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Taiwan Ti Bike Pickup Trip: Day 4

Day 4 Show logo

Wednesday was a wet day.  Not a day for riding a bike.  But a good day to be in the Nangang Exhibition Centre for the Taipei International Cycle Show.

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The show featured 1,150 exhibitors displaying their newest products spread over 65,000 square meters on floors 1, 4 and 5 of the Exhibition Centre.

Day 4 Show Bicycleretailer com

Photograph courtesy of bicycleretailer.com

Wednesday was the first day of the show, reserved for trade visitors.  We all had International Visitor passes, courtesy of Pegasus Cycles.

Day 4 Pegasus

It was impossible to give attention to every booth.  There was too much to see in the space of one morning.

It was a working visit for CK, Daniel and Sulaiman from Pegasus Cycles.  As it was for Ben and Douglas from Specialized Concept Store Bangsar.  They were at the show to visit their suppliers and to look out for possible new products to sell.

In the case of the guys from Pegasus, this included visiting Alessandro Basso of Basso Bikes, and the representatives from Hawkvi and Ridea.

By lunchtime, the rest of us were done window shopping.  Some of us had even convinced exhibitors to sell some of their products to us.  Which strictly speaking, they weren’t supposed to do.

We had worked up an appetite.  Lunch was at the oddly-named Addiction Aquatic Development, which is located in Taipei’s Fish Market.  It is a seafood wholesaler which caters to the general public as well.

Day 4 AAD 2

Photograph courtesy of tripadvisor.co.uk

There is fresh seafood.

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And a variety of prepared or cooked items.

Day 4 AAD 1

Photograph courtesy of purlou.com

 

We had a feast.

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That meal marked the end of our group activities.  That afternoon some left Taipei for other points in Taiwan.  The exodus back to Kuala Lumpur started the next day.

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I’m happy to report that all the Dodsun Ti bikes arrived safely in Kuala Lumpur.

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Heartfelt thanks to Pai and Xiao Ger for the planning and logistics and to all the R@SKLs and others whose excellent company and good humour made this such an enjoyable trip.

I’m sure we will be back for more.

Day 4 View

Photograph courtesy of bubbascyclingtours.com

Double Birthday Ride

Merdeka Ride Banner

On 31st August 1957, Malaysia became an independent country.  On 31st August 1984, Danial Lim was born.  The R@SKLs celebrated both birthdays with a short ride through the city.

More than thirty cyclists, most in R@SKL pink, met at Pegasus Cycles in Plaza Damas 3 for the 7.30am start.

Merdeka Ride Pegasus 2 Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

Our route took us through Taman Duta to the Lake Gardens before looping back to Pegasus Cycles.

Merdeka Ride Route

Map courtesy of Strava

Our first stop was at the Tugu Negara (National Monument).

Merdeka Ride Tugu 1 Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

The Tugu Negara is a sculpture that commemorates those who died in the country’s struggle for freedom, principally during the Japanese occupation during World War II and during the Malayan Emergency, which was a guerrilla war fought against the Malayan Communist Party between 1948 and 1960.

The monument, designed by Felix de Weldon, is the world’s tallest bronze freestanding sculpture grouping.

Unbeknownst to the ladies, there were photobombers around.

Merdeka Ride Tugu 3 Khoo Bin Soo

Photograph courtesy of Khoo Bin Soo

It was a short ride from the Tugu Negara to Nasi Lemak Tanglin, which has been serving nasi lemak since 1948.  Nasi lemak is considered by many Malaysians to be the national dish.  So it was a most appropriate choice for breakfast on Merdeka (National) Day.

Merdeka Ride Tanglin 1 Khoo Bin Soo

Photograph courtesy of Khoo Bin Soo

Nasi Lemak Tanglin is a very popular breakfast spot.  Our Kapitan, Simon, had the forethought to call the restaurant in advance to book a table and to pre-order thirty-five servings of nasi lemak with fried chicken or chicken curry, and side orders of fried eggs, beef rendang, and squid and cockle sambal.

Merdeka Ride Tanglin Nasi Lemak Jake Siow

Photograph courtesy of Jake Siow

There were a couple of musicians and a singer entertaining the clientele at Nasi Lemak Tanglin.  The trio was nice enough to sing “Happy Birthday” to Danial.

Merdeka Ride Tanglin Birthday Boy 3 Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

Fed and happy in the sunshine!

Merdeka Ride Tanglin 3 Annie Lim

Photograph courtesy of Annie Lim

One kilometre from our breakfast spot is Dataran Merdeka (Merdeka Square).  The Malaysian flag was raised here for the first time to replace the Union Jack.

Today it is home to a 95-metre flagpole, located at the southern end of the square.

Merdeka Ride Dataran Merdeka 1 TH Lim

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Dataran Merdeka is surrounded by notable buildings.  The mock-Tudor buildings in the left and centre below are part of the Royal Selangor Club.  A social club founded in 1884 for high-ranking members of British colonial society.

