Let’s go Mountain Biking
Watching Mountain Bikers cruise through the forests and cross country terrains always seemed exciting and I’ve always wanted to learn the skills too. Late last year, I did buy a Mountain Bike but with the intention of touring, but that didn’t happen as expected.
So since I have Mountain Bike, I decided to join a few friends since they offered to teach me a few skills and drills but boy oh boy, I didn’t expect it to be so tough! You really need a lot of, um.. “balls of steel” or nerves to really push through the obstacles. I guess my impression of Mountain Biking was deluded and in fact, I imagined a simple cross country rides through some meadows of flowers!
Needless to say, I fell. A lot of times. Repeatedly. But hey, if you haven’t broken any bones, just get up and try it again. Kevin Han, Bobby, Ong JM and Miyuki Pua was really patient to sit it out with me and ‘coax’ into believing that I could pass through the obstacles. Thanks mateys!
It was exciting to watch the avid Mountain Bikers zoom through Bukit Kiara on the trails I had not dared to try yet. Someday I will!
My article below on my foray into Mountain Biking was published in The Star newspapers on June 1st, 2013.
Bubble wrap. Previously I’d say I wouldn’t take up mountain biking unless I was fully covered in bubble wrap. I was always afraid of falling. But embrace I must, and I’m now addicted to the challenges of mountain biking.
It might be late, but better late than never to ride in Bukit Kiara KL. The mountain bike trails in Bukit Kiara was built in the late 1990s by a mountain biker and till today is maintained by mountain bikers. It builds a great sense of responsibility within the community. It’s a wonderful green lung in the heart of the city, but alas it will all be gone too soon.
With a bunch of extremely patient and encouraging buddies, Kevin, Pua, Bobby, Joon Ming and Leong, I was coerced into the depths of Kiara, only on my second time on my mountain bike ! Talk about tough love. Kiara is known as a technical trail, full of obstacles, steep switchbacks not usually associated with beginners.
Excited, apprehensive, fearful. I was a mixed bag of emotions. Would I pull through this ride?
The ride started at TTDI Park. At the start, it’s a hike-a-bike through rocky terrain at the start of The Office trail. This trail is rather cruel as it ascends immediately without time for a warm-up! Huffing and puffing my way up, we branched for a bit before coming to a halt. My buddies wanted me to try descending an obstacle. Gulp, already? I hadn’t even warmed up yet.
It was a tricky curved descent. It took a few minutes for me to gauge what I was up against and for me to gather some guts. They demonstrated how to descend a few times, gave me a few tips and a lot of encouragement. I was afraid of falling. Very afraid of falling, indeed. I had to give myself some time, have a mental picture of how to navigate and to accept that it’s ok for my front wheel to plunge half a foot or more at a time. THIS is what mountain biking is all about. Letting go, taking the plunge and ride with the flow.
A couple of failed attempts and scrapes later, I finally made it through that one descent! It was indeed scary, but now I know what to expect, I wanted to try again! So pushing my bike back up the slope, I tried again and nailed it.
Over the next 2 hours, I repeated this process a few times on numerous trails like Coronary Bypass. Trying and trying again until I could successfully concur the obstacle. Once, I smacked the right side of my body into a tree (which also stopped my fall) and yes, I had a major bruise on my thigh which made me look like a victim of domestic violence. Alas, hitting a tree is much better and safer than hitting a car when cycling on the roads.
At one of the trails called Triple Terrace, (I could’ve sworn it was spelled Terrors, instead!) Pua also fairly new to mountain biking attempted the trail. It was a steep rocky descent, even walking down was difficult! However, I bore witness to her clearing the trail on her first attempt, amazing!
We emerged on tarmac finally and I was ever so glad to greet the tarmac. Familiar territory, as I am more familiar with cycling on roads. We cycled up to the pondok where numerous other mountain bikers were resting. Shortly after, we headed onto a trail called 2k. I attempted this trail partially, but some of the inclines were too steep for me as my bike was inadequate with only 7 gears at the rear.
So I found out the true meaning of MTB, which is ‘Mari Tolak Basikal’ (Let’s hike-a-bike) ! I bailed half way, back onto tarmac while my buddies completed the trail.
Till today, I’ve revisited Kiara 3 times within a span of 2 months. Thanks to my buddies, I’ve picked up a few skills and tips on how to ride better. However, I need to set up my bike properly before I can further attempt more obstacles. Recently, I attempted another obstacle but I wasn’t able to clear it successfully as my limited position on the bike brings too much weight forward.
Although I’m a confessed adrenaline junkie, it still took a lot of guts to ride this mountain bike trail at Kiara. However, I’m glad I came, I tried and I conquered. Needless to say, I will definitely be back for more! Better ride the trails before they are lost to development.
Bukit Kiara has been the center of controversy and efforts to Save Bukit Kiara by various NGOS from the iron claws of Berjaya whom seeks to develop the green lung. Destruction in the words of many others. When men finally realize they can’t breath condos and money, it might be too late to save them.
As long as it’s valid, here’s the link to read the full article online and the PDF copy.
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