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R@SKLs Revisit Morib

R@SKLs Morib Sign Lee Heng Keng.png

After last weekend’s ascent of Fraser’s Hill, the R@SKLs opted for a route where the only climbing required was over the bridge across the South Klang Valley Expressway (SKVE), and over the bridge across the Langat River.

Well, that was the plan.  A plan that was later amended – see below.

Alfred wins the prize again for being the most eager R@SKL.  He was at our starting point, Restoran BR Maju, at 6.15am.

R@SKLs Morib BR Maju Alfred Chan

Photograph courtesy of Alfred Chan

By the appointed start time of 7.15am, we had a peloton of twenty five.

R@SKLS Morib Start 2 KK Yee

Photograph courtesy of KK Yee

The day had started out wet in many parts of KL.  The rain had already passed over Kota Kemuning, so we had cool and dry conditions.  22°C / 72°F at the start.

R@SKLs Morning Tomoe Suga

Photograph courtesy of Tomoe Suga

It took a while for the group to get organized on the road.  We regrouped after crossing the SKVE.

R@SKLs Morib First Stop Tomoe Suga

Photograph courtesy of Tomoe Suga

Then it was onto the very pleasant backroads through Kampung Seri Cheeding.

R@SKLs Morib On The Road 2 KK

Photograph courtesy of KK Yee

R@SKLs Morib On The Road 1 KK

Photograph courtesy of KK Yee

As you would expect of a group of twenty five, we soon split into smaller groups.  Namely the insane and very fast, the slightly mad and moderately fast, and the mentally balanced and reasonably paced.

So it was no surprise that there were time gaps between the groups as we arrived in Morib.

R@SKLS Morib Arriving KK Yee

Photograph courtesy of KK Yee

We all got there safely though.

R@SKLs Morib Sign 1 Daniel Lim

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

Top of mind for everyone was food and drink.  This being the fasting month, all the stalls at the beachside food court were closed.  So we went to the small food shop across the road and next to a temple.

R@SKLs Morib Breakfast 2 Hsing C Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

R@SKLs Morib Breakfast 1 Hsing C Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

It was still relatively cool when we got going again forty minutes later.  27°C / 81°F.  We were blessed with very nice cycling weather.

10km / 6mi later we were at the T-junction with Jalan Bukit Jugra.  There are two lighthouses on Bukit Jugra:  a colonial era tower, and a shorter  25 metre concrete tower built in 1976, with lighting systems to facilitate navigation in the Straits of Melaka.  The lighthouses stand out in clear relief against the sky.

R@SKLs Morib Jugra Lighthouse From Far Tomoe Suga

Photograph courtesy of Tomoe Suga

Every ride to Morib elicits the question “Shall we do the Jugra climb?”

It is 1km / 0.6mi from the base of the hill to the lighthouses.  Including the not insignificant matter of 109 meters / 358 feet of elevation.  It is a climb with gradients that hit 20% in places.

Hence, the answer to the question above is invariably “no,” and we turn right at the T-junction, away from the hill.

This time we turned left at the T-junction.  Initially as a joke.  Having ridden the 1.5km / 1mi to the base of the hill, some decided that, since they were there, that they might as well give the climb a go.

Others waited in the shade.

R@SKLs Morib Hanging Out Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

Where they were entertained by Meng’s trials with his tire.

R@SKLs Morib Flot Consultants Ong Peng Hong

Photograph courtesy of Ong Peng Hong

Those who rode up to the lighthouses were rewarded with the sweeping views over the Langat River.  And sore legs!

R@SKLs Morib Jugra View

The descent was negotiated with great care.  Rims and brake discs were very hot by this point.

R@SKLs Morib Jugra Descent 1 Hsing C Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

R@SKLs Morib Jugra Descent 2 Hsing C Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

R@SKLs Morib Jugra Descent 3 Hsing C Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

R@SKLs Morib Jugra Descent 4 Hsing C Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

R@SKLs Morib Jugra Descent 5 Hsing C Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

R@SKLs Morib Jugra Descent 6 Hsing C Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

R@SKLs Morib Jugra Descent 7 Hsing C Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

R@SKLs Morib Jugra Descent 8 Hsing C Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

R@SKLs Morib Jugra Descent 9 Hsing C Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

We had about 40km / 25mi left to ride back to Kota Kemuning.  The group stayed together for most of that distance, pedalling at an average of just below 30kph / 18.6mph.

