Who in their right minds would cycle at night through the city streets of Kuala Lumpur? Would you? Armed with just a bicycle, would you dare brave the traffic and pedestrian brigades swarming the busy roads?
The thought alone can be pretty daunting. But not for one group of night cyclists called Superfxd.
You might have seen them at the Ampang Park LRT station, the group’s meeting point.
Since 2014, Superfxd has been led by four individuals – Azizul Mohammad Sam, 40, Ruslan Shukor, 38, Kamarul Bahrin Abdullah, 34, and Razib Abdul Karim, 38. They are passionate about fixed-gear bicycles, hence the group’s moniker. But they are also on a mission to create local awareness about cycling – that cyclists are part of our city’s traffic.
Night cycling is not something new. The hobby has been gaining popularity in countries such as Britain and Singapore, especially among urban dwellers. In some countries, the sport has also taken on different forms, such as night mountain-biking.
What’s it like in Malaysia?
Kamarul says that other road users tend not to give them enough space on the road, and treat cyclists like they are a nuisance.
He adamantly says: “We are part of the traffic. We are hoping for a mindset change, so people start to accept us, cyclists, as part of the traffic.”
Initially, there were the only four of the guys in the group. Then they decided to share their hobby with others.
They set up social media accounts for Superfxd, and welcomed anyone with an interest in night cycling, regardless of bike type. The response was positive and their numbers began to grow. These days they get up to 20 cyclists per ride.
But one may ask – why exactly does one cycle at night? Isn’t it dangerous? For Superfxd, the reason is very simple.
The four founding members work during the day and weekends are reserved for the family. Both Azizul and Razeeb are in the creative industry. Ruslan, on the other hand, is an account manager, and Kamarul works as a store manager.
Cycling at night also makes it convenient for participants who are still students to join in Superfxd’s activities.
“The roads are not as congested at night too,” adds Ruslan.
There have been some interesting revelations along the way for the riders, including uncommon sights such as homeless people.
“When we cycle at night, we feel the cool breeze. We also see a different side of the city – the sights, sounds and people of the night,” explains Azizul.
Superfxd cycles every fortnight, switching up routes every now and then.
Azizul explains that they experiment with the routes before introducing them to the others.
He says: “We can cycle on any road in KL. We try new paths, and if we think the route is suitable, we then consider it to be our routine for the next two or three weeks.”
Some of their common routes include cycling to Bukit Tunku, Tugu Negara and Pavilion from the Ampang Park LRT. Typically the routes encompass 15-40km and rides take place between 9pm and midnight. The furthest they’ve been is to the A&W restaurant in Petaling Jaya.
Believe it or not, most of them cycle to the meeting point from home. But for Azizul – who lives in Klang – he travels to and from the LRT station by car.
Although some wonder why they choose to cycle right smack in the heart of KL city, instead of somewhere a little less busy, Superfxd are urban cyclists at heart. Their intention is clear – they want to promote the idea that cycling is an accepted practice in KL.
The hobby is not without risks.
“Night cycling has taught me to be extra careful. A slight mistake can cause a big mishap, not only to the cyclist but to other road users as well,” says Kamarul.
Despite cycling in a large group, safety is a major concern for the team. When possible, they equip themselves with tools such as a bicycle pump (for quick flat fixes) and they always look out for each other.
Kamarul shares: “We have a briefing before our activity starts, and we emphasise the importance of installing blinkers and wearing safety helmets.
“Keeping a good distance between each cyclist, good communication skills and alertness help the group too.”
Many of those who have joined Superfxd have found the hobby a rewarding one.
Lufti Ameer, 18, who joined Superfxd in 2014, has been consistently cycling at night with Superfxd for the past two years.
Are the teenager’s parents concerned about their child’s well-being?
Lufti says his parents are relieved to know that he is actively involved in a healthy hobby rather than getting involved with drugs or merempit (illegal street racing).
Azizul adds that the hobby has enabled newbies to train with experienced cyclists, and this is a good thing.
Superfxd welcomes everyone to join them during their night rides. Interested parties can get more information from their social media sites (www.facebook.com/superfxdkl/ and www.instagram.com/superfxd/) through which they communicate with the local fixed rider community.
Azizul sums it up simply: “Just come along with your bicycle, and be punctual.”
What is a fixed-gear bike?
A fixed-gear bicycle is a type of bicycle with only one gear, without any freewheel mechanism. In comparison with other bicycles, a fixed-gear bicycle’s cog is bolted to the hub of rear wheel, making the wheels dependent on each other. In short, the wheels will be in motion only when the pedals are moving. This allows the the cyclist to have more freedom to maneouvre while cycling.
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