RMO Ride #1

My last ride was ten days ago. Let’s ignore that recent jaunt up and down the car park ramps. It was time to break down the fences.

The roads around where I live are almost deserted now. So I did nine loops plus a couple of excursions onto the Ampang – Kuala Lumpur Elevated Highway (AKLEH).

I live in the city centre. Kuala Lumpur (KL) gets its name from its location at the confluence of two rivers. The name Kuala Lumpur means “muddy confluence”. The Klang River meets the Gombak River about a kilometre to the west of where I live.

One end of the AKLEH terminates where I rode onto and off it. The other end of the 8km highway terminates in Ampang, just outside the eastern border of KL. I can sneak onto this end of the AKLEH because there is a U-turn before you get to the toll booths. I’m pretty sure I can’t get my bike past the toll booths.

The central business district is known as the Golden Triangle. It developed to the south of the Klang River. That is where the PETRONAS Twin Towers and the other high-rise buildings are.

The area to the north has been populated since the 1880s and today has become an amalgamation of seven villages over a 100-hectare area, known as Kampung Baru (New Village). One of the most valuable tracts of land in the capital, it has been estimated to be worth up to US$ 1.4 billion. Kampung Baru’s elders have turned developers away, saying they want to preserve their ethnic Malay lifestyle.

The cemetery is worth a pile too. I don’t think any developers have been after that bit of prime land.

This is the view of the Twin Towers from the AKLEH.

If I do get to ride again soon, it will be over this same ground.

17 response to "RMO Ride #1"

  1. By: gregblood Posted: March 26, 2020

    Interesting post Alchemy Guy. I’m not exactly a world traveler or anything and Asia is particularly . . . um . . . foreign to me, so forgive me, in all my naivete, for saying that Kuala Lumpur looks like a surprisingly modern and fantastic city.

    A few months ago, there was a Ken Burns documentary about Country & Western music on Public Television. It was pretty comprehensive, but I don’t recall seeing anything on there about Leon Russell. That’s quite an omission. Another notable thing about that documentary is that it showed some video of a very young, clean-cut, blond-haired singer named Willie Nelson. Again, in all my naivete, I couldn’t believe Willie was ever young. I thought he ALWAYS had long hair and a scruffy gray beard.

    • By: Alchemyrider Posted: March 26, 2020

      Hi Greg.

      Willie Nelson was once a young man? I don’t believe it.

      I’m glad I can introduce my home town KL to you. It has all the pluses and minuses of a modern city.

      After reading your latest post I cracked open Google Maps and explored Hastings. Including looking for that restaurant with the heated bubbles. Bella Vista was it?

      I can tell you that the Klang River ain’t no Mississippi, that’s for sure. 🤣

      Stay safe and healthy,
      Johan

      • By: gregblood Posted: March 27, 2020

        You got it, it’s the former Belle Vista. (Now called Lock & Dam Eatery)

        While the Klang maybe ain’t no Mississippi, the two rivers do seem to share a reputation for being muddy.

        • By: Alchemyrider Posted: March 28, 2020

          The Klang River is muddy alright. And pretty hemmed in as it passes through the city. It is more like a giant storm drain that a river in these parts.
          Definitely no barge traffic!

  2. By: Hopkins Escapades Posted: March 26, 2020

    What a great opportunity to ride roads that are usually packed with vehicles. Great viewpoint of the twin towers! I’ve never been in person, but they’ve been in a few different movies, which is the closest I’ve been to Kuala Lumpur (or if you’re my niece, it’s called “Koala Land Purrs”). Anyway, good post! Stay healthy & happy pedaling whenever the opportunity arises again.

    • By: Alchemyrider Posted: March 26, 2020

      Hi TJ,

      I like ‘Koala Land Purrs.’

      Stay safe and healthy,
      Johan

      • By: Hopkins Escapades Posted: March 27, 2020

        My niece is several years older now, but a number of years back one of her spelling lists was all geographical names of mountains, cities, countries, etc. I was helping her learn the list, but at the name Kuala Lumpur she adamantly told me “Koala Land Purrs” was the proper way to say it. I truly got a good laugh. As a result, it stuck with me & that’s how I think of it when I hear or see it these days.

  3. By: Suzanne Posted: March 26, 2020

    What a unique chance to cycle on innercity streets! I wonder if people will catch on that cities are nicer without all those cars? It would be a happy, but improbable, side effect of the virus.

    • By: Alchemyrider Posted: March 26, 2020

      Hi Suzanne,

      Organisations are realizing that some of their staff can work from home. I think for some companies it was a trust issue in the past. I.E. not trusting their staff to actually do work from home. That view is changing. It is interesting what a force majeure can do to change attitudes.
      So maybe we will see more flexibility in the workplace when the lockdowns are over. Let’s hope so anyway.

      Stay safe and healthy,
      Johan

    • By: Hopkins Escapades Posted: March 27, 2020

      Totally agree, Suzanne. It would be wonderful to have fewer cars and have more people mobile by pedaling their way around cities and towns.

  4. By: Tony Cullimore Posted: March 26, 2020

    Thanks Alchemy. Nice that you can get out and do a few laps without traffic hassles. I guess the air is a lot cleaner too at the moment. Keep riding while you can – we have tougher lockdowns on the horizon.

    • By: Alchemyrider Posted: March 26, 2020

      Hi Tony. Yes, like in most places, the reduction in traffic and industry has cleaned up the air.

      And yes, I do fear that tougher lockdowns are coming.

      Stay safe and healthy,
      Johan

  5. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: March 26, 2020

    Great ride with little if any traffic — The architecture there is really something!

  6. By: Scooter Posted: March 26, 2020

    Thanks for sharing your ride, but thanks too for educating us! I like knowing that Kuala Lumpur means muddy confluence.

    • By: Alchemyrider Posted: March 26, 2020

      Thank you for reading Scott.

      “Muddy Confluence” is not the most romantic of city names. That could be one reason most people call it KL rather than by its full name. Having said that, a lot of double-barreled city and town names here get shortened to acronyms:

      Petaling Jaya = PJ
      Kota Kinabalu = KK
      Kuala Terengganu = KT
      Kota Bharu = KB

      And so on.

      Stay safe and healthy,
      Johan

  7. By: The Navigator Posted: March 28, 2020

    Must have been nice to have the highway to yourself 🙂 I wonder how long the elders can hold out? Is there any push anywhere in government to preserve that history? It doesn’t really look like it given the rest of the development, but is there anything like a ‘heritage listing’ that would see it not destroyed?

    • By: Alchemyrider Posted: March 29, 2020

      Hi there. I hope you are well.

      We do have heritage-protected buildings. Some now surrounded by high-rises on all sides. There is an old Chinese temple one hundred metres from the Twin Towers for example.

      As you would expect, Kampung Baru has its supporters and detractors. I think for now there are enough individual landowners who do not want to sell their property that we won’t see large tower blocks springing up there. The individual plots are ffairly small and a developer would have to buy up dozens of adjoining plots. All you need are a couple of holdouts 😄

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