Once we got to Rimbayu, the faster riders pulled ahead, and the group got stretched out over the last 5km / 3mi.  The lone casualty was Kelin, who got lost.  When he called for directions, I hindered rather than helped him.  I misunderstood where he was, and gave him directions that sent him off on a course that took him further from, rather than closer to, Restoran BR Maju.

As is often the case, Daniel came to the rescue.

R@SKLs Bringing Kelin Home Daniel Lim

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

We all enjoyed the ride, the weather (although it was pushing 34°C / 93°F when we finished), and the company.

More importantly, Alfred accomplished his first 100km / 62mi ride.  Congratulations Alfred!  Here is your next challenge.

R@SKLs Morib Jugra Sign Tomoe Suga

Photograph courtesy of Tomoe Suga

 

 

 

 

 

R@SKLs do Fraser’s Hill

The Goal

Fraser's Sign Kelin Chan

Photograph courtesy of Kelin Chan

38km / 23.6mi from, and 1,200 meters / 3,937 feet higher than Kuala Kubu Bharu (KKB).

 It Almost Didn’t Happen

Fraser's Weather Lee Heng Keng

Graphic courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

The weather forecasts from Weather Underground, Dark Sky, Accuweather, Yahoo etc. were unanimous.  Thunderstorms were coming to Fraser’s Hill.

A quick 5.00am WhatsApp conversation decided the issue.  The R@SKLs would be badass.  Fraser's Bad AssThe ride was on.

Eager Beaver

Fraser's Early Morning Alfred

Photograph courtesy of Alfred

Alfred was knocking on the door of this coffee shop in KKB at 6.25am.

 Superman

Fraser's Daniel Leonard Yee

Photograph courtesy of Leonard Yee

As the rest of us were driving to KKB, we passed Daniel, who rode from his home.  He had a bit more than a 60km / 37mi warmup, before the 30km / 18.5mi climb up Fraser’s Hill.  That was not enough to tire him out.  After getting to the summit, he rode back down to the slower riders and proceeded to push them up the hill.

Daniel cemented his Superman status later in the ride – see below.

A Big Group

Fraser's Start Daniel Lim

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

Twenty of us rolled up the road from KKB.

Views Along The Way

Fraser's Hill - Sungai Selangor Dam

The lake at the Sungai Selangor Dam.

Fraser's Hill - Waterfall

One of the bigger waterfalls.

Success Part One

Fraser's Gap Leonard Yee

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

Fraser's Gap Simon Soo Hu

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

Fraser's Gap Normal Shot Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

Part One of the climb is to get to The Gap.  The Gap used to be the point where the two-way road became a one-way road for the final 8km to Fraser’s Hill.  Traffic went up on even hours and came down on odd hours.  If you missed the gate time at the Gap you waited at the Gap Resthouse.

Sadly, The Gap Resthouse is No More

Fraser's Hill - Gap Rest House

It was closed for renovations and never reopened.

Success Part Two

Fraser's Clock Tower Alfred Daniel Lim

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

Fraser's Clock Tower Leonard Leonard Yee

Photograph courtesy of Leonard Yee

The Clock Tower shot was particularly sweet for Alfred and Leonard.  It was their first time riding up to Fraser’s Hill.

Fraser's Clock Tower Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

Refuelling

Fraser's D'Olio Restaurant Daniel Lim

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

We are in the middle of Ramadan.  The oddly named Restoran D’Olio (Oil Restaurant) was the only eatery in the vicinity of the Clock Tower that was open.  Actually it was barely open.  Everyone had to wait for about thirty minutes for the kitchen to fire up.

You wouldn’t have guessed it by how quickly the food was gulped down, but reports are that it wasn’t worth the wait.

No Sudden End to the Ride This Time

Fraser's Crash Corner

The last time I rode down from Fraser’s Hill, I crashed at this corner.  No such mishaps
Fraser's Hooraythis time.

