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…
This is one of the largest cycling event in Malaysia or it is better known as CFAL (pronounce as C-FAL). This year was the 7th year they hold this event and the number of participants grew exponentially. There were people coming from all over the place, so it was not only Penangnites who joined. The number of participants this year was 4500 and the event fee was RM100/person which was raised from RM80 last year.
This year route was cut short by 4-5km due to the road construction at Batu Maung area. Total distance was 76.8km based on my Strava record.
As usual, with that kind number of people in the tiny island with tiny roads, there were bounds to be congested and caused accidents. I saw it with my own eyes there were cyclists fell down or inside the ambulance being taken care of. Safety is no longer there and I was nearly knocked down by a cyclist too. He was too engrossed with his conversation and out of sudden cut into my lane. I had to brake hard as there was no space for me to avoid him. I felt that the event organizer is getting worse each year and they were no longer care about the welfare of the cyclists than just taking profit. I heard that they will increase the number of participants next year. I can’t imagine with that kind of people on the road next time.
There weren’t many water stations for people who needed to refill. As I counted there were only 3 and the 3rd one was at the finishing line. So, there were actually 2 only and 1 of them was hidden somewhere. There wasn’t any banner or direction lead to that water station which was inside a school. Also, the location was dangerous picked as one has to cross the road with incoming traffic from opposite lane. Not only that, that person had to cycle for another 1km to the water station.
I felt the organizer is badly planned and hope that they will do a better job next year. RM450,000 was a lot of money they have taken.
The starting line was too congested and people were waiting along the side road.
Road was too congested that cyclists had to get down and pushed bike.
It was only clear after going up hill.
Waiting for lucky draw.
This is the 6th time they have run this event and it is endorsed by Penang State government. The intention was to bring awareness to the public to watch out for cyclists when driving. It was also campaigning for a dedicated bike lane.
I feel this is a good cause. As a rider, I can feel how people drives 6 years ago comparing with how people drives today. They are more aware I am being there and as a road user also.
The route covers about 82km around the Penang Island. It wasn’t that difficult if it is a slow ride. Majority is flat road with 2 climbs. 1 that is 141m tall and another is 222m tall but there is a stretch with lots of rolling.
The event planning was quite good with at least 3-4 water stations and quite a number of police and marshal managing the major junctions. I am not sure if that’s the case for people behind though.
The event is getting very popular and way over crowded. I believe they have increased the participant lists yearly but the roads are not widening yearly. There are quite a number of slow riders that created bottom neck at narrow roads. By the time you wanted to catch up with any peloton will be too late. Once you are able to catch up with a smaller peloton, then you will have some inconsiderate riders came and cut/pushed you in. Since this is a fun ride I don’t want to fall down and create an accident. So, I let them in. The problem is, they cannot maintain the speed with peloton and dropped back. And, I have to chase up with the peloton again and again. End up I am burnt.
Since there were way too many bikes on the road, some cars and heavy vehicles got frustrated waiting for their turns to come out from a junction and made a hasty turn. Almost create a few near accidents. Sigh…
I believe this is my 1st and last CFAL ride. Next time, I rather ride with my own group. Sorry… I would said so-so event and bad riders. 😦