Sunday, October 19, 2014

Selangor : PJ Car Free Day Fun Ride October 2014

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Selangor : PJ Car Free Day Fun Ride Oct. 2014
Petaling Jaya : 19th Oct 2014
Cycling Distance Covered : 38.0 km.
Time : 8:15 am - 10:15 am
Time Taken : approx. 2 hrs. (including stops for rest & regrouping at checkpoints)

Petaling Jaya (PJ) had another fun ride in October 2014. This time it started from MBPJ Stadium in Kelana Jaya.
For those who drove, this was a better place to start as there were ample parking around the stadium.

This round the route was a 30km one circling another section of PJ, starting from Kelana Jaya to Section 1 to Jalan 225. Then it cut through SS1, SS2 before returning back to the stadium.

The ride flagged off on the dot at 8:15 am.

For many, many, more photos, click on the FaceBook link below:


Friends, my apologies for this short blog. I have been caught up in year end things.
Hope you enjoy the photos, though.


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Friday, October 10, 2014

Perak : Ipoh-Teluk Intan-Kampar Bike-Packers Day 2-2

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                                    AhPek Biker - Riding Adventures                                      
Perak : Ipoh-Teluk Intan-Kampar Bike-Packers Day 2-2

Cyclists at padi fields of Sungai Manik (photo by Juan)
Perak : Day 2-2, 27th September 2014 : From Tg. Tualang to T. Intan
Distance: 108.70 km.
Time : 7:30 am - 8:00 pm (from Ipoh to Teluk Intan excludes our night spin around Teluk Itan town).
Time Taken : 12 hrs. 30 mins. (Including visits to Gunung Rapat templesKellie's Castle, lunch, long stop shelter from rain, regrouping, rest and photo opps)

Route Recommendations :
1. Traffic is heavy along the short stretch along Federal Route M1 leading from Ipoh to Simpang Pulai. Although there is an emergency lane to ride on, do still cycle with care.
2. The stretch along Route A15  between Tanjung Tualang and Kampung Gajah does have emergency lanes to ride on, but at stretches the roads are narrow. Trucks delivering sand ply these roads and speed by closely. Often these trucks will slow down if they can't pass due to on-coming traffic. Still it's best to stop and pull your bike onto the grass shoulder should the truck be following you too long. An impatient driver could be a reckless driver.
3. It rained heavily along one of the stretches we were riding on and we stopped at a fortunate hardware warehouse Our stop was not so much to shelter from the rain but more because it's dangerous to cycle in heavy rain. Even in heavy rain we should be able to control our bikes - but passing traffic will have their visibility cut and may not notice cyclists in the heavy rain.
4. The Sam Poh Tong and its neighboring temples are worth visiting;  these temples are built into the limestone hills of Gunung Rapat on the outskirts of Ipoh.
5. The Clear-water Sanctuary is a private golf club and only member or affiliated members are allowed to enter. For non-members, it is better to get a letter of from management.
6. Kellie's Castle is reputed to be haunted. For the bold-hearted pay the Rm4-00 entrance fee to admire a British-styled castle in the tropics and perhaps get you hair to stand on ends too. There's even a paranormal night tour!
7. The Last Tin Dredge is still closed, peeks of it can only be seen from the entrance gate.
7. There are many shops selling the famed Udang Galah in Tanjung Tualang, Spend a bit more to go for the better shops and at least medium-sized prawns to enjoy a good meal.
8. Teluk Itan is renown for it's famous leaning Clock Tower, Malaysia's equivalent of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
9. There are good eats in Teluk Itan town too, seafood can be cheap if one avoid the touristy joints. Don't miss their famous Ansoon Chee Cheong Fun.

This blog comes in a few parts. This Day 2-2 blog, is on the ride from Tanjung Tualang. to Teluk Itan. To see other parts:

PRELUDE

In Day 2-1 ended with us reaching Tanjung Tualang, where we met up with four other cycling buddies. Earlier in the day, we had left Ipoh and had a couple of successful visits to interesting sites (i.e. Sam Poh Tong Temple & Kellie's Castle), a half successful visit to the Last Tin Dredge and an unsuccessful visit to the Clear-water Sanctuary.
So what shall we do next - EAT! It's lunch time, and we are at an appropriate place for good eats - Tanjung Tualang is renown for its Udang Galah (fresh water prawns); it would be a waste to be there and not savour the locality's specialty.


