The Bangkok Post: Cycling in the Malaysian playground | Bukit Kiara

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The Bangkok Post | Pongpet Mekloy | 18 Sep 2014

I’d long heard stories about Bukit Kiara, the major playground for mountain bikers in Malaysia’s capital, but until a recent two-day visit to Kuala Lumpur had never actually seen it with my own two eyes….

It was absolutely well worth the trip. I’m now back in Bangkok but the euphoria I felt during the ride on the Malaysian hill has still to fade. I flew to Kuala Lumpur with a good friend from Chiang Mai…

I flew to Kuala Lumpur with a good friend from Chiang Mai who has quite a few mountain biker friends in KL. The local riders, some of whom have visited Chiang Mai and ridden on Doi Pui and Doi Suthep more than once, were kind enough to not only join us for the ride but also provide us and our bikes with transportation between the hotel and Bukit Kiara. You have to be a mountain biker to realise that the borderless brotherhood between bikers is not just incredibly strong, but also genuine.

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On the first day, we arrived at Bukit Kiara late in the afternoon to try its downhill track. As an unfit rider from Thailand where downhillers are spoiled with the habit of taking a shuttle truck all the way up the mountain to the trailhead, I was intimidated by the thought of having to do the compulsory road climb on my heavy freeride bike. Thanks to the dropper seatpost, the double chainrings and the encouraging ride buddies, however, it turned out to be not that tough. In fact, it was enjoyable.

Somewhere high on the hill, we broke off from the paved road onto a narrow forest trail. It was only a short ride further up to the starting point of the DH track, but it was still pretty technical so I had to occasionally hop off the bike and push it up instead.

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Gliding down the track gathering speed and momentum, we were soon greeted with a number of gap jumps. One of them, known as the Shaolin Gap, was too scary for me so I decided to save my bones and use the chicken run. (What you see in the main photo taken by Damian Gerard is one of Fakawi Banshee Team racers and one of Malaysia’s best, Aaron Chan Chow Hee, effortlessly clearing the Shaolin Gap.)

Further down along the winding trails with several banked turns was a good flow through an evergreen forest. After a while we emerged to an open hillside with a steep gradient and lots of exposed roots. Luckily for me, it was dry that day so I had no problem coming down that section. If there had been rain, it would have been a different story.

After that the trail snakes into the shady woods again. Just as we were nearing the end of the track I was warned to stop and check out what lay ahead.

It was something that made the Shaolin Gap look tame: a series of drops (the first one over 2m tall) down a steep slope followed by a jump with a gap wide enough to park three cars side by side.

Of course, I had no shame opting for a detour. Even if I had time to do another run down the trail that evening, I don’t think I would try it.

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The next day we went back to Bukit Kiara to try some of its many cross country trails. Again, I was impressed. Too bad the Malaysian authorities don’t seem to realise that this place is a gem KL and Malaysia should be proud of. The sad fact is that this green area is constantly being nibbled away by “development” projects. Thanks to an NGO called TRAKS and the local biking community that have been strongly campaigning for the preservation of the hill’s forest and its trails, much of Bukit Kiara still remain in good natural condition. Let’s hope that their effort and dream to convince the government to keep this precious place permanently the way it is will soon come true.

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Bukit Kiara: Destruction On Boner Trail Resumes To The Benefit Of The Happy Few
Back in October 2013, we did alert the public about the Boner trail starting from Kiaramas Ayuria being destroyed in spite of the battle led by TRAKS, FoBK, MNS and others to - See The Battle To Save Bukit Kiara, A National Treasure - By Chui Lim.

After the works being halted for a year, destructions have resumed on both sides of the ridgeline facing Kiaramas Aruya and Kiaramas Danai condos, on the North-East part of Bukit Kiara. A massive clearing has been done lately. And we mean it, massive!
To the benefit of the happy few… If you wonder who, see video on Youtube…

See previous coverage

Bukit Kiara: Destruction On Boner Trail Resumes To The Benefit Of The Happy Few

Back in October 2013, we did alert the public about the Boner trail starting from Kiaramas Ayuria being destroyed in spite of the battle led by TRAKS, FoBK, MNS and others to - See The Battle To Save Bukit Kiara, A National Treasure - By Chui Lim.

After the works being halted for a year, destructions have resumed on both sides of the ridgeline facing Kiaramas Aruya and Kiaramas Danai condos, on the North-East part of Bukit Kiara. A massive clearing has been done lately. And we mean it, massive!

To the benefit of the happy few… If you wonder who, see video on Youtube

See previous coverage

Bukit Kiara: Chipping Away At Our Green Lungs

Bukit Kiara is a vibrant green lung in the heart of an urban jungle, but many are afraid that this pristine getaway is in danger of being lost.

