Sunday, July 28, 2013

Team Eclipse Adventures - 03

All the bugs fixed and we're ready to go...

We're about a month away from the CFAL 5 ride in Penang and frankly, Michelle and I haven't been getting much ride time on our bikes.
Our bikes are tuned-up and its ready to hit the road.
This year, we are taking our Tern Eclipse P9 and X20 to the Pearl of the Orient for the 84km ride.
Our main concern is getting used to the bike settings and frankly, there's a lot to be done in getting ourselves in shape for the ride.

The Putra Heights Loop...

We're blessed in a way that our home is actually on an elevated slope.
Right behind us is Bukit Lanchong which is being cut down and raped by a developer to fill their own pockets.
We did many rides around the area to achieve about 15km in distance.
This time, Michelle had decided to take the Putra Crescent route.
Before that, we rode to One City which is a new development in USJ 26.
This is a new shopping centre with a hotel and to my horror, a large outfitter store is going to be one of the main tenants there.
What's missing in this mall, is a bicycle shop.
The ride was simple and leisurely as we made our way across Persiaran Harmoni, the traffic was quite heavy. 
It took Michelle quite a while before she could get across the street.
After a short climb, we rolled down to the Putra Crescent housing estate. 
This is a nice residential area which is only accessible via Persiaran Harmony and the ELITE Highway via the Putra Heights interchange.

Michelle on her Eclipse P9
Riding along Persiaran Harmony
Into the heart of Putra Heights...

We made a turn towards the Giant Hypermart off Persiaran Putra Perdana and looped towards Persiaran Putra Bahagia.
This, at present is one of the most dangerous stretches around the Putra Heights Loop.
Just as we reached the junction towards Persiaran Putra Perdana, we witnessed a car being towed away, fresh from a road accident.
Just a few hundred meters away, is the Glades, a posh residential area developed by Sime Darby Berhad.
What drew is to the location was a BMW Customer Day event.
We rode into the Glades where a few RELA officers were placed there on sentry duty.
They ignored us as we rode past a fleet of BMW cars on display.

At the slope along Persiaran Putra Bahagia

The club house at the Glades

From the Glades, we rode towards a row of shophouse in Jalan Putra Bistari where we stopped for a bottle of Gatorade.
Later, we rode back towards our home in USJ 26 and called it a day.
Before folding up the Eclipse for storage, I gave it a wipedown.
We're pretty happy with the performance of the bikes and look forward to a few training sessions before hitting Penang in early September.

Ride statistics

Distance:14.42 km
Avg Speed:12.0 km/h
Elevation Gain:65 m
Calories:508 C
Avg Temperature:28.1 °C

The Putra Heights Loop cycling route

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A creak too far..

That annoying creaking sound.. 

I've had my Tern Eclipse X20 for nearly a month and finally had time to cycle it on a short and middle distance rides.
One thing was apparent when I took it out on a 26km ride - a creaking sound coming down from the lower left crank.
I can actually feel the pedal creaking each time I exert force on it.

I am a category-5 Kaiju...

Yeah, I am that Kaiju (Japanese for Giant Beast) on two wheels. 
Any folding bike that can survive a long haul with me riding it would be good to go. Seriously!
So, having felt the creaking on my left crank, I tried to see if my MKS Step-in Urban quick release pedals were giving me any problem.
Even with plenty of grease, the problem was apparent.

A trip to Master Johnny's bicycle shop...

Master Johnny Ng at work with the Pirate-Ninja
I knew that this persistent problem won't go away unless its treated aggressively.
There are only two people in Malaysia that I would trust when it comes to servicing a folding bike. 
High on the list is Master Johnny Ng of My Bicycle Shop in Bandar Utama. 
Johnny has a loyal following and a list of customers who brings their folding bikes for service at his shop. He even does Bromptons if the owners are cooperative and are willing to source for their own parts.
The other guy is Ben Thiew of Rodalink in Bandar Botanic, Klang.
Ben did a good job on servicing my wife's Dahon Jetstream P8 that was creaking like mad. 
His aggressive way of solving the problem is what I really liked and till today, there's no creaking sound coming from Michelle's Jetstream.

