Friday, August 14, 2015

Penang : CFAL7

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                                             AhPek Biker - Riding Adventures                                         
Penang : CFAL7
Penang : 9th September 2015
Public Ride - Round Penang Island
Distance : 82.8 km.
Time Start : 7:00 am

Route Recommendations :
1. If riding slower than others, especially at the start point, keep to the left for the faster riders to overtake. It will also be good to start at the tail end and let the faster riders go ahead first.
2. Do not stop suddenly! Signal your intention to stop and slow down, edging to the road side before you stop.
3. Bring along adequate water, especially if you intend to ride fast and may think of not stopping at the watering stations.
4. At the two climbs (after Bayan Lepas, and from Sungai Pinang to Telok Bahang), pace yourself; there is no point in straining yourself just to go fast as later one may develop cramps like I did.
5. Going down slope after the 2nd climb towards Telok Bahang, do take extra care as the road has many sharp bends.

Penang is an interesting place with one of the best food to savour in the world. With this in mind a few of us went up a couple of days before the CFAL 7 event to sightsee and enjoy the good food.
KTM's Electric Train Service (ETS) had by the mid-July extended their service to reach up to Padang Besar right up at the far north of Peninsular Malaysia with a few stops in between. So why not try this new service?  We took Train #9208 - ETS KL-PADANG BESAR that left Kuala Lumpur Sentral at 9:30am and arrived at Butterworth at 1:13pm; just a three hours forty-five minutes comfy ride.

Travelling on the ETS with our folding bikes (especially the Bromptons) is convenient. If optimum seat positions are selected, one can just put and strap one's bikes to railings in front of the seat or at a corridor near by (... see more at Bringing Foldies Onto ETS Train blog).

Arriving at Butterworth we were met by Kim & Kong (who had driven up early in the morning) and our Penang buddy Larry, the yellow man. Larry took us on a shortcut route to the ferry terminal that crossed over some railway tracks and entered the terminal on a side just next to the boarding ramps.
Thank goodness for this as otherwise we would have to cycle at busier roads and up/down some ramps into the terminal.

Upon arriving on Penang Island, we did what most people do - go find eats at the nearest foodie joint. You see Penang was named the second best place to eat in the world by the readers of the New York Times.
We headed for the Cecil Street market where there is a hawker centre and were soon digging into the island's famous street food - Char Keow Teow, Duck Soup Koay Teow Tng, Hokkien Prawn Mee, Chee Cheong Fun, etc.... etc... etc... (which translate to - we ate a lot!)

What we did for the rest of our day:
Dropped into the Hin Bus Art Depot to have some photo fun with the mural artwork there.

At the Penang Brompton Shop, Larry show's how light Brian's Brompton is. At 7.9kg, it is one of the lightest in the world.... Wow!

Checked into Hotel Royal Penang, our bikes neatly parked in a row at the lobby.

Dropped in to Laksalicious for dinner. The laksas here are of average taste; but what should not to be missed are the Cempedak Cake and their unique Cempedak Springrolls. YummY!

Visited Transformers Bumblebee and Optimus Prime at the Penang Esplanade.

Went for a cooling night ride with our Penang friends from town up to Tanjung Bungah where we stopped at a Chinese temple at Taman Lembah Permai for a group photo. We made a quick pit-stop at the Hillside Food Court for some simple but really good burgers.

Penang White Curry Mee at Old Green House Restaurant.
We left our Penang friends and cycled back to town for supper at the Old Green Restaurant.
Yes... eat again! In Penang, one can easily have six meals a day - breakfast, pre-lunch. lunch, tea, dinner, supper and even another late supper..... *smiles sheepishly*
Till tomorrow then....

Singapore Brompton riders at Tanjung Tokong, Penang.
In the early morning I received a message from Siew Ling saying "We have arrived. Come join us for breakfast." A simple yet very welcomed message; she and her friends from the Brompton Singapore Group had arrived by coach and were staying at the Chulia Heritage Hotel.
I was in the middle of waking up (still having dreams of yesterday's eats), quickly popped up, did half my daily morning routine (please don't ask what the other half is!), and quickly cycled there to meet them. Patrick from Ipoh and Jason also met me there.

We took them to the Seong Huat Coffee Shop at Larut Road where there is supposed to be one of the best Penang Hokkien Mee. Unfortunately I got the location wrong (the actual one was the Super Hokkien Mee located at the One Corner Cafe); but the one here was still good, and my Singapore pals were sporting and just casually remarked "Can't go wrong with food in Penang".

We ride-guided our friends up to Straits Quay for the event goodies collection. Up there it was like a mini-carnival in progress; cyclists from all over were there, like this group of Birdy riders...

... and these cool looking riders who came all the way from Kota Kinabalu.

Oh my!.... What big teeth you have .... oops, I mean bags!

