Monday, September 16, 2013

Ipoh - part 1

A month's worth of planning...

Bike technician and shop owner Johnny Ng had expressed keen interest on a train & ride trip from KL - Ipoh.
I suggested that we take the KTM ETS service from KL Sentral and ride around Ipoh, Perak.
He took the idea with great enthusiasm and all that's left, is to round up the posse.
I bought the tickets in advance and told Johnny that only certain seats in the coach are with enough space to place the folded and bagged bikes.
Apart from that, I also contact Uncle John Pah, an Ipoh resident who rides a Tern Eclipse P24h.
He was very enthusiastic about it and actually made arrangements to show us around.
The head-count was seven cyclists from KL and another 15 people in Ipoh.
Our ride also coincided with the Ipoh fun ride that took place on Sept 15.

The gang in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur
Early morning blues

Getting up in the wee hours of the morning and driving to the KL Sentral station isn't everybody's cup of tea.
To bikepack, you've got to be thoroughly disciplined.
People with Rockstar attitude would not cut it.
So, the plan is to meet Johnny and the posse: Mohd Radzi Md Noor, Roger Teoh and Patric Yee (my usual bikepacking and touring kakis) in Brickfields at a public carpark and ride to KL Sentral.
There, we will meet two more cyclists, newcomers Eric Eng and William Yeo.

Ipoh-bound, William, Eric and Mohd Radzi
Johnny wasn't impressed with the size of the breakfast wrap...
We've loaded up with breakfast to begin the two and a-half hour journey to Ipoh.
And at 06:04 sharp, the doors on the KTM ETS coach closed.
Usually, on early morning rides as such, the coach would be half-full. So, we could sit anywhere we want.
And as I've predicted, some asshats sat on our seats. 
It's okay since we found a area in the coach which was large enough to accommodate our bikes.
But the bummer was the fact that I lost my Cateye Rapid One with an adapter clip that was given to me by Johnny's partner Ah Fatt.
I went on without realizing that the light was missing.

Rendezvous with the Ipoh foldies...

We reached Ipoh Sentral station at 08:30am.
There was a group waiting for us there and the first person who came up to us was Uncle John.
He told me that his group is waiting in front of the train station and are ready to escort us on the ride.
"Eh, Sam ah! We are going to take you around a park area in town before heading down to the old section of the city for breakfast.. Okay ah?," asked Uncle John.
I was happy to oblige and told him that Patric was really hungry. 

Introducing the posse to Uncle John at the train station
We made our way to the entrance of the station to set up the bikes.
This time round, I brought my old faithful 16" Dahon Curve SL.
It has the lowest mileage in my stable with about 550km of ride time.
I felt really guilty because the rest of the time, I was cycling my Dahon Speed P8 and Jetstream EX.
Later, we went out to the exterior of the train station and organised a group photo.

Fellowship of the foldies
Uncle John led the cyclists to a park area near the riverfront which I never knew existed.
It was very interesting as we were led towards the older part of Ipoh.
Breakfast was served and my priority was to lead Mohd Radzi to some Halal food stalls while the guys enjoy their Ipoh street food.
Being the only Muslim cycling buddy in the group, I felt obliged to look after him.

Breakfast at Omar Nasi Kandar
Immediately after filling up our tummies, we rode back into town to join the rest of the people.
The ride sweeper Patrick, Uncle John's cycling kaki said we were slightly behind time.
Since Johnny wanted to see some cave temples, I told Uncle John to grant him the wish.

Riding along the Concubine Lane in Ipoh Old Town
Heading out of town

Cycling in an orderly manner
So, we rode a loop across Little India and made our way to the outskirts of Ipoh.
The first destination was the old Polo ground.
We rode around the place and went straight to the Kek Lok Tong Cave temple..
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