This beautiful nature park has still yet to be gazetted after the Government agreed to do so in 2006, and over the years regular joggers and cyclists have seen heavy machinery rolling up into the park and slowly changing their nature retreat.

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Trees have been felled, slopes and trails dug up, concrete drains built, tarmac roads paved, and high wire fences built; bringing up several concerns of the park’s animals and surrounding environment.

“There is no communication whatsoever about what is going on. There are no notices being put up to tell people what’s going on or what they’re doing to the land,” said Rebecca Thomason, the assistant secretary of TRAKS.

TRAKS is an non-governmental organisation (NGO) that builds and maintains mountain bike trails along Bukit Kiara and other jungles in Selangor. The NGO is one of the many advocates who want Bukit Kiara gazetted and safe from developers and government bodies.

If you have been to Bukit Kiara recently, you would have noticed bulldozers digging up parts of the slopes and some of the trails, and I asked what was going on.

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Thomason said that they learnt that Jabatan Landskap Negara (JLN) have been attempting to “rectify” the slopes in the area because they were starting to slip and were concerned about the safety of the joggers and cyclists.

“I am glad that they are concerned about our safety,” she said, but questions their methods of “rectifying” the slopes.

“They cleared all the trees and used mesh and grass instead, and in the process the soil they dug up buried a trail called 4K and still have not restored it,” said Thomason.

With JLN digging up the slopes and leaving the area in a huge mess with the soil piled to the side of the tarmac road, it not only creates a huge eyesore, but it is also dangerous for joggers and cyclists.

“I wonder if they even realised that there was a trail right next to where they were digging. What if there were people down there, what if the soil buried them? But thankfully, that didn’t happen and nobody was hurt,” said Thomason.

I have personally experienced the terribly slippery and muddy state the road becomes after it rains and I have been close to slipping a couple of times.

I just hope that in future, more notice and warning will be given to the visitors of Bukit Kiara in preparation of such potentially hazardous work.

I am aware that the minister of housing, urban wellbeing, and local government Datuk Adbul Rahman Dahlan has met with several organisations including TRAKS and Friends of Bukit Kiara (FoBK) earlier in the year and that he listened to their grievances and concerns regarding Bukit Kiara.

Some of the issues raised were the widening of trails with heavy equipment, which is not sustainable, and the 3.5m fence that surrounds the park that acts as a barrier to animals trying to cross the fence.

Thomason said that since that meeting, nothing much has been done to improve the situation.

“The minister agreed to restore the trail that was buried. But nothing has happened yet,” said Thomason.

“There is also no move on the gazettement,” she said, but adds that she understands that there are many stakeholders involved and that such things take time.

“There is just no sense of security. We could lose Bukit Kiara next week,” she said.

I hope that people realise how much we need that patch of nature and greenery within our busy city, and that we shouldn’t waste it to build yet another shopping mall or hotel to add another block of concrete to Kuala Lumpur.

Thousands of people flock to Bukit Kiara to exercise and keep fit surrounded by mother nature, surely that brings more value than having another commercial building within our midst.

We all have to remember that once you cut down all those trees and tear away the hill, you will never get it back.

So let us protect the treasure that is Bukit Kiara and preserve what’s left of it’s natural beauty.

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Atlas Moth by Phil Bee

Source: Victoria Brown | The Star Online

The views expressed here are entirely the writer’s own.

 Other pictures by TRAKS

BFM Radio Interview - Traks Of Malaysia and KDCF

Kota Damansara Forest Reserve sits in the middle of a sprawling urban landscape in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Threatened by development a few years ago, the forest was gazetted through efforts of environmental groups and local residents.

On the contrary, Bukit Kiara Forest, the gem of Kuala Lumpur has not been gazetted yet despite promises done by the government in 2007 and is encroached by developers.

BFM Radio 89.9 speak to Johari Azizee, Justine Vaz, Henry Goh, from the groups to learn the current status of the forest and how locals are using the green space.

The podcast on BFM Radio 89.9

A Massive Bukit Kiara Trail Map Including Trail Names, Waypoints And .gpx Files

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All Bukit Kiara trails*, all of them, including their name and waypoints! Just for you… how cool is that?

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*Except The Office, Coronary ByPass and the not-so-new Magic Carpet. And except the fence of course.

Bukit Kiara: Letter To Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan

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The 4K trail in Bukit Kiara, 30th June 2014

Gazette Status of Bukit Kiara and Rectification Works

On 27th January 2014, there was a meeting at the KPKT office in Putrajaya where both TRAKS and KPKT representatives shared their individual organization’s concerns and opinions with regards to Bukit Kiara.

