RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Penang

The Germans visit Malaysia Part 3

Day 7

The day started with breakfast at a reasonable hour. There was no cycling done this day.

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

We loaded the vehicles, checked out of the resort and drove to the Boh Sungai Palas Tea Centre.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim
Photograph courtesy of Chan Chee Leong

After some tea, sausage rolls, chicken pies and sardine puffs – a typical light Malaysian snack – we all drove back to Simpang Pulai. TH had left his car at the Mornington Hotel.

We split up at Simpang Pulai. Kelin was already on his way back to Kuala Lumpur. Kenix, Pai and I were also heading back to KL.

The rest drove to Penang. The Germans would spend the last few days of their visit in the food capital of Malaysia.

Photograph courtesy of Ralf Hamberger

Safe in Penang.

Photograph courtesy of Marc Linke
Photograph courtesy of Marc Linke

Beer – what else? – @Chulia.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Dinner was another new experience for the first-timers to Malaysia. Banana leaf rice.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Day 8

The tourist in front of @Chulia before heading off to see the sights of Penang.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

The first stop had to be for some Penang laksa.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Then it was out and about in the markets. This chicken might have been too fresh for Patrik’s tastes.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

There was a funicular railway ride up Penang Hill.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim
Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

A walk through a fishing village.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Visits to temples.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim
Photograph courtesy of TH Lim
Photograph courtesy of TH Lim
Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

On behalf of everyone who went to Brinchang and Penang, I must express our appreciation to our drivers Kurma and Vemam. They looked after us while we were riding, and ferried us to massages, dinners and around Penang. Our adventure would not have worked without them.

Photograph courtesy of Dieter Fecher

The day closed with a steamboat dinner.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

And gifts for the Germans. Zaryl kindly brought them with her from KL. The T-shirts, not the beer!

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Day 9

The last ride in Malaysia was around Penang island. Ai Lei and Bin Soo had also driven up from KL to join Zaryl and the others on the ride.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

A Penang exclusive is the availability of outriders to guide and help you ride through junctions. TH arranged for two outriders to accompany the ten cyclists.

Photograph courtesy of Ralf Hamberger

The clockwise route runs past the Penang Bridge.

Photograph courtesy of Chan Chee Leong
Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

There are the climbs up to Teluk Bahang Dam.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

And a ride through Batu Ferringhi.

Photograph courtesy of Chan Chee Leong

There was a quick stop at @Chulia for a beer or two.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Then it was time for the beach party.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim
Photograph courtesy of TH Lim
Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Of course, with lots of beer and wine. I don’t know why they wasted space bringing a Coke.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Day 10

Sadly, all good things must come to an end. Sunday was the day that Dieter, Marc, Matthias and Patrik flew back to Germany. Ralf flew back to Hong Kong.

Photograph courtesy of Chan Chee Leong

The Germany-bound four flew from Penang to KLIA. The flight from Penang was delayed but not enough to stop them from catching their connecting flight to Frankfurt.

Safely in KLIA.

Photograph courtesy of Marc Linke

And back in Germany. Looking cold!

Vielen Dank für Ihren Besuch. Wir haben es genossen, Ihnen ein bisschen Malaysia zu zeigen. Bis wir uns wieder treffen.

Pantai Merdeka with the R@SKLs

Photograph courtesy of Marvin Tan

Our Penang-based friends ST Chan and Dennis Tan kindly agreed to lead a group of R@SKLs on a ride to Pantai Merdeka. Pantai Merdeka is the only sand beach in mainland Kedah. More important to the R@SKLs was the prospect of mee udang (prawn noodles) at Kampung Pulau Sayak mid-way through the ride.

In addition to the seven R@SKLs who rode to Penang, there were about twenty other R@SKLs who had made their way there by road or by air. Together with perhaps a dozen riders from Penang, we made a big group as we headed down Lebuh Chulia at 6:15 am toward the Raja Tun Uda Ferry Terminal.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

The ferry service to the mainland is free. As soon as the barriers opened we rode onto the 6:30 am ferry for the fifteen-minute trip to the Sultan Abdul Halim ferry terminal in Butterworth.

The route to Pantai Merdeka headed directly north, crossing the border between the states of Penang and Kedah at the Sungai Muda.

Map courtesy of Ride With GPS

Once we were north of Penaga we had lovely views of paddy fields.

