Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Perak : My Brompton Malaysia Ipoh Mali Event

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Perak : My Brompton Malaysia Ipoh Mali Event
Ipoh, Perak : 4th to 6th March 2016
Large Group Ride Event : Day 1 - Ipoh>Buntong>Ipoh
Day 2 - Around Ipoh

From a casual remark during one of our rides comes about one of My Brompton Malaysia's greatest event, one that surpassed the expectation of many in terms of numbers, participating countries, and pushed the FUN meter up to extremes.
This will be an event that will be marked as a milestone for the group, one that tested the cooperation between the organisers to create, organise and manage such an event. With the experience gained, it looks like we can look forward to greater things to come.


PRELUDE
My Brompton Malaysia group photo at Port Klang.
The My Brompton Malaysia hold regular ride events for members to fraternize with each other. So far these rides are held in the Klang Valley. We were riding during one such event from Klang to Port Klang during the Crabby Island Ride when someone casually mentioned that it would be great to have an event up in Ipoh, that way our fellow Bromptoneers from the northern states could meet us half way and share our fun and exchange Brompton talk. In the end, more than just our friends from the northern states came. Riders from Singapore and Thailand came too. It's our first international event!
Almost immediately after the Crabby ride, an event was posted up and interest began to swell. The rest, as they say, is history!

For many the event covered three days as they went up a day earlier and returned a day later; so here I will relate our tale in three parts, starting with:


THE DAY BEFORE - WELCOME AND A FIRST TASTE OF IPOH

With Thai Bromptoneers at Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station.
Some of us drove up and some of us decide to take the Electric Train Service (ETS) up. We decided to take the afternoon train as our Thai friends will be on that train too, that way we would be able to give them a warm welcome.
We arrived earlier at KL Sentral Station and waited in anticipation for their arrival, nine of them will be flying in and from KLIA take the Express Rail Link (ERL) down. They arrived and it was great to meet them, two guys and seven ladies; they were all smiles even though they have started they journey in the wee hours of the morning. Yes, it's true the Thais are from the Land of Smiles!

4:10pm - On board the train we settled in for a comfortable ride, this was the new ETS service that runs from Gemas in Johore up to Padang Besar in Perlis. They were using the new China-made trains which ran as fast as 160km/hr, it's an express service with only on en-route stop at Tanjong Malim. However I found the train more rocky than the old train. Perhaps it's because of the faster speed. 
I walked down to Coach B where our Thai friends (Panu was their ride leader) to say hello; then walk up and down the coaches several times again. Other passenger must have thought me as a crazy old man, as I walked rockingly from coach to coach taking lots of photos - of the seats, racks and even the toilets. But I was making a recce of the train for a blog update of riding on these trains with our bicycle in tow. Crazy or not, I will come out with that blog soon (... click here for the Bring Foldies Onto The New ETS Intercity Trains blog).

6:20pm - We arrive in Ipoh, quickly unfolded our bikes and rode out, heading for our respective hotels (Abby by The River & Ibis Styles).
 Malaysia was being affected by the El Nino effect and we were going through a very hot, hot spell; and at Ipoh it seems all the much hotter. As we rode on, Thai girls seems to take this in stride, unperturbed by the humidity, their smiles still shining through. We stopped at Abby while they continued on to Ibis (where they and most others will be staying), led by Jason our buddy who was from Ipoh. We just had time to check in and without taking our baths rode to Ibis to meet the rest for dinner. Dang! I hope we did not smell fishy and give them Thai girls a wrong impression of Malaysian men.

We just had time to check into Abby and were off again to meet the rest at Ibis. From there we rode off to have dinner at Jalan Guntong in Buntong; that name does have a nice rhyming ring. Along the way we met a Japanese lady tourist who was cycling alone and invited her to join us. Yoshino-san was most happy to join us, the crazy lot of happy, cheerful cyclists as we did keep her good company.

