Saturday, 25 June 2016

Short Spin with GCC (25 June 2016)

At Horizon Hills
Girl Power!
The elusive Kai Weng and his friend, Shirley!

While The Return of the Prodigal Son, a painting by Rembrandt depicts the return of a repentant son, The Prodigal Daughter, a book with similar genre by Jeffrey Archer tells a different story of success and acceptance...

This morning sees some of us returning to the folds of Graziella Cycling Club, by invitation of a gentle lady. After training hardcore on endurance and speed with JEC and Ad Hoc for the past 6 months, we decided to ride with our old friends again.

It was a homecoming of sorts, seeing Patrick and Hsiao Chun as loving as ever by the car park. Desmond who had just recently welcomed a baby girl was entertaining new riding friends, Kai Weng and Shirley.

It turned out that Kai Weng was never meant to meet VT, TH, Maggie and Claudine until today. Having signed up for the Tour of the Waterfronts ride on 10 April 2016, he did not make the ride because of car problems. In fact, even before actually meeting him in person, Claudine had known him to be Ying Chang's riding friend from Singapore! Only today, did their stars finally crossed!

Amy was as cheery as ever and we finally see Daniel on a roadbike!!! Meanwhile, Ronan came with his usual cycling buddy and even roped a new friend on a La Pierre roadbike.

We rolled out via the Horizon Hill's Eastgate, breaking up as we crossed the busy junction. As we rode towards the forked road, again some of us had to stop for traffic rushing towards the city. After overcoming the two hurdles, getting on the butterfly interchange and the Iskandar Coastal Highway was a breeze.

Turning off towards Lebuh Kota Iskandar, TH and Claudine started to mash their pedals. They got to the top of the slope in no time, then turned left towards Marlborough College. Once there, they slowed down for everyone to catch up.

The ride into Kampung Sg Melayu was yet another high speed chase. Claudine led the way, all the while trying to shake off TH and the young boys. They gave her a hard time.

Arriving at the jetty, the leading group waited for the rest to close up. When the last rider finally streamed in, Patrick led us out again after a short 5 minutes break.

Jack on mtb is a force to be reckoned with!

Once we left the kampung and started on the palm oil trail, the race continued again. This time, Jack tailed after Claudine. Everytime they hit a slope, Jack will have an advantage and try to overtake her. Everytime, she will prevail.

But it was TH who surprises everyone! Just before the last climb, he rolled down a slope at high speed, taking advantage of his mass! He slingshot himself up the last slope followed closely by Jack and Claudine! It was his day of triumph, for the other 2 never managed to take the lead from him!

Outside at the Marlborough junction, TH led the rest of the riders on a slow ride towards the Kota Iskandar roundabout. Meanwhile, Claudine waited for Maggie as she was down with flu and they had agreed to ride only 1 kampung. Together they proceed to find TH, waiting on the designated spot.

Agreeing to return to base together, they bade farewell to Jack and his wife who were helping the young boys with a tyre puncture. The other riders though had disappeared up the long climb and turned left towards Sunway Iskandar.

Arriving at the cross junction for Sunway Iskandar and Gleneagles Medini, the four returning riders chanced upon the waiting group. The bigger group will be riding to another kampung located at the mouth of the Pendas river. Shouting their goodbyes across the road, the four turned off to the mini crown arch, rolled past Gleneagles Medini, raced past Medini Mall, got back onto Iskandar Coastal Highway before arriving back at Horizon Hills....their shortest ride so far!

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Tanjung Langsat Sightseeing Ride (18 June 2016)

Strong support from Impian group, Kulai group, Joho Foldies, SaiKit and his friends! May we ride together again!
We ride for fun!
Tanjung Langsat Port
Senai-Desaru bridge
Kampung Tanjung Langsat
Kampung Pasir Putih
David, Ah Ping and friend
Yeoh and partner
Lee Wei and partner
E.T. Lim and his son
Mickey and Christina
Maggie and Sibyl
Kim Hai

It was destined to be a good ride. The day before the ride, the Hyades, daughters of Atlas had sent torrential rain in the afternoon. The rain petered down to a drizzle throughout the night until the wee hours of the morning. By roll out time though, the nymph sisters had no more tears to shed. The land was awashed, clean and the air crisp.

