This was the 8th year they organized this ride and this time the start and end point were different too. This year they held at Youth Park. There are always bound to have good and bad of each event. It is how they pick up and improve or maintain it. The route was longer compared with last year. Based on my Strava tracking, it was increased from 77km to 85km this year.
Youth Park is a great location and I will say quite sufficient parking spaces for cars. The only setback was the narrow road getting into and out of Youth Park was crazy. Imagine you have thousands of cyclists squeezed in a single car lane before joined to the main road. Also, during the end of the event there were cyclists rode against the traffic on a small 1 way street. This posted danger to other road users too.
As mentioned, they had changed the route for this year. It was not only longer and they were no longer passing through Esplanade as the usual route but passed by Georgetown area. I wasn’t sure if they want to promote the Penang Heritage site but I quite sure they missed out taking Penang traffic into account. You have buses, motorbikes and cars came from all directions. This could be scary scene.
They have improved the water stations area also. This year both the water stations were on the left side, so no one needs to cross the road. As normal, people still complained as they did not provide enough water stations. The 1st water station was at ~35km and 2nd water stations was at 60km. The last station was at end zone where they served food and drinks. I am sure it is hard to please everyone.
Safety wise, this year they did a very good job as they make sure every junctions or traffic lights they have traffic police or RELA (People’s Volunteer Corps) to take care of the traffic. Even we were very slow and near to the cutoff time, they were still there to stop any traffic. I remembered last year we have to take care of our own safety when we reached late.
Overall, I think they have improved a lot this year even with more participants. Kudos! I am not sure will there be another CFAL next year because last year they said were the last and this year they said the same. So, cross your fingers and hope that there will be another CFAL if you do plan to join them. Good luck…