Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Perak : Kampar-Chenderiang Loop

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Perak : Kampar-Chenderiang Loop
Kampar, Perak : 5th April 2014
Distance covered : 52.93 km.
Time : 8:45 am - 7:40 pm
Time Taken : 10 hrs. 55 mins.(inclg. stops for breakfast, organic farm visit, dinner, coffee, rest, regrouping & photos ..... and repairing puncture.)

Route Recommendations :
1. Part of the route is along the main trunk road, Federal Route 1. Traffic can be heavy here, do cycle with care; cycle on or beyond the road outer edge demarcation white line if possible.
2. The Hebron Organic Farm is worthwhile visiting, it's quite large and they do sell their organic produce and products.
3. We missed out swimming at 
Lata Kinjang waterfall as it was raining. It is sound advice not to swim at waterfalls; when it rains a sudden deluge of onrushing water from upstream can be dangerous.
4. We just popped in for a quick visit at the Sungai Salu Forest Reserve. It's a nice stop for relaxation or picnics.


Cyclists at the Taiping Lake Gardens during the Taiping Heritage Fun Ride.
Yes! I am back in Perak again. Within a period of three weeks I have cycled in three places in this state; all three places different and uniquely interesting.
First, me and two other friends did a short ride in Ipoh while on a stop-over en route for the 2nd Penang Bridge Ride. Then a week earlier, a few of us joined the Taiping Heritage Fun Ride event.

Cycling at UTAR.
This time round, it's back to Kampar; a small town that has been often by-passed since the opening of the North-South Highway. Fortunately, Universiti Tengku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) location here has breathed life back to the town again. This will be my second time cycling in Kampar, the first was during a charity event - the UTAR Ride 4 Charity.

The ride will take us from Kampar to Chenderiang via the main trunk road then to a visit of the Hebron Organic Farm, and then back to Kampar via Road 118. Generally, the route was relatively flat as we road round Gunung Tempurung instead of across it.
This ride was organized by Siew Yung with the help of Alex MSixR & Alexander Mcnab in planning the route. Many thanks to them for letting us have a wonderful time.

Saying "Hello" to Freda.
The start point was the KTM Kampar Station, where Mcnab gave a briefing on what to expect of the ride route and to ride with care, especially at the start where we will be cycling on the main trunk road. Except for the two Alex'es (who were on a short cycling tour and arrived in Kampar to lead us), the rest of us drove here. We were suppose to take a train here, but in the end everyone drove - so much for bike-packing, Haha! Regrets though, I should have took the train here and would have avoided a misfortune at the end of the day!
At the station I met up with Freda, a FaceBook friend, for the first time. She's liveliness packed into a small frame.

A quick pop-over ride to the "36 Stalls" for breakfast. This is a cosy stream-side hawker centre right in the old town area. There must be thirty-six stalls here, hence the name - but I did not count, too hungry, see.
The ride planners here, probably having serious discussion - whether to torture us with a tough route, or let us enjoy a fun one!

The Chee Cheong Fun here was quite good, I had it with some curry gravy.

Don't believe me about the Chee Cheong Fun? Then believe the timber chopping board that has been worn down by constant use; business must be good for the stall.

9:40 am - Eats time over, all feeling invigorated and ...
The two Alex's will be leading the ride. Doc Chung and me will be sweeping.

First thing first, we dropped by a Mcnab's nearby house to pick up his kids. He's a great dad, frequently tacking his kids along. That's his great way of bring up his kids, exposing them to the great outdoors. All along the ride, I could hear him patiently answering his children's curious questions while his wife rode closely behind, keeping a watchful eye on them.

I can imagine his young son following his footsteps pretty soon.

Mcnab was right to advise us to ride with care along the main trunk road. Heavy vehicles ply this road, very often coming quite close to us.

At some stretches, we were fortunate that the road shoulders were wide enough for us to ride on.

11:00 am - After 20km we are off the trunk road and onto Road118 that will lead us to Chenderiang town.

Coffee time at Chenderiang before we proceed to our first destination, the Hebron Organic Farm. It was not just coffee time, but some briefing time by Mcnab on the next stage of our journey.

12:10 pm - The road to the Hebron Organic Farm was an off-track road that led us under the North-South Highway...

... that led up some gentle slopes through oil palm plantations.

The main farmhouse of the organic farm. Hebron is one of the largest organic farms that I have visited covering some lowland area and stretching up the slopes of a hill to the top where the farmer & his family stays.

Planting is done very naturally, blending into the flora of the place. If one is not familiar with the plants or don't look properly, one will probably not notice them.

To get to the parts of the farm further uphill we had to cycle (or rather push) up slope.

Here they breed free range poultry...

... have organically grown fruits such as papayas, bananas, star-fruits, etc. .....

..... they even make soy sauce here!

Up here, it's so green. It's just the trees, the wind ... everything is so natural, so peaceful and so calming.

Our sojourn here was interrupted by the rain. While us adults were hiding form the rain; the children were having a lark of a time playing in it.

It's always good to have children around, they liven up the ride in some ways, bringing out the smiles in us; and definitely knit us into a closer group. Whatever maternal, paternal or caring instincts came out easily, making it so natural to look out for them.

3:30 pm - The heavy rain abated but did not stop. It was getting late, and we had better continue to avoid riding in the dark later. Most of us donned our raincoats; the more innovative ones like Irene here, just use plastic bags as a make-do raincoats.

Braving the rain we pushed on literally that is - pushing our bikes down the watery slopes.

And then rode through the tunnel under the North-South Highway; this time round it was moodily as dark as the skies.

Into the rain we plodded on, we still have close to 30 km. to ride back to Kampar.

Fortunately for us, there was a good stretch of free-wheeling and down slope coasting.

A puncture to my rear tire and the rest of the gang were too far ahead to hear my air horn blaring. That brings us to the question, "Who sweeps the sweeper?"
Luckily for me, a passing motorcyclist rode ahead to inform Doc, who turned around to come help me. It was help that was most appreciated, seeing that it was raining and that it was not easy to change tubes when wet.

The two of us had to ride hard and fast, to make up for lost time and to catch up with the others. Thank goodness the rain stopped and we were able to meet up with the rest who were worried of having "lost" both their sweepers. *blush*

6:30 pm - We are back in Kampar, at Lam Kee Restaurant where we had Kampar's renown claypot chicken rice. Probably business here was too good as it turned out that the rice here was not up to par. Never-the-less, we whacked everything being to hungry to care.
Then we left Kampar, feeling very satisfied and happy for having had a good, enjoyable ride.

On the drive back my car broke down and had to be towed all the way back to KL.
Did I pee at a wrong spot earlier during the ride to incur two bad luck incidents? I better go light some candles and pray.
And then, come to think of it, I should have taken the train up to Kampar.

Till the next ride,
Good night folks, 

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