Monday, September 16, 2013

Ipoh - Part 2

Riding a small bike in the real world..

I've had my Dahon Curve SL 9-speed 16" folding bike since 2011.
Its the perfect bike for bikepacking and town-hopping.
The 9-speed Shimano Capreo drivetrain is evenly paired with the bike's 55T FSA chainring.
This little demon can climb, cruise and coast.
My last outing was a solo bikepacking ride in Taiping, Perak and I came to appreciate the bike for its versatility.
In the Ipoh ride, three 16" bikes were on the road.
Johnny Ng brought his XDS foldie while Eric Eng was riding a Polygon Urbano.
I didn't have much trouble keeping up with Uncle John and the rest and was actually reserving my energy for the ride to Hulu Kinta.

Samo's going places with his Curve SL
Eric Eng and his Polygon Urbano

Johnny's little and nippy XDS 16" folding bike
We chilled out at the Kek Look Tong cave temple.
A bunch of curious old timers were checking out the bikes and when they were told how much it costs, their faces literally went white.
We took a group photo at the temple grounds before moving off towards Jalan Tambun.

Local folks checking out the bikes.. 

At the Kek Look Tong temple
The road to Hulu Kinta...

Prior to moving out, I told Patrick, the ride leader who took over from Uncle John to keep an eye out for a petrol station where the cyclists can fill up their water bottles.
We have between 10 - 12km to cover before reaching the Briged Utara training centre where the elite VAT69 police commandos are based.

Riding along Jalan Tambun 
Filling up with RON95

Roger and Patric, my regular touring kakis

We rode towards Jalan Tambun through some housing estates to avoid the daily traffic.
While I was maintaining my speed, Uncle Joe rode past and told me that Tambun is the epicentre for growing pomelos.
We kept our conversation until a climb over the North-South Higway bridge.
From that point, we made a right turn towards Sunway Ipoh.
A petrol station was not too far in the distance and there, we filled up on our water while some took their toilet break.

A strong group and well-organized cyclists...

The Ipoh foldies are the most friendliest and courteous group of people I've come across.
In my years of cycling the folding bike, I've yet to meet riders over the age of 70.
There as Uncle Joe and Uncle Tee who were way past their 70s.
Uncle John is one year shy of joining the 70s club.
He told me that the two other guys would cycle regularly and go on town-hopping trips.
"We go to Gopeng and have lunch, then jump into the train back to Ipoh," said Uncle John.
He takes bikepacking seriously and has plans to discover Central Sumatera on his folding bike.
We left the petrol station and Patrick the ride leader is a strong cyclist.
He was pulling at 25km/h and half-way through, Uncle John blasted his electronic siren to ask for a re-group.
The stunned ride leader then said the rest of the group was a bit slow.
I told him that the average moving speed is between 12 - 19km/h.
We waited for the group to close-in and made our way to the Hulu Kinta Trail.

Johnny and his little bike in action
Uncle John our host in Ipoh
Places in Ipoh I never knew existed...

We rode in certain places around Ipoh which I think could be included as a set destination in future bikepacking trips.
I wanted to check out the Tanjung Rambutan train station as it is scheduled to be demolished.
But seeing as it is, the trip to Hulu Kinta forest reserve seems more interesting.
Lucky for me, none of the KL foldies protested, so, we rode out to the area.
Uncle John told me that the area could be really tough for beginners as the terrain was undulating.

At the end of the climb.. 

Mohd Radzi at work with his camera

At the Sultan Azlan Shah reservoir with Patric Yee
I rode along Uncle John and had a chat with him.
We talked a bit and waited for the rest of the riders to re-group.
There are stalls at the Sultan Azlan Shah reservoir and I was told that there are also tracks leading to the National Stud Farm beyond Tanjung Rambutan.
If I have paid to ride in the Ipoh Fun Ride event, I would have never seen these places.
I felt really privileged to cycle with Uncle John and his crew who showed us around.
We spent some time at the Hulu Kinta area before moving back to town..

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