The ring that broke the Ninja's back..

Johnny asked if he could remove the quick-release catch on the MKS pedal which I gladly consented.
He took apart the precision piece and lubricated it.
But the creaking sound was still apparent.
Later, he took out the left crank arm and found out that it wasn't properly set.
The culprit was a thin piece of plastic spacer on the crank arm.
"You don't need this. When it was factory installed, the piece was put in so that the crank won't be over-tightened..
"When you add pressure, the force on the crank caused the gap to twist and you get that creaking sound," said Johnny.
He took it out, tightened the crank arm and the creaking was gone.

This little piggy had gone to the market.. 
If it was any other bike shop.. 

Well, with an issue as such, I would probably be told to send the bike back to Taiwan.
Or sell it to another cyclist for a song.
Thank God for Johnny and his inquisitive approach.
We found that the plastic spacer was the root cause and after removing it, I kept it on a plastic bag for future reference.

Test! Test! And test! 

After solving the problem, I took the Eclipse X20 for a 14km ride and there's no more creaking sound coming from the lower crank arm.
That said, there will be smooth days ahead with the Pirate-Ninja! 

Cycle to work: The Pirate-Ninja Experience...

Taking advantage of a public holiday...

If I roll in a bike on any given day at the office, I get stares and some strange remarks.
But since it was a state holiday, it was a great opportunity to cycle to work.
Traffic was light and my Tern Eclipse X20 needed some breaking-in.
This 24-inch ride has the lowest mileage in my stable of folding bikes.
After a tune-up by Master Johnny Ng of My Bicycle Shop in Bandar Utama, the Pirate-Ninja, as it is affectionately called - was ready to hit the road.

Leaving the Samo-mobile mk 2 at home... 

On the highway's motorcycle lane..
Fast bike, slow rider.

Well, as they said: "A bike is as good as its cyclist..." 
And I must admit that I am rather "slow" for this bike.
I mean, on the average, I was just pulling at 25km/h. It was rather effortless to crank the bike to an average speed of 22km/h.
That's the best I could do and if I am to hit 30km/h on the straight, it will be a strict training regime and time to loose some weight..
I had to cover at least 21.5km to reach my office from USJ26, so, the strategy was not to tire myself.
Before I left home, I had a Powerbar for breakfast and plenty of water.
And like my previous cycle to work rides, I took the route from USJ 26 - USJ 4 using the back roads along USJ 20, 19 and 1.

"Creak, creak, creak..."

I did a short ride at the MBPJ event a few weeks back and noticed that there was an annoying sound coming from the lower crank.
Couldn't figure out what it was and did some reference on the internet.
It could be a bent spindle on the MKS Urban Step-in Superior quick release pedals, or a loosened crank arm. 
Since it was not life-threatening, I kept on rolling till I could get an appointment with Master Johnny Ng at his bike shop in Bandar Utama.
It took me about 1 hour 20 minutes to reach my office in Section 16 in Petaling Jaya.

My favourite photo spot on the highway's bike lane

A lay-by underneath the highway's viaduct, very common place to take shelter from the rain...

At my desk in the office.. 
Doing my eight-hour day worth of work.. 

I had my desk job all set up for the day.
My plan was to leave the office before dark.
Mid-way through work, it started to rain, which was a relief to the dry and hazy weather.
After packing up my stuff, I left the office at 6:30pm.
The plan was to cut through Section 17, head down to Jalan 223 and enter the Federal Highway's motorcycle lane.
I put my Mavic rain jacket due to the slight drizzle and half-way through, I took shelter underneath a viaduct near the Guinness Anchor brewery in Sungai Way.

Homeward bound.. The bike lane heading to Klang

Taking shelter.. 
A smooth journey..

The ride home was shorter in terms of distance.
And its also laden with a lot of hazard.
Especially with the LRT line extension, the ride from SS13 - USJ 1 is paved with danger.
The road is narrower due to construction work along the way.
And cars had the tendency to stray onto a cyclist's path.
I've cycled past this route many times and concluded that you need to be on the defensive mode to cycle along here.
Nevertheless, the Ramadan month had proven to be a blessing when it comes to cycling late in the evening.