Take Photo Take Photo

Fraser's Bridge 1 Kelin Chan

Photograph courtesy of Kelin Chan

Fraser's Bridge 2 Kelin Chan

Photograph courtesy of Kelin Chan

Fraser's Bridge 3 Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

Fraser's Scenery 1

There is a bridge over a ravine about 5km / 3mi into the descent.  A good place for a last set of photographs before the non-stop ride back to KKB.

Good Samaritans

Fraser's Puppy Tomoe Suga

Photograph courtesy of Tomoe Suga

Photograph of the day!

Fraser's Puppies Luanne Sieh

Photograph courtesy of Luanne Sieh

About 7km / 4.5mi from Kuala Kubu Bharu, there is a lay by overlooking the lake behind the Sungai Selangor Dam.  Someone had dumped a litter of puppies there.  Being puppies, they were gamboling along the side of the busy road connecting KKB and Teranum, near Raub.  We tried, with limited success, to usher the puppies off the road shoulder and onto the grass.

On the way back down, Luanne, Tomoe, Chen Li, Daniel and a few others went looking for the puppies.  They found two.  Superman Daniel carried one in the front of his jersey.

Luanne delivered the two puppies to the Paws Animal Welfare Society.  Fingers crossed that they get adopted.

Kapitan!  Again??

Fraser's Simon Flat Leonard Yee

Photograph courtesy of Leonard Yee

Three rides.  Three rear tire punctures.  Perhaps we need to buy Simon a protective charm.  Thank you Meng for getting Simon back on the road.

Did it Rain?

Fraser's No Rain.png

So much for the accuracy of the weather forecasts.

Did Everyone Have Fun?

Fraser's Yes

Photograph courtesy of yesbikes.com.au

The fun didn’t stop with the ride.  Some of us met up in the evening at Via Pre Italian Restaurant for coffee, dessert, and sake.  An excellent end to an excellent day.

 

 

Where Are Those Cables?

e Cycling USB Port

As I recharged various devices after the Genting Sempah night ride, I was struck by how “e” cycling has become.

It wasn’t that long ago that bike lights were powered by AA or AAA batteries, and cycling computers were powered by coin batteries.  These days lights and cycling computers are rechargeable.  As are an increasing number of other cycling gadgets.

It is not unlikely that today’s cyclist will have six or more devices to recharge after a long ride:

  1. Cycling computer
  2. Sport watch
  3. Front light
  4. Rear light
  5. Camera
  6. Electronic drivetrain
  7. Power meter
  8. Headphones
  9. Mobile phone

We are becoming increasingly e-dependent.  The most important items to pack for a weekend cycling trip might just be some USB cables and a multiport USB power adapter.

e Cycling USB Adapter.png

How to Carry a Mobile Phone, Cash, etc. on a Ride?

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Case What to Carry theweightlosscyclist

Graphic courtesy of theweightlosscyclist

The list of items one should carry on a bike ride, in addition to water, and perhaps food, is quite extensive.  A spare tube, tire levers, patches, multi-tool, hand pump and / or CO2 canister and inflator, mobile phone, cash, credit card, ATM card, identification card, and insurance card.

Having decided what needs to come with you on a bike ride, you need to figure out how to carry it all.

If you are a purist and / or anal, you might refer to The Rules, as enumerated by those cycling disciples of the highest order, the Velominati.  In particular:

Rule #29:  No European Posterior Man-Satchels (known by mere mortals as saddle bags)
Rule #30:  No frame-mounted pumps
Rule #31:  Spare tubes, multi-tools and repair kits should be stored in jersey pockets

The Velominati rules currently number 95.  The first of which is Obey The Rules.

Rule #29  Regular readers have seen many photographs of my bikes, all showing a saddle bag or seat roll attached.
Rule #30  Two years ago I wrote a post about the pump I use.  I still carry a Lezyne Pressure Drive, attached to a bracket fixed to the frame.
Rule #31  I carry a spare tube, tire levers, patches, and multi-tool in my current favorite seat roll, the Silca Seat Roll Premio.

So much for the Velominati rules then.

Not having the items needed to fix a flat tire in my jersey pockets means that they are available to carry the rest of the stuff in the list at the top of this post.  These are all small items that require a case to keep them together and secure.

For a couple of years I have used a Rapha Essentials Case.