We met at Medan Selera Tanjung Langsat. Built to complement the Port and Sarang Buaya, a crocodile farm, it was sadly devoid of any human activity. Closed for Ramadhan, we wondered if this month denotes "Pack your lunch to work month!"

We were just a stone throw away from the Tanjung Langsat Port, the third port in Johor. It handles bulk cargo such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and dangerous chemicals. That explains the huge drums and pipes around the vicinity. Its long private jetty and docked ships can be viewed from the sea point.

We were also standing at the flight path of planes landing at Changi airport. In fact, the airport's control tower was a glimmer of blinking lights from afar. We were rewarded with the sights of planes queuing up to land at every 5 minutes intervals. The descent of the Airbus 380 was like a heavily pregnant woman coming down slowly unlike the lithe of the smaller 737 and 747!!!

We rolled out after a percusory group photo. Heading into Kampung Perigi Aceh, the road was almost at sea level, flanked by mangrove trees on both sides. Here and there were little mud mounds left by crabs burrowing into the soil. Overhead, monkeys were starring at us warily from the telephone cables. They were like little circus performers walking on the tight rope!

As we rode further in, we came upon a small concrete bridge that leads to the kampung. This replaces the old dilapidated bridge standing beside. Some of the hard tropical wood that forms the foundations were still erect and strong.

As we crosses this bridge, a kelong and some colourful floating wooden houses came into sight. The kampung houses by the river bank with its huge satellite dishes and motorboats docked by the sides clearly explains the economic viability of this area.

We entered the village to be charmed by a duck and drake frolicking in a shallow puddle of water. Further in, 2 roosters were bravely guarding the hens from our menacing two wheelers. All this while, the monkeys followed us!!!

We stopped outside the Sekolah Kebangsaan Perigi Aceh. From here, another narrow road that spanned a vehicle begins. It was filled with pot holes and so rarely used, the tree branches have grown closer to form an arch!

Hypnotized we rolled in slowly till we came to the end of the road. We were met with a small army base camp, so small there was only a lorry and a truck! A pot bellied soldier sent us curious looks but as we were there only for a brief moment, he did not sent us away.

We proceeded to Kampung Tanjung Langsat coming to a stop at its colourful jetty. By this time, our eyes were no longer interested in the stilt houses nor fishing village scenes. A few oil rigs stood out in the sea, tucked away at this corner of the earth, till it is called out for duty again. At the far left, we could see part of the Senai-Desaru highway, the bridge that traverses the river.

Next, we headed for Kampung Pasir Putih. The route led us along the industrial roads. Passing by a refinery, we were struck dumb by the huge balls of distillers, lighting arrestors that looked like bunga manggas but most of all, by the staggering amount of steel and pipes!!!

We soon left the industrial roads and connected with the 4 lane expressway. Thankfully, traffic was low and the few lorries that plied the road respectfully kept its distance.

An expressway also meant some riders who knew the way went at express speed! This left huge gaps between riders. Thankfully, for Sibyl, she had the good sense to stop and wait for the back riders when she came to a junction.

The truth was Sai Kit, Kim Hai and Desmond had dutifully waited at all the turning points. In between the huge gaps, Andy and TH were guiding while Thomas and VT took sweepers duty.

We made a short drink stop outside Pasaraya Pasir Putih. Here, some riders took the opportunity to go inside for cold drinks and to relief themselves.

The impian mtb group though, flicked out their rations to share. They were seen munching on some sweet buns. There was the left over bananas from morning push off too! No wonder, the monkeys were shadowing us all the way at Kampung Perigi Aceh!!

We rode the final short distance to yet another jetty! Across the waters was Singapore's Pulau Ubin with its metal fences surrounding it. On our shabbier side, is the unmistakable fishing village scenes.

Our attention were riveted to a dead monitor lizard held by a noose, bloated in the waters. The poor animal did not die a hungry ghost, as there was a fish, still sticking out from its mouth! But we were all saddened by its cruel death.

We soon leave for base. As the riders slowly streamed out, Christina gave a wail! She had a front tyre puncture. Thomas was requested to chase the front group to disseminate the information. Not taking chances Andy, radioed an alert to TH, thanks to Susanna's walkie talkie. Meanwhile, Impian group also radioed back to make sure SK's son was still with the group behind. They are an organized group with their own communication sets.

