is any specific gear, but it does make the trip easier and more enjoyable.