Night riders on LEKAS

For those who always wanted to enjoy the open road on two wheels, a great opportunity is the RHB Shimano Highway Ride @ Lekas. For 2017, it is bigger than ever as it will be the first cycling event held at night on a closed highway.

The Highway Ride is inclusive of all cyclists, according to Go Sportz race director Albert Leong, who is also the organiser. ”The objective is to promote a healthy lifestyle. We envision this maiden night cycling race will attract serious competitive cyclists, leisure cyclists and families with children.”

While the race will accommodate all cyclists, the participants can choose between the original 78km as well an expanded route of 102km. In addition, there is also a Kid’s Category (Ages 7-15).

One of the highlights of the race is the uphill segment in Bukit Mantin, which is dubbed King of the Mountain Challenge, a gruelling 4km uphill climb at the 30km mark of the route.

According to venue sponsors, LEKAS, there has been much interest from the public for them to continue with this event, which was inaugurated in 2013.

Its chief operating officer, Wan Salwani Wan Yusoff said: “It’s an honour for us to bring back this prestigious cycling event and pleased to be able to continue providing the opportunity and platform for cyclists to have a safe ride on our highways.”

One of the reasons for the night race is the completion of LED street lighting work throughout LEKAS that was completed in December last year, explained Wan Salwani. This year’s highway ride also includes the addition of RHB Bank as the title sponsors. Its group chief marketing and communications officer, Norazzah Sulaiman, shared their involvement in the event was a natural progression as the bank’s management are avid cyclists, particularly the group managing director.

“At RHB we have been promoting cycling with in-house events and this opportunity is a real privilege for us to do this in a big way, to get the participation of the public and also our customers,” said Norazzah.

Longstanding title sponsors Shimano assistant director Eugene Koh shared that the event was part of their objective to promote cycling culture and share the joy of cycling. For Shimano, this event sets a benchmark for future cycling events. “We want to protect this industry by having good sustainability and we welcome others to learn from the example set by RHB Shimano Night Ride,” Koh elaborated. “Our goal is to create culture and it not an easy task.”

For RHB Shimano Highway Ride, the emphasis of the event is skewed to the pursuit of fun rather than competition as the top prizes in each category are RM800, products and trophy. This is intentional on the part of the organisers as they want all the participants to enjoy themselves. However, there will also be a lucky draw for all participants.

Achieving the impossible: What they say…

“As the venue sponsor, LEKAS is tasked with getting the required approval from the authorities, this process requires coordination and cooperation of a number of authorities.

“This involves getting recommendation and approvals from Malaysia Highway Authorities, Ministry of Works, individual police stations and both State police departments as well as Bukit Aman Traffic Division.

“Aside from the approvals, LEKAS is also expected to lose traffic amounting to 50,000 vehicles, identifying the alternative routes and informing the public of the closure.”

“This is part of our ongoing effort to promote a cycling culture. While culture creation is not easy this will become a reality. The strong cycling culture that exists in Europe will take shape over here, where people would opt to travel by bicycle for distances below 5km.

“For that to happen, it requires education. For cyclists the event will be a good opportunity to impart lessons in night riding, particularly regarding safety and the use of reflectors.

“In Malaysia, this is an ongoing effort from the part of Shimano as we were involved in the first car-free day in Sentul in 2013. That has since been championed by the mayor and stayed on as a regular event.”

“In organising this event, safety is the number one priority for us and this is the result of hard work of all the parties involved. The event is the effort of careful planning and preparation particularly in getting approval from the relevant authorities.

“For this event, we are thankful that the National Heart Institute are able lend their expertise by giving us medical support. In addition, participants are also provided with insurance coverage.”