The evening traffic

Riding along the elevated road in Subang Jaya
The home stretch

My kidz, waiting at the gate

In less that one and a-half hours, I was home.
My dogs were waiting for me at the gate.
To get past the evening, I cooked up some brown rice and ate some leftovers.
As far as the ride was concerned, it was a successful attempt at cycling to work with my 24-inch bike. I did it earlier with the Tern Eclipse S11i, and the faster and sleeker Eclipse X20 had proven that a folding bike is an efficient transport. I couldn't ask for more as my expenses was low and I get to burn 1,771 calories at the same time! 

Monday, July 22, 2013

July 21 Full Moon

  Capturing the moon in its full glory...

I checked my Garmin Fenix GPS watch and it showed a full moon sign.
Shortly before dinner, I can see the moon lit up brightly up in the sky.
This was a good opportunity to capture the lunar landscape with my Canon EF400mm F4.0L and with a 1.4x teleconvertor, I can extend the focal length to 560mm.

At 560mm focal length
70% crop
I spent about 20-minutes capturing the scene on a tripod and cable shutter release.
After making sure that there were no vibrations, I checked the playback of the images and was quite satisfied with the results.


To get the most out of it, I played with the exposure values and tweaked the contrast on the images.
I wanted to show the moon against a black sky and the contrast on its surface.
By using the Adobe Lightroom 4, I was able to highlight the dark colours on the moon's surface.
With a full-frame body, it was possible to do a 70% crop without losing the clarity of the image.
After sifting through the lot of images, I settled for three frames which I am really happy to show.. 

A fine specimen

All good things goes to he who waits...

I wasn't going to settle for the images of a wounded jumping spider.
The set I took of a specimen with three legs was a start.
Somehow or rather, I knew that I would chance upon the healthy male jumper which I had last seen with a prey on its mandible.

This is a common jumper and can be found easily in gardens and wooded areas...
Second time lucky...

I combed Michelle's Jasmine tree and found the spider I was looking for. 
It was prowling on the branches and worked its way to a stalk and steadily positioned itself on a leaf.
That was the break I was looking for.
I picked it up and worked with it over a few shots.
To get things going, I started with 1x magnification on my Canon MPE-65 macro lens.
Slowly, when I got the hang of things, I increased the magnification to 2.5x and also stepped up the flash power output to get a stronger exposure.
After getting off a few good shots, I placed the jumper back to the Jasmine tree.

Tree-quarter side profile

I used the Adobe Lightroom 4 to post-process the shot.
For the most of it, I darken the shot to get the colour and contrast.
It worked for me as I can see the rich contrast and sharpness.
With an MPE-65, you focusing skills are vital. If its out of focus, you end up with a blur shot.
And there's no two-ways about it.. 
On the whole, I am very happy with the find and this adds to my collection of jumping spider images.

Fixing a scratch on a smartphone's lens cover..

The RM160 problem..

The HTC One X+ Android phone was the rave last year.
I got this to replace my LG Optimus 2X that literally hung on me.
Prior to that, I had a HTC Desire C, which is a 3" screen smartphone running on Android 4.1.
But it was a single-core phone and I didn't quite like the screen size.
So, I traded it in for the HTC One X+, which turned out to be a totally different animal.

The lens cover, restored from scratches

My phone's back cover
 Pocket time and "ugh!" images..

I must say that the phone camera on the HTC One X+ is only "so-so".
To date, I never had any luck with cellphone cameras.
Either they are too slow or just plain bad.
To make matters even worse, the HTC One X+ spent a lot of time in my pocket.
This means, mixing with coins and keys.
Which led to the scratches forming up on the lens cover.
This resulted in some really bad and "soft" pictures and in low-lighting conditions, the images literally "blows!".

snapshot taken on daytime

snapped during low-lighting conditions
A simple solution...

I went to a HTC dealership.
A sales guy there told me that he could replace the lens cover for RM160.
I was hesitant.
Which led me to check on the internet on solutions for this issue.
Some dude suggested toothpaste.
I took a more aggressive approach by using liquid abrasive.
It was a "all for nothing" situation when I dabbed the liquid paste on the lens and started rubbing it on a circular motion.
With a few rubs, I noticed that the scratched coated surface was gone.
Then, I turned on the camera and the images were clear again. Just like the day I bought it.
The pictures are not soft anymore.