Case Rapha Essentials

Photograph courtesy of rapha.cc

The case fits my iPhone 6.  There is an inner sleeve pocket for cards and cash, and on the opposite side there a zippered pocket for coins.  I put my car keys in that zippered pocket too.

At 155mm x 100mm, and about 30mm thick when filled with my stuff, the Essentials Case fits nicely into the center pocket of my jersey, without making me look like a camel.

Rapha says you can get an inner tube and multi tool in there too.  I haven’t tried.  That extra stuff would make the case too bulky for my liking.

Last Christmas the Essentials Case was augmented by the Bellroy x MAAP All-Conditions Phone Pocket.  This is a most excellent present from my son Arif.

Case Bellroy MAAP All Conditions Phone Pocket

Photograph courtesy of silodrome.com

The Bellroy x MAAP case, at 156mm x 92mm, is slightly narrower than the Rapha case.  Still roomy enough for the iPhone 6.  The All-Conditions Phone Pocket has two internal pockets for cards and cash.

The Bellroy website says that the inner pockets can hold coins and keys as well.  Just note that those pockets do not have zips, so heavier objects like coins and keys can fall out unexpectedly.

The All-Conditions Phone Pocket is my prefered case.  Mostly because the case looks great sitting on a table during café stops.

The Essentials Case still gets the nod when I need to carry car keys.  The thinner, more flexible leather, and the zippered inner pocket, accomodate keys and a fob that the All-Conditions Phone Pocket cannot.

So I roll with a pump on the frame, puncture repair items in a seat roll, and mobile phone, cash, cards, and keys when necessary, in a case.

Infinitely preferable to this alternative.

Case Stuffed Pockets

Photograph courtesy of cyclingtips.com

R@SKLs Do Penang – Day Two

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R@SKLs Penang Day 2 Banner.png

After the santai (relaxed) turned bantai (thrashed) ride of the day before, some of us were dubious about attempting a round-the-island ride.  Following the CFAL route to the south-east, south-west, and north-west corners of the island, before heading east back to George Town, had been the original plan when this Tien Hotel Residence getaway to Penang was first mooted.  Now we wondered if it would be a bit more than we could handle, given the exertions of the previous day.

However, the die was cast.  We had invited some Penangites to ride with us, and they were on the doorstep at 7.45am, expecting to replicate the 80km / 50mi CFAL route.  So nine R@SKLs and six Penangites posed in front of the Tien hotel before following our three guardian angels – we had retained the same three young men from the day before – out to Pengkalan Weld and then to Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu highway.

R@SKLs Penang Day 2 Start 366 via TH Lim

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

This time we covered 12km / 7.5mi before having to stop for a mechanical problem.  This time to reseat Simon’s rear tire.  It is a mystery how, but a section of the bead had separated from the rim.  Fortunately we had CK with us.  The man from Pegasus Cycles soon had Simon’s wheel sorted out.

R@SKLs Penang Day 2 Lifesaver Hsing C Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

Our next stop was intentional.  Kampung Tengah was 25km / 15.5mi into our ride.  We stopped to regroup there because Kampung Tengah is at the base of Bukit Genting.

Everyone agreed that the 2km / 1 mi climb up Bukit Genting was easier than we had anticipated.

R@SKLs Penang Day 1 First Climb View Simon Soo Hu

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

As we came off the relatively fast descent – more than 50kph / 31mph in places – we had to drop anchors and cut speed in time for the sharp left turn at the bottom of the hill onto Jalan Sungai Nipah.  The day before, we had continued north, straight on Jalan Balik Pulau to the food court.

This time we headed south to Kampung Bakar Kapur and the coast.  That was the closest we would come to the sea until we got to Teluk Bahang, in the north-west of the island, about 25km / 15.5mi away.

R@SKLs Penang Day 2 Beach 1 Hsing C Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

But that would be later.  It was first time for some food.  I wouldn’t have known this was a restaurant.  It is a good thing we had locals riding with us.

R@SKLs Penang Day 2 Food before Second Climb Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

Highlights of this meal, apart from the noodles, were the home-made soya bean milk and nutmeg juice drinks.  Nutmeg juice is a unique Penang speciality.

