Monday, November 12, 2012

Selangor : A Fruitful Ride? - UPM>MARDI>Serdang

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Selangor - A Fruitful Ride? 
UPM>MARDI>Serdang : 10th November 2012
Small Group Ride : University Putra Malaysia>MARDI>Serdang
Distance covered : 33.89 km.
Time : 8:00 am - 12:25 pm
Time Taken : 4hrs. 25min. (including stops for photo shoots & brunch)


We were exploring new routes for organizing another ride after the first ride we organized (see Kiara Hills Ride). I was searching through the maps and thought that the Bukit Idaman-Selayang area would be a good area to ride. We did a recce there.
Although the Bukit Lagong area of that ride was nice, the rest of the route was quite busy with traffic.

Whilst having drinks near the end of the ride, we agreed that the Selayang area was just too busy an area for a group ride. We were feeling rather disappointed when Wee came up with another plan.
Why not ride the University Putra Malaysia area? It's a nice place with orchards and the roads have very light traffic. The light traffic attracted us but the clincher was - Orchards! Fruits!
We invited a few other friends to do a recce ride of this other area with us.

The ride day arrived and I drove up to Universiti Putra Malaysia. This university was previously know as University Pertanian Malaysia, is an agricultural tertiary institute, located in the Serdang area of Selangor.


UPM>MARDI>Serdang Bike Ride Route Map  (click for Map Link)
The starting point for the ride was the Clubhouse of the UPM Golf Club.

There was ample car-parks for us and we unloaded our bike from our cars.

Rivern came in his new multi-colored jersey - looks like a Rainbow Man doesn't he?

Looking around, I saw bright red golf buggies parked at one side.

Further away a family was practicing putting in the early morning mist.

We parked our folding bicycles.....

..... and had a light breakfast at the coffee corner behind the clubhouse.

And we are good to go!

Cycling down the lane adjacent to the driving range. The range is to our right.

To our left, we could see greenhouses of the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI). Their research area here sort of blends & inter-twine with the UPM grounds, after all UPM is a university for agricultural sciences, so it's a good symbiosis.

Making a right turn, we rode next to an elevated section of the ERL (Express Rail Link) that connects Kuala Lumpur directly to the KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport).
One of those trains whoosh by, and before I could snap a photo of it, it was gone.

Luckily, another one came speeding up from the other direction and I got a photo of it.

Cycling further down we passed the satellite station of Time Dotcom, one of Malaysia mobile phone service operators.

Making a quick left turn, we rode beneath the elevated rail tracks of the ERL. The roads began to be more proper.

Aah! Yes. We are in UPM proper, riding pass the students' hostel.
Now we know how to differentiate the MARDI and UPM area - the properly kerbed, wider roads are in the varsity grounds as there are more traffic.

Further down, students were playing netball.

But suddenly, with another turn, we were back at the agricultural research area again. The roads narrower, just like in the real plantations, but at least these were paved.
We were riding pass a durian trees experimental plot.

Some of the durian trees here seems pretty old. They really must have been experimenting for decades, trying to grow a tree with the best fruit to satisfy the local greed for better tasting durians.

Another turn and we were back in the varsity grounds again, stopping at the Putra Food Court to take a group photo.

A little away, at a round-a-bout next a student hostel, we rode pass an armored car on display.
Hey! What is an armored car doing in an agricultural institute?

Then the main entrance to MARDI.

The morning was cooling and the place is so green. It all added up to a nice, enjoyable ride.

UPM exhibition hall ahead, in blue roof on the right
Passing the Pasar Tani (Farmers' Market) to our right, we headed for our next destination - the UPM Exhibition Hall that lay ahead to the right.
Wee, our ride leader, wore two hats - acting as tour guide along the way!

The Pasar Tani are operated mostly by locals staying around the campus, selling their produce of fruits, vegetables and poultry.
The vicinity must have many farmers as I counted easily 100 stalls at this market.

Heading towards the Expo Hall, some flowering trees and shrubs caught our fancy.
We decided to stop and admire them - we cyclists can be greenies too!

An interesting yellow bloom hanging from the branch of a tree.

Nice yellow petals emerging from shrubs.

Ok. Have to stop being green and get back to being a cyclist - we are running behind schedule, enjoying a leisurely ride and stopping often to admire the place.

Ahead to the exposition hall!

