Thursday, March 2, 2017

Perak : Tapah Road To Chui Chak Makan Trip

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Perak : Tapah Road To Chui Chak Makan Trip
Tapah Road to Chui Chak, Perak : 26th February 2017
Large Group Bike Packing - Kuala Lumpur>(by ETS train)>Tapah Road>Langkap>Chui Chak>Tapah Road>(by ETS train)>Kuala Lumpur.
Distance  : 39.75 km     Level: Medium.
Time : 10:45am to 3:30pm
Time Taken :  4 hours 45 mins. (excluding train ride; & including long stop for lunch and a short stop for ice kacang, photo opps at Chui Chak padi fields; rest and regroup).

Route Recommendations :
1. The route is relatively flat; with only moderate climbs at the flyover near the Tapah Road train station.
2. The route is partly shaded but the main roads are not shady, so do cover up or apply sun block lotion.
3. Points of Interest:
    - The padi fields at Chui Chak (GPS: 4.04195, 101.16983)
 4. Food:
     - Lunch was a great meal at Restoran Sun Sun Brothers (GPS: 4.04244, 101.17246) in Chui Chak.
     - Good ice-kacang desserts for relief on a hot day can be found at the shop (GPS: 4.17251, 101.19147) at the junction of Route A10 and the road leading to the Tapah Road railway station.
5. Tips on travelling with bikes on the Electric Train Service (ETS):
    - Book you tickets early, especially if travelling on weekends and public holidays. Train tickets can be purchased on-line via KTMB Intranet site.
    - In a nice reversal of its policy Keretapi Tanah Melayu is not charging transit fare for folding bikes that are bagged. So do ensure that you do bag your foldies.
    - Many smaller train stations like the Tapah Road train station do not have lifts; at this station the north-bound trains north stop on the side away from the entrance, so be prepared to carry your bikes up and down the stairs to cross over the railway tracks.
   - For more details refer to this blog:


John and his gang. Fuyoh! They are from a lion-dance group and all came with matching t-shirts.
Every once in a while we cycle to a place just to eat. We had cycled in search of an elusive Penang Laksa somewhere in Balik Pulau. In Perak, it was to savour those huge Udang Galah; and in Pahang to try out Wild Boar Nasi Lemak in Bentong. It's exciting, as often our bicycles take us to places that are off the usual foodie radar, to places in small villages, or quiet alleys in the cities.
This time round, Panda Chew has organised a bike packing trip to go up to Chui Chak, a small village somewhere in Perak. The village is off the beatan track and in fact many (including yours truly) have never even heard of the place until now. As usual, when good food is concerned, the response was fantastic.... fifty of us came - no we are not greedy pigs, we just really appreciate good food. John brought along a large contingent of his lion-dance group, some were newbies, but all were welcomed.

My folded and bagged Brompton bicycle tucked in between two opposite facing seats in the ETS coach.
While some will be driving up, half of us took the 8:30 am KTM Electric Train Service (ETS) train from Kuala Lumpur Sentral to head for Tapah Road; from there we start our cycling to head for Chui Chak. We had booked our tickets ourselves and were worried that we would have problems with the railway staff in boarding the train (due to the sheer numbers of us). But in a pleasant reversal of it's policy, we found the polite KTM staff advising to bag our bikes so that they will not be charged transit. If not bagged there would be a charge for each bike of MYR10 per 150 km of train travel or part there off.
(.... for more details see blog on travelling with foldies on the new KTM ETS)

The previous day, some buddies had attended a ride from Rawang to Tanjung Malim, and had stayed overnight there or in Kampar. The Tanjung Malim gang boarded the same train as us, while those from Kampar took a South-bound train to meet us at the Tapah Road Railway Station.
But as we headed up, some BAD NEWS: those who had reached earlier, and friends from Kampar alerted us that it was raining cats and dogs (and perhaps crocodiles and alligators too) up there. Oh Dear! We kept our fingers crossed.


Cycling Route Kuala Lumpur>(by ETS train)>Tapah Road>Langkap>Chui Chak>Tapah Road>(by ETS train)>Kuala Lumpur.
From Kuala Lumpur we took the train up to Tapah Road to start our cycling, heading for Langkap then onwards a short distance to Chui Chak.

Most came with foldies, some with road bikes while others with mountain bikes. But first, even before we start cycling, a couple of bikes caught my eye. First was this Brompton New York City 2017 Special Edition. It's sleek look combined with luminicent green pedals and hubs on a black frame made it looked really hi-tech.