To the right is the more modern north wing, added after a fire razed the main section of the club in 1970.

Merdeka Ride Dataran 2 Jake Siow

Photograph courtesy of Jake Siow

On the opposite side of the Dataran is the Sultan Abdul Samad Building.  The building was completed in 1897, and originally housed the offices of the British colonial administration.  Today it is the home of both the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture of Malaysia.

Crowds still gather in front of the 41-metre clock tower to ring in Merdeka Day and the New Year.

Merdeka Ride Dataran Merdeka 3 Robyn Lim

Photograph courtesy of Robyn Lim

We completed our city loop by riding back to Pegasus Cycles for drinks and birthday cake with blushing birthday boy Danial.

Merdeka Ride 15 Birthday Boy 2 Khoo Bin Soo

Photograph courtesy of Khoo Bin Soo

The guys were a bit more boisterous when it was our turn to smile for the camera.

Merdeka Ride Pegasus 3 Kenix Chiang

Photograph courtesy of Kenix Chiang

Happy Birthday Malaysia!  Happy Birthday Danial Lim!

Merdeka Ride Dataran Plaque Robyn Lim

Photograph courtesy of Robyn Lim

The R@SKLs Like Penang – Day Three

Sunday AM CFAL Banner

The Tien Hotel was buzzing at 5.30am.  R@SKLs were getting coffees and filling bottles. Pumping up tires.  Filling jersey pockets with ride essentials.

At 6.10am sharp we rode down Lebuh Chulia toward the Residence carpark on the corner of Jalan Penang, where the rest of the R@SKLs were waiting.  A headcount confirmed that we had twenty four riders in our group.

Local boy Lay led us over the 6km / 3.7mi from the Residence to the CFAL start line at the Youth Park.  There were reportedly 3,500 participants in this ninth edition of the Campaign for a Lane.

We positioned ourselves at the back of the pack.  We didn’t want to get caught up in the starting rush and crush.

Sunday AM Start Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

The excitement, or pressure, of the event must have got to some of the R@SKLs.  They developed a sudden interest in the surrounding bushes.

Sunday AM CFAL Start Leakage TH

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

The CFAL event has developed a reputation as one of the better organised rides.  The organisers get most things right.  Like starting the event on time.  Cyclists began pouring out of the part at 7.15am.  Right on time.

Sunday AM CFAL Start Tomoe Suga

Photograph courtesy of Tomoe Suga

The CFAL route has remained unchanged for a number of years now.  Out of the Youth Park to Persiaran Gurney, and then clockwise roughly following the coast, down to Bayan Lepas in the south-eastern corner of the island.

Our new jerseys stood out well against the sea of purple CFAL jerseys that most of the other participants were wearing.  That made staying together as a group easier.

A very popular photo spot along the Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu Highway is within view of the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge, more commonly known as the Penang Second Bridge.

Sunday AM Penang Bridge Leslie Tong

Photograph courtesy of Leslie Tong

It took a few tries, but we did get that bridge in the background.

We had our first proper rest stop at the Caltex station, just the other side of the Sungai Bayan Lepas, about 30km / 18.5mi into the ride.  We raided the station shop for drinks and food.  And queued for the toilet.

From the Caltex station the route curved inland to the right for a kilometer or two, and then curved back down toward Teluk Kumbar on the coast.  At Teluk Kumbar the route headed due north to the Puspakom vehicle inspection site in Kampung Tengah.

That Puspakom compound marked the start of the first of the two climbs on the CFAL route.  It is about 2km / 1.2mi long, and has 115 meters / 377 feet of elevation.

Everyone was looking good on the slopes.

We went past this guy on the lower slope of the climb.

Sunday AM CFAL Penny Farthing Dennis Tan

Photograph courtesy of Dennis Tan

He gave it a good effort, but it wasn’t long before he was walking his penny-farthing up the hill.

We regrouped at the bottom of the descent of Jalan Balik Pulau, where the road takes a sharp left onto state route P239 toward Pulau Betong.  Once we were all together again, we cruised over the next 15km / 9.3mi to the row of shophouses opposite the Sin Min primary school.

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We stopped so that riders could buy water, 100 Plus etc. from the sundry shop there.  It is a good place to stop for a rest and a drink.  The small temple on the end of the row of shophouses marks the start of the second climb.  This one is 4.8km / 3mi long, with an elevation of 259 meters / 850 feet.

We agreed to meet on the other side of the hill, at the Teluk Bahang Dam.  Most of us know the spot, because we took photographs there the last time we rode in Penang.  This is one of those photographs.  We were standing on the dam.

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

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

I got to the dam first.  I stopped in the shade of a tree opposite the dam, and waited for the other pink jerseys to appear.

