Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ipoh - Part 2

Rise and shine! 

I pushed my bike to the hotel lobby at 06:15am.
There already people waiting there.
Minutes after that, Uncle John arrived.
He led us to the Petronas station near Tambun Inn.
There, we linked-up with another group of cyclist.
I met Patrick Tham for the second time and exchanged greetings with him.
It was Uncle John who roped-in in the Ipoh gang and I was grateful for that.
As far as the hotel stay is concerned, I have checked-out.
All my gear was in my bag.
Some guys wanted to head back the hotel for a shower, making the ride to Tg Tualang from Ipoh a "Touch and Go" affair.
We had little time at this quaint little town.
The route included a detour to Kellie's Castle. 
When in Ipoh, this is a "must see" destination. Well, at least for one.
The group pushed off from the gas station at 7:30am and the plan was to ride to Station 18 for breakfast.
We did just that.

Fair Park at Dawn

Uncle John (left) making sure that everything is in order

The gang at Petronas
Ipoh, like we've never seen before...

Riding with Uncle John gave me a totally different perspective about Ipoh.
This capital administrative district of Perak is indeed a large township.
We road about 10km towards Station 18 and regrouped with a few more cyclists.
At this point, the group was 30-odd.
It's a good mix with families and a couple of seasoned hands joining in the ride.
After a good breakfast, the ride towards Kellie's Castle was interesting.
It's a course of undulating terrain and it claimed our first casualty.
Evelyn Tung, a Sub-Editor from the EDGE Business Daily had gone down with a faint spell.
Her boyfriend Norman and decided to call off the ride.
I brought her bike towards a shaded area, made sure that she was okay before we parted ways. 
Patrick, our sweeper had done a decent job looking after us.
Back in Petronas, I indulged in small talk with one of the Ipoh cyclist Mr Phuan.
He had a distinct look, mustachioed with a pony tail. 
Phuan was with his wife and seemed to me like a serious rider.

Mr & Mrs Phuan, friendliest people I ever met in Ipoh..
My decent Kari Mee breakfast

Johnny and the MBS gang digging-in

The couple being cared for along the route to Kellie's Castle

Happy Campers at Kellie's Castle
A test of endurance..

We took snapshots at Kellie's Castle and pushed off towards Tg Tualang.
Before we could do so, we have to ride past Batu Gajah town.
Being a long-distance cyclist, this was a moderate task for me.
I was riding my Tern Eclipse S18 and this by far, is the longest ride I've taken with the bike.
I've already done some 40-km commutes to work.
In the case of Tg Tualang, its a typical touring scenario.
With my load, I was averaging at 15km/h.
The rest of the Ipoh gang were sprinting towards the destination.
None of the KL guys were familiar with the terrain..

One of the last remaining tin dredge in Perak

A snapshot in Tg Tualang with Johnny, Mohd Radzi and Jamell...
We arrived in Tg Tualang at about 11:00am and took a break at a hawker centre.
The group had split into two.
Our Chinese gang were having drinks nearby while I kept a watchful eye.
Then, from a distance, I saw the party pooper gesturing.
I felt that something was amiss when two cyclists broke away from the main group.
The ring leader tried to rally a few more people. But to no avail.
Gino Wong, one of the old hands, well, new at cycling, but experienced enough -- told me that it was not right to do so.
As a courtesy, I rode towards the duo and asked if their decision is final. They said they wanted to "do things" in Tg Tualang and that they will "Find their way back"
Johnny said they were old enough to make their own decisions and had allowed them to be on their own.
So, that said, we rode back towards Ipoh.
Batu Gajah is the next town and I was riding with Yun, Mohd Radzi and Mr Phuan as our sweeper.
At the junction to Ipoh, I signaled for the guys to pull over for a drink.
We cooled off at a stall selling coconut juice and continued with our journey towards Ipoh.

Rolling into Ipoh
Fixing a flat

My tire got screwed!
Mission accomplished.. 
Despite the heat, undulating terrain, we did good time.
By 2:20pm, we were back at the hotel.
We had time to rest and while we were at it, Norman came to inform us that the party poopers were not back from Tg Tualang.
I gave him the reasoning of doing an average of 10km an hour. Tg Tualang is 37-km away from Ipoh and they need at least three hours to complete the journey.
They won't make it back in time.
So, Norman took their belongings and headed back to KL.
Later, we found out that the duo had boarded the ETS from Batu Gajah.
What kinda pissed me off was the non-chalant attitude of the ring-leader. As if nothing had happened. 
That said. this is the last time we are cycling with such a selfish individual.
Back in Ipoh, we rode out towards the town area for a late lunch.
Heavy rain had prevented us to leave earlier.
After lunch, we rode towards the end of the train station in search of a place to have a cup of tea.
That was when my tire had a flat.
A piece of screw had pierced the thread and punctured it.
My only option was to replace the inner tube, inflate it at a petrol station nearby and resume our journey.
That done, we rode into the train station to pack our bikes and regrouped with Johnny and a few others minus the party poopers.

A journey concluded..

The ETS was delayed for 10 minutes. This means our journey back to KL Sentral was later than the usual.
At Kepong Sentral, a large group got off and only three of us were left in the train.
When I arrived at Sentral, the first thing on my mind was to hop onto a cab and head straight home.
I had no desire to cycle as I was mentally-drained.
As far as the journey was concerned, we did quite okay.
The only grouse so far, are the non-stop riding. Perhaps for beginners, we should have turned back to Ipoh after Kellie's Castle.
Having said that, the route was given out earlier, so, any protest or feedback would be entertained..
With Ipoh checked-out, our next ride is Taiping and I am working on it.. 

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