Friday, 24 February 2017

Another female cyclist attacked in less than a year!!! (22 February 2017)

The night, after the attack!
With concerned friends

It's not easy to be Peter Khaw Chun Kok's daughter. The man was an athlete having done numerous Penang Bridge Runs and riding events aplenty. He was as fit as a fiddle even to the day he passed away.

When Claudine started riding back in August 2014, he constantly encouraged her. He was a mentor to many aspiring athletes. Besides, he had always encouraged his beloved daughter to take up the sport but at that time, she was reluctant having been away from active sports for more than 20 years.

Thus, when Peter was called back to God on August 2015, due to a freak accident, Sue had a hard time coming to terms with his passing. Inheriting his bikes had driven her to take up riding and running. Every ride and run was dedicated to him.

In just over a year, she has completed her first BRM200

There were bittersweet moments. While many showed her support, there were some who did not. Rejections drove her to do better. She trained hard in running and riding. Every weekends, weekdays, mornings and nights sees her at the sport.

Last Wednesday night was one such night. As usual, she will go to Taman Impian Emas to train on her dualthon. This has been her training ground for the past 1 year. It is always assumed that this 6 km loop is a safe route as many runners and cyclists alike ply this area. Every 5 minutes or less, a fellow friend will pass by with a greeting.

On that fateful night, Sue had noticed her assailant even on her first loop. Later, she saw him speaking suspiciously on his handphone. When he brought his motorcycle next to her, she knew something was not right.

Sue warned him the peloton was on their way when he asked her if she was alone. Desperate and looking for an escape route on the main road, she turned into the smaller residential road but was too late!

It was a strange attempt to either accost her or push her down so he could rob her. His hands went for her chest area! Swerving to avoid his sudden gesture, she fell to the ground. When the mugger made a U-turn to return for her, Sue quickly removed her front lights, waving it as a beacon while calling out frantically for help.

Sadly, even though the villain abadoned his attempt, the 2 cars that sped past her at the most crucial moment did not stop. She was alone and in pain for a few minutes before the peloton reached her!

In times of adversities, some friends stood out. GDC took care of her, returning to base to bring a van for her rescue. They tried to make her as comfortable as they could until Azmi's arrival.

With concerned friends

Sue suffered a dislocated shoulder and bruises on her face, arm and leg. She was put on General Anesthesia before the emergency doctor reduced it back to the normal position. That night, she was warded for observation.

This attack comes as a reminder to all cyclists out there to take extra precautions :

1. Never ride alone. Make sure you are riding with a group of at least 3-4 persons.

2. Never ride in secluded areas. You become an easy target.

3. Never have a set routine and route. It is easier for a stalker to stalk and attack you.

4. As a cyclist, always take care of your teammates. Never leave them behind.

5. Female cyclists should always make sure they are accompanied by at least 2 male friends.

6. Always be aware of your surroundings. Always listen to your instincts on suspicious looking persons.

7. Bring along a loud whistle. 

8. Equipped the bike with a rear camera. It films everything!!!

9. If one is really in threat, stop cycling and use the bike as a shield..

Safety tips, credits to :
1. Jolin Ang
2. Stephen Ngu
3. Ped Al

Related read :

Monday, 20 February 2017

Charcoal Black Ride (18 February 2017)

Close bilateral relationships
At the butterfly interchange, Iskandar Coastal Highway
At the flyover, Lebuh Kota Iskandar
Short regrouping, Taman Nusantara
Short regrouping, Kg Jelutong Tengah
Kids, DON'T try this!!! Performer has been trained by the Royal Circus of London...
At Kg Melayu Dapur Arang
The tyre fix department, finally arriving at Kg Melayu Dapur Arang
"Half a million dollar worth of junk???" Quote adapted from Henry.
Those who feared punctures had a long walk
Low tide at Gelang Patah
Boats stranded
The water is black!!!
The teens, some of whom needs to learn proper riding etiquette
Messy attempt at DAB
Rolling out of Kg Simpamg Arang
Our local escorts
Regrouping at the junction to Kg Sg Arang
Regrouping at the junction to Kg Sg Arang
Regrouping at the junction to Kg Sg Arang
Regrouping at the junction to Kg Sg Arang
Regrouping at the junction to Kg Sg Arang
Regrouping at the junction to Kg Sg Arang
Age does not matter
Legs does not matter
Modesty does not matter

Nestled in the South West fringes of Gelang Patah are several traditional charcoal factories. Here, the countryside is sparsely lined with round, igloo like structures of charcoal kilns which draw the raw materials from the surrounding coastline. While mangrove trees thrive in this brackish water resulting from the meeting of Pulai River and the sea, the river here serves as a passageway allowing their smooth logistics.

Even though households have advanced to cleaner cooking fuels like gas and electricity, charcoals still command great respect when it comes to wholesome cooking. Barbecues, double boiled soups and stews taste a great deal better when cooked with this fuel. These days, restaurants that uses charcoal fuel usually commands a bee line following. Try the humble kaya toasts or the health tonic in bak kut teh by charcoal fire and everyone will go, "Ooo La La!"

Our curious fascination with this enigmatic carbon residue brought us to Kampung Melayu Dapur Arang and Kampung Simpang Arang this morning! Today's route panned out to the fringes of Kg Jelutong Tengah, passing by a hillock with old rubber trees before hitting a small section of dirt road that connects to Kg Melayu Gelang Patah. Beyond this, the road became a maze, weaving past a school, a multi purpose hall and kampung houses. Passing by what looked like new village homes, a Briggs' plan to segregate the predominantly Chinese villagers from the communist party during the Malayan Emergency, we finally came to Kg Melayu Dapur Arang.

Arriving to the sound of chainsaw biting into wood at the largest charcoal factory in the area, this activity ceases when we stepped in. Nevertheless, we still managed a first class view of a burning kiln and workers stacking wood in another one. A prohibited area, the owner of this factory let us in reluctantly. He was still as gruff as before, warming up a little when Claudine greeted him. They had met during her 3rd recce with Daniel Wng. 

Definitely not golden eggs!
Chicken count remain the same! None became dinner!!!

Kg Simpang Arang was something else. Always dirty but filled with friendly indigenous people, they waved and called out greetings to us. A mini Utopia, it is home to mixed ethnicity. A Muslim graveyard stood at the entrance to the kampung whilst a Chinese cemetery can be found at the far edges. With a mosque and a Taoist temple in the village center, dogs running about freely and the happy, mentally challenged woman as the village icon, the whole place resembles a rainbow....a beautiful blend of people and animals.

Rolling out of the village, the children came out to the street, seeking "High Five's" and bidding us farewell. We returned, riding alongside the railroad tracks before making a turn to go under the rail bridge. Beyond, we met yet again, the undulating gentle rolling hills of a nursery and palm oil estate.

We had anticipated punctures but the first on Kevin's bike at Kg Jelutong Tengah was a surprise as we had never even started on the off road route. Henry's puncture on the way into Kg Simpang Arang was expected as the tyre had earlier, rattled through 200 m of gