Thursday, August 28, 2014

Selangor : Rawang to Ijok - A Wet Beggar Chicken Run

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Selangor : Rawang To Ijok - A Wet Beggar's Chicken Run
Rawang to Ijok : 16th August 2014
Cycling Distance Covered : approx. 73 km.
Time : 7:40am - 6:20pm
Time Taken : approx. 11hrs. 40mins. (including stops for breakfast, lunch, visiting rabbit & orchid farms, photo-shoots, puncture repairs, rest & regroups, etc.)

Route Recommendations :
1. Except for a stretches of dragon-backs from Rawang to Kundang, and another one just after Batu Arang; the route is fairly flat.
2. The road from Kota Puteri to Jalan Kuala Selangor is shady and nice to ride on.
3. Tasik Biru is rather scenic, if only visitors to the place don't simply throw rubbish around.
4. The Malay rice stall next to Tasik Biru serves very delicious dishes and at reasonable pricing too.
5. The Beggar's Chicken restaurant at Ijok is one of a few to be found in the Klang Valley; they serve pretty decent food, including Beggar's Duck too.
6. Batu Arang has retained it's quaint old charm. A place that is a throw back into the history books.
7. For orchid lovers, the United Malaysian Orchid Farm along Jalan Batu Arang near Rawang will be most interesting as they have hundreds of species of orchids on display.

PRELUDE
Group photo during our previous Rawang-Batu Arang ride.
Rawang seems to be one of our favourite place to kick off our rides. Two things makes it so; firstly it's the hometown of teachers Chin and Liliana, two bikers who organizes rides meticulously - from recce of the routes, to riders' safety, to interesting destinations. Because of these, their rides are very well attended.
Secondly, the region around Rawang has rustic roads, most of which has light traffic and there are many interesting spots fairly nearby. Some of our past rides around this town includes:
1. From Sungei Buloh to Rawang; one of my earliest ride.
2. From Rawang to the Serendah Waterfalls.
3. A bike-packing trip from Kepong to Rasa to Sungai Chiling to chill with fishes.
4. From Kuala Kubu Baru to Sungai Chiling to clear rubbish left there by irresponsible visitors.
4. A video shoot ride for a TV documentary; riding from Kuala Kubu Baru to the Serendah Waterfalls.
5. A recent ride from Rawang to Batu Arang.

Now I am joining them again for another interesting ride; this time from Rawang to Ijok.
Chin had posted that we will be eating Beggar's Chicken at Ijok and also took orders for take-aways. I ordered two chickens which will still been encased in mud, and to facilitate carrying them back I had strapped on a basket to my Dahon Dash P18.
Yah.... I am now officially a "Basket Case", joining the crazy lot of cyclists who have baskets on their bicycles.


THE RIDE


Ride route - Rawang>Tasik Biru>Kundang>Bukit Badong>Ijok>Batu Arang>Rawang
Starting from Rawang, we will ride towards Tasik Biru for a Nasi Melayu breakfast and then continue to the Bukit Badong Rabbit Farm. From there we headed for a good Beggar's Chicken lunch at Ijok. Our ride continues on to Batu Arang and then back to Rawang. What made this ride memorable was that we were riding in some heavy rain for more than half the distance.


7:30 am - We had all gathered at the Seri Garing Secondary School, took a group photo and were ready to roll off when it started to drizzle. We sheltered for a while; and then Chin looked up at the skies, it was full of dark rain clouds and he didn't think the rain will stop soon. Making a decision he decided to start off ten minutes later.


Afterall, a little rain should is not going to hurt us, and getting wet is part of the biking experience of learning how to ride with care. Some of us put on raincoats while others prepared to get wet. Braving the drizzle we headed off, little realizing what was in store for us.


A little way off, we entered Jalan Ciku. Nearby there is a concrete batching plant; heavy trucks delivering cement and and sending out concrete plying the road frequently had damaged the road, causing many of potholes along the way. The potholes coupled with the heavier traffic along this narrow stretch made us cycle with more care and alertness.


8:05 am - We hit the dragon-backs of Jalan Ciku, the slopes were fairly steep and some of us came down to push. By now the rain had started pelting down on us.


All of a sudden the rain turned heavy, and strong winds made it difficult for us to cycle.  With the wind blowing the water through, even those wearing raincoats had got wet. Those without raincoats were dripping wet!


This was not the normal raining cats and dogs, it was more like the torrential Monsoons.  With the lashing rain coming down hard, dripping wet we took shelter under a highway overpass. It was a good time to regroup too.


The rain did not abate and after that short respite we continued on. Having passed the dragon-backs we are now on flat roads. At certain stretches we had to avoid traffic and muddied potholes, not knowing deep those pot-holes are as they were filled with water.


8:55 am : Another respite from the rain. Seeing us drenched and dripping, a house owner had kindly let us use his long porch; long as the porch is, it could not hold all of us and some took shelter under the trees.


One thing good about riding in the rain is that there is no worries of the heat or getting dehydrated. If thirsty, just open up one's mouth and drink in the rain. Or like Chong here, drink the water dripping down from a corrugated roof (don't do that, he was just spoofing).