5 minutes went by.  No pink jerseys.

10 minutes went by.  Still no pinks jerseys.

15 minutes went by.  Aha!  There is a pink jersey.  Damn (pardon the pun).  Not one of ours.

I started to wonder if someone had suffered a puncture, or worse, had suffered a fall.

20 minutes went by.  Then a participant shouted at me as he rode past.  “I think your friends are resting up the hill.”

I pedaled 300 meters back up the hill and around a corner, and there they were.

Sprawled on the grass.  Looking comfortable and relaxed.

Leslie, who wasn’t in Penang with us the last time, pulled off at this spot.  Everyone else followed him, instead of continuing down to the dam.

Sunday PM Teluk Bahang Dam CK Lim

Photograph courtesy of Lim Heng Keng

I do admit that it was a nice place to stop.

But for next time guys.  This is what the dam looks like.

Sunday PM Teluk Bahang Dam

There were about 20km / 12.4mi to ride back to the Youth Park.  It started raining as we got to Batu Ferringhi.  Jalan Batu Ferringhi is a winding, rolling, narrow stretch of road, with a hill on one side and a drop-off to the sea on the other side.  It would be a pleasant road for a bike ride, if only there wasn’t so much traffic.

Sunday PM Batu Ferringhi Tomoe Suga

Photograph courtesy of Tomoe Suga

Add rain to the mix, and the ride along Jalan Batu Ferringhi to the Penang Swimming Club is a bit stressful.  Sometimes the safest place to be is in the middle of the slender lane.  It can upset drivers, but it stops them trying to squeeze past you, and in the process forcing you right to the edge of the road, or worse, off the road.

The last 5km / 3mi along Jalan Tanjung Bungah is also busy with cars, lorries, and buses, but the road is wider and has a proper shoulder, so you are not riding in amongst the traffic.

It was still raining when we got to the Youth Park.  3,500 riders quickly turned sections of the grass field into a quagmire.  The large marquee tent was packed with people sheltering from the rain.  As I was looking for somewhere to leave my bike, I saw Husher from Meng Thai Bicycle Centre.  He was manning a stall at one corner of the marquee, where he was displaying some of the Rikulau stainless steel bikes that he sells.

Husher’s stall became the area for the R@SKLs to park their bikes.  It was close to the medal, water, and food pickup points.

Sunday PM CFAL Food Tomoe Suga.png

And also close to the backdrop for finisher photographs.  Thank you Husher.

The lucky draw was in progress as we waited for all the R@SKLs to finish and to collect their medals.  I don’t think any of us expected to win a prize, although it does appear that one of us did have a winning number.  Number 2276 was called.  One R@SKL had number 2275, and another had number 2277.  So someone in the group must have had number 2276.  Oh well!

It was still raining after everyone had their medal in hand.  So we decided to ride back to the hotel, rather than looking for somewhere to eat along the way.  Halfway to the hotel the rain stopped.  It was sunny and hot at the Tien Hotel.

Lunch was at Goh Thew Chik Hainan Chicken Rice, which is a few doors away from the Tien.  Simon reserved four whole chickens for us.  Two roasted, and two poached.

That wasn’t enough.  It took two more chickens, and more rice, to satisfy the R@SKLs.

Lay and Leslie couldn’t join us for lunch.  Their ride back to KL left Penang at 2pm.  Heng Keng left for the airport right after lunch.

Others went straight from the chicken rice shop to look for dessert.

Sunday PM Chendol 1 Tomoe Suga

Photograph courtesy of Tomoe Suga

Those of us on evening flights were able to linger at the Tien.

Sunday PM Time to Relax 2 Tomoe Suga

Photograph courtesy of Tomoe Suga

Sunday PM Time to Relax 3 Tomoe Suga

Pai was a true team player.  He brought cendol back to the hotel for those of us who were too idle to walk to the stall with him.  Thank you Pai.

Sunday PM Chendol 2 Tomoe Suga

Photograph courtesy of Tomoe Suga

Most of the remaining R@SKLs were on an 8pm flight.  Which gave them time to devour one last plate of char koay teow and oyster omelette before bidding farewell to Penang.

Sunday PM Last Food Run Simon Soo Hu

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

The Hong Kong trio flew out on Monday.  TH looked after them very well.  Champagne even!

Sunday PM HK Crew TH

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Our bikes and bags had been loaded onto the van at 4pm.  ETA at Pegasus Cycles was 10pm.  Collecting our bikes marked the end of a wonderful weekend with great friends and great food, with some cycling thrown in for good measure.

Sunday PM Bike Unloading Tomoe Suga

Photograph courtesy of Tomoe Suga

Thank you TH and your staff for looking after us so well.

Thank you CK and Danial for providing much valued support.

Thank you R@SKLs for being excellent company.

When is our next trip?

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R@SKLs Do Penang – Day Two

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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