Sunday, October 21, 2012

Rogue Rider : Project Taiping - Port Weld, Part 1

A viable plan..
I've always wanted to cycle around Taiping in Perak.
And I've been planning this for more than a year.
Prior to this, I made a brief stopover in Taiping after returning from Penang last year.
Michelle and I did a walkabout around the town area and found several good places to eat.
Since I had a couple of days off including clearing my annual leave, I made some phone calls.
One was to West Inn, a motel situated about 2.3km away from the Taiping train station.
I managed to book a room for two nights (RM48 for the first day and RM50 for the second night) and before that, secured a return ticket via KTM's intercity train service from KL Sentral to Taiping.
Now, the plan was to take a cab to the train station, then board the 08:45am ride to Taiping.
That's really simple!

My 2008 Dahon Curve SL
Weapon of choice...
My 2008 Dahon Curve SL is one of the most underutilised bike in my keeps.
For the Taiping recce ride, I plan to use it.
This is the perfect short-middle distance ride machine.
And since its also very lightweight, I can actually lug it into the train.

It's a solo affair!
For this trip, I did pass the word around.
But the response was na-da.
This did not deter me from doing what I want.
Riding solo means I don't have to take care of people.
I enjoy what I do and riding solo is what I really do best!
During my gig in Taiping, I contact Coach Jamell of the Taiping Foldies Fan.
The plan was to meet up with him and several other riders for tea.

The trouble with cabbies..
To get to KL Sentral, I made prior arrangements with Ahmad, a cab driver.
He agreed to pick me up and drop me off at KL Sentral.
But before he could do so, the man rang me up to tell me he couldn't make it.
I told him it was okay and booked a cab from a taxi company.
Now, the morning that I was supposed to leave, I receive a call that there were no cabs available.
Sensing that I have a narrow window of opportunity, I rang up a few other cab companies.
Lucky for me, one responded and told me that the cabbie was on the way.. Yaaayyy!!!

Waiting to board at KL Sentral
And so, the journey begins..
Yeah, there I was, my Curve SL and Ortlieb Flight 27 backpack in the rear seat.
I struck a conversation with the cabbie that took me all the way from USJ26 to KL Sentral.
Pick-up time was 06:58am and I arrived at my destination at 08:15.
The taxi ride was epic as we joined-in the morning rush hour.
I was relieved that I had a 30-minute advantage.
The train to Taiping was also delayed for 15-minutes.
And when the boarding call was made, I went down to the platform and boarded coach M5.
There, I was greeted by an elderly Indian man.
He was glad to have met me and indulged in a conversation.
We talked a bit until another elderly Malay man joined in.
There were three of us and later, a Japanese couple also made their way to the coach.
With all the chatter, I got really tired, plugged in my ipod to listen to some music and dozed off..

Enduring the smelly seat on the train

 There were some really interesting places that I came across from the window's view.
First, there was Sungai Siput and later, the train passed by Kuala Kangsar.
These towns will be transformed with the double-tracking electric rail project.
There were some massive work being done on the railway track and this is expected to bring in some progress to the towns up North...


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