FINDING a place to indulge in a spot of mountain biking is a lot easier these days, with a host of options available for a wide range of skill levels.
Without even leaving the confines of the city, there are at least two great spots with enough challenges to satisfy both seasoned riders and newbies looking to get their feet wet.
The “granddaddy” is, of course, Bukit Kiara in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, where there are more than 30km of trails with difficulties ranging from beginner to some really technical trails that would challenge even more experienced riders.
It is so popular that there is even a Facebook page dedicated to it, where many riders post pictures of their adventures to share with like-minded enthusiasts.
The other spot you can indulge in a bit of mountain biking in the city is in Kota Damansara, where the well-maintained trails in its popular Community Forest also offer some thrills for two-wheelers.
Do remember though, that in both Kiara and Kota Damansara, the trails are shared so be aware of hikers and ensure safety first.
If you plan to go slightly farther afield, there are more options available. Over in Wangsa Maju, Bukit Dinding offers a challenge with more than one trail to choose from, including a downhill route that has been mapped out pretty well.
Another spot that does get regular use is in Gombak, where there is a trail from Kampung Sungai Pusu to Kemensah, covering a distance of almost 17km.
There is another route out of Kemensah, with a roughly 2.5km trail to Bukit Pau that is available for mountain bikers.
Of course, just pointing out these trails does not help much without a way to find the trailheads easily, and for that, there is a nifty website that serves up just that.
The website is www.trailforks.com and it is a crowd-sourced database of trails the world over.
A quick look at the Malaysia section will show 128 trails listed, and the more popular ones are updated often by users, with information on conditions at the trail and more.
It even lists some trails in Sabah and Sarawak, which is useful for anyone planning a trip there to get in some time on the saddle.
One of the most complete locations, though, especially for fans of outdoor sports, is the Putrajaya Challenge Park in Malaysia’s administrative capital.
The Challenge Park offers a host of activities, including mountain biking. Equipment rental is also available so you don’t even have to bring your bike along, if you don’t have a vehicle rack.
With 30ha to play with, there is a lot of room in the challenge park, and there are roughly 9km of trails that have been laid out on the grounds.
The trails are graded and colour-coded into three – easy, moderate and difficult – to make it easier for riders to choose their poison.
Enthusiasts have labelled the trails here as among the best in Asia, so there is little chance you’ll be disappointed with a trip down.
Those not so inclined to get off the road are not left out at the Challenge Park as it also plays host to a Skate Park, where a smooth, contoured concrete surface has been planned meticulously for BMX riders, skateboarders and in-line skaters/rollerbladers.
The Thrill Park, on the other hand, is more of a challenge with dirt jumps and other thrilling activities available.
The Challenge Park is also home to a good variety of climbing walls for those who want to try their hand at bouldering and wall-climbing.
With all these available, there is definitely plenty to choose from for mountain biking fans and outdoor enthusiasts in the Klang Valley.
But what if you’re flying solo and don’t have friends with the same interests?
Thanks to the Internet, it’s now a simple matter of a web search to find resources that allow you to meet like-minded people and get some adrenaline pumping.
Over the years, one of the most active and long-lasting groups is the Kuala Lumpur Mountain Bike Hash, which has a Facebook presence and a website (www.klmbh.org) where instructions are posted on how to join them.
To join them as a member costs RM90, but members get to join their monthly bashes for free while non-members pay RM20 to ride with the pack.
Visit their website and you can also check out some of their rides in the past with good reports that detail the various routes travelled and, most importantly, pictures – lots and lots of pictures.
Another group with a good presence on Facebook is PCC (or the Pedalholic Cycling Club) but this is more focused on road-biking.
Searching the web also offers a plethora of other choices for anyone interested in getting in on the action and getting some miles in the saddle.
For those just starting out, the resources are out there and all it takes is a quick search to find out more. Have a blast on the trails this weekend!