The exposition building design seems to be at odds with the overall campus environment. Tall yellow, metal-frame towers sticks up from two sides of the building, making it look more hi-tech; more like a building associated with a technical institute.

Sin at the front courtyard of the Expo Hall
There is a large courtyard at the front of the hall.

To one side, sitting on a knoll was a watch tower, its unique roof looking like that belonging to a silat warrior head-dress.

Took a group photo here too.

Then we headed for MAEPS - the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang.

Further along, another more detailed signage showed us what to expect ahead.
Vegetable showgrounds, fisheries showground, more planting.....

But experimental planting - here an research plot planting rambutans.

Then one for mangosteens .....

..... and one for star-fruits (carambola).

Time to take a short break - bicycles a row.

We passed by the Fisheries Gallery but did not go in.
Tour Guide/Ride Leader Wee must have guess there was nothing to watch from the outside, AND we bikers wouldn't want to go inside and leave our precious bikes unguarded.

Instead we went over to the MARDI  Recreational Park, it's a small lake surrounded by greenery.

Nice Fan Banana at the lake side - these are pretty hard to find these days.

A beautiful Chinese-style arch bridge can be seen at one end of the lake.

View of the lake from the arch bridge.

Further along, there was a rambutan orchard, with trees bearing fruits of the yellow variety. Like the proverbial apple of Eden, they were so tempting that we stopped by & started plucking.

Showing off the fruit of our labor. They were in fact quite sweet and the meet "lut kang" - meaning easily peeling off from the seed and solid in texture.

There is a sign-board elaborating the type of fruit trees planted and where they were planted. Unfortunately, this was only the season for rambutan fruiting.
Perhaps next time we will plan to ride when more fruits are in season.

We were so happy in our find, plucking away that we did not notice a motorcycle coming up.
The motorcyclist stopped and started reprimanding us for taking the fruits without permission.
Sure we were at fault, but he really went into a tirade, threatening to report to the campus authorities. Noticing that he was carrying a parang, we talked to calm him down.
Oddly there were not sings barring the plucking of fruits, and this guy was only a landscaper.

Disgruntled, we rode off to the MAEPS showroom area, where we admired other things than planting for a change - SCULPTURES!

There was this butterfly with boxing gloves.
Kookkeong noted that the artist must be a fan of Muhammed Ali, the boxer, whose catch-phrase was : "Floats like a butterfly and sting like a bee" (listen to song)
Good sense of humor this artist!

Now, the above is an intriguing sculpture!
Is it swans?
Or snakes emerging from water?
Or budding water lilies?
Or Venus Flytrap

An unique metal tower.

A futuristic looking guard-house at Entrance 2 - memories of Starwars Empire Starship?
I must say that these people here do not only have a sense for planting, there is a leaning towards art too.

Nash who was feeling a bit under the weather, rested in the shade of a flower box; guarded by one of those "swans".

At the Information Center, there were large pineapple sculptures.
Here a Birdy Bike trying to get a peck on the pineapple.

Over at the other side, Tall columns adorned with tribal art framed the entrance into the Sarawak booth.

A close up of Sarawakian tribal art.

Okay, time to leave the Art Scene.
We rode off, crossing a suspension bridge over the recreational lake.

Along a tree-lined lakeside path.

Passed a giant gantry signage of the university.

Passed an Indian shrine...

... and exited the campus grounds through a side gate out into the Serdang area.

Lunch was Yong Tau Foo at Serdang Sister Lam.

We had a good spread of fried Yong Tau Foo, soft Tofu, blanched Kai Lan in soy sauce and a very good ABC soup.

A close up view of the fried tofu - with stuffed chilli, brinjals, bean skin, etc.

We also had Chi Pau Kai - literally means 'Paper Wrapped Chicke", where the seasoned chicken is stewed wrapped in waxed paper. Very good.

With lunch done, we went back to the campus grounds to ride around for another 15-20 minutes.

Wee was kind enough to take us to this Catholic chapel - the St. Anne's Chapel.
I was most surprised to find it in the campus grounds, must be a remnant of the British colonial days.
And it's still functioning. Being a Catholic myself, I went in & said a short prayer.

We closed the ride with a drinks at the same coffee stall at the golf club.
Cheers - with 100 Plus isotonic drinks.

It had been an interesting morning riding in a campus, around orchards, to a small lake, poaching rambutans & getting caught, to interesting sculptures, to good Tofu...
But the best of all was the companionship of friends in a happy ride!

Thanks Wee!

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