THE RIDE

Ride Route : Ipoh>Batu Gajah>Tanjung Tualang>Kampung Gajah>Teluk Intan
Starting early in the morning with a quick ride around Ipoh Old Town, we will head to Teluk Intan. En route we will stop at a couple of tourist spots and lunch at Tanjung Tualang before continuing on via Kampung Gajah. After checking into our hotels we did a night ride around Teluk Itan town and had a good seafood dinner.

1:45pm - On the fruit stall lady's recommendation for a cheap and reasonably priced place, we went to Restoran Thong Lok.
This place was a disappointment.
We had ordered medium sized Udang Galah but what came were small prawns. Perhaps some of our "Cyclist Talk" of crank, shifts, big gears, small gears, had worked into the ordering conversation and they could not quite understand us.
The first dish was this steamed prawn, looking like a red floral pattern with some green buds. It looked good but did not taste so; somehow the flavourful juices of the prawns did not seep out into the gravy. The seasoning provided by the gravy itself was rather bland and did not enhance the prawny taste. It was a bad combo that did not support each other.

Some other dishes we had:
(Photo by Ric Kee)
Fortunately for them, their Stir Fried Prawn was much better. The top of the prawn head shell were given a slit cut then seasoned with a pinch of salt and a dash of soy sauce (plus perhaps a squeeze of tamarind juice). They were then given a quick deep frying and finished off with some stir frying.
The seasoning had blended well with the prawns and boosted their flavour.

The saving grace; soft tofu cubes with wafer thin crispy deep-fried skin topped up with mouth-watering, crunchy deep-fried mini-shrimps  and deep-fried shallots. A touch of spring onion bits completed a wonderful presentation.
I especially like the shrimps, small and crispy; with just a hint of saltiness, they went well with the purity of the tofu.

(Photo by Juan)
Well, in a way the fruit lady was right. Except for the Udang Galah, overall the meal was okay AND reasonably priced at RM25-00 per head.

OK... Enough food talk, let's better get back to cycling; after all this is a cycling blog *grins*
3:00 pm - We headed off, continuing along Route A15 towards Kampung Gajah. There is an emergency lane to cycle on but at stretches the roads are narrow. the drivers of the sand-trucks zooming have never heard of the 1.0 meter clearance guideline and very often rode very close to us.
By then it had started to drizzle and the rain water had started blurring my camera lens.

Moments later the shower got heavier. Most of us donned our raincoats, the strong wind billowing through our raincoats, although cooling, did not help as it made riding all the harder.

The rain did not let up, in fact it turned worse, lashing and pelting down strongly on us. This is the torrential tropical monsoon rain! With the heavy rain and strong winds, the sky turned dark. Visibility had also been reduced, even the cars have took to turning on their lights; and it's only early afternoon.
What a reversal of fortune we had faced; just before the rain we were almost suffering from heat stroke and now it's shivering brrrrrr....

3:20 pm - Ride leader Kong waving and directing us to go into a hardware warehouse. This is a good thing riding in heavy rain is dangerous for cyclists. In the poor visibility of the torrential rain, the small profile of us cyclists is hardly noticeable. Better be safe than sorry.

(Photo by Juan)
We were lucky; the warehouse was large enough to accommodate all of us. Although the strong wind blew in the rain, this place was a haven when compared to the raging rain outside. Irrespective of being wet, Dominique seems cheerful, this must be an experience for him I doubt if he had faced this type of wild weather back home in France.

3:40 pm - The weather abated, it was still raining but at a manageable level. Monsoon rain may continue on for hours - so we decided to brave it, water-proofed our luggage as best as possible and continue our journey after giving our thanks to the kind warehouse owner.
I was using my Brompton Rack Sack for the first time, it is supposed to be water-proofed without any need to wrap it any further. Now is the time to see how well it performs in the rain.

