|The riders and the drummers|
|Cheers to friendship|
|Sue and KM Lee came for the party too|
|Ma Mar Rahman|
|Susanna, Eva, Tan Choo and Jurinna|
|Hock Nim, Joseph and some riders|
|Eugene and his friends|
|Enjoying the drum performance|
|Getting ready to ride back|
When Joho Foldies collaborated with Drums Cafe on a night ride with a special treat, it received overwhelming response from the small wheel community. Even though some laughed at the "ride in the park" distance, for those assimilated into the foldie mindset, it is time to stop and smell the roses. Only those in the fold will understand that not everything in life should be rushed.
On the night of the ride, we all met outside the grounds of Istana Bukit Serene hoping to catch a glimpse of our beloved Sultan. His majesty is known to leave his royal residence on random occasions to meet his subjects at the crown arch. However, last night was not such random nights. Instead we had to resigned ourselves to the impeccable appearance of the Royal guards and the beautiful fountain display.
We rolled off after taking a group photo with the crown arch as the backdrop. We travelled on Jalan Straits View, circling the palace grounds. It was a peaceful night and with Wesak Day in another 2 more days, the moon was almost full!
Lucas was leading the pack though Andy and Khan were giving him a hard time up the hill. Khan was testing out a borrowed foldie from Andy and was too eager to test out its performance. Joseph joined in the pump!
As guest riders, YL, Janet, VT and Claudine were just too happy to take it slow. Somewhere along the palace grounds they bumped into Susanna guiding her friend Eva. Tan Choo rode a little ahead while Hock Nim was sweeping the others from behind.
After a short climb, we left the palace grounds and continued on Jalan Straits View. It weaved through many rich man's bungalows. Passing by some backyards, we could hear the excited bark of guard dogs.
As we rolled further downhill and joined Jalan Tengku Puteri, houses began to lose its lustre. Here, we began to slow down as traffic was heavy at Medan Tepian Tebrau, a popular Malay food haunt. Lucas stopped at this junction to stand as marker but told the leading team to proceed to Dataran Bandaraya for the next regrouping.
When everyone arrived with Hock Nim, we moved on again to Jalan Mahmoodiah. This time, the climb is steeper! Andy, Khan and Joseph raced up the slope. Following behind, Claudine overtook Lucas and Eugene but the 2 young men quickly recovered their positions in no time. Perhaps they were assisted by spirits of the dead, for we were passing by the Malay cemetery!
Jalan Yahya Awal was more forgiving. It was a flat road. We passed Wisma Jotic and caught a whiff of grilled meat coming from TGI Friday's kitchen. We rolled past the High Court and the post office.
At Jalan Bukit Timbalan, everyone broke the law! Nobody wanted another steep climb up the hill to do a U-turn down again! We all came down our bikes and carried it across the foot ways between the street planters.
Arriving at Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, a night market was at its peak. Left and right were street peddlers displaying their wares from makeshift stalls. We pushed our bikes through the crowd and quickly arrived at Drums Cafe.
Mr Lee, the owner of Drums Cafe was quick to greet us. As the only place to park our bikes were at the five footway at the front of the shop, he allowed us to push our bikes through his cafe!
Settling down in his cosy cafe, we were thrilled to see the festive drums hanging from the ceiling. It was later that our good host explained the story behind the 24 festive drums. They are named after the 24 solar terms each suggesting the position of the sun as it travels 15 degrees on the ecliptic longitude. The most notable ones are Xia Zhi and Dong Zhi meaning Summer and Winter Solstice.
Khass Bicycles treated all riders to delightful Yong Tau Fu, one of the more popular dishes offered at Drums Cafe. Mr Lee told us he had procured them from the famous Ampang YTF and they are certified halal! Served with sweet and sour chili sauce, we could actually feel the bite of springy ikan tenggiri.
Some of us made our own side orders of millicrepe cakes. While Amri wolfed down his Oreo cake, the other more notable one is the Belgian chocolate although the cream can be tweaked to be a little more light. The iced chocolate was good and chocolatey as claimed by Janet and YL.
The highlight of our time at Drums Cafe was the splendid drum performance. The 5 young men dressed in Chinese costumes were beating the drums at high power, as if in a trance. They were in sync and their movements, almost dance like! We could feel ourselves drawn into the show and our heart beating to the rhythm. A little too loud and a little too short, it left us wanting for more!
After the drum performance, there was a little surprise in wait for Claudine and VT. The couple were toasted on their 19 years' union. Irene from Khass Bicycles brought out a cake to help the couple commemorate their wedding anniversary!
The get together created a good camaraderie amongst the foldie group. We soon embarked on our ride home, each rider taking more time to look out for others. Climbing back up Jalan Mahmoodiah, VT lost a sandal and Eugene was the one who helped pick it up.
At most turning points, we left a person standing as a marker with the biggest regrouping point at McDonald's, Jalan Kolam Ayer. While some riders made the steep perpetual climb on Jalan Tengku Puteri, Andy led most riders on the flatter road of Jalan Mohd Amin. For those who took the latter route, an inevitable steep climb awaits to get back onto Jalan Straits View and the palace grounds.
Back on the perimeters of the palace grounds, Andy, Khan and Joseph started their race uphill. YL tried to chase, standing up on his Tern and pumping the pedals like a school boy. As the four slowed down in good humour, VT saw his opportunity to triumph. He overtook Claudine, then Janet, then YL. Andy was thrown back by his sudden approach and gave a good fight.
The five men behaving like school kids made Janet and Claudine laughed so loud. Janet coined them as Mat Rempits.
Peering through the semi darkened road, a blue and red flashing light was approaching. It was a police car on patrol! The men slowed down their rides but as the car passes, Janet cleverly overtook everyone to the finish line!!! Such was the tricks up the sleeves of our conniving little friend!!!
It was a good ride and everyone soon returned back to base in their own time. While some packed quickly to leave, others were just to happy to continue loafing around outside the palace grounds.