Next was this Xiaomi MiJia QiCycle electric folding bike that came with 20" rims and a striking black body. It's an electric bike and yet not a full electric bike. Ok, I will give a quick review of the Xiaomi QiCycle. The motor only cuts in when a certain pedaling torque is reached, i.e. if one wants to go faster or go up a slope, pedal harder a bit and the motor cuts in. Easy yah - it was. The only set back is that it does not fold easily.

10:30am - We arrive at the Tapah Road Railway Station. The north-bound trains stopped at the landing away from the station exit and unfortunately there were no lifts in smaller stations like this. But we took this in stride, here Gan shows how to carry a Brompton up stairs easily; hook it over the shoulder muscle (not the shoulder bone) and the bike's centre of gravity balances it making it easy as a pie to handle.

Those who had drove up had preapred their bikes and were waiting for us.
AND the weather had turned for the better; although still cloudy the rain had stopped.


A quick briefing by Chew, highlighting the critical junctions and riding in single file, and introducing the ride marshals and sweepers. He and Jason will be leading.

After a quick ride over the fly-over just outside the train station, the route was fairly flat and partly shady; the newbies took all this in stride.

We were fortunate, despite the large group there were no major techincal glitches except for a puncture and one dropped chain.

There were also no casualties except for this flattend beast; not sure whether it was a snake or a monitor lizard, the poor thing was just too mangled up.

Although Chew had mentioned that there would be no stopping, we did stop at a shady carpark at the Langkap-Chui Chak junction. The group was too large and too diversied in terms of types of bikes, age group, experienced riders and newbies, and soon we were spread out too far apart. A regroup was in order.
Here's Dave, he's into his seventies but is still going strong and was glad to join us.

On the other end were a few young kids, some so young that they had special small bicycles to ride on. Despite the varying differences, all took the pace in stride, none complaining.

Wow! These were the sights that greeted as we neared Chui Chak village - bright green padi fields bordered by dark green trees under a bright blue sky dotted with puffy clouds. Magnificent!

Andrew just could not resist it, he rode over to a bund track on the opposite side of the road, and started snapping photos of the green, the birds and the sky. Oh.... I was so tempted to join him but I was on sweeper duty.

In the village itself, the locals were taking it easy - relaxing under shady trees, chit-chatting with each other, unpertubed by the odd sight of so many cyclists riding by.

The sun was getting hot, and this local lady was well prepared with a brolly to protect her while she rode.

Our destination was Restoran Sun Sun Brothers. The food had been pre-ordered and as soon as we sat down, dish after dish were served. In fact they came out so fast that even before we could finished off the earlier dishes, but hungry us walloped off those to make space for those coming.
The food was good, very good indeed. We had several dishes including some of their signature dish like this Tong Po Yoke (Dongpo Yoke) (Braised Pork Belly); and also a claypot combo of lamb with fish maw and more...

Wth each dish that came out, each table went loudly "WAAAAAHHHHH!" with mouths wide agape ala Chow Sing Chi comedy style.

And the loudest and longest "WAAAAH!"  went out for this dish of Steamed Udang Galah seemingly floating in white clouds of egg white.
(..... read more of Sun Sun Brothers Restuarnt's food).

Out of the blues; a birthday cake appeared. We all sang and celebrated the birthdays of our few friends who would be having their birthdays within the week.
~~~ Happy birthday to yoooou, Happy birthday to YOU....~~~


Lunch fun time over, we rode over to the nearby padi fields. They were still as beautiful as earlier, even more so as the sun was now shining even more brightly.

Nice, yah?

Never one to lose a good photo opportunity, here's Kenny doing a video shoot; as his camera passed by each cyclist went into their own joyful pose.

Time to ride back... and the unforgiving sun was getting very hot; most covered up as best as they could but not minding the heat as we rode pass picturisque sceneries.

After a while, the heat did get to some, and a lending help was most appreciated.

Some newbies not used to the heat went up to the John's support truck.

While further ahead, many of us took refuge in a shade just outside the Tapah Prison; while the guards giving us careful stares.

One final burst, over the fly-over. Andrew (not getting enough sun?) had taken off his top.

At the top, a view of the Tapah Road Railway StationBuilt in between 1880 and 1885, the original station (those timber buildings on the right) is among the oldest of the railway stations in Malaysia.

3:15pm - We were still early for the 4:00pm train back to Kuala Lumpur; so might as well take a nice breather with lovely ice-kacang at a corner shop on the road leading to the station.
It look and tasted dang good after a hot ride...

Many thanks to Chew for organising the ride, to the marshalls and sweepers to ensure that all went well and safe.

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