Recently, I had a work-related trip to Kuala Lumpur, and arranged for a day of sight-seeing – and emailed to a bunch of websites & forums asking about Mountain Biking while I was there.
I simply Google’d for “Mountain Biking” and “Kuala Lumpur” – and found a few blogs/sites (eg. MTBR) – and emailed to the folk at KLMBH and then Melody at the KL MTB Carnival – who put me in touch with Stanley Ng.
He suggested his favourite spot called Bukit Kiara – or to Putrajaya Challenge Park.
After a bunch of emails back and forth, It eventuated that there were no real “bike hire” places – or trailheads – but that Stan was able to borrow a bike for me – just bring shoes+pedals – he even borrowed a helmet for me – nice !
And – he’d pick me up at the hotel and take me out to Bukit Kiara – awesome.
MTB’ing in a foreign country, with a total stranger !? I guess it’s true that “a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met”.
About 4pm was the agreed time, I was waiting the lobby, and saw a car with a MTB on the back, and figured it was Stan – so we said hello and I jumped in. The weather was pretty muggy & hot – and had been raining for close to two hours – very humid !
I’m glad I wasn’t driving in KL – the traffic was chaos – peak-hour out of town – and it was SUNDAY – not even a week day – LOL !
We parked the car, and setup the bikes – attached my pedals – and prepared to set off. I quickly discovered that the brakes were the opposite to what I was used to – this could be interesting ! And slightly different feel to my own bike – took about 10 mins to get acquainted.
Scott Spark for the ride
Stan getting his bike ready to ride
As we started out, the rain began as a drizzle – actually a little relief from the heat – it was nice & cool. We rode up some tricky singletrack, through the rainforest, along the ridge of an embankment.
Getting used to the bike, and wet trails, and tight sections was a bit of a challenge at first – I bashed my shoulder into a tree, and had a few rear-wheel spin-outs – and a bit of stop-start.
Stan explained that the trails are reducing in area, mainly due to some over-development of the area – we rode past some big (BIG) fencing – they reminded me of the fences in Jurassic Park – to keep out a T-Rex.
The local mountain bike crew met with council & the construction company, and the fencing stopped – but, they simply left the materials along the forest roads – a bit of a mess.
In the wet, I was expecting the trails to be slippery & muddy – but it was more clay/clag – had more “grip” than I expected, but still unfamiliar to me – and so it was slow going.
The Singletrack was looped around and crossed a few forest roads, and we rode up a bitumen road for one section – originating at the Equestrian Centre.
Some great trail names, including Wasteland, and Snakes & Ladders.
Just after crossing a forest road (wide open trail in THIS part)
It was great to have some local knowledge – of the trails, and the area – and Stan pointed out some of the rubber trees – with bags collecting the latex. “Don’t touch ‘em – if you break the bag, and get it on you – it stinks !”
We kept riding – some tricky up-hill sections, and hike-a-bike parts – very tropical foliage – and was still raining – we were getting soaked – they don’t call it a “rainforest” for nothing…
I joked to Stan that the trails remind me of some scenes from the Colombian jungles in scenes from “Romancing The Stone” – that scene when we first meet Jack Colton (the Michael Douglas character) – LOL !
Getting hard to see
With the constant rain, my glasses were soaking wet – I needed wiper blades – and it was dark in among the trees – with an overcast (clouded) sky.
We stopped a few times – but I was soooo soaked, I couldn’t dry off my glasses. I only took a few photos – as I wasn’t sure how my rain the iPhone could handle before it conked out.
We rode from the upper-right (picture below), and across this bridge
Heading back up the trail, after the bridge
Action shot, along the river trail
The climbs were getting harder & harder with the mud, and a had a few slips & falls, and had to hike-a-bike up some sections that were just too steep.
We saw a few wild monkeys (!) – they were rummaging through the bins – one had a baby monkey on it’s back – amazing to see them in the wild – I think they were fairly used to see people.
We did one awesome section of trail with a flowing downhill segment, and then a shortish climb back up to the 4-way road crossing – we ended up doing the same loop again – and then headed up to ‘twin peaks’.
There was a bit of a view out over the valley – but it was raining, and cloudy – it would have been a great view over Kuala Lumpur, on a nice clear day.
By now, the trails had rivers of water running down, and we were entirely soaking wet – so we started to head back down to the car.
Also, it was nearly 7pm – and starting to get dark, so it was getting even more difficult to see the trails – last bit of Singletrack called TNT + Dirty Deeds. We came out onto the bitumen road for the last section, rode and down through the Equestrian Centre.
Here’s the map of the trails we covered – thanks Stan for being an awesome tour guide !
Post ride dinner + beers
After we got back to the car, we decided to ride on the suburban streets – to a local outdoor eatery – where I had to rely on Stan to help with ordering (local language).
I asked for a Thai Green Curry – but the chef told me (via translation) that it was fairly spicy (!) – so I opted for a Pad Thai noodle dish – and we ordered some beers too.
We had the courtyard to ourselves – it was raining still – but we were totally soaking wet – so didn’t bother us. Stan said that they often head to the same place after rides – and so he knew the local staff.
Over noodles & some Tiger beers, we chatted about Australia & Malaysia, and the various cultural, religious, social & economical differences – and personal family situations with up-coming Christmas & Chinese New Year.
It turns out Stan went to university in Melbourne, and lived there for five years – so we knew some similar areas & suburbs.
He & his wife are hoping to come to Melbourne again – hopefully for a work placement (residency visa) – and so I’ll have to take him out to Lysterfield for some trails.
After we’d finished a few beers – the rain had stopped (doh !) – and we rode slowly back to the car – and loaded up the bikes. I had to sit on some newspaper as I was still sopping wet – and didn’t want to get mud on the leather seats (nice car, Stan !)
It was a fairly easy drive back to the hotel – and I said goodbye to my new biking buddy about 9.30.
Wow – what a great afternoon + evening – some great trails, and a unique wilderness – and good local knowledge. And, lots of chatting over noodles & beer.
Thanks Stan – hope to see you in Melbourne sometime !
The last time I had an overseas trip, I went MTB’ing in the SNOW (Seattle) – so I can now add “Malaysian rainforest” – awesome !