Thursday, 9 March 2017

Momentous Meeting to address Road Sense and Road Safety

Concerned and Caring individuals from all walks of life
The meeting in session
Even 2 doctors took time off from their clinics to come
Stephen, down with a cold sitting with our friendly police officers, HRC marshals and Kg Majidee representative
Not everything was downright serious. There were light moments too!

Following the horrific road accident on 18 February 2017 where 8 children were plough to their death by a car in Johor Bahru, the cycling community called for an emergency assessment on road sense and road safety. A meeting was held to address these issues besides problems posed by the Basikal Nyamuk Culture and to make a call for more bicycle lanes. The meeting received overwhelming support from several cycling clubs in Johor Bahru and individuals as well. We were most touched when Tuan Yahaya, Head of Crime Prevention & Community Safety in Johor decided to grace our meeting and even called on his officers from several districts to attend as well.

Neen, serving freshly brewed coffee
A pre warming up session on coffee tasting and appreciation was conducted by Neen, manager of Starbucks Taman Seri Austin before the meeting was called to order by Chairperson, Stephen Ngu of HRC. He thanked everyone for making the time to come for this momentous event.

On the Basikal Nyamuk (Jempol) Culture, Azwana, a representative from Kg Majidee shared first hand experience on why the culture existed and could sustain. A reach out program will be conducted later with open invitations to all riding clubs to participate. There was also a call to provide basic safety gadgets such as lights and helmets to the children.

Several issues raised were given avenues for resolve :
1. Dangerous bends, blind junctions and bad road structures such as holes are to refer to local municipalities in writing. Another alternative is to address Datuk Bandar through his Facebook account.
2. Errant motorists such as unlawful parking on bike lanes, dangerous driving and speeding are to be issued summonses.
3. Jempol cyclists seen on the road should be reported to the police. Summons issued to them may deter them from further indulging in this dangerous activity.
4. Educate the motorists to respect ALL road users. It is important for motorists to know that cyclists have a right to be on the road.

On the need for more bicycle lanes, it was reaffirmed to be within the jurisdiction of local authorities and KKR as well. Asia Cycling Network will be drafting a letter to KKR requesting for emergency lanes on the Iskandar Coastal Highway and several key roads to be converted into bicycle lanes as these are major cycling routes connecting the north of Malaysia to JB and Singapore. It was agreed that motorists will be more aware and alert to cyclists if it was highlighted to them in the form of bicycle lanes and signage. This will ensure the safety of cyclists besides promoting orderly riding practices.

The group highlighted to Tuan Yahaya the routes frequently used by long distance cyclists and tourers as well. Everyone agreed that the alternative route connecting to the north of JB, ie Jalan Skudai is too dangerous for cyclists.

The police reaffirmed that until further notice, cyclists may continue to use Iskandar Coastal Highway. However, tolled highways such as PLUS are out of bounds to cyclists.

Before the meeting was adjourned, some safety issues were highlighted:

1. Police Hotline - Take the initiative to know your locality and district. Save police hotline numbers in your phone and remember them by heart. Preach the number to other cyclists before every ride.
2. Report on any suspicious persons to prevent crime
3. Bring a loud whistle
4. All petrol station especially Shell has been briefed on what to do during an emergency. Therefore, seek help from a petrol station!
5. Download Community Alert App into your handphones. All you need to do is press the alert button and the police will return call immediately!
6. Always wear safety gears on public road.
7. Do not ride alone
8. Identify safe routes and have good road sense
9. Strava users are advised not to turn on the app from home, do not post on Facebook and do not have the habit to use the same route every time
10. Inform your friendly neighbourhood police whenever you ride out in a group. The officers on patrol will be able keep an eye on your safety.