I saved RM160 by literally polishing off the scratches from the lens cover.
And if there are any more unsightly scratches, I can do it again and again and again.
Basically, it was the glass coating that gave way. Seems like hard plastic to me, but with the liquid abrasives, it worked just fine! 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The wounded warrior

Not quite the jumper I've expected...

I spotted a jumping spider prowling on Michelle's Jasmine tree.
She planted this outside our gate and it's been thriving ever since.
The spider I saw was a healthy male.
While looking for it, I managed to stalk one that is rather slow and moving in a precarious manner.
And upon closer inspection, all its limbs on one side of its body was missing.


Portrait of pain: the wounded warrior
Adapt, or die: An Apex predator, the spider is now vulnerable
Part of it is missing: the jumper
It's gonna take a lot for this spider to regenerate its missing limbs.
Maybe when it molts its exoskeleton, the legs and pincer may come back...

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Humility: The road less traveled..

I like to see a friend do well..

I met Muaaz Mohd Noor some years back when he started a part-time business peddling European camping gear and some Swedish pocket knives.
I bought some EKA knives from him that I still carry until today.
We built our friendship through trust and I am very happy to see him setting out on his own and doing business as an outfitter.

Family-oriented activities.

Unlike the para-military elitist guys in Subang Jaya, Muaaz specializes in family outings.
He is also a licensed nature guide and uses his store in Seri Kembangan for classes and film shows.
Having worked in the Scandinavian countries, the man knows everything there is about outfitting people for hiking and camping in Nordic countries.
In our local context, Muaaz is catering to watersports lovers and campers.
Although I don't see the need for Henessey Hammocks, you name it, he's got it.

Business and friendship...

Sometimes, when all the hype and praises goes around - especially when a newspaper outdoor columnist calls you a "Gear improvisation expert", it'll get into your head.
I talked about this with Muaaz who said it was silly for the Subang Jaya guy to throw away some friendship due to ego and insecurities.
I said that it was his gain and our loss.. 
Way I see it, a good and long-term business relationship is based on trust and mutual benefits.
The outdoor business here is rather immature and still in its infancy.
That said, I wish Muaaz the best and hope that his business will pick up..

Journey to the inner city: A Tern Link D7i oddissey..

An impromptu arrangement...

I contacted Master Urban Cyclist Mr Sin Tai Lim through the Facebook messenger and asked: "What's going on?"
He replied by saying that he's going to ride in Bandar Tasik Selatan and survey the Mines area.
Sin, who took up cycling in 2011, said that he wants to retire and concentrate on setting up a company specializing in bicycling tours.

The LD7i in its integrated bag and trolley rack

The plan

I told him that I am heading into the city by KTM Komuter.
My plan was to give the Tern Link D7i a try.
He agreed to meet in Dataran Merdeka and my offer to him was a lunch meeting and a couple of beers.
So, I took the LD7i and rode towards the Subang Jaya KTM Komuter station.
I don't have much an opinion on the Shimano Nexus 7 IHG drivetrain and kinda underestimated its capabilities.
To my surprise, the bike was pulling at 25km/h on the straight.
It took me less than 30-minutes to reach the station.

At the KL railway station

With KTMB's HQ in the background
City riding, a totally different animal!

I reached the KL railway station about 45-minutes after traveling from Subang Jaya.
By the time I set up the bike, I was already running late.
The plan was to ride to the KL City Gallery and link up with Mr Sin.
He spotted me cycling around the dataran and gave me a shout.
We linked up and went down to Jalan Silang for lunch at a Nepalese restaurant..

At the KL City Gallery
We caught up by having a conversation during lunch.
That was where I heard about Sin's intention to retire and set up his own business.
I wished him luck and all the best.
"Where do you want to go?," asked Sin.
I told him that I was testing the Link D7i and had no preference.
Using that as his pointer, Sin led me to the riverbank on the Klang River.
We cycled along the drainage and checked out the graffiti walls.
I told him that safety is paramount and that the viaducts are normally home to vagrants and junkies.
So far, so good, no issues cycling in the area.
It was a short ride through KL City's sub-culture and I watched as the bustling life zips by above us on the street level.

