Friday, February 20, 2015

Selangor : UPM Nature Loving Ride

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Selangor / UPM Nature Loving Ride
                                                   AhPek Biker - Riding Adventures                                           
Selangor : UPM Nature Loving Ride
University Putra Malaysia : 14th February 2015
Cycling Distance Covered : 18.2 km.
Time : 8:00 am - 12:25 pm
Time Taken : approx. 4hrs. 25mins. (including stops for rest & regrouping at checkpoints)


Route Recommendations :
1. Most of the route is on tarred roads that are fairly flat, a couple of slopes may be difficult for newbies. Bring along adequate water and sun block lotions as certain stretches can be hot in the late morning and afternoon.
2. The off-road section should not be missed as it takes one through rustic sights. Most of this section is laterite with the tail end section being grassy. The laterite roads are doable with normal tires unless it rains, and some slopes are a bit steep and need pushing. When cycling on the laterite roads, cycle where there are grassy patches if you are not using off-road tires.
3. Lembu Tenusu is a cow farm where cows are bred for milk, fresh milk can be bought there, call to enquire first.
4. Deers at the Deer Farm are fairly tamed, those in the cages can be fed so bring along some food pellets. Those on the loose are tame too, in fact they are more afraid of people than people of them. Still do not go too close to them and view from a safe distance.
5. Bring along carrots chunks to feed the horses at the Equestrian Centre, they are friendly but sometimes can be over-friendly, biting and pulling on your clothes.
6. The heritage Malay kampong houses at the Muzium Warisan Melayu (Malay Heritage Museum) are old houses from other states that had been dismantled and rebuilt at the new location. They can be viewed by the public from the outside only.
7. The Basikal is a bicycle shop/service centre that also runs bicycle maintenance courses. Presently located within UPM, it will be relocated to Bangsar soon.


PRELUDE
Photo from a previous ride at UPM.
Univerisiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), formerly called Universiti Pertanian Malaysia is the country's top university that provides courses on agricutlural sciences, etc. It's grounds are the largest in the country for a public tertiary institute, and within it are orchards, farms, paddocks, stables, etc. - all of which are used for research and some for actual day to day use, like the horses stables and cow farm.
We had previously rode there more than two years ago, and that time we covered more on the orchards (... see A Fruitful Ride blog).
This time round Siew Yung, organized a ride that will cover more on the animals-side taking us to visit deer farms, stables, and other interesting places at the campus grounds. And on top of this it's on Valentine's Day, a day of loving - this time it's one for loving nature.



THE RIDE
The route will take us around UPM to it's pastoral and veterinary sections for viewing of cows, deers and horses. The children loved these as there was much interaction with the animals. Towards the end we also visited the Malay Heritage Museum. Part of the route is off-road.


Akmal who runs The Basikal will be leading the ride. Being located here, he is familiar with the grounds and will be taking us on an interesting route, part of which was off-road. The turn out was very good, all in fifty-six took part. Looks like many these days, after being cooped up in the city, are ready to get away to bond with nature and interact with its denizens.
Akmal was concerned about the size about the group but assured participants that it will be a slow ride and that all will be taken care off. Additional regroup points were added and a few volunteered to be sweepers.
He was also a very good host, sandwiches and hot drinks were prepared by his mum and sister for the participants' breakfast. In a way it was a farewell ride for Akmal, a farewell from UPM as his shop will be relocated to Bangsar soon after this.


We kicked off and within ten minutes we hit the first slope (actually the only major slope). The more experience cyclists took this slope well, the newbies just came down and pushed. For some it was a family day out, bringing their children with their small bikes (and helping them push up this slope). A couple even rode along with their baby, riding in a baby seat attached to the mother's bike.


8:30am - We are on to the laterite roads. A light shower the previous night had made the road slightly muddy and it was harder to cycle here than on the tarred roads. But none was complaining as the natural surroundings were just so beautiful.


LEMBU TENUSU
Our first destination, the Lembu Tenusu. This is a cow farm, a part of the agricultural park run by the veterinary section of the university. Here cows are bred and research is carried out on their milk production. The cows are free to roam on a grassy range, but in the morning productive females are led to a barn.


Arranged by Akmal, one of the staff gave us a briefing on the breeds of cow bred here, how they are milked, what affect they milk production, etc. Here, the cows are milked by machine. It's all very clinical and clean with the milk pumped straight to a storage tank.


We got a few bottles to sample; this is really good, it's super fresh milk which has just come from straight from the cows. How much more fresher can it be?


The farm is an interactive one, we were allowed to feed the animals...


... and even pet them.
Yes, this is a nature loving and bonding trip. The children loved it and the adults more so, it must have brought back memories of their younger days.
_________________________________________________________________________

Those tracks we were riding on were also used by riders from the Equestrian Centre, we came upon these riders; or rather they came upon us as they stood tall on their horses looking down on us on our bicycles.


We should have expected those horse riders as the place we were riding at was beside large areas of paddocked grazing ground. Cycling along while enjoying the place, I was also looking forward to our destination.... DEERS!


THE DEER PARK
Over at the Deer Farm, most of the deer are free ranging, roaming about freely within the grazing grounds.


The deer with their antlers were much more elegant looking creatures than the cows...


... but when it comes to feeding, they were as eager as the cows.


The earlier cow's milk came in handy to attract the fawns and show them some maternal (Oops... paternal) love. Hey! It's Valentines Day, it's okay to show love.


THE STABLES
We are still on the perimeter tracks around the paddocks, but now there is no road, tarred on un-tarred. It's just green, green grass. This was a pleasant area to cycle through, but the long grass made our cycling hard, their traction impeding us.


"Steady now.... don't cringe..."
The horses at the stables went by various names: Jade, Hunter, Bullseye, etc.
Call out their names gently to them and they will respond, sometimes with a friendly neigh and sometimes coming close for some petting.


And some come super-close for a kissing lick....
MUAKS!!
Eeewww.... but I love it!


As in the other places, a trainer briefed us on how the horses are fed, how to be gentle with them, how they respond to their names. We were even shown how to walk the horses.... "always keep them to your right".


MALAY HERITAGE KAMPONG HOUSES
From the stables we are back on the roads again, cycling back to the main campus area, towards the Faculty of Modern Languages and Communications. At the grounds next to this faculty is the Muzium Warisan Melayu. This open air museum displays old houses from other states that have been dismantled and transported here. Piece by piece they have been reassembled back to their original form.


There are three such houses here, all restored as best as possible. The one with the clay roof tile is from Terengganu.


The houses, standing on stilts, are museum of sorts. Below each are traditional Malay paraphernalia such as rice milling equipment, sampans, etc.


A group photo for memory's keepsake and one which brought back memories of younger days when some stayed in houses like these.


 From the kampong houses it was a short ride back to The Basikal where a surprise feast was awaiting us - delicious chicken curry noodles prepared by Akmal's mom & sister.
Needles to say, the ride has worked up all our appetites we dug in and many went for seconds.


Because of the large size of the group, we had additional stops for rest and regrouping, and due to time constraints missed out a couple of destinations. One of which was the "Largest Bowl in Malaysia". After the ride, I drove round looking for it but could not find it, but I did drop by the campus mosque, the Masjid Universit Putra Malaysia, to view it's unique neo-classic dome and minaret.

Many thanks to Akmal for leading us on an interesting and educational ride, to his mother and sister for making us feel very at home with the good food, to Siew Yung for organizing this event; and to all participants for making this a very memorable ride.

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


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