Police Hotline
Pusat Kawalan Daerah 07-2232222
IPK 07-2212999
JBS 07-2218999
JBU 07-5605728
Iskandar Puteri 075113622

Friday, 3 March 2017

Cendol to Cendol Ride!!! (26 February 2017)

The team with Saito
Chin Po with the Madcats
Emulating JKR's SOP, one person does the job while the rest look on!!
.....but when the camera is flicked out, he gave the thumbs up!
"The hills are alive...."
Choo Choo and Moo Moo!!!
Springy wantan mee with a shiny coat that could only be lard from Layang Layang
Cendol from Renggam ... tastes almost like Taiping's
JKR finally caught up!!! The 50 m gravel road is now yesterday's story

It was embarrassing to be late. Everyone were geared up and all ready when Claudine and VT pulled up at the car park. They tried their best to make up for the delay, one to unload and the other to set up. Thankfully, Foldies made it easier!

In less than 5 minutes, we started rolling. However, 1 km later, Claudine stopped to turn on her Strava! This was a new route which she MUST record for keepsakes!!!

Chasing the group, she spotted Thomas Tai by the side of the road, waiting. No ladies are to be left behind after last Wednesday night's attack on Sue! It was a nice and welcomed gesture.

The first 20 km route was on flat terrain going through Kg Sri Gambut. We suffered a 50m stretch of gravel road but beyond that was the perfect "bike path" that only saw 3 cars passing us. We traversed through quiet palm oil estates, rolled past a swab of cow dungs, went under the PLUS highway and even crossed Sungai Pontian Besar twice!!! Along the way we rolled alongside irrigation canals and watergates.

Exiting Kampung Rahmat, we joined the federal trunk road 1 of Jalan Kulai-Sedenak for a short while before turning to the quieter road of Jalan Sedenak. The climb began immediately and will continue for the next 23 km to Layang Layang.

After our first climb, we made our first pitstop at the Hua Guo Shan Temple. Saito who gave us a friendly honk at the junction below came out of his car to exchange greetings with us. This is his favourite playground, coming here often with the Madcats. Today, his 2 other friends were with him.

While we rode mostly in clusters and within sights of each other on the flat road earlier, the hills eventually separated us. The roadbikers had an advantage and sped ahead. VT was the first foldie to arrive at Layang Layang while Claudine who rode mostly alone was overtaken by Desmond on the last 500 meters!

Somewhere in the midst of the palm oil estate, Ah Ping had a puncture. Wong turned back to check on him while Tan and Suzie eventually caught up to give assistance. The poor souls arrived after everyone had finished breakfast!

Most of everyone elected to continue on as planned to Renggam. Even Yan Lin who arrived at Layang Layang alone and ahead of the tyre rescue team was all roaring to go. All except VT who elected to return to Hua Guo Shan to wait for the returning party.

There are only 3 hills to Renggam. Gradual but long, the climb seems never ending! Still in good spirits, we arrived to iced cold Cendol, courtesy of Ah Ping! 
Just as before, we were separated again on our return to Layang Layang. This cannot be avoided as everyone have different climbing abilities. 
Arriving back at Guang Fatt Wantan Mee shop, Bernie called quits. Yan Lin and Tan who feared the next set of hills, jumped on the support car. They dropped off at Hua Guo Shan to finish the last leg home.
Chin Po, who was part of the remaining 6 riders was first to arrive at the temple. He was followed closely by Claudine. However, Ah Ping had another puncture midway which held back Thomas, Wong and Desmond, lending a helping hand.

As the group had planned for a lunch break of Ham Cha, a healthy concoction of tea and mint soup taken mostly with vegetarian rice, VT and Claudine left for base on their own. Even with Hakka blood running in his blood stream, VT had not acquired the mint taste! Thomas too, skipped lunch and rode back to base alone!

Everyone suffered the scorching afternoon sun but some unlucky ones like VT and Claudine were trapped by hot tar at Kg Sri Gambut! The road was so narrow, there was no escape route! They suffered the last few kilometers riding on wheels laden with tar, adding extra weight and extra rolling resistance!!! As Claudine rolled back to base at the Cendol stall at Jalan Melayu Raya, it is indeed "food' for thoughts that our route has 2 ends of Cendol, the other one at the Renggam railway station!!