Cycling enthusiasts can now explore further experience including in the countryside with the introduction of special charter trains or the Express Bicycle Coach (XKB).

The new service by Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) allows cycling enthusiasts to bring along their bicycles into the specially prepared coach to their desired destination to start cycling.

KTMB chief executive officer Mohd Rani Hisham Samsudin said the service was introduced to give hardcore cycling enthusiasts a new and unique experience besides fulfilling the demand from passengers who want to relive the experience of diesel locomotive services as opposed to electric train services.

“When taking the train, they can explore interesting cycling locations along the KTMB train route throughout the country, including Thailand through the cooperation of the State Railway of Thailand.

“This would indirectly make their trip a safer journey apart from being less tiring because they don’t have to drive to a farther location,” he told reporters after the launch of the new service here recently.

At the launch, some 150 participants were invited to take a ride on the XKB from the Kuala Lumpur station to the Tanjung Malim station before cycling for almost four hours over a distance of 49 kilometers via Sungai Bil – Behrang Ulu – Sungai Dara – Sungai Bil and cycling back to the Tanjung Malim station.

Mohd Rani Hisham added that the bicycle coach that was introduced was originally a modified passenger seat coach that could accommodate 60 bicycles at a time.

“For now, we have prepared three bicycle coaches and the bicycles will be placed on special equipment to ensure they remain stable during the journey.

“We have also added an ADNS coach (Air-conditioned Day/Night Second) or a sitting coach that can accommodate 60 passengers in the XKB package,” he said and added that the XKB service was a gesture to show support for the Agenda Nasional Malaysia Sihat (ANMS).

He said the rental cost depends on the type of coach and the travel distance based on the needs and wants of the customers which are offered at an affordable price.

“We also provide rental of special coaches with different facilities such as leisure coaches, conference coaches, special salon coaches, sleeper coaches and buffet coaches which can be accompanied by a bicycle coach according to the customer’s request,” he said adding that they were prepared to collaborate with event organisers or promoters.

For cycling enthusiast, Dr Razul Ikmal Ramli who in his 40s, the XKB service was a good effort in encouraging more people to venture into the sport as it facilitates travelling as well as saves time and energy.

“Every facility provided is very organised in fact KTMB also provides a special route for cycling, thus allowing fans to enjoy the beauty of the location while promoting the tourism activities available in the area.

“After all, cycling is a recreational activity that promotes green mobility in an effort to maintain a green environment,” said Dr Razul, who is also Mata Hati Malaysia’s secretary.

Meanwhile, bank officer Mohd Saleh Zakaria, 50, plans to use the service during a trip with his cycling club, Santai Riders Cycling Club to the east coast at the end of the year.

“Earlier we rented a bus when we had a cycling trip from Perlis to Hatyai, Thailand, perhaps after this, we will try to take the train.

“I’m sure if we were to drive, it will be tiring and we will run out of energy to ride later,” he said.

YouTube content provider Mohammad Jazlan Nangar, 34, described the service as a golden opportunity for folding bike enthusiasts to ride as a group.

“The presence of this bicycle coach gives us more options, especially when cycling in a group outside the Klang Valley,” said Jazlan who has been involved in cycling since 2014. ― Bernama