Saturday, April 25, 2015

Lata Kekabu - Part 1

The great outdoors... 

I took the opportunity to test my Kelty camping gear when a group of cyclists decides to head to Lata Kekabu in Lenggong, Perak for a bikecamping trip.
This is my second time out. The first one was done three years ago in Pertak, Selangor. Since then, I've been working on upgrading my equipment and decided to procure a set of tarp and bug hut. This was a lesson learnt in Pertak.

New friends and a change of environment..

The Lata Kekabu trip was organized by En Jaa Suzali Othman, an experienced cyclist and touring rider.
He rigged up this trip with his wife Kak Raha and two of his sons. After putting up the event on the social media, some 18 people had signed up for the bikecamping ride. Their plan was to drive up to Kuala Kangsar in Perak and roll out from there to Lenggong.
Since I don't fancy the idea of traveling hundreds of kilometers and ride straight away after parking the car, so, my plan was to take a train up to Ipoh and roll out to Kuala Kangsar which is roughly about 53km away. As far as Lenggong is concerned, I've plied this path a few years earlier.
I planned to do this on my own, but when a fellow cyclist asked if he could tag along, I gladly obliged to get his train ticket.
The guy was riding with me for the second time. I got acquainted with En Khairul Rasman in Lata Lembik in Pahang a month ago.
I am not familiar with the other people in the group with the exception of Abang Din whom I met at a bicycle shop prior to this trip. He is traveling with his family who were also riding in the event.
Out of the 18 people who participated in the ride, I was the only non-Muslim and yet, the folks whom I rode with were very understanding, hospitable and generous. 

Bikes and panniers packed and ready for the train ride

Destination: Ipoh

I made plans to meet up with Khairul at the KL Sentral station. On the departure day, I woke up as early as 05:30am and loaded all my gear onto my wife's car. Michelle drove me to the station and I wanted to stay ahead of time. The Ipoh-bound train departs at 09:00am sharp. The plan was to meet up with Khairul at McDonalds, get whatever we need like water and food, then load them up in the coach.
And as expected, the train arrived at the platform as scheduled and we began to haul our bikes onto the coach.
As a seasoned traveler, I booked the front row where I can stash my bike, panniers and other gear for the journey.

Packing for camp

Unlike touring, bikecamping gear weighs heavier than the norm. There's the tent (I use a tarp and ground sheet), bedding (sleeping mat and bag), cooking gear (stove, pots and eating utensils) and food. This increases the weight on your panniers immensely.

The Kelty Bug Bivvy, Upslope Tarp and MSR telescopic shelter poles

All the gear are packed neatly into a pair of panniers and a 24L rackpack
 Other equipment that were given serious consideration with lighting gear (Black Diamond Apollo lantern), my outdated Petzl Myo XP headlamp, photographic equipment, two Sony Action cams and alternate power source in the form of the APC power banks (5,000mAH & 10,000mAH). These would add more weight to the already laden luggage packs. I had to ditch some equipment to lighten the load.
My bike of choice for this ride was the Tern Eclipse S18. Although slower than the average 24" bike, this one's really solid and steady for the long-haul.

A chance encounter..

Zairil approves by giving a Shaka.. 
After two and a-half hours on the train, we alighted at the Ipoh train station and while setting up the bikes, I bumped into En Zairil Hakimi Ishak, an avid cyclist whom I met twice in Ipoh. He tours a bit and our meeting at the station was pure coincidental. 
Zairil was aware of the bikecamping ride in Lenggong, but was committed for another event in Cameron Highlands.
We had lunch at a mamak shop near the state mosque and learned that Khairul have had some problems with his bike. 
The guy rides a Dahon Speed P8 and has never serviced it. I can't blame him because he is very new at cycling. 
After the Friday prayers, Zairil helped with the bike and we were well on our way towards Kuala Kangsar.
Since this is a five-hour ride, the clock was set further behind as we had a three-hour handicap.
The plan was to reach Kuala Kangsar by nightfall, have dinner and rest there for a night...

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