by Samo | Posted on Friday, January 20th, 2012
HELLO people! This week, we examine the practicality of cycling to work.
For starters, the Malaysian weather isn’t exactly ideal for long commutes on the small vehicle lane (motorcyles and bicycles) in the Klang Valley. If you think that the roads aren’t friendly to bicycles, well, there are some pros and cons.
The Federal Highway connects motorists and small vehicles like motorcyles and bicycles from Klang to Kuala Lumpur and vice versa.
Take the Federal Highway in Kuala Lumpur for example – there is a motorcycle lane that begins in Jalan Brickfields that leads all the way to Klang. This is easily some 50kms of road which is specifically-built for motorcycles and bicycles.
Its flat all the way with some exceptions in Petaling Jaya and Shah Alam.
I live in Subang Jaya and the cycling distance from my home in USJ26 to my office in Section 16, Petaling jaya is roughly about 21.7km.
All in a day’s work: the distance clocked.
On the average, my commuting round-trip would take about 43km return.
To get to the Federal Highway motorcycle lane, I must first cycle for 10km through USJ 20, 1 and SS19 before I could enter the special lane.
A shot of the Federal Highway as seen through the writer’s cockpit – taken entirely in Samovision…
And throughout the ride, I try to avoid the busy Persiaran Kewajipan and the entire length of Persiaran Tujuan.
The route through Kewajipan is paved with long slopes and the only way to cut across the hills is through USJ1 and USJ 4.
Short and long climbs are pretty much the norm in this case and on a folding bike, a 20″ wheel would easily tackle the task.
Since there is a need for a change of clothes, I would carry my gear in a rear pannier and had invested in a pair of Ortlieb Frontrollers (these are sold at bikeshops in PJ and parts of KL at RM450 a pop).
The panniers are capable of carrying a spare change of clothes with my working essentials as well as room for spare inner tubes and a recovery kit.
Some workplaces are equipped with a gymnasium where you can clean-up. Here, the writer is seen at his workplace in Petaling Jaya.
Now, with road debris scattered all the way, I urge you to learn to patch your inner tube if you experience puncture.
So far, I’ve been using my Schwalbe Big Apple 2.0 tires without a single flat on my Dahon Speed P8.
I can say the same with the Marathon Supreme tires on my Dahon Jetstream EX. Puncture protection is very important if you cycle to work on the main road.
And when you are cycling on the Federal Highway’s motorcycle lane, be sure to keep left and allow passing motorcycles to overtake. I haven’t had any serious issues when it comes sharing the road motorised two-wheelers.
This section of the motorcycle lane in Petaling Jaya along the Federal Highway is considered one of the most dangerous stretches for cyclists using the facility.
As far as I am concerned, the bikers are courteous enough to avoid me when I am cycling on the lane.
For the humid weather, I would recommend a dry-fit T-shirt or a cycling jersey. To clean-up, liquid soap and a micro-fibre towel would do the job.
IS IT PRACTICAL?
Well, people who cycle to work, with the exception of foreign workers here in Malaysia, are far and few in between.
One of the highly outspoken advocate on this issue is my friend Ng Chor Guan (www.ngchorguan.com) who does this daily.
Guan, a music composer, is also a well-respected foldie with plenty of ultra long-distance commutes under his belt.
Way I see it, you have to be brave to cycle in heavy traffic and be street-wise enough to aviod places with too many heavy vehicles.
If you get caught in bad weather, there are places along the small vehicle lanes where you can seek shelter.
Cycling to work is practical if you live within a short-distance from your home to workplace. Once you go beyond 25km, you have plan your ride and also avoid cycling at night and in bad weather.
Before you hit the road, make sure that your bike is in good working order. Check your brakes, tire wear, air pressure and carry drinking water. Always hydrate.
Its also adviseable to carry a recovery kit in your saddlebag. Items like a spare inner-tube, patch kit, C02 inflator, magic link for your chain would come in really handy.
Also be ready to invest in a bike bag in days when you have to pack your bike and get a ride from your colleague back to your home.
Bicycle headlights and a rear blinker would come in handy when you cycle in failing light. And lastly, never ride without your protective gear. Always cycle with your helmet and gloves!
Well, there we have it, I hope that I’ve covered the basics in this issue. So, till we meet again, ride safe and take care!
Article Source http://www.baikbike.com/cycling-to-work-2/