akmal's bike park

akmal's bike park

Sunday, 24 August 2008

GLC Nite Ride 4 - 15 May 2008

GLC stands for Gombak Lame Cyclists - although from time to time, some of them do leave the rest of the group behind for a crack of extra adrenaline rush along the streets of Kuala Lumpur.
Following an invitation from BC Kelolo, I jumped on the chance to join the infamous GLC Nite Ride in KL.
It started from a humble request to meet him and have a chat over teh tarik. I'm attending a 2-day meeting in KL on Thursday and Friday, with no plans for Thursday night. Through emails, SMSes and even the chatbox in BBS, I was invited - as a guest of honor (fuhh!) - to ride along for the 4th GLC Nite Ride. An offer I just couldn't resist. Not because as a guest of honor, rather because I feel honored being invited to join the ride. Doubly honored? You bet.
BC offered me his gears for riding that night - gloves, helmet, and a bicycle. Well, I'm comfortable with my MET Crackerjack and pair of Bell 'replica' gloves. So I took only the bike - GTS Alfa 2. Oh, and even the water bottle was made ready for me by Kak Chik (KC) - but I used my own, though. Really thoughtful, eh? They were indeed.
BC and KC fetched me from the hotel I'm staying complete with red carpet (the red carpet was already laid by the hotel). We went straight to his home in Taman Melewar. Okay, not that straight. We went through nooks and crannies - short cuts - Bandar Baru Sentul, Taman Datuk Senu, Surau Tinggi, Kg. Padang Balang. Those were places I used to cycle to during my early teens. Being dark at night, and new development around those areas, I can't really recall those places as I used to know, though.
As we arrived, we were greeted by his kids. They are very friendly, especially Fadhlan, the youngest. I headed for solat jamak & qasar. Soon after, we had a nice dinner with the family. Right after that, BC tinkered with new sets of LED lights to put on the bikes. After everything was ready, BC, KC and I went with our complete night riding gears - helmet, gloves, tail light and headlight - to the parking lot opposite CIMB Seri Gombak.
Other riders that night were already there for some time. Among them was another guest of honor - Robert Croese from Holland, complete with full regalia of riding paraphernalia - camera, GPS, whistle, reflector stripes. I also see a few familiar faces from my new year ride in FRIM - Shaque, Dino and Jazlan.
We started a bit late. Took a left towards Taman Seri Gombak.
Childhood memories crawled bit by bit as I pedaled through. The memories of after-school trips to my friend's houses in TSG intertwined with the sweat and energy poured out while climbing the hill. Soon after going down the hill, we stopped for breath (and one of us putting in air for his tire).
Pretty much of the route was very alien for me, but I know that we went to Selayang. The initial intention was to stop by the Selayang Hot Spring. For all my life, I've never known that there is one in Selayang. The famous one is the Setapak Hot Spring - and I've never been there, either. Few of the faster riders went ahead and have been quite far away from the spot, so we had to cancel the plan. No toe dipping in the hot spring for me this time.
It was my first night ride through unlit road. It dawned on me first hand that lighting gears are very, very important. Safety First. Jazlan's DIY headlight is the testimony of that. Twin barrel of spotlights sitting on his helmet, powered by rechargeable battery complete with on/off switches. Another is Shaque's (or was it Dino's?) green alienhead attached on his rear tire valve tube. It lights up whenever there's a movement - cool, and very much serves the purpose.
Another thing that struck me immediately was that riding at night is much more relaxed - the air is cool without the blistering sun. It was quite surprising when someone hinted that we had gone 15km at one point - and I didn't break much sweat, or getting thirsty.
After the stop, on the way uphill (I've no idea where), the chain on Alfa 2 broke. My first. And no one had a tool chain available. Another lesson learnt: bring your tool chain, with spare links - and know how to use it. Well, this was advised by KLMBH, but I didn't actually take heed upon it. Luckily, a snap-on chain connector was available, and I'm saved. For much of the way from then on, I was practically on singlespeed - not wanting to risk a second chain disaster. With that also, the ride for the night was cut short.
We went up to MRR2, and headed to Batu Caves. A stop at a mamak restaurant to get acquainted with riders of that night, and to quench our thirst. For some, it's supper time. It was nearly midnight by then.
Time to go, and we headed back to BC's home. After a long chat over coffee, he sent me back to the hotel circa 2.30am. I had to decline his offer to spend the night at his house. I thought it was best to go back to the hotel. And yes, the red carpet was still there.
I thank BC and his family, also to the riders that night. It was truly a great experience. I learned many things, and made new friends. I am still thrilled by it until now. I took the experience for the night ride to Danga Bay in July, and hopefully for many more in the future.

photos with narration - from BC Kelolo's album:
link put up with permission.

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