Fed and watered, we made the straight run northward to Sungai Pinang in quick time.

We regrouped at the 玄龙双祝宫 temple, which Google translates as Xuanlong Double Wish Palace.

As you may have guessed, our local guides stopped at the temple because it is at the base of the climb up Jalan Teluk Bahang.  A 5km / 3mi winding route that rises 255 meters / 837 feet.

R@SKLs Penang Day 2 Route

We got ourselves to the top of the climb, which wasn’t as bad as we had anticipated.

R@SKLs Penang Day 2 Climb 2 At The Top CK Lim

Photograph courtesy of CK Lim

The run down to the Teluk Bahang Dam would have been much more fun if the road hadn’t been littered with leaves, small branches, sand and mud.  It had rained very hard the previous night, and a lot of debris had been washed onto the road.  Descending with extra care was required.

We wanted to take our bikes with us through the security post at the dam, but that was a non no.  So it was just us at the water’s edge, showing off our better sides.

R@SKLs Penang Day 2 Reservoir View 1 Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

We made our last stop at Restoran K-Haleel, just after the roundabout at the bottom of the descent from the dam.  It was a good place to stop for a drink, and to thank our newfound local friends for their hospitality and guidance.  Most of them were not going all the way back into town.  Instead heading their own ways to get home.

There were just over 20km / 12.5mi to go.  Most of it rolling terrain as we hugged the coast through Batu Ferringhi and Tanjung Tokong.  Once we got to Gurney Drive we had a flat 5km / 3mi to the Tien hotel.

Six of us were 3 km / 1.8mi from the hotel when word came through, via walkie-talkie to the guardian angel with us, that Pai had suffered a puncture.  Once again, it was CK to the rescue.

R@SKLs Penang Day 2 Lifesaver 2 Hsing C Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

Waiting.

R@SKLs Penang Day 2 Where Are They Pai Flat Leonard Yee

Photograph courtesy of Leonard Yee

R@SKLs Penang Day 2 First Flat Waiting Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

Inner tube replaced, Pai and the rest soon rolled around the corner where we were waiting, and we had no further interruptions as we wound our way through town to the hotel.

It was then a case of replaying the post ride activities of the previous day.  Showers, hanging kit up to dry, napping, and eating and drinking.  Plus loading bicycles and bags into the repaired van for the trip back to Pegasus Cycles.

All too soon, our boutique hotel / cycling getaway was over.  We owe a large debt of gratitude to TH and the staff at the Tien Hotel Residence for making our stay such a nice one.  We are already planning to stay there again during our next Penang trip.  CFAL 9 is on 13th August.

Book those seats fellas!

R@SKLs Penang Day 2 Homeward Bound TH Lim

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

 

R@SKLs Do Penang – Day One

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R@SKLs Penang Day 1 Shoes Not Allowed.png

The R@SKLs crawled or bounced out of bed, depending on how much wine and beer had been consumed the night before.  Freshly-baked bread, jam, juice, yogurt, fresh fruit, and coffee were waiting in the communal kitchen / dining area.

The plan for the day was a gentle ride of between 30 to 40km / 18 to 25mi, interrupted at regular intervals for food and drink.  The estimated time of arrival back at the hotel was 11am.  What transpired was a little different.

We were all ready to roll at about 8am.

R@SKLs Penang Day 1 Start 2 CK Lim

Photograph courtesy of CK Lim

Lay was in town, so he joined us

R@SKLs Penang Day 1 Start 1

Photograph courtesy of CK Lim

I mentioned in the Prelude post that we would do this ride in style.  We hired these three fine young men to accompany us on their scooters and motorbikes.  Armed with whistles, flags, and walkie-talkies, they stopped traffic at junctions and intersections, and rode between the traffic and us on multi-lane highways, so ensuring that we were safe during our ride.  They were our guardian angels over the weekend.  Thank you gentlemen.

R@SKLs Penang Day 1 Marshals CK Lim

Photograph courtesy of CK Lim

We spent the first kilometer of the ride looking for somewhere to have a second breakfast.  Clearly, the breakfast at the hotel was merely a snack to tide us over whilst we searched for a proper breakfast.