5:00 pm - Arrived at Kampung Gajah town. Near one of the town squares is this display of a Labu Sayong (large earthenware water pitcher) made of black pottery of which Perak is renown for. Next to it is a large padi farmer's conical hat and husking rattan tray, strong reminders that we are now in the padi-farming belt of southern Perak.
Fortunately for us the rain had stopped, but it will be getting dark soon.

(Photo by Shila)
Dominique busy repairing his punctured front wheel. That's the good thing about the Brompton, with the rear folded in, it can stand upright for these type of repairs.
The tire must have been punctured while riding through those sandy patches at the roadside; as a ruleI try to avoid those whenever possible - who knows what hidden in the sand.

In the meantime, the others were drying out their soggy, wrinkly feet. We had cycled almost 22 km. in the rain. Even with raincoats, because of the billowing winds, most of us got wet. And we still had 30 km. to ride, so it's best to dry out as much as possible.

6:00 pm - After a nice, long rest we continued, now riding along Route 109. The roads here are narrower but with less traffic. On both sides, along most of the routes are secondary jungle; we can hear animals hooting away, calling their mates/offspring home. A few of my friends even saw wild-boars when they made an unscheduled stop to "embrace nature's call" at the edge of the jungle.
There are few settlements around so it's best to top up with water at Kampung Gajah.
Without the rain, we are riding at a brisk pace, hoping to reach our destination earlier and avoid cycling in the dark evening as much as possible.

Into the padi belt around the Sungai Manik area: the padi fields here look beautiful even in the setting sun. I wonder whether they will be as scenic as the padi fields of Sekinchan during bright daylight?
It's been decades since the last time I was around this area; except for the wider roads, things don't seem to have change much. The padi fields are still tranquil, with crickets chirping away and birds flying home to roost.

Dusk is setting in, and the traffic is getting heavier; we had to ride with more care but our hearts sing with joy as we must be on the outskirts of Teluk Itan.

7:35 pm - Phew..... cycling on the motorcycle lane across Sungai Bidor we arrived at Teluk Itan after a ride of almost twelve hours through a distance of close to 110 km.
Note: the tarmac surface of the motorcycle lane is very rough, perhaps the local authorities can look into improving this.

Having rode through the rain, I was eager to open the Brompton Rack Sack - it had performed outstandingly, all my stuff inside are all dry.

(Photo by Ric Kee)
After a much needed refreshing bath, Fern (a friend hailing from Teluk Itan) took us to the Restoran Makanan Laut Taman Teluk Intan, where we had delicious sea food like this Grouper Steamed Teochew Style. Food here is cheap and good! It only cost us RM18-00 per head for this beautiful dinner.

Time for a night cycling tour of the old quarters of the town. First things first, we just had to pop over to Liew Kee where they sell the infamous Teluk Intan Chee Cheong Fun. We bought packets for take away but could not resist eating some there and then.... burp!

(Photo by Ric Kee)
Our next destination was the Hock Soon Temple, where devotees were celebrating the Kau Ong Yah Festival (Nine Emperor Gods Festival). It's a small but colourful temple, and viewing the devotees carrying out their devotion just added more meaning to the occasion.

As part of the celebration, there was a Teochew Chinese Opera Show performance on a temporary stage. Not being able to understand what the show was about (as they were singing out their lines in opera lingo), I could just admire their costumes and the vivid stage setting.

We ended our night with a visit to the Teluk Intan's Leaning Tower; Malaysia's equivalent of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
With it's calming nigh colours, it was a appropriate close to a long, tiring but enjoyable ride. One that took us through extremes of weather, through beautiful sites and through friendship fun.

ZZZzzzzzzzz!


This blog comes in a few parts. This Day 2-2 blog, is on the ride from Tanjung Tualang. to Teluk Itan. To see other parts:

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You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Perak / Ipoh-Teluk Intan-Kampar Bike-Packers Day 2-2     | Go to Day 1 / Day 2-1 / Day 3
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