BREAKFAST TIME! Rain or nor rain we still have to eat, and this was Restoran Amra just beside Tasik Biru. They serve pretty good curries that goes well with white rice and the scenery overlooking the blueish lake is scenic and soothing (... see Nasi Melayu @ Taski Biru blog).
Oh.... by the way, it's not raining indoors nor is the roof leaking; these cyclists are wearing the raincoats to keep warm.


The rain had abated but it was still more than a drizzle and we got ready to head off again. Despite the rain, all of us were cheerful.


11:05 am - We turned into Bandar Tasik Puteri; here the roads are well lined with shady trees. Even in the rain it was a pleasure to ride on, so I can imagine how much nicer it would be without the rain.


Cycling along the busy Jalan Kuala Selangor (the main trunk road connecting Sungai Buloh to Kuala Selangor) within half an hour we reached the junction leading to the Beggar's Chicken place. But it's still too early for lunch and we had another destination to visit - the Rabbit Farm. A few who were not that keen on rabbits decided not to join the main group and instead rode into the restaurant to sip warm tea while waiting for us.


11:50 am - At nearby junction, the two versatile teachers are now traffic wardens directing us to turn left to head for the rabbit farm which is half a kilometre down the road.
By now the rain had stopped and the sun was starting to peek out. It was good timing as:
IT'S BUNNY PLAY TIME!
Up till now, we had cycled a distance of close to fifty kilometres, riding in the rain for more than four hours! Barring some punctures (six all in), we had to consider ourselves lucky as there was no untoward incidents and none of us got hurt.


The farm is called the "Taman Arnab Bukit Badong". As we entered, there is a play pen for the rabbits to hop and run around; visitors can join the rabbits inside this pen to play too. If they feel like it they can hop around like rabbits in there*grins*.


At the back are sheds with hundreds of hutches containing rabbits of different species. Most of those on display here are sold as pets. There is another series of sheds on an adjacent piece of land where meat rabbits are reared.


One of the many pet rabbits on display; this one is very cute - furry with well balanced coloured ears and  dark "mascara" patch eyes.


The rabbits are friendly too; huggable in fact. Our lady friends above showing their maternal side, hugging and petting rabbits. Too bad we cycled here, otherwise some of us would have bought a rabbit or two to take back. (... see more at Bukit Badong Rabbit Farm blog).


1:30 pm - We are at the New Beggar's Delicious Restaurant and at just about the right time too. Most of us were getting pretty hungry; the Nasi Melayu breakfast had long evaporated... burnt off by our long and cold cycling.
Here are some of my friends; despite having cycled a long way, despite being wet & cold, they are still all smiles, still warm in spirit. We were having too much fun to be bothered by those "little" inconveniences.


Beggar's Duck
They food here is quite good, other than the Beggar's Chicken, we had Beggar's Duck too. I preferred the duck as the meat was sweeter and the essence of the duck had seeped well into the thicker gravy. Hah! Contrary to the adage, these "beggars" CAN be choosers.


After lunch was when the basket on my bicycle became handy. I had ordered two Beggar's Chicken to take away. It was better to take away the chicken still encrusted in the clay in which they were baked so that their nice aroma will still be maintained; strapping the chicken directly onto the carrier would have cracked the clay. Each chicken weighed about three kg. and together with a bottle of Honey Kumquat Syrup (which is sold here too) my total load was about eight kg.


 We popped into Batu Arang for a quick visit to the derelict old brick factory. Only remnants of some walls of the factory remains. Strangler vines have overgrown the place and creeped around the walls making them look like a scene from the Ta Prohm Temple ruins near Angkor Wat, Cambodia.


A cursory group photo at the town's entrance round-a-bout.


The route back was fairly flat except for a stretch of dragon-backs. These slopes were not that that steep, but now I was beginning to feel the weight of my chickens, they were beginning to weigh more than their eight kilos!


5:00 pm - One last stop before riding back, the United Malaysian Orchid Farm. They have hundreds of different orchids here, all of them beautiful, We wandered around the orchids, admiring their different colours, different patterns and different forms.


Our route back to Rawang was via Jalan Batu Arang, it was a shorter, direct route which however passed through a busy main road. With road construction on-going there was a long traffic jam which is a good thing for us cyclists; slow traffic is safer for us to ride in. In fact, the frustrated drivers in the cars were probably envying us as we weaved passed them.


We ended our ride at around 6:00 pm; and some of us drove over to Rawang town to have this delicious looking ice-kacang to chill off and chat.
It had been one long wet ride, probably the wettest most of us have faced. Still it was a learning experience - now we will know how well our rain coats performed, how to keep our things dry, and what to look out for when riding in the rain.
Many thank to the organizers for a wonderful ride.


Related Blogs :


Nasi Melayu @ Tasik Biru Kundang
A simple delicious Malay rice meal at an unpretentious place next to a scenic lake.


Rabbit Farm @ Ijok : August 2014
A visit to a rabbit farm saw us petting and hugging these lovable creatures - Bukit Badong, Ijok, Selangor.






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