Our destination was a Nga Choy Kai (Bean Sprout Chicken) shop in Buntong; one that was well recommended by Jason. Man..... looking at this photo of the Buntong Nga Choy Kai makes my mouth watering again - it was tender and juicy, and best of all the skin was silky smooth. !Yummy!
We also had one of the best Beef Soup (which Gino packeted over from a shop two doors away). Good call Jason & Gino, many thanks for introducing these food of which only the locals are familiar with.
(Click here to read more of Buntong Nga Choy Kai)

Our eating spree was not over yet, we rode back to Ipoh town and went to Tuck Kee to have desserts of herbal tea, sweet beans, and .....

... and these boiled baby octopus snack that went very well with the provided chilli.

Now sated, we rode back to have a good night with eager dreams of tomorrow...

TOMORROW IS EVENT DAY!

(Go to bottom of this page for the cycling route maps)

TO BE CONTINUED... (going out cycling now... heh... heh)

Hi! I am back... rode 30km round Kuala Lumpur, good work out but stopped for eats four times... Hehe!
Let's continue....


EVENT DAY - A BEAUTIFUL DAY OF COMRADESHIP

Good morning! It will be a good day to ride today, it's a bright day with clear blue skies which will be very good for photos. The day will be hot; but none of us will be complaining, we were eager to meet up with our Brompton friends and ride with them! By then, many others have arrived:

Team Singapore led by William Toh.
They had chartered a bus to come up from their island state, starting the previous evening and had arrived early in the morning. Cheers!

Team Penang led by Chin Huat Lee.
In the early morning, they had driven down from the Pearl of the Orient. Cheers!

Team Kedah led by Chris Lee.
They started driving even earlier to make it to meet us. Cheers!

And Team Thailand led by Panu.
Ooops! Some from Singapore are in the photo too... but's that's the point of the meet, we mingled together, we chatted together, we laughed together and we took photos together too. Oh... of course we rode together too ^_^

More would be coming in by train from Kuala Lumpur; in the meantime the rest who were already in Ipoh cycled down to Thean Chuan and Kong Heng coffee-shops to have breakfast of good food that Ipoh had to offer - like the famous Kai Si Hor Fun, Pork Satay, Egg Caramel Custard, Kankong Cuttlefish, etc.
Okay... okay... in the excitement of digging into those good food, I missed taking photos of them. So instead of showing the food, I show here this gorgeous, delectable Brompton Rider cycling in front of Thean Chuan.

Those who were already here rode over to the Ipoh Railway Station, to wait for a few more who would be arriving by the earliest ETS from KL. They arrived and it was another group photo session which... er... looked similar to one which we took earlier (see top-most photo). Hard to tell the difference isn't it as they were close to a hundred of us now.

It's an invasion of Brompton bicycles! Never in it's history had Ipoh seen so many of these bicycles around at one time. There were Brompton bicycles of all models, different colours and many personalized to show their owner's individuality.
As we went around the town, there were a lot of "Ooohs" and "Aaaahs", with many locals intrigued by the bicycle's unique fold.

Jason and another friend, Waq, took us on a short ride around Ipoh town. It was a short but sweet ride; truth be told we spent more time at the various stops - renewing acquaintances, making new friends and making Brompton talk (i.e. sharing notes on the bicycle and its accessories, etc). Most loved the old part of the city and many photos were taken in various memorable poses:
Wow!
The Thai girls can do a jump shot while in lotus-meditating pose!

Three egg-heads!

The Birch Memorial Clock Tower standing proudly in front of a beautiful blue sky.

The guys doing their jump shot near the clock tower ...
Sorry guys, the Thai girls did it better!

After the short ride there was a free & easy time for participants to do their own thing, or visit spots that were missed:
Team Penang went round viewing Ipoh's wall murals...

Others went round Ipoh Old Town going through the narrow streets to experience life there; this group here happily posing at Concubine Lane; it's a street where in the past many tycoons kept their concubines or mistresses.

Some went to the Sinhalese to have some "coffee time" while getting away hot afternoon.

Most went on a ride along the paths at the shady Kinta riverside, where there were a few giant raintrees - nice photo here, yeah?

We reconvened again and visited the Kampong Paloh Mosque and were treated to a nice tea time of local Malay cakes and drinks.