The ride back was insignificant though slow. After the final junction, Saikit was seen tearing down the slope at top speed! He made a fast turn, albeit almost hitting a curb! Following closely behind was Desmond. They raced ahead and caught up with Mickey. Not perturbed that he was on mtb, he too gave chase. Then the speeding group came upon TH.

Witnessing the high speed chase, Claudine was willing TH to win. But he slowed down instead! Rear tyre puncture rendered him out of the race!

It was decided that since base was just a few more kilometers, help should be sent to TH instead! While we waited for TH's rescue, Lee Wei went around with cut watermelons which was most welcomed after the ride. Everyone arrived back safely but not before another photo was taken with the motionless buaya, a concrete crocodile that graced Sarang Buaya's signage!

Now, while David, Ah Ping and another friend pushed off for Kulai, Desmond and Debbie headed for Kiang Kee Bak Kut Teh and thereafter, Mersing! Some left for home but the bigger group of Impian Mtbs carried on with their fourth kampung ride....they went on to Sungai Layang. Accompanying them were Sai Kit and his friends!"

Some of the riders that slipped us :

Siow Hui and Lim

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Night Ride with Joho Foldies (2 June 2016)

The riders congregating at Khass Bicycles

Revving to ride home, Puteri Harbour

Some happy lot!

The beautiful marina with al fresco restaurants

The quieter side of the marina

Khass Bicycles was already abuzz with many riders when Claudine arrived. Most riders donned their newly acquired "joho foldies" t-shirts in support of the team. Looking bright in neon yellow or neon peach, the tees come with 2 reflective strips behind as an add on safety feature.

Susanna, Siew Choo and their girlfriends were all ready even though they had spent the whole day wrapping Bak Chang, glutinous rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves. Perhaps, the glutinous rice was a good power source, for Siew Choo was later seen climbing up the slopes on Lebuh Kota Iskandar effortlessly.

As usual, it was customary to take a group photo before we rode out. Of course, there were the usual camera shy dudes who politely stayed away from the limelight. One of which was Michael! Camera shy though, he was eager to share his latest gadget, a lume cube light that is compatible to Smartphones and Bluetooth ready!

The team flagged off after a vacillating distribution into 3 sub groups. But it was totally unnecessary as we were going at a slow pace, stopping to regroup after the U-turn right after Khass and again at the junction to Marlborough College.

Some rider had a chain drop therefore taking a little longer to arrive at the second regrouping point. This allows more time for riders to mingle.

We got to know that Rostam and Mar will be embarking on a bike tour from Kansai - Osaka - Kyoto during the Raya break. We wish them a great journey ahead!

We also learnt that Mar's Tern has an automatic gear shift, doing away with messy cables, hence a speedier fold! It comes with a 2 speed system. When the rear wheel spins beyond a certain speed, it triggers a latch in the hub and switch to a higher gear ratio.

Arriving at Puteri Harbour, Wong and Desmond stood as markers at the Hotel Jen junction, directing everyone on the turn. Both had come from as far as Johor Jaya and Molek. Both had sniggered that this is their first ride with Joho Foldies, having just donned the Team T-shirt and hoping that this will not be their last!

At the marina everyone were awed with the "Dinner at the Sky" function. Running at a price tag of RM599 per head for an hour of fine dining experience made more adventurous because diners are hoisted up 150 feet above ground by a crane, it is really not for the faint hearted and those without bladder controls!!!

Terrence brought his wife to join the ride all the way from Kota Tinggi! They were more than happy with their "His' & Her's" bike, not needing a ticket "UP the SKY" for a marriage proposal!

Eugene was spotted still scratching his head on which roadbike to purchase. He has done a lot of research and even ventured on to Canyon bikes, a mail order bike with no distributor in Malaysia nor Singapore.

We took a longer than necessary break at the marina, finally heading back close to 10 pm. As it was getting late, the stronger riders were more impatient to get back to base. This sees the team breaking up into groups and the gaps between riders become bigger. 
We rode back via Gleneagles Medini with a small regrouping right after Medini Mall. It seems like Ah Pin and Rostam were bent on sweeping all riders, taking the last seats as we rode safely back to Khass!