Photograph courtesy of Martin Lee
Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

The group spread out and split up into smaller clumps over the 35km / 22mi or so toward Pantai Merdeka. Most R@SKLs rode all the way to Pantai Merdeka.

Photograph courtesy of Marvin Tan

A half dozen of us turned left at Kampung Tukang Jusoh, about 2km from Pantai Merdeka, and rode straight to Usop Mee Udang at Laut Pulau Sayak. We wanted to be at the front of the queue for the mee udang.

Photograph courtesy of Zeus

While waiting for our drinks and mee udang we enjoyed the views of the beach and Pulau Sayak.

The much-anticipated mee udang . . . .

Photograph courtesy of Nabila A

The ride back to the Sungai Muda ran closer to the coast. We didn’t have any views of the sea but we still had views of the paddy fields.

Photograph courtesy of Martin Lee

We turned left toward the bridge over the Sungai Muda at the Kota Kuala Muda Tsunami Memorial.

The memorial is a poignant reminder of the devastating tsunami which took place on 26th December 2004 following a powerful 8.9 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Sumatra. The Kota Kuala Muda region was badly affected with one hundred houses destroyed and eleven villagers losing their lives.

Photograph courtesy of ismakedah

Surprise surprise! When we got to the tsunami memorial it was hot. 32º C / 90º F hot. About twenty minutes later we stopped at Padang Tembusu for a cold drink.

Photograph courtesy of Ally

Then we rode the 17km / 11mi to the Sultan Abdul Halim ferry terminal and the ferry ride back to Penang.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

We took a little detour to Lebuh Downing to collect our ride packs for the next day’s Towards Cycling City Penang round island ride before riding back to our respective hotels. All the R@SKLs finished the ride safely. The rest of the day was spent in the Tien Hotel’s Chulia Restaurant and Bar.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

And of course at the food stalls.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Carbo-loading for the Towards Cycling City Penang ride.

🤣

Kuala Lumpur to Penang: Day 3

Bin Soo joined us for the Taiping to Penang leg. She and Ai Lei had driven to Taiping. Mark told Bin Soo that we would all meet in the hotel lobby at 6:30 am.

I am sure we were all still asleep when Bin Soo and Ai Lei got to our hotel at 5:11 am 😲. They were there early to take us to breakfast. Ham chim peng (Chinese fried doughnuts) and coffee.

Photograph courtesy of Khoo Bin Soo

Amy and I didn’t make it to breakfast. I for one was nowhere near ready to head out of my room before 6:15 am.

We rolled out of Taiping at 6:30 am. I used Ride With GPS to plot the shortest route from our hotel to Federal Route 1. We would spend most of the day on that road.

All went well until 7km from the hotel. We came to a right turn where the paved road became a narrow gravel track. Too narrow for the truck.

Map courtesy of Ride With GPS

So Marvin had to find a driveable way to get to Federal Route 1. We forged ahead into the unknown. I had no idea how long we would be riding off-road.

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

All credit to Bin Soo for being willing to ride over gravel and through puddles on her brand-new bike.

No one dared to ride across this bridge.

Photograph courtesy of Martin Lee

The track was luckily rideable enough to get us to Federal Route 1. Except that we were on the wrong side of a divided highway. That required a dismount and quick sprint over the highway divider.

We came to another interesting bridge across the Sungai Sepetang 14km into the day.

We made our first restroom stop at the PETRONAS station in Bagan Serai after ninety minutes of cycling. The ride itself was unremarkable. So much so that trailing a tractor for a short time was exciting.

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

The reason we didn’t draft behind the tractor for longer was that it was moving too slowly.

We took a short detour off Federal Route 1 for a pit stop at Bandar Baharu. Marvin guided us to this place on the Sungai Kerian. The food here was excellent and cheap.

Photograph courtesy of Google Maps

We were back on our bikes at about 10:00 am. One hour later we were sitting in Nasi Kandar Rizq in Simpang Ampat. It was already 35º C / 95º F. Significantly warmer than it had been at the same time the day before. We all needed cold liquids and some shade.

There were 22km to go to the Penang Sentral ferry terminal. The run from Simpang Ampat was in the most traffic we had encountered on the entire trip. There is a lot of commercial traffic on the roads to Butterworth. For the most part, we had no other route option to take. We did a detour to avoid riding on the Butterworth Outer Ring Road over the last 5km to the ferry terminal.