R@SKLs Penang Day 1 Breakfast TH Lee

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

We didn’t get far after the roti canais and teh tariks.  Simon had a puncture within the next kilometer.  Some of us were up the road, so there were only Leonard, Kevin and Kelin to stand around and watch Simon and CK replace an inner tube.

R@SKLs Penang Day 1 First Flat Spectators Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

We got an early taste of Penang’s bike paths.  There is an annual cycling event organized by the Campaign For A Lane (CFAL), that raises funds for the creation of bike paths and bike lanes.  CFAL has been running for about a decade, and the results are visible all around the island.

After our stint on the bike path we were on the Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu highway, riding toward the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge.  This bridge, Malaysia’s longest, opened in early 2014.  It is the second bridge linking Penang to the mainland.

R@SKLs Penang Day 1 Penang Bridge Simon Soo Hu

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

If we had known better, we would have retraced our track from here, and been back at the hotel, and out of the sun, by 11am.  As most of us expected.

Instead we continued on to Bayan Lepas airport, and beyond.  We all agreed that Kapitan Simon was to blame for this.  We are sure he misled our guardian angels into thinking that we all wanted to ride further.  So they took us on a longer route.

R@SKLs Penang Day 1 Route

Just after the right turn onto Jalan Permatang Damar Laut, at the southern tip of the island, TH had a puncture.  It was about 10am.  The sun was bright and it was already 32°C / 90°F.  A group of us waited in the only shade we could find as TH replaced his inner tube.

Fifteen minutes later we were all rolling again toward Teluk Kumbar, where we turned right.  We were now cycling north and starting to climb up Bukit Genting.  Those of us who had ridden CFAL in the past were familiar with this climb.

Once down the other side, it was time for more food.  A stall in the Balik Pulau Food Court is famous for its asam laksa.

R@SKLs Penang Day 1 Balik Pulau Food Court 5 366 via TH Lim

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

“What’s that?  No asam laksa?”

The guys had to settle for koay teow soup instead.

R@SKLs Penang Day 1 Balik Pulau Food Court 4 CK Lim

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

“But wait!”  There is more asam laksa being made.”

R@SKLs Penang Day 1 Balik Pulau Food Court Asam Laksa TH Lim

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

So some of the guys had seconds.  Asam laksa on top of the koay teow soup.  A decision that would rise up, so to speak, to haunt at least one person.

All smiles at this point, as we left the Balik Pulau Food Court.

R@SKLs Penang Day 1 Balik Pulau Food Court 6 366 via TH Lim

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Literally 500 meters from where we took the photo above, the road started tilting up, and up, and up.  It was 5km / 5mi to Anjung Indah, with gradients touching 10% and more.  This was allegedly a shortcut back to the hotel.  Give me the longer way next time!

This was the last 20 meters of what is one of the hardest climbs any of us have done.

We stopped where the junction with a side road offered some extra tarmac where we could safely get off our bikes.  As you can see from the photos, the sun was directly overhead.  So we sought refuge in some shade across the road.  Pretty much in a drain.

Which would have been convenient if that asam laksa had erupted up and out of someone’s stomach!

R@SKLs Penang Day 1 Anjung Indah Climb 7 CK Lim

Photograph courtesy of CK Lim

If we had known that there were fruit and drinks stalls 300 meters up the road, we would have kept going, rather than stop where we did.  Although I must admit, that is easy to say now.  We were on the limit at the time.

After all the cursing about the climb while recovered beside the drain, smiles were restored when we discovered durian at the fruit stalls.

R@SKLs Penang Day 1 Anjung Indah Park 1 Kevin Chin

Photograph courtesy of Kevin Chin

Treasurer Heng Keng thought that he might have to make a cash call, given the amount of durian consumed.  Especially by some guy in pink from Taiwan!

We still had 23km / 14mi to get back to the Tien hotel.  With 8km / 5mi of that along the unshaded Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu highway.

By the time we got back into George Town it was about 2pm.  We were boiling.  Cendol was called for.  There is a very well-known cendol stall on Lebuh Keng Kwee, which goes by the less-than-modest name of Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendol.  The queue for their cendol is always long – see below.

