Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Campaign for A Lane 2012

Venue: Esplanade, Penang
Date: 9th September 2012
Time: 7.00am

Firstly, kudos the G Club Cyclist and Rotary Club Tanjung Bungah for a well organized event. There wasn't any glitch from collection of goodie bag, ride flag off or finish area. The food line and medal collection was simple and hassle free. There were enough buffet lines for food such that the crowd was well spaced out. The expo was also pretty great... it is one of those rare glimpses of event expos where there are actually tons of booths with actual things to look at or buy!

Did I enjoy my second CFAL (my first being its inaugral event in 2009)? Lie Wei and I rode together all the way. I definitely took the ride easy. It was not a race and I wasn't really pushing myself. Granted I have not been on my bike since Century Ride in Ipoh also says a lot about my biking fitness. There were parts of the ride which I did have a good time but overall I felt I was jostling for road space half of the time and trying to avoid getting taken out by my dear fellow cyclists the other half. Perhaps next time, I need to ditch the clipless shoes and use my sneakers. Personally, I think a lot of the cyclists who participated in CFAL still had a lot to learn about good bike handling skills and cycling etiquette and a cycling event of such a large scale might not be the best place to do so. I also think that road users in Penang still have a long way to go in "sharing the road".

Lie Wei and I along the airport stretch
(Photo credit: Yeow Chin Hong)

Some incidences still stay fresh in my mind:

1. During the long straight the stretch that led towards Pulau Betong, I called out "On your right" to a cyclist in front of me as I moved to try and overtake. He did not move, so Lie Wei then called out "Please keep to your left" and again he did not move. In the end, we both had to overtake him by moving even further out on the road.  He was not wearing a MP3 player so I am very sure he heard us both. I think some cyclists also need to learn how to "share the road".

2. While making my way up from Balik Pulau to Teluk Bahang through the hilly section I had a few cyclist lose cadence on the steeper sections and wobbled their way into my path as I was overtaking them, thus I had to swerve out to avoid being hit by them.

3. At Titi Kerawang, a fellow cyclist on my left suddenly yelled  "Cramp" and immediately serve sharply to the right as he headed for the road shoulder on the other side to stop. I am so sorry that all I could offer back was "Oii" instead of "Hope the cramp gets better" as I was trying to avoid being rammed. A big thank you to his fellow friend in front who braked suddenly in front of me to stop and join him. Pulling over would have been much better.

3. Along Gurney, which in my opinion, is a particularly dangerous stretch to cycle on, seeing the amount of cars parking or leaving from the side of the road, I grabbed my water bottle to drink only to hear Lie Wei call, "Car coming out". Erms... a bit too late, with my water bottle in hand, I moved to grab my brake as the car in front of me braked to allow the car to leave the parking lot. To avoid him, I swerved out onto oncoming traffic on the opposite side. I was thankful the car on the opposite was going slow or I would have been road kill.

4. After my near death incident along Gurney, a women driving a car pulled up beside me while on the same stretch and drove  really close to me. Definitely not 1.5m thus leaving me no choice but to slow down and moved behind her.

Things that CFAL organizers can do to improve on:

1. Even though I understand that the purpose of CFAL is to create awareness for cyclists in Penang and to have our own lane, but it might be important to note that having too many participants on the road may actually compromise the safety of the event. Penang roads are very narrow in certain sections and too many cyclist can overcrowd the roads. CFAL organizers may want to consider limiting participants to maybe 2000?

2. Better placed water stations. I skipped the first two water stations because the road was so narrow and there were just too many cyclists cramming their way to get to the table. I didn't want to bother and I had two full bottles on my bike with me which was more than enough for 80km ride. The second water station was the worst as it was placed near such a busy intersection in Balik Pulau not only causing a jam of cyclist but a traffic jam of vehicles who had to wait for the mob of cyclists to clear the road before they could continue driving.

Group photo with some of the organizers
(Photo credit: Chung Mei Ling)

CFAL 2012 Medal... nice one


  1. hi chin chin, i heard there's a fatal accident during the event.. is it true?

  2. Khairil, there was a fatal accident involving a girl on a motorbike and a car along the road from Teluk Kumbar to Bukit Genting. Then there was also a fatal accident where a guy coming down from Tun Sardon crashed his bike and got run over by a car or cars. Both of these did not involve any CFAL participants. The guy on the bicycle did not crash on the CFAL route.