Monday, December 5, 2011

Batu Gajah - Ipoh recce ride part 2

Mystery of the missing path
We were about mid-way through the ride and came across a concrete bridge.
This one is said to be the link to Lahat, a mining town that is situated on the map.
Since I didn't bring any maps along, I could only see the information on my Garmin EDGE800.
I should have brought along my Garmin Oregon 300, but had left it at home instead.
So, we pushed forward, trying to locate a link to the bridge, but all our efforts were in vain.
We decided to push further, but half-way through the trail, we lost the link on the bund.
There was a large hole in the ground, most probably due to illegal sand mining.
This is a multi-million ringgit industry and since construction materials are at a premium pricing, someone is raking in the big bucks.
Our mystery was sold when Chris had found a footpath towards the bund.
From this point onwards, it was pure offroad cycling.


Going there, and back..
I borrowed this line from Bilbo Baggin's adventure.
What I'm trying to put in perspective is that very few folding bikes had ventured into the Kinta river trail.
And that's exactly why we were there.
For me, its downtime on the Dahon Jetstream EX. Its been two weeks since its Dual Drive II transmission was out.
So, the only reliable bike for this exploration trip was the Dahon Speed P8.
Again, the bike had proven its worthiness on tackling the rugged section on the trail.
Certain places on the bund were overgrown with grass.
This made it extremely difficult to cycle.
We had to push our bikes along the way..


Siang, powering up the bund while Chris awaits with Kim Hwa trailing by
Lost and found
The trail was not perfect.
Some parts of it was lost to the heavy undergrowth.
And since most parts of the river is heavily populated, we rode past a few Malay villages and housing areas.
For the most part of it, we were cycling at the fringe of the Clearwater Sanctuary, an exclusive golf resort.
The trail became cold when we couldn't access a section of the bund.
So, we took a detour and located the entrance, about 1km away.
This was the toughest and roughest section of the ride.
Tall grass and prickly undergrowth made cycling impossible.
There is also the lurking danger of crevasses and large holes.
We were careful enough to slowly ride across the obstacles for nearly 2km before finding a clear path leading towards the edge of Ipoh town.


Grassland: Its never easy cycling through this much of undergrowth

Slowly, the path clears up with signs of two-wheelers threading on it
All's fair and a day's work is done...
We cleared the nasty section where grass and weeds had gotten stuck on our rear derailleurs and cog wheels.
The rest of the ride was a clean trail towards the Southern section of Ipoh.
Siang had booked two rooms at the Dragon and Pheonix hotel in the mid-town area.
We rode towards the Ipoh railway station and made a right turn towards one of the main roads in town.
The hotel is located off the busy road and was not hard to locate.
We checked-in, freshened-up and later took a ride towards a Chinese restaurant for dinner.
During the meals, we made a recap on how much progress we've made and concluded that the Batu Gajah - Ipoh trail is suitable for beginners as well as those who have experience with their folding bikes.


Team dynamics
I've cycled with Siang and hardly knew the other two.
Being put through paces, our team dynamics was rock solid.
None of the guys had complained or threw tantrums during the ride, nor they've whined about getting their bikes dirty.
It was clearly understood that some of the sections were off-road, but thankfully, it was not really heavy. 
Our bike made it all the way to Ipoh and the distance was really short.

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