R@SKLs Penang Day 1 Cendol 1 Simon Soo Hu

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

Some locals say that the cendol from the stall across the road is, in fact, better.  We opted for that much less-crowded stall.  Some of us had two bowls of cendol, and we were on our way before the people at the end of the queue for the “Famous” cendol had been able to place their orders.

Just one more kilometer, and we were back in the air-conditioned comfort of the Tien hotel.  Most of us jumped into showers.  Some took another option.

R@SKLs Penang Day 1 Pool TH Lim

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

All of us did turn the rooftop pool deck into a dobi, or laundry.  Open dividers, which had obviously been designed with considerable thought and care, became excellent places to hang wet cycling kit.

Some of us took naps.  Some went for a massage.  Some indulged in the nyonya cakes and bubur kacang merah (red bean soup) that were laid out in the hotel dining area.

R@SKLs Penang Day 1 Tien Hotel Tea

Cyclists that we are, we had all done the maths, and had determined that, despite all we had eaten already, there were still calories to be replaced – see I Am Sure I’ve Earned That Second Roti Canai.  We were ready for more food.

Dinner was at Yi Bing Qing Fish Head Steamboat.  Yi Bing Qing is a big name when it comes to steamboat restaurants in Penang.  So good that Leonard paused to give thanks at the altar of the steamboat chimney.

In all seriousness, the steamboat was delicious.

With that meal, Day One was a wrap.  There was, allegedly, a party that night up in the lounge / bar area of the hotel.

Allegedly.  If there was a party, I slept through it. R@SKLs Penang Day 1 Halo 2

R@SKLs Do Penang – Prelude

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R@SKLs Penang Banner Oat Anantachote

Photograph courtesy of Oat Anantachote

Penang is noted for its food, its beaches, its street art, and its bicycle lanes.  The Tien Hotel Residence will soon join that list.

Fellow R@SKL TH Lim has been converting what was the Sky budget hotel into a swankier boutique hotel.  Here he is in the upstairs lounge / bar area.

R@SKLs Penang Prelude TH in Hotel TH Lim

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

The Tien Hotel Residence will open its doors to the public soon.  TH invited the R@SKLs for a “shakedown” stay at the Tien.  He wanted feedback from us so that any kinks could be ironed out before the official opening.

Eight of us jumped at the chance to be the first guests at a very nice boutique hotel located in the historic center of George Town.  We did everything in the style befitting our accommodation.

Starting with transporting our bicycles.  We hired an eighteen-seater van and driver to get our bikes to Penang and back.  Nine bicycles (including TH’s bike) and our bags went into the van, with room to spare.

R@SKLs Penang Van Loaded Simon Soo Hu

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

The eight of us met at Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport on Friday evening for the short flight to Penang.  Some beers were needed to calm the nerves after some of us had endured stressful journeys to the airport through particularly bad KL traffic.

R@SKLs Penang Prelude Subang Airport Hsing C Pai

Photograph courtesy of Tsing C Pai

Malindo Air got us to Penang on time.

R@SKLs Penang Prelude Malindo CK Lim

Photograph courtesy of CK Lim

We each got a guided tour of our rooms upon arrival.  The rooms have everything you would expect from a boutique hotel, plus a few extras.  Along with the standard power sockets, the rooms also have USB sockets.  So mobile, Garmin, headphones etc. charging cables can be plugged into the sockets without the need for separate chargers.  There is also a wall-mounted HDMI port so you can stream A/V from a portable device to the curved screen television.  Lastly, the shower head has a built-in Bluetooth speaker.  What is really neat about the Bluetooth speaker is that it is powered by the flow of water through the shower head.  Eco-cool!

I did say Penang was noted for its food.  Given the Tien hotel’s location in the foodie area of George Town, we didn’t have far to walk for excellent street food.  Char kway teow, popiah, wanton mee, oyster omelette, apom manis and lok lok.  We had it all.

Simon and Pai were spoiled for choice at the lok lok stall.

R@SKLs Penang Prelude Lok Lok CK Lim

Photograph courtesy of CK Lim

After dinner our minds turned to our bicycles.  The van was supposed to arrive between 9 and 10pm.  We had been told that the van would be delayed.  This is why.

R@SKLs Penang Prelude Van Arrives

Better late than never!