With international borders closed for leisure travels, seasoned cyclists looking forward to overseas races may feel restless. But perhaps, it is time to look inwards, take things slow and rediscover our beautiful Malaysia. Forget races, just enjoy leisure rides and appreciate all the great things we are blessed with.

36-year old Teh An Qiao is your go-to person for rides in Sabah. Born in Tawau and raised in Kota Kinabalu, Teh is a contractor specialising in civil steel structures, such as factories and bridges. But once he gets on his road or mountain bikes, he is truly a Sabah Randonneur.

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ToughASIA: Where and who do you normally ride with?

Teh: Being a randonneur, I love to cover huge distances on roads that are less trodden, to places where most just shrug off while driving.

Therefore, I normally plan my weekend rides to someplace that I have never been, or for challenging terrain, or sometimes both at the same time.

For social night rides, I mix around with the prominent cycling groups in Kota Kinabalu, such as OMG/GTR/Specialized (road), 88 Bikers (road/XC) or KSH (XC/Trail) depending on the distance and terrain preference of the day and the weather.

ToughASIA: What is your proud moment as a cyclist?

Teh: I am mighty proud that I have completed the historic Paris Brest Paris 1200KM in 2019 and Perth Albany Perth 1200KM in 2018.

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ToughASIA: What are your cycling plans for the next 12 months?

Teh: I organise events under Sabah Randonneurs, which is the Sabah branch of Audax Randonneurs Malaysia. As the participation numbers are small, I ride together with the participants.

We just held the Boleh Bah Kalau Kau 200 on 27 September 2020, which was a 200KM brevet with more than 4000 meters of elevation gain.

For international events, there are Miglia Italia and London Edinburgh London in 2021, but looking at the COVID-19 situation, everything is still uncertain at this point of time.

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Relentless 19% average gradient

Teh shared with ToughASIA his recce trip for the Boleh Bah Kalau Kau “BBKK” 200KM brevet by Sabah Randonneurs. It was a return trip from Hotel No. 5 in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Teh and his friends rode to Dimie Pedalaman Resort and Restaurant at one of the peaks of the southern Crocker Range along Jalan Kimanis – Keningau Highway, deemed to be the steepest highway in Malaysia, with gradients up to 25%.

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Kota Kinabalu – Kimanis – Keningau Kicks

Teh: Three of us cruised past Kampung Benoni along Jalan Bukit Manggis. The broken road was lit by millions of stars in the sky, and the dawn breeze calmed our soul. We were randonneuring a 150KM return trip which started from Kota Kinabalu to Dimie Resort, situated at the peak of the Kimanis – Keningau Highway that plowed through the southern part of the Crocker Range in Sabah.

The climb started at the famous twin bridge and the gradient ramped up abruptly to a relentless 15%. Grade reversals were far and few in between, and even those were around 10%. Maximum gradient was 25% near the rabbit farm which required some zig zagging. A 30km/h headwind surprised us near the top, during a 17% gradient climb.

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The scenery near the top was stupendous, with a sea of clouds against the clear blue sky, and clouds were rolling across the road blown by the mountain breeze. The whole Kuala Penyu Bay was in view on the left side of the road as far as the eye could see, while the majestic folds of the Crocker range was on the right.

Eventually we reached Dimie Resort at 7.30am. Unfortunately, the restaurant opens at noon on Sunday, so we rode back down to one of the villages for our breakfast, and glazed our brake discs in the process. We got back to Kota Kinabalu at 11am. When is your next randonneuring adventure?

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Beautiful sunrise among the folds of the Crocker Range

If you are heading to Sabah, you may want to get in touch with Sabah Randonneurs for advice and more info. Respect the social distancing guidelines, but just enjoy your rides.

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Here’s the highlights from their Boleh Bah Kalau Kau 200 on 27 September 2020.

Photo credits: Teh An Qiao