After taking a break at our respective hotels, we were out again for the famed Snow Beer and dinner at May Sin Restaurant. Cheers!

After dinner some went to chill off at the roof-top lounge of the Ibis Styles hotel. Others went for more cycling, and the Thai made a stop at a satay stall to take-away satays. They could not resist having some hands-on experience at the stall.... Hmmm... wouldn't mind having satays made by this pretty Thai cyclist!

A few others went for a longer 10 km. ride, ending with this large iced fruit dessert at Tong Sui Kai (Desserts Street).

For many it was not the end of the event; MORE was to come the next day!

(Go to bottom of this page for the cycling route maps)


THE DAY AFTER- WHAT?? STILL IN IPOH?

Group photo in front of The Lost World of Tambun.
On THE DAY AFTER there were no earthquakes nor flaming volcanoes, but Ipoh did still shake with excitement and brighten up cheerfully as we Bromptoneers cycled around.
Yes, we are still in Ipoh; many still have not have enough of the city and had stayed back for more fun with friends.

Led by Jason, we rode to the outskirts of the city to experience life in a more rural setting.... and more importantly, to savour more of Ipoh's food!
Our first stop was Kampong Simee, a rustic village some seven kilometres away.

We were there to savour what Ipohreans would call the best egg tarts in the country - Choy Kee Egg Tarts. Here's a tray of the freshly-baked tarts, looks good don't they?

8:30 - We are at Choy Kee Bakery, the tarts are not ready yet; see the bakery shop only opens at 11:00am.... Haha, were we too eager?
The uncle-baker told us to wait a while, the first batch should be out in fifteen minutes time. At a side door we queued up impatiently. True to his word, the tarts came out soon. Here we are enjoying them, fresh from the oven the custards were piping hot! Yes, after a bit of cooling down, they tasted fantastic - with a nice flaky and buttery crust and a firm but not hard custard centre which was also just nicely sweet.
(... click here to read more of Choy Kee egg tarts)

Cycling pass a Sikh temple, on the way from Bercham to Tambun.
Moving ahead! The skies are beautifully blue now; in the hot morning, we rode another four kilometres to Bercham. There we had good breakfast at two coffee-shops - Restoran New Paradise and Restoran Yoon Seng, savouring the micro-localised food with some getting the baked Char Siew Pau from the former. These had been pre-ordered and were frozen and nicely packed for our Singaporean friends to take home.
We dropped by Jason's house; his mother was out, otherwise she would be pleasantly surprise to see how many good and colourful friends his son has.

The plan was to cycle to Tanjung Rambutan where there is a beautiful landscaped garden. However, we had enjoyed the two villages of Kampong Simee and Bercham too much, and had spent a fair bit of time there. Some of our friends had to check out from their hotel at twelve; so Jason switched to Plan B - taking us on a route back to town through Tambun where we stopped at the Lost World of Tambun for drinks and photos. We had a good group photo there (see first photo for the day), and many posed with the Malayana Warriors. Our buddy above going strong looking like one of those Power Rangers!

At Funny Mountain soy bean stall.
Nearer Ipoh, we split up. Those who did not have to rushed back said our goodbyes to those who had too. We continued with a short cycle around the heart of the city, stopping by at the Funny Mountain Soy Bean Stall. I am a regular here and the lady-boss was most happy to see me and my friends. With her ever smiling, we took this shot.

Another stop before we called it a day. At the W9 Gelato shop, savouring ice-cream this time. The ice-cream were good and in that hot afternoon they tasted even better.
We cycled back to our hotels, checked out and dropped by the Ipoh Stadium Food Court for lunch before heading for home.

GOODBYE IPOH!
We had enjoyed your charms and your fine food for a lovely time with our friends.
WE WILL BE BACK!

CYCLING ROUTE MAPS
Map of Brompton Ipoh Mali route we rode on The Day Before.


Map of Brompton Ipoh Mali Event route we rode on the Event Day.


Map of Brompton Ipoh Mali Event route we rode on The Day After.


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