Jul 31, 2011
GREAT START FOR FOLDING BIKE ENTHUSIASTS
31 July 2011, SUBANG JAYA: The first official folding bike event in the country, the Folding Bike Fun Ride 2011, got off to a promising start at the PLUS Speedway Karting Circuit in USJ, Subang Jaya on Saturday night.
Apart from the 41 folding bike enthusiasts competing in the exciting races, national cycling stars past and present were also present to cheer them on while adding a touch of glamour to the event.
Bike shop mechanic Azhar Zulaily emerged the men's open event winner, after leaving Sakhri Zohir almost 35 seconds behind in the 8-lap final featuring the top 8 riders from two first round heats. Joseph Ng finished third.
Azhar, 19, a cycling enthusiast with interests in road cycling and mountain biking as well, said he had found out about the event through Facebook and decided to give it a try.
"It is not like any other cycling race where people mostly attend and are too serious about the racing. Here it was more about fun and getting together. It was also very nice to see so many folding bike enthusiasts here smiling all the way. We should make this a monthly affair, hopefully there's more such events to come," said Azhar.
27-year old Teo Tze Ping from Sri Hartamas won the women's open category after fending off the challenge of Janice Chai, who came all the way from Kluang, Johor, while Liana Jasmin of Damansara Perdana took third spot.
The men's masters category final, for riders above 35-years old was won by 49-year old Mohd Adzri from Klang, with Khairul Anuar taking second spot and Mohd Reffe in third. The home crowd had something to cheer when 37-year old Subang Jaya lass Rachel Lim won the women's masters category final, with another Subang Jaya lass, 47-year old Jessica Lee taking second and Rozita Shamsudin of Kajang taking third spot.
Prior to the main events, participants were given a chance to test themselves against the clock in a timed 100m dash with national cycling head coach John Beasley on hand to clock their times. The fastest man on a folding bike over 100m was Mike Chen who clocked 12.714s, while women's masters winner Rachel was the fastest sprinter at 14.436s.
Former cycling great M. Kumaresan, track star turned BMX rider Rizal Tisin, newly crowned national mountain bike champion Shahrin Amir, former national road champion Fauzan Ahmad Lutfi and former national gymnast Afrita Nasril were on hand to add a touch of glamour to the event.
The Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) sent a team in full force to officiate and provide technical assistance to event organisers Comma Motorsports and Folding Bike Trading, while isotonic drinks brand 100 Plus provided refreshments for the riders.
"This is a type of event that will make cycling accessible to all walks of life. I'm not sure if there ever was a race specifically for folding bikes held anywhere in the world. This might be the first, although John Beasley has suggested that we conduct thorough checks to see if anyone has ever recorded a 100m timing on folding bikes, it might even be a world record!," joked MNCF deputy president Datuk Naim Mohamad.
"Jokes aside, we see this as an ideal platform to promote cycling to the masses, among other disciplines of cycling. The bikes are affordable and accessible, plus they are really practical bicycles to commute with.
The numbers of folding bikes owners is growing, so for them to have an event such as this is a great idea. It will only help the interest in this flourish. For us, as the national body, we will support the growth of this area of cycling."
Event organiser Well Tan said the event had been planned as a prelude to more events to come, just to cater for folding bike enthusiasts.
"We didn't know what to expect, so the turnout was pretty satisfying. From the feedback we got, a lot of the enthusiasts want more of this. So, we will be planning more events to come in the later part of the year, maybe even a series of folding bike races. But that will be up to sponsors," said Well.