Ipoh Comes Alive as 1,200 cyclists take to the streets

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“It is indeed the pride of Perak to have an event such as Century Ride Malaysia…with more than 450 foreign riders,” says MB

Ipoh was just rousing from the night’s slumber when more than 1,200 cyclists took to the streets and blazed a trail that would last 100 miles. The day was Sunday, July 17 and time 7.00 a.m. The occasion was the fifth edition of Century Ride Malaysia (CRM), the oh-so-successful annual event organised by Kelab Roadrunners Ipoh (KRI) that has succeeded in putting Ipoh on the map among cyclists from across the region in the five years since its debut in 2007.CRM – Promoting Perak to the world through cycling

On hand to flag it off at Dataran Ipoh was Dato’ Zainol Padzi bin Haji Paharuddin, Director of Jabatan Belia dan Sukan Perak on behalf of Menteri Besar Perak. “The Perak Sport and Youth Council sees potential in cycling and CRM as a catalyst to bring out hidden talented cyclists among Perak youths,” Dato’ Zainol said.

On his part, Dato’ Bandar of Ipoh, Dato’ Haji Roshidi bin Haji Hashim acknowledged that Century Ride Malaysia was one of the most prestigious cycling events in Malaysia, having easily attracted 1,250 cyclists from Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Brunei, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Japan, as well as throughout Malaysia. “I hope this event will be a permanent feature in our Perak calendar of events,” he said.

Mr Chong Him Shoong, President of KRI and the man who initiated the first ever CRM in 2007, can take pride in the knowledge that the event has finally reached the status it deserves in this part of the world.

“From being a little known home-grown event, it has succeeded in attracting a wide reach of participants from as far afield as Japan and even Europe. This is an achievement that we in Perak are certainly very proud of, as our objectives are to promote our state to the world through cycling, as well as to promote economic and social activity in Perak,” Chong said.

Exciting Spectator Sport

It was also the first time that CRM was flagged off in the city centre location of Dataran Ipoh, in an attempt to introduce it as an exciting spectator sport that would create more awareness of the event and attract greater participation in the future.

“More than 300 policemen were mobilised to control traffic throughout the 100-mile course, while the Fire Brigade, St John’s Ambulance and other uniformed bodies also joined hands to make the event as smooth and incident-free as possible,” Chong explained, commending the Perak State Government and Sports Council for their valued support and sponsorship.

Filled Hotels and Food Outlets

Mr Ernest Balasingam, Organising Chairman of CRM 2011 emphasised the fact that about 750 cyclists – or 60% of total participants – were from outside Perak, including 450 foreign nationals from across the globe.

“The single largest contingent from any country outside Malaysia was Singapore, with more than 200 participants from the republic making their way to Ipoh for the event. They also fielded the strongest participants in terms of performance. Together with other foreigners as well as Malaysians from other states, these visiting cyclists accounted for the fully-booked hotels throughout Ipoh over the weekend not to mention busy food outlets and brisk business enjoyed by restaurants, services and shops across the city.”

Winners List

The overall winner of CRM 2011 was Adrian Chua (Men’s Open category) in a blistering course record time of 4:07:01 while Christina Liew was the fastest lady to finish in an impressive time of 4:10:59. Check out www.kricycling.blogspot.com for a complete list of participants, winners and timing details.

Daniel Lee, 28, G Club Cycling Team (Penang) with more than 10 representatives:

“It’s fantastic!! This was my second CRM, very different course from last year’s, with each course having its pros and cons. What I love most about CRM is I get to meet so many like-minded people from all over the world. I have made many friends from CRM over these last two years. I have participated in a variety of cycling events and I rate CRM as a fantastic organisation. One suggestion is to have more water given out after the 100-km point. Overall, the safety concerns are well looked after.” (Photos and more inside stories on http://www.gclub.com.my/no​de/1428)

Cycling Malaysia Magazine:

“… Large turnouts. Nice routes. Lots of prizes and sponsors. Fun filled. Beautiful T-shirts and medals. Very well organised.”

XL Cycling Team, a contingent of 33 participants from KL, the single largest contingent represented in CRM 2011 led by President and Team Manager, Encik Abd Razif Ibrahim: 

“The XL Cycling Te) is made up of cyclists from all walks of life, from doctors, engineers and professionals to clerks and mechanics, all united by our love for cycling. We started out as a mountain biking group which gradually evolved to become road cyclists as well. This is not our maiden CRM; in fact we are back for the third year in a row and it is good to see the event getting bigger and better every year. This is also the first time that we are in full team jersey which we designed ourselves earlier this year. We prefer this city route as it is simply more convenient logistically. We can just walk or cycle over from the hotel. Great event, next year, we will do better”.

(Photos available from XL Cycling Team on Facebook.)

Matthew Law, 28, Team Operation Smile (England):

“I did my first CRM last year where the course was more hilly and challenging. I prefer this year’s course which is flatter but a lot faster. This year, I’m happy to have come back with a team of 20 of us from Singapore, where I am based at the moment. We call ourselves “Team Operation Smile” and our objective is to raise funds for “Operation Smile”, a charity that repairs childhood facial deformities such as cleft palates etc. We do this everywhere we cycle. This way we get to do what we love – cycle – and are able to give back to the community. Obviously, the more cyclists we involve, the more funds we raise collectively. I am definitely coming back next year, hopefully with an even bigger contingent. As the event grows in size, more police are needed as well as tighter traffic control, to ensure the safety of cyclists.”