I picked up a birthday “tradition” while living in The Netherlands. I think some of you share it. Ride Your Age. In most cases, this means a ride length equal to or longer than your chronological age. My Duch cycling friends added a maximum speed equal to or faster than your chronological age to the mix.
It sounded like a good idea ten years ago. Less so now. There will come a time when the ever-increasing miles required turns this tradition into a fool’s errand. Nevertheless, I set out on a solo ride this morning to ride my age in miles. This was my first chance for a ride since my birthday last week.
The route was a mix of motorcycle lanes, main roads and quieter back streets.
To make sure I covered the necessary miles for my age I took a little detour to Bandar Saujana Putra. All those lakes are disused tin mining pools. In the 1880s Malaya as it was then was the largest tin producer in the world. As late as 1979 Malaysia was still producing 30% of the world’s tin. Much of the mining was done by floating dredges. The chain of buckets on the front scooped up the tin-bearing soil, which then passed through an oscillating drum and a system of jigs and screens to extract the tin, before spewing out the waste material at the rear end through a number of chutes.
The heydey of the tin dredge has passed. Tin prices collapsed in 1985 and the tin mining industry in Malaysia went into terminal decline. The ponds which were left behind have become prime real estate spots. My guess is that in five years a photograph taken from this spot will show waterfront homes lining this pool.
The morning stayed overcast so I had a very pleasant ride. As a bonus, I hit my age in kilometres per hour too. There is a one kilometre stretch in Subang Jaya (see the top centre of the route above) which has an average gradient of -1.6%. The slope certainly helps. This is also the location of a major highway exit. You come off the motorcycle lane and ride for that kilometre amongst five lanes of traffic. The resulting adrenaline boost helps with top speed too!
Another year. Another Ride Your Age in the bag.