Friday, September 19, 2014

Taiping Foldies Ride - Part 1

Fellowship of the Foldies...

I met the ring leaders of the Taiping Foldies Fan three years ago in Penang.
Their honcho Jamell, is an avid cyclist and is well-known throughout Taiping.
We met earlier this year and planned a ride in Taiping.

Route planning and logistcis

Together with Johnny Ng of My Bicycle Shop, I planned a trip to this historical town to link up with the Taiping and Ipoh folding bike enthusiasts.
We put this up on the Malaysian Foldies Facebook page and response from the KL cyclists were just lukewarm.
Initially, it was a bikepacking ride. I contacted KTMB and told them about having a group discount and learned that the Ekspres Langkawi schedule has been revamped.
Instead of departing from KL Sentral at 08:45am, the train leaves at 10:00pm.
This screwed-up everything that we've planned and left us no choice but to drive up.
I spoke to Johnny about this and he didn't mind the long drive.
He was committed to see this happen.

Getting on with the plan..

And when the day arrived, I drove up to Taiping with Mr Cheng, a folding bike enthusiast who brought along a Brompton S-6 bike.
Cheng had agreed to share the cost of car-pooling and met me at the One City mall for pick-up.
He runs a business supplying sanitation products for companies and business outlets and turned out to be quite a decent person.
I learned that Cheng is an avid runner who takes part in international marathon and triathlon events.
We talked a lot about food and cycling and arrived in Taiping late in the afternoon after a pit-stop in Ipoh.
Our destination was the Prison's bungalow that can accommodate more than 20 people at one time.
There, we waited for Johnny and Mohd Radzi Md Nor to arrive from KL.
While we were there, I took Cheng around Taiping town for a ride and showed him around to the good makan places.
Sometime later in the day, we met Jamell who was hanging around at a bicycle shop in town.
We checked out some goods at Ah Hock's bike shop, a well-known outlet in Taiping and I was told that Yun, another foldie dude is arriving in Taiping town.
From Ah Hock's bike shop, we cycled over to Yut Sun coffee shop, a famous Hainanese food and beverage outlet in Taiping.
There, we had coffee and caught up with some small talk before Yun updated his time of arrival.

With Cheng in Taiping town
At the new railway station
Electric train undergoing test at the station

The Larut-Matang food court
Nightfall and waiting for our main players..

We caught up with Yun at the Taiping Mall.
He rode from Batu Gajah alone on his Doppleganger folding bike.
We then proceeded to have dinner at a hawker centre and while we were there, Megat @ Tok Chiru came by.
I met the man when I cycled alone in Taiping a couple of years earlier.
At the food court, we chat a bit before heading back to the bungalow so that Yun can settle down.
We agreed that it's best to take down the mattress on the first-floor of the bungalow and set it down at the living room.
Just after midnight, Mohd Radzi called. They got lost, so, I told them to wait in town.
While we were waiting at the Bungalow's gate, we noticed that the prison guards were keeping an eye on us.
Mohd Radzi called to inform us that he and Johnny were at the edge of town and were also very hungry.
They've endured a three-hour drive to Taiping.
We linked-up at last and went for some supper. Taiping after dark is as good as a ghost town.
Near the hospital's junction, we found a stall selling kuey teow goreng kerang and settled for makan there which turned out to be an awesome treat.
Yun and I led the duo to the Bungalow to settle in for the night before the ride next morning..

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