We were on a ferry at 12:50 pm, having paid the princely sum of RM1.40 / USD0.34 each for the privilege. Which is incredibly cheap because no ticket is needed for the return trip from the island.

Photograph courtesy of Marvin Tan

The ferry ride takes fifteen minutes. There is a nice view of the Penang Bridge during the crossing.

It is just over 1km from the Raja Tun Uda ferry terminal on Penang island to our respective hotels on Lebuh Chulia.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

After getting cleaned up we wasted no time getting to one of the main reasons to come to Penang.

Photograph courtesy of Khoo Bin Soo

Food glorious food! Both on the streets and in the cafés.

Lots of Penang food was a very nice way to celebrate riding about 330km / 205mi over three days. Without a single puncture amongst us.

We are already talking about where to ride to next.

Photo by Poh Wei Chuen on Unsplash

Kuala Lumpur to Penang: Day 2

It was 5:59 am. We had checked out of the hotel, loaded the truck and posed for a photograph.

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

All that was left to do was to ride 126km / 78mi to Taiping. It had rained some more during the night. The roads were wet as we rode toward Jalan Batu Sinar through neighbourhoods which were just coming to life.

Our route west and then north would be mostly on secondary roads which are smooth and relatively vehicle-free.

Kampar sits in the Kinta Valley. Once an area with rich tin ore reserves. Most of the tin mines closed down following the collapse of the industry, especially in the late 20th century.

The mining pools remain. The first 17km of the morning took us through an area studded with pools. Sadly it was too dark to see them properly.

Map courtesy of Ride With GPS

By the time it was light enough to see our surroundings we were on the A112 Jalan Kampung Bali and already through the main concentration of pools. The road was still quiet.

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

Very quiet at times.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

No one had eaten breakfast before we left Kampar. Once we had ridden for an hour it was time to look for a place to eat. We chanced upon D’Anjung Bali about 25km / 16mi into the ride.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

I say ‘chanced upon’ because we probably would have ridden right past this place if not for one of us being desperately in need of a pee break. As we slowed down to see if there was a bathroom available I noticed someone “throwing” a roti canai. Not only was there roti, but there was also puri and nasi lemak. There was a bathroom too. What a find in the middle of nowhere. Well, technically D’Anjung Bali is in Kampung Melayu Bali, but there are uninhabited kilometres on either side.

Over coffee and Milo Pai tried to convince us to choose the driver for Day 3. We all declined and said we would wait until dinner time to draw lots. None of us wanted to have our day spoiled by the knowledge that we would be driving the next day.

Photograph courtesy of Johan Mokhtar

After a very pleasant breakfast, we were on the road again. In 3km we turned left onto busy Federal Route 5. Fortunately we would be on that road for only 22km / 14mi. Pai was doing what Mark did the day before. Driving ahead of us and then stopping and waiting until we rode past.

Somewhere around Bota, we came upon the truck parked on the road shoulder. It looked like Pai was checking his phone as we went past him. Twenty minutes later Pai called me and asked, “Are you lost?”

That surprised me because we were still on Federal Route 5. Pai hadn’t seen us ride by and assumed that we were still behind him. He might deny it but I think he was asleep when we went past him. He had turned around and gone back to look for us, thinking that we had taken a shortcut somewhere.

When Pai called me we were about 4km from the right turn onto A127 Jalan Gelang Pepuyu. After we made that turn we stopped at the first roadside restaurant for a drink and to wait for Pai to find us.

I had sent Pai our location via WhatsApp. WhatsApp locations are not always accurate to the metre. Pai didn’t see us where WhatsApp said we were and sped right by.

I must admit that we were not easy to spot behind those clumps of bamboo. Another phone call got Pai back to where we were.

Photograph courtesy of Google Maps

We had lots of time before we could check-in at our hotel in Taiping. So we spent forty-five minutes over our drinks before getting back on the road.

Photograph courtesy of Martin Lee

Once again we had blue skies and rising temperatures. It was 10:30 am and 30º C / 86º F when we arrived in Beruas. Time for another drink at Restoran Padi Emas.

We stopped at Beruas for forty minutes. In that time the temperature went up to 34º C / 93º F.

23km / 14mi later we stopped at a small restaurant in Padang Gajah. Where the majority of customers looked like nurses in their white uniforms. More cold drinks were ordered. There was also an unusual treat on sale. Coconut jelly. Tasty and more importantly, cold.

