Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rogue Rider : Project Taiping - Port Weld, Part 4

Chasing storms
The weather in Taiping is unforgiving.
I managed to get back to the hotel in time to experience a heavy afternoon downpour.
Only this time round, I was dry and in the comfort of a hot cuppa coffee.
As I waited out the storm, there was room to reflect.
The ride from Taiping to Port Weld, short in terms of distance as it seems, was very educational.
In a single sweep, I managed to see so many things.
Even Taiping per say, is a town that is worth visiting during the different time of the year..

Ngah Ibrahim's fort near Matang
A last sweep and meeting the Taiping Foldie Fans
I made arrangements with Coach Jamell and his gang to meet up for a cup of coffee in town.
He mention Yut Sun coffee shop and told me to ask for directions on how get there.
I did a Google search and nailed the location.
Back at the hotel, I took an afternoon nap.
At 06:00pm sharp, I set up the bike and rode out towards town..

Taiping Lake Gardens
A HDR capture of the lakeside
What I like about Taiping is the fact that cyclists are accepted here.
And its also a great place to see on a bicycle, I shit you not!
With two hours to burn, I made my way to the Taiping Lake Gardens. There, I rode up to the War Memorial, which turned out to be a row of headstones.
At the same time, lots of cyclists rode past including joggers on the well-laid path.
Cycling along the Lake Gardens, I found myself on the path towards town.
That was where I met Coach Jamell who shouted out my name.
He was with a group of cyclists and we kinda indulged in small talk.
Later, Jamell led me to a bicycle shop who deals with Dahon Folding Bikes
The owner told me that he had four bikes and are selling the folding bikes really well.

Taiping's Colonial architecture is in dire need of conservation..
From the bike shop, I rode towards Yut Sun coffee shop.
This is one place that opens at night and is known for its Hainanese food.
There as a write-up by Sunny Foong, an ex-colleague of mine and also my guru who taught me on how to set-up the pages for Star's Metro Southeast edition.
I ordered a plate of chicken chop which is just average. Cost me about RM9 including a cup of coffee. The brew is pretty decent, but I think the chicken chop could be better.

The chicken chop
Later, Cikgu Azis came. 
I met the man in person at the CFAL4 in Penang last month.
He is a nice guy and very accommodating.
Azis knew that a solo rider wants and told me that Taiping had lots to offer.
He was joined by Coach Jamell and his family, Adib Chevy and Tok Chiru.
These are the guys who started the folding bike movement in Taiping.
We chat until it was que for me to leave.
I set my Sigma Powerled Pro to high beam and rode towards the hotel.
It was already 10:30pm and since the chicken chop really didn't do squat, I decided to ride towards Kamunting for supper. 
After a filling meal, I made my way back to the hotel and spoke to the elderly Malay man who helped me in visiting the places of interest in Kuala Sepetang.

All good things must come to an end..
My alarm rang at 06:30am.
I have to ride out towards town to take another route towards the train station.
When I rolled down the bike, I met the caretaker and thanked him again.
The Sun was already out in its full glory and it was a wonderful morning
My goal was to score a plate of char koay teow in town..

Breakfast in Taiping
An awesome treat: char koay teow
The aim is to get to the Taiping train station by 09:15am and wait to board the Butterworth - Singapore express train to KL Sentral.
That was not an issue since I had plenty of time to spare.
After a good meal, I rode down Jalan Stesen which leads to the Rail terminal..

Historic: with a new and modern station nearby, this wooden shack will fade away..
I found out that I had ample time to pack my bike, re-set my gear and hunker-in for the ride home.
Took me a couple of minutes to organise things and before I knew it, the train came. 
Only a handful of passengers boarded the express train to Kuala Lumpur.

Mission accomplished!
I endured the ride till the train had reached KL Sentral.
On my mind, I was too lazy to cycle home from the transit terminal. So, I paid for a cab to take me home so I could rest.
The ride to KL Sentral costs RM37 one-way and the other way round was RM39. The bikepacking journey was complete with these factored-in.
A return ticket to Taiping costs RM56, while the hotel was RM106 for two nights. Meals came up to RM30 in total, incidental expenses were kept at bay around RM30 throughout the trip.
I think the most expensive thing was the cab ride.
The train was okay and you have to be really patient throughout the journey.
On the whole, I clocked-in a total of 77.8km in Taiping and Port Weld.
To sum it up, it was a great experience and from the knowledge gained, I can't wait to ride again in Taiping with Michelle.
My most likely recce ride is Kuala Kangsar in the months to come..
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