When you’re a cyclist based in the Klang Valley, it can be a little too much to ask for a place to ride that’s all in one -- accessible, gentle enough for a less experienced rider, interesting enough for the more experienced and able to make you forget how close you are to the hustle and bustle.
Against all odds, the Genting Sempah route near Gombak and only 30 minutes away from the heart of Kuala Lumpur, delivers on all counts.
It is an approximately 16km (depending on where you start) ride uphill. Most riders start near the Hospital Orang Asli Gombak and stop just before the descent into the Highway R&R exit.
It is very popular with local cyclists. You will encounter riders on all kinds of bikes - road bikes, mountain bikes, folding bikes and even tandem bikes.
Don’t be too alarmed by the uphill description. What goes up, must come down. The climb itself is gradual, with plenty of spots where it flattens out to give your climbing legs a break. Although there isn’t much traffic to contend with on the bulk of the route, it is still advisable to start as early as you can.
The biggest appeal of this route, is without a doubt the cool shaded environment that you will experience on most of the ride. Lush vegetation on both sides of the road and elevation of the route means riding at 10am here, feels like 7am elsewhere in the Klang Valley. It is easy to forget how close you are to the busy concrete jungle.
For the shortest loop, riders can choose to turn around at the road bridge, right before the descent to the Karak Highway R&R rest stop. You will know you’re at the right spot by the large number of riders congregated - chatting and refuelling. Thanks to an entrepreneurial local, there is now a vendor selling water, fresh fruit and a variety of other snacks at this spot.
Riders can turn back from this spot, taking the same way they came to start a much deserved, thrilling descent.
If at this spot, you’re left with quite a bit more in the tank and plenty of time to spare, it’s more than worth your while to continue on to Janda Baik. The extended loop to Janda Baik is close to 60km.
The ride to Janda Baik will be more challenging than the basic Genting Sempah loop and little less suited to those just starting out. Steeper gradients on some of the climbs, road shoulders disappearing on sections of the route and slightly heavier traffic will require more confidence in the rider. The added challenge however, is worthwhile if you are up for it. The route takes you past more varied natural beauty, pretty villages and some interesting locals. A highly recommended morning tea break in Janda Baik before heading back makes for a fun outing on two wheels.
What’s next? Grab your bike and go for a ride.
• Start/Meeting Point: Hospital Orang Asli Gombak, Jalan Gombak
• Turnaround point (Genting-Sempah route): Under road bridge before Karak Highway exit
• Start early, especially if riding to Janda Baik to avoid traffic as much as possible
• Fuel up with fresh fruit from the mobile vendor at the turnaround point
• Don’t get too carried away on the descent; watch out for oncoming traffic and riders
• Danau Daun in Janda Baik serves pretty good nasi lemak and teh tarik , if you’d like to indulge a bit on your ride
• Have fun!