Five months have passed since this meeting and TRAKS is expecting detailed updates with regards to the following issues, which were raised on 27th January 2014:

1. Firstly, what is the status of the proposed Bukit Kiara gazette?

  • KPKT representatives highlighted that one of the bottlenecks for the Bukit Kiara gazette was because Lot 54268, measuring 100.1 acres (Measat) had yet to be reverted back to Federal Government ownership; it was highlighted that an agreement was in the final stages of negotiation and post which, official paperwork would be submitted to the Federal Land Commissioner for rubber-stamping.
  • The Cabinet mooted the proposed gazette in 2007. It goes without saying that the Rakyat’s patience has long since worn out, whilst every other day we see more encroachment and wanton destruction of the surrounding environment.

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2. Secondly, KPKT representatives highlighted that the soil which was removed on the left-hand side of the tarmac jogger’s loop and dumped over the right-hand side ridge was a reactive measure to ensure the down slope would not erode unsustainably as surveyors had come to the conclusion that the earth was being displaced. 

  • This reactive measure resulted in burying an original hand-built trail called 4K located at the bottom of the valley.
  • TRAKS were given assurances that the National Landscape Department’s contractors are aware of the soil build-up at the bottom of the valley and that rectification work would be carried out to return the trail to its original state.
  • As of today, no visible rectification work whatsoever has been conducted by any National Landscape Department appointed contractor. The rainy season has stopped – therefore, the question on top of everyone’s mind is whether this has been put on the backburner and if so, why?
  • If rectification work is planned, TRAKS demands to know the following:

a. Who are the contractors?
b. How will it be rectified?
c. When will work commence?

  • In the spirit of transparency, it is strongly suggested that a detailed rectification works plan be uploaded on the official Ministry’s website for public review and consultation.
  • Additionally, the next public briefing held on the 3rd Saturday of each month should clearly elucidate on the rectification plans and this briefing should be held at the 2nd guard house at the top of the hill where there is a higher concentration of Bukit Kiara users.
  • TRAKS has made it abundantly clear that we are 100% against any form of heavy machinery work within the trail network – therefore, all work must be performed by manual labor only.

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3. Thirdly, along the jogger’s tarmac loop where National Landscape Department contractors attempted to fix a minor soil erosion issue, all sorts of building material has been left scattered on the right hand side of the road. This includes cement bags, blue tarpaulin and construction beams.

  • How long will this eyesore be kept in its current state? Please make it clear to your appointed contractors that work should be conducted in a professional and civic-minded manner.

p/s. no answer from Abdul Rahman Dalan nor Jabatan Landskap Negara since June 30th 2014.

www.traks.org.my

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TRAKS Annual General Meeting: Join Us & Be Awesome

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Join Us & Be Awesome

TRAKS members have been behind the construction and maintenance of 35km+ of MTB and hiking trails in Bukit Kiara and Kota Damansara Community Forest. Look at what they achieved over the years, simply amazing!

Today, TRAKS is fighting to save this network of pristine jungle trails from developers. Despite being gazetted by the government since 2007, Bukit Kiara is under heavy threat:

Liking On Facebook Is Not Enough

We need you.

As members, committee members, volunteers - join us by becoming a member and let us raise our concern together.

Join TRAKS Annual General Meeting

Join the committee, stand up and do your bit.

  • Date: 20 July 2014
  • Time: 01.00pm
  • Venue: Pusat Komuniti Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, Lorong Burhanuddin Helmi 8, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur - Google Map: 3.148337,101.622107

#SaveBukitKiara

Mountain Bikers Are Not Wheeled Locusts, They Bring Money To Towns That Desperately Need It

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Are you sick of seeing awesome shots of people riding awesome trails in, oi, awesome British Columbia? Yeah, well, you have to hand it to the province, they’ve got the trails, but more than that–they have land managers who actually embrace mountain biking. The rest of the world is woefully behind on that score–particularly the United States. Photo by Margus Riga, courtesy of BC Bike Race

By Vernon Felton

I’m not saying that British Columbia is a magical land full of unicorns that ride rainbows of sheer awesomeness dipped in maple syrup, but when it comes to access to mountain biking trails, the province to the north starts looking like something out of a fairy tale.

I know, I know … B.C. is overhyped. You’re over the North Shore. And Whistler. And Pemberton. And Rossland. And Squamish. And the Sunshine Coast. And Kamloops. And Nelson. And … wait, where was I going with this? Oh, yeah, the place is overhyped, right?

Wrong.

Look, I get that riders in the lower 48 have spent the last 20 years being inundated with pictures and videos of all the awesomeness north of the border and that it’s gotten more than a little annoying, but seriously, there’s a reason editors and filmmakers keep churning out all that B.C. content—the place is lousy with great trails. The number of towns in British Columbia that are home to hundreds of miles of absolutely brilliant trails is simply staggering. The place has no equal on earth. Seriously.

But it could. B.C. could have plenty of rivals.

Why doesn’t it? That’s the real question.

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