Cycling along the riverbank and drainage

The City's graffiti walls
A journey back in time..

We headed off to the Selangor Club, a century old establishment in the city centre.
There, we had a few beers before parting ways.
I rode back to Subang Jaya via Brickfields and the Federal Highway motorcycle lane - a facility I knew too well.
It took me about 45-minutes to reach home and concluded the 41-km ride.

A familiar sight
I am never keen in cycling around the city.
Traffic can be hazardous and moving around with the buses and cars meant a more aggressive stance in cycling.
That said, I prefer the countryside, but nevertheless, it's always a refreshing sight to see KL's City Centre from a different perspective.. 

Harsh criticism..

A foundation for good business..

In the harsh world we live in, which is pretty much about reality: one must be able to stomach criticism.
Not everyday is a bed of roses where people praise you for all your good deeds.
A colleague told me that it takes only one mistake to take down everything you have built up over the years.
Generally, people would remember you for all the stupid and bad things you've done. Now, that's the harsh reality.

Reaping the seeds I sowed... 

A couple of months ago, I criticized an outfitter for charging an exorbitant amount for sharpening a cheap machete.
In today's day and age of remote learning, the internet becomes a treasure trove for information.
Switch on your browser, do a search on "sharpening knife", spend 15-minutes on YouTube, you became a "knife sharpening expert" in no time.
Similarly, the store's employee was also trying to peddle knives to the underaged.
So, that said, I think the owner was unhappy.
A business, whether it succeeds or fail, depended entirely on the good standing of its employee and how its being managed.
If you have an employee who is self-centered and profit-orientated, then it'll be hard to grow your business.
What made me embarrassed, was the fact that I saw what happened.
The part-timer was grinding a long machete on a belt. The surface of the blade was nearly destroyed and for such a shoddy job, the guy charged his unsuspecting customer a bomb.
I knew for a fact that the guy was aiming for a high-end production knife which in the end, he actually bought and criticized heavily.
Still, what kind of ticked me off was the exorbitant fee and poor workmanship.
So, in plain English, the customer got ripped off and the extra money went into the guy's pocket.
To rub salt to the wound, the part-time dude used his employer's machine and equipment to do the job. 
I have no beef with the guy if he took the machete home and spend hours hand-finishing the knife. 
Being ethical, I informed the money man who actually owns the rig.
That said, I guess the ripples became a wave and eventually, the guy got reprimanded for his actions. 

Being childish..

I remember growing up, not being "accepted" by a clique. 
The ring leader simply "don't friend" an outcast.
This happened when I visited the store with all my stuff donated to the owner for the purpose of education - packed up in a box.
The guy rejected my offerings. This is direct insult and a polite way of saying: "FUCK OFF!".
Then, on Facebook, the same guy "unfriended" me.  Hahahah! Feels like I am an eight-year-old again.
I take this with a pinch of salt, and I think I won't miss anything.. 
My loss, his gain.
I looked up at the sky, seeing its vastness and reflected. 
The store in Subang Jaya is not the only outfitter in the world. 
Funny thing is this: I actually looked up to this guy, but after all the hoo-haas and hullabaloos, I guess my respect for him had gone down the drain.
So what if he could rub two sticks and make fire out of it? 
I kept seeing the same tricks on different occasions.
If you treat people like dirt, its time to move on. And in a service-orientated business, the Customer always have the last say.

Leading the blind.. 

In a company of blind men, the one-eyed man is King!
I recently read an article in StarTwo about knives. The writer quoted a "Gear improvisation guru", in reference to the owner of the outfitter's store.
Maybe its the author's way to complement all the knowledge passed through by the "expert".
But then again, knowing the truth can be painful.
Seeing as it is, I let things be.
Like a good teacher once said: "Don't say anything, anymore. Just let it fade..."


