Gravity Assisted Thrills at Bukit Dinding

Originally published in Cycling Plus Malaysia magazine in collaboration with Ford Malaysia

View  the full Bukit Dinding adventure with Ford Malaysia here

Remember those memes on the internet, where an activity or object is pictured as imagined by different point of views (“What I think I do”, “What my mum thinks I do”, “What the public thinks I do” etc.)? Downhill mountain biking is one activity which deserves its own meme. Whilst the discipline of Downhill MTB is a UCI recognized cycling discipline, it is a sport that can still, confound not just the public but other cyclists themselves. Downhilling involves pushing your bike up either a road or trail to the top of the descending trail, before riding down. Easy. Where luxury permits, the trail will allow for shuttle access i.e. bring driven in a vehicle to the top of the trail. No hard work (apologies to the shuttle driver), just pure descending fun.

Whilst, chairlift access is the next level up for downhill MTB, having one in the region is still a dream to be discussed another time.The Bukit Dinding downhill trail is the only remaining shuttle access mountain bike trail in the Klang Valley accessible to the public.

Located in the Kuala Lumpur suburb of Setiawangsa’s few remaining (but rapidly disappearing) green lungs in, it is a pleasant respite from the rush of the city centre and the fumes from the DUKE highway. Access to the public is achieved via a gentleman’s agreement with landowners, so good etiquette and respect for others present in the area is critical.

Whilst shuttle access is Bukit Dinding’s biggest appeal to mountain bikers; ironically, it’s also one of the reasons it isn’t frequented by more riders. The 3km drive up to the top trail is has some very steep sections; inaccessible by most 2WD vehicles. Whilst many riders attempt the climb with their own pedal power, the steepness and its length relative to the descent makes it a little less appealing to most. When we were given access to use the Ford Ranger 4×4 for the day, we jumped at the opportunity to use the as shuttles at Bukit Dinding. The two Ford Rangers was the perfect shuttle machine, ferrying eight bike riders and their bikes up the steep road the top of Bukit Dinding with ease.

After unloading from the shuttles, we get ready and spend a few minutes inspecting the first few metres of the track. We have two Bukit Dinding regulars who tell us what obstacles to look out for and the conditions of the trails. Minutes later, with us first timers feeling a little nervous, we take off on our bikes into the trail; doing our best to keep up with the local riders. Bukit Dinding’s main downhill trail is only over 1km long but with enough variety of features to keep you on your toes for the entire ride. Although originally designed as a trail for downhill bikes, the trail is well suited for modern trail or all-mountain mountain bikes.

The trail runs through secondary tropical forest, flanked by large older rubber trees. Watch out if you’ve got wider handlebars in the first 100m. The trail has a natural flow and natural obstacles with lots of short steep sections to keep your heart rate up. The second half of the trail is a little dustier and rockier with a more man-made feature such as bermed corners, kickers and gap jumps (which you can opt out of with a bit of warning). This section is easily the fastest section on the entire trail. Bukit Dinding saves its most exciting features till the very end. Manoeuvre your way through long rock garden sections. Once you’ve had a chance to take a breather on a flowy section of trail, look out for two consecutive very steep and very long drops that sneak up on you. I hear squeals of both surprise and elation from two girlfriends who ride down the two drops right behind me. It’s a rewarding end to an exciting ride. It’s a very short ride to a gate that leads us back to the public road.One of our party had cleverly parked his car, stocked with cold drinks, snacks and camping chairs at the exit; making it a comfortable for our shuttles join us. Refreshed and ready for round 2, no climbing required!
Bukit Dinding

FAQ

The beginning of the road up to the trail is marked by U Turn Corner (Air Kelapa) Bukit Dinding on Google Maps. You can park near the food stalls here, however parking is very limited. A better alternative is to park at the shoplots down the road, not too far away

Bukit Dinding trails are maintained by volunteers from the local mountain biking community. Get in touch with Scarfox Gravity Enduro on Facebook who organize trail maintenance days and events there. If you’re feeling competitive, the group have a race organized in the next month.If you don’t have suitable shuttle vehicle or a group to ride with, there are local riders who provide shuttle services for mountain bikers at a reasonable price. You can enquire on the Scarfox Gravity Enduro Facebook page

Do be mindful of where you park your cars and minimize your impact to the local communityIf you’re a shuttle driver, take care on the road up as it is frequented by many recreational joggers and walkers
Eating on Your Trip to Bukit Dinding

Whilst there are plenty of stalls and restaurant around the foothills of Bukit Dinding, we opted for somewhere a little more special lunch. Restoran Ayam Cibiuk serves Sunda delicacies only a ten minute drive away. The adrenaline of riding downhill gives you a good appetite. A family style meal with chicken, fish, ulam and lots of sambal was an excellent way to end our day as a group together.

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