There were a number of stall promoting their goods. Rock Tape were promoting their kinesiology tape and many thronged to their stalls as they were giving free demo samples. I had some muscle tear from a tough bike packing to Malacca and a gruelling ride up-slope to Gohtong Jaya, and the tape came in handy to stabilise my knee.

We said our goodbyes to our Singaporean friends as they rode back into town whilst we waited for some local friends. Together we cycled up to Kedai Makanan Lidiana up in Tanjung Bungah. For a change we are not having street fare as Lidiana serves one of the best Nasi Melayu.

The shop is located at a food court that sits on a hillock overlooking the Tanjung Bungah Floating Mosque, that's why they are also referred to as the Nasi Melayu Masjid Terapung.

4:00pm - We are back at Hotel Royal Penang. By now many of our other buddies have arrived from Kuala Lumpur and are eager to go for a pre-event fun ride.
Bad... bad timing though; it suddenly rained and then poured cats & dogs. Like us, these two bikes flying the Sarawak flag were waiting impatiently for the rain to stop. The rain stopped after a couple of hours; although disappointed in not being able to ride, we looked at the brighter side of things as the lull gave as a good opportunity to mingle and chat with each other. It's seldom that so many of us are gathered together at one time.

It was dinner time by the time the rain stopped and we just walked over to the coffee shops at the Mcalister Road/Rangoon Road junction for eats.
Coming back to the hotel, we held a celebration for our August baby friends.
Happy Birthday Eddie, Hon and Larry!
As an additional bonus, we hope you all have a good ride tomorrow.

The event map provided by the organizers G Club, shows a route that will take participants on a clock-wise route around Penang Island.

I will take a different spin on the event and look at it from my friends experiences:
It's event day, and all are eager to proceed. Friends here loading their bikes to head for the start point, the Esplanade.

Jason & the Singaporeans prepping themselves up with photo poses before leaving the Chulia Heritage Hotel.

7:00am- Yong Lim peering over a sea of cyclists queueing up beside the Penang Town Hall at the Esplanade start point waiting for the flag off.

By dawn's early light, rider race down the Jelutong Expressway. They are cycling fast to make up for time before hitting the hills.

Harry was as happy as a lark as he rode down here. This is his second time, familiar with the route he paced himself well.

KK is all smiles when he realized the route took him pass the Penang Second Bridge.

Like most of us, Alex was caught in a cyclists jam at Teluk Kumbar, just before the first climb.

Kiki's selfie shows the impressive road viaduct at the first climb as it snakes around the south-western hills. It's a beautiful piece of engineering and many stopped to take photos here...

... and the pace slows down as the riders cycled their way up this three kilometre slope.

Alex and friends posing at an appropriate message from the organizers at this first climb.

Clear of the climb, riders goes coasting down the slope.
It's a good day to ride, the green hills sits contrastingly against the clear blue sky.

To the left, Pulau Betong can be seen sitting idly in the calm sea. The bright plains below are the padi fields of Balik Pulau.
It is the beauty of Penang Island together with the challenging route that draws many to come year after year to take part in the event.

The route by-passed Balik Pulau town and takes riders through the rural kampungs of Sungai Burung. Solo Cyclist was in his element riding along these shady, rustic roads.

Titi Kerawang at the second climb is another favourite stop for rest and photo ops.
Down below is a small waterfall where locals come to cool off on a hot day.

Taking on the bends at the downhill stretch from Titi Kerawang to Teluk Bahang Here is where one has to be careful as some of the bends are sharp; many had fallen here before.

And after that, a reward at the Teluk Bahang Dam, a picturesque spot for beautiful photos.

Another series of bends from Teluk Bahang to Tanjung Bungah, the road here skirts the sea and undulates gently.

Another selfie by Kiki at the seaside before Tanjung Bungah - the beaches here have interesting names like Sunshine Beach, Shamrock Beach; there's even a Miami Beach!
It's an interesting ride as the scenery changed from cityscape to rural villages, to green hills and then to seaviews.

Johnny cycling pass the finishing line.

Jason and Larry with Uncle Lim showing off the rewards of their efforts - the CFAL 7 Finisher Medals.

The CFAL 7 Finisher Medal - showing that it was a Penang Round Island event of 82km and the date of event. This year it was fashioned after a bicycle dérailleur.

After the ride, many participants adjourned to foodie joints to trade tales about their experiences. A few friends and me went to Plate/Inch where I had this Tuna Kataifi. They have their 9am to 3pm Bubbly Promo every Sunday; at RM80 per head, it was a steal as it included a free flow of the house champagne.

Cheers and congratulations to all who participated and many thanks to the organizers.
Let's come again next year!

Related Blogs :

Gallery - Street Art @ Hin Bus Art Depot
George Town, Penang : February 2014
An exhibition of interesting art by Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic

You may also like :

Cycling Sarawak Gawai 2015 Day 4 : Of Zheng Ho & A Siburan Feast 2nd June 2015

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