Ah! The power of the internet! Since I posted this comment, it's been linked to Facebook where the Gear improvement guru's friends are lurking. Well, I think I got the word across.. So, let the games begin!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

ToST - Part 5

All good things must come to an end.. 

A limestone hill that looks like the Devil's Tower

So, there we were. 
In a town called Patthalung, some 96km North of Hat Yai.
I woke up at 06:00am and packed up all my stuff in my trusty Ortlieb Frontroller pannier.
Basically, this was my third bicycle trip in Thailand.
We've clocked-in more than 200km on the trip from Hat Yai to Patthalung.

Its time to part and head to where we started.. 

Yeah, that's it! 
The first thing that came in mind, was to find a good place for breakfast.
We walked around town and found a market. There, we saw some stall selling packed food. But it wasn't enticing enough until we discovered a Dim Sum shop on the street leading to Thai Hotel.
This was the place which was recommended by Mr SK Yeong, a fellow cyclist back in KL.
We gave it a try and it was pretty decent.

Good food at the market
Dim Sum time
We checked out of the hotel and rode to the train station. 
I knew for a fact that bikes can be carried onboard.
Seeing as it is, we don't want to be late as there a train ride from Patthalung to Hat Yai at 10:40am.
This was the debate I had with Roger who was unsure about bringing bikes onto the Thai train.
I told him that sourcing information from the internet is just 60% accurate. The rest is getting ground intel and I knew for a fact that many travelers have taken bikes onto the train - especially in Thailand.
That said, I was willing to risk it with a back-up plan in the offing.
So, we went to the ticketing counter and purchased four tickets for the class 3 seats at 72 baht.

Taking the path less-traveled to the train station in Patthalung

Motorcycle taxi riders admiring our folding bikes
Cheap ass ride and unbeatable value! 

I couldn't believe what I saw. 

A computer printed sheet of tickets valued at 72 baht (roughly about RM7.30). 
I told the guys that the hourly train from Chumpon has wooden seats and a lot of cargo room. This is yet to be confirmed as we waited patiently for the coach to arrive.

At the Patthalung train station
Our train arrived a little later than scheduled and the helpful station staff pointed out the last coach.
We loaded the bikes and were shocked to see a brand new motorcycle strapped to the sidewalls. 
There were plenty of space to park our bikes. So that said, my suspicion was confirmed.
We placed the bikes next to some cargo materials bound for Hat Yai.
The train ride was roughly about one and a-half hours.

Lots of room in the train
We arrived in Hat Yai around noon and Roger had suggested lunch at a place he was familiar with.
He said there is a noodle stall that serves Koay Teow Lueah (boat koay teow).
I bought the idea lock, stock and barrel and at 30 baht a bowl, one cannot ask for more.
The noodles were really tasty and later, I had a chance to talk to the owner who told me that he used the Isan style to prepare his noodles.
It was much later that found out from my Thai friend Santi Senarat that blood is mixed into the soup which gave it a dark appearance.

The skilful lady who serves a damn good bowl of koay teow

Koay Teow Lueah

The shop owner
The Heartbreak Hotel..

Over the past four days, we've had some good luck with our choice of accommodation under RM50 or 500 baht.
In the case of the Emperor Hotel in Hat Yai, it was very clear that one cannot trust the internet entirely.
I found this place through and it turned out that the hotel was a real run down place offering just the bare minimal.
It looked like a haunted hotel just like a scene out of some Thai horror movie.
The place looked very depressing.
So, I took this with a pinch of salt because it cost only 470 baht including all that fees and stuff charged by
This was the lowest point in the trip. But we kept our chin up. Our plan was to survive the night, get a couple of hours of sleep and get the hell out.

Emperor hotel in Hat Yai
Spending the remainder of our time...

Michelle went for a Thai massage while I did some laundry in the room.
Our plan was to have dinner and perhaps a beer at one of the nightspots.
I took the guys and treated them to dinner at Jae Lek restaurant at Thanon Niphat Uthit 1.
The food was decent, but through the years, I guess their standards have dropped.
Later, we had some dessert at a stall next to the hotel and seeing as it is, I wasn't really in favour of spending the last night having drinks at Hat Yai's nightspot.
I knew it would be an expensive affair.
So far, I've kept to my budget and we were doing well.
So, I suggested that we have a few beers in the room and call it a night.

Last call

We woke up the next day and Roger had a plan.
Despite all the horror stories, we survived the night at Emperor Hotel.
He suggested that we visit the largest reclining Buddha in Hat Yai and pay a visit to Sri Suwandee Bicycle shop which is owned by a dude called "Thai Teoh".

With some Thai cyclists in Hat Yai
So, we agreed unanimously and rode out.
While climbing a bridge leading out of town, someone greeted behind me. 
"Sawadee-ka!," said a Thai lady on her mountain bike.
She was the first cyclist we met along the way and was very friendly.
Roger did the talking and as we made our way to a coffee shop which was patronised by some cyclists, the lady took off on her own.
We found a decent place for breakfast and made friends with some local cyclists.
These were guys in their 50s and 60s.
They told us about their recent touring adventure to Patthalung and as we exchanged stories, one of them gestured to have a photo taken with us.
Later, we parted ways and headed to the temple..

Largest reclining Buddha in the South

The gang
A senior monk approves our mode of transport

Roger being blessed with prayers
The search for Thai Teoh

To the uninitiated, the namesake Thai Teoh is a legend.

We heard about this Facebook personality who hosted cyclists from Malaysia at his shop in Klongrien Road.
After the visit to the temple, we gave this guy a try.
But, efforts to find him was in vain.
Lucky for us, there was a diversion. We found a shop selling Siew Yuk (roast pork) and took the opportunity to give it a try.
It was Andrew who found the shop with his GPS.
And to our dismay, Thai Teoh was na-da!
We found his shop, but it was closed.

Cycling along Hat Yai's klong or canal
Thai Teoh as left the building!

Good food, and more good food! 

That Thai Teoh fellah was a sheer disappointment. 
Nevertheless, we had a train to catch and the plan was to get back to the hotel, ask for a late check-out.
We packed our panniers and after a good shower, it was time to hit the road.
Our first stop was a Khao Kha Moo shop near the hotel.
We had a feast with the excellent food and made our way to another coffee shop near the Tune Hotel in Hat Yai for some iced coffee.
Later, we rode out to the train station and re-supplied for the long journey back.

Pork knuckle rice for the soul
I picked up some buns from 7-Eleven for the ride home.
And I also made a critical decision to pack rice and some dishes from the train station's food court.
Its better to be prepared and ready as I had anticipated little or no food onboard the KTM train.
We had a nice mix of vegetable, fried egg and pork, so, I don't think anyone would complain.

A mix-up..

At Hat Yai, we bought the return ticket.
When we boarded the train, someone else had taken our seats.
So, I decided to gamble with the seats on row 15. 
When the conductor came, he asked for our tickets and some explanation.
Well, lucky for us, he diverted the passengers who had booked the seats we took to the forward section of the coach.
Later at night, the guy said he might charge us RM10 or more for the bikes. I told him if we could come up with an amicable settlement and what he said was: "Tunggu la nanti bila kita sampai Butterworth.." (wait till we reached Butterworth).
And throughout the journey, we didn't pay a single sen. 
By daybreak, we arrived at KL Sentral. 
We parted way with Andrew and continued on the LRT to Petaling Jaya with Roger.

Loading up in Hat Yai

Arrival at KL Sentral
Michelle and I got off at the Paramount station and cycled to her mum's place in SS3 which was less than 2km away.
We ended our tour with the journey home and were greeted by our kidz...

It feels great to be back home with the kids

Well, the trip had turned out even better than expected.
Roger did a good job researching the route, but when it comes to sourcing for information through the internet, we have to take it with a pinch of salt.
Even though we were faced with Language issues, the Thai people were very helpful throughout our journey.
The ride from Hat Yai to Songkhla was a breeze, the later stages, only the journey from Ranot to Patthalung was challenging.
On the whole, I spent RM185 on lodging and another RM150 on food and drinks, RM96 on the train trip. So, the entire budget of RM600 which I had initially set was not blown.
That said, Southern Thailand is a haven for bicycle touring and with this awesome experience, we are definitely looking for more adventures...