Friday, May 1, 2015

Lata Kekabu - Part 6

Push! Push! Push!

Kuala Kangsar was a no-go.
The day was getting hotter and my only chance of getting a ride to Ipoh was in Sungai Siput Utara.
I made arrangements with Mr Sugu for a pick-up at the Petron station and agreed with his rates.
The Sun was up and I enjoyed some moments of a good riding weather when the cloud cover was thick.
It rained when I reached the outskirts of Sungai Siput town and when the Sun finally came out to scorch the Earth, the heat began to be unbearable.
To reach town, there is a series of undulating terrain with gradients ranging from 3 - 5% and with a heavy load, progress was rather slow..
It was too hot. I decided to take a break near an oil palm estate, some 5km away from town. A little bit of shade and a chance to rehydrate was good enough to keep me going.

After a six-hour ride, Sungai Siput is in sight

Cooling off with a popsicle at the Petron station
And as planned, I arrived in Sungai Siput around 01:00pm. I rang up Mr Sugu to inform him about my arrival and also called my host in Ipoh: Uncle John that I should reach the railway station by 02:00pm.
The ride got delayed and by the time I packed the bike onto the chartered car, it was already mid-day.
Yogeswaran, Mr Sugu's son is a chatty guy. I indulged in a conversation with the young man and changed the rendezvous point to Tambun.
In less than 30-minutes, we arrived and I can see Uncle John waiting.
The first order of the day, was to get to the railway station. This is so that I could change my departure time to KL to an earlier slot. Originally, I planned to stay in Ipoh till mid-afternoon, but cancelled my plans due to some logistic issues.

Uncle John, the Sage.. 

Uncle John's garden in Taman Channing, Ipoh
I met Uncle John some years back in Penang. It was the Campaign For a Lane ride four years ago and ever since, I've organized some rides in Ipoh with the 70-year-old cyclist. It was an honour meeting up with him and a privilege to stay at his home. 
I also got to know Uncle John better as we have plenty of time to catch up. He told me that he will be taking a trip to Medan in Sumatera, Indonesia sometime this year and wanted to explore the city.
Apart from that, Uncle John also parted with some wise words on how to cope with work -- especially in such trying times.
I felt grateful to be his guest.
Uncle John treated me to some good makan around his hometown. He's been living in Ipoh since he retired from the Tobacco industry many years ago. Some of his children are as old as me and are doing very well on their own.
To me, it's a really big thing when a man invites you to his domain as a guest. Uncle John resides in Taman Channing with Susan, his wife and is taking things pretty easy. He spends a lot of time researching for new routes for his adventures. 

The great food in Ipoh
Beef tendon balls for breakfast

Uncle John, in the background, selecting the ingredients
In Ipoh, I had a good rest and am relieved to get an early passage home.
There's still much to do in KL before I head back to work the next day. And time flies. My alarm rang and the first thing I did, was to pack up my stuff. Clean up and made myself a cup of coffee. 
The train departs at 08:30am and is scheduled to arrive in KL Sentral at about 11:00am. Uncle John was already up and about as I picked up my gear and loaded it onto his car.
We drove to town and had breakfast. At the same time, indulged in a conversation. At the railway station, we parted ways. I wished him all the best on his Medan trip and hoped to hear more about his adventures.

Ready for boarding

The ideal seat with lots of room for the bike and gear
A long way from home..

On the train, I slipped on my ipod and listened to some music to kill time. While I was at it, I found the right soundtrack to insert onto my 5-minute video on the Lata Kekabu Ride. It was "Silent Lucidity" by Queensryche. A really wonderful slow rock ballad. You can see it on the video below:

After two hours, Kuala Lumpur was in sight.
I have two choices: get home early by loading my bike and gear onto a cab, or ride home.
For the first choice, I had to blow at least RM60. So, having given it some heavy thought, I decided to set up my bike and ride home.
It was also a chance for me to give the much raved about KL City Hall's bike lane a try.

At the Mid Valley Bike Lane

A cockpit view of the lane

Home at last with my boy.. 
Total mileage clocked
The journey was smooth until I reached Angkasapuri. 
There was some roadworks and the bike lane was closed. Motorcyclists are forced to get onto the Federal Highway and enter the bike lane after the Kg Kerinchi interchange. For a bicycle, it's a suicide ride. The probability of becoming a roadkill is 80%. If you have no road confidence, chances are: you might get stuck trying to switch lanes from the Kerinchi Link ramp to the Kerinchi interchange. Your move must be decisive and with the fast and heavy traffic, you have a 80 - 20 chance of survival. 
It's great that the KL City Hall can provide a bike lane at Mid Valley, but for cyclists heading to Petaling Jaya, the link was broken. 
I continued to ride towards Subang Jaya and made my way to USJ 26 in 1 hour 30 minutes. On my Garmin EDGE800 GPS, I have clocked-in some 200km. 
As far as the cycling is concerned, I have had a great time. The company was excellent and I hope to join them in future outings..

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