We rolled out of Padang Gajah at about 12:30 pm. There were 30km to go to Taiping.

Though you don’t see it in this photograph, the roads through Terong and Changkat Jering and on to Taiping were fairly busy. The road shoulder was also badly rutted in places, which made it uncomfortable to ride at the edge of the road.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Pai did an excellent job of following right behind us. In doing so he blocked traffic from squeezing past us. Vehicles had to move into the opposite lane to overtake Pai and us. Which gave us room to ride on the smoother part of the road toward the centre of our lane.

Pai would toot his horn whenever a vehicle overtook him so we knew to move to the road shoulder. Thank you, Pai.

We got to the Taiping Panorama Hotel at 1:40 pm. Surprisingly, our rooms were ready. Some of the others wanted to get lunch before showering. Not me. It had been 38º C / 100º F during the ten minutes it took us to negotiate the city streets and traffic lights to get to the hotel. I needed a cold shower more than lunch.

The photographs of lunch did look good though.

Photograph courtesy of Martin Lee

I had a short lie down after my shower. At 3:45 pm Mark and I walked to Ansari Famous Cendol. That place has been there for at least forty years. Their cendol is deservedly famous. Two bowls worth of delicious.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Lay and Marvin joined us after dropping off their cycling kit at a nearby laundromat. On the way to Ansari Famous Cendol Marvin bought pisang goreng and keledek goreng (banana fritters and sweet potato fritters) and fried popiah (spring rolls). We had quite a snack fest.

Amy, Marvin, Martin and Pai watched Joker that evening. The rest of us met up with them for dinner after the film. We sat at a table in the street and ordered food from the shops and stalls all around us.

Martin was prepared to do some slurping.

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

It was time to see who would be driving on Day 3. Marvin was confident that it would not be him. “I am always lucky,” he said. Amy thought that Marvin would be the driver.

Mark held some RM1 notes serial number side down and we each chose one.

Amy must be clairvoyant. Marvin drew the low last digit 😆.

The rest of us ordered more food to celebrate not having to drive on Day 3. Stuffed to the gills, we strolled back to the hotel and our beds. It would be an early start again in the morning.

Kuala Lumpur to Penang: Day 1

Planning for a three-day ride from KL to Penang started in August. Culminating with a last meeting over roti canai and thosai. And a loaf of home-baked sourdough bread courtesy of AiLin.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Lay, Marvin, Amy, Pai and I were ready to go at 5:15. Mark isn’t in this photograph because he was the cameraman. Martin isn’t in the photo either because he was slightly late (he had to finish the breakfast his wife made for him before he was allowed out of the house).

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

The first leg for the day was from Taman Tun Dr Ismail to the KTM station in Kuang. It had rained during the night so the roads were wet. Our freshly-washed bicycles didn’t stay clean for long.

Staying true to the R@SKL raison d’etre there were two themes to this adventure. Riding and eating. Our first food stop was at a coffee shop across the road from Kuang station. Three of us fuelled up with plates of noodles for the train ride to Tanjung Malim.

The 7:27 am train was on time so we didn’t spend much time striking poses on the platform.

Photograph courtesy of Marvin Tan

We had most of the carriage to ourselves. Once settled in our seats the first order of business was checking mobile phones. We did speak to each other during the one hour journey to Tanjung Malim. And one not-to-be-named person took a nap.

Photograph courtesy of Marvin Tan

Amy provided her truck as a support vehicle. That was very helpful because we could put bags in the truck instead of riding with saddle packs. Mark was the driver on the first day because Daddy duties prevented him from riding with us at 5:15 am.

We met Mark at a roadside stall about a kilometre from Tanjung Malim station. We had only ridden 30km / 19mi but were already into our second meal of the day. Roti canai for those who hadn’t eaten in Kuang. If you ever find yourself on Jalan Ketoyang, north of Tanjung Malim station, stop at Restoran Al Kassim Maju. Their roti is the bomb.

The riding then started in earnest. Our final destination for Day 1 was Kampar. 88km / 55mi north on Federal Route 1. Mark would drive ahead of us and park on the side of the road. After we went past him he would leapfrog us again.

Photograph courtesy of Marvin Tan

After ninety minutes we stopped for a break at Kampung Gajah, which is just south of Sungkai. Drinks only for all of us except for Martin, who had burned through his home-cooked breakfast and was hungry.

Photograph courtesy of Marvin Tan

We were riding under clear blue skies. The temperature was rising steadily. It was 25º C / 77º F when we left Taman Tun. It was 38º C / 97º F when we rolled into Bidor at noon.

Photograph courtesy of Marvin Tan

We had plenty of time to cover the 30km to Kampar. There was no point getting there before we could check in to the hotel. We spent ninety minutes consuming cold drinks and kai chai pang (chicken biscuits) under a fan at Restoran Mee Wah. Why the name “chicken biscuits” is a mystery because they do not contain any chicken.

Soon after we got going again clouds rolled in and we got drizzled on for a while. No one complained because the cooler temperature was appreciated by all.

10km / 6mi from Kampar the sky to the east got dark and the wind started to blow. A thunderstorm was on the way. We picked up the pace and got to the Kampar Boutique Hotel just ahead of a burst of rain.

After a shower and a short nap, we headed out to look for snacks. We found cendol, ais kacang and noodles.

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

It started to rain again, this time heavily, as we sat drinking and eating. We were trapped on the wrong side of the road from our hotel. After twenty minutes we gave up waiting for the deluge to stop and ran across the road through the rain.

Mark, Marvin and Pai were stuck on the hotel side of the road because of the rain, and couldn’t join us for cendol. Instead they went to Restoran Yin Phun Low, which is next door to the hotel. The rest of us joined them for dinner and beers. The food was so-so. I don’t recommend this restaurant.

The highlight of our time in that restaurant was deciding who would drive the truck the next day. In the week before the ride, everyone expressed a desire to drive. There was the talk of taking turns through the day as a way of getting some time off the saddle.

By the end of Day 1, that sentiment had changed. We had ridden at a relaxed pace. No one needed a break from riding. And Mark made it clear that the stop and start driving was no fun. There were no volunteers to drive the next day.

So Mark held out a fan of one ringgit notes and we each took one. Pai drew the note with the lowest last digit in the serial number. To the relief of the rest of us!

You would have thought that dinner would be the end of eating for the day. You would have been wrong. Kampar is noted for its Claypot Chicken Rice. A couple of the guys ventured out later that night for some.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

The rest of us called it a night. We had another early start planned for Day 2.

CFAL 2018: Prelude

CFAL Banner

Graphic courtesy of event.howei.com

The annual Campaign for a Lane (CFAL) ride is the most anticipated event on the R@SKL calendar.  Planning starts in March, as soon as registration for CFAL opens.

The early birds get the best accommodation in Penang.  A room at the Tien Hotel.  Those who were slower off the mark get the next best thing.  Shared accommodation at Tien Residences.  Both locations are courtesy of TH Lim, who once again outdid himself as host extraordinaire.

CFAL 2018 Welcome Banner

Graphic courtesy of TH Lim

TH took care of all the arrangments in Penang.  Dehydration would not be a problem.

CFAL 2018 Hydration CH Lim

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

He went to Penang a few days early to make sure the hawker food was up to scratch.

Food Taste Testing TH Lim

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

He even provided custom-made caps for us.

CFAL 2018 Cap TH Lim

All the rest of us had to do was arrange our travel and get our bikes to Pegasus in time to catch the transporter van.

R@SKLs started travelling early on Friday.

CFAL 2018 Plane Kenix Chiang

Photograph courtesy of Kenix Chiang

Including some from Hong Kong.

CFAL 2018 HK Arrivals Lai Voon Kiat

Photograph courtesy of Lai Voon Kiat

By lunchtime on Friday bikes were in a van and on the road from Kuala Lumpur to Penang.

CFLA Prelude Loading Bikes Marco Lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Th’s host duties started early on Friday evening as the first wave of R@SKLs arrived at the Tien Hotel.

CFAL 2018 Early Arrivals TH Lim

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

The festivities were interrupted by the arrival of the van carrying our bicycles.

CFAL 2018 Unloading Bikes TH Lim

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Unloading expended a lot of calories, which of course had to be immediately replaced.  So festivities recommenced at a hawker stall down the road from the Tien Hotel.

CFAL 2018 Eating Lai Voon Kiat

Photograph courtesy of Lai Voon Kiat

A sign of things to come . . . .

CFAL 2018 Sign of things to come Simon Su Hoo

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

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.

Sunday AM Kampung Tomoe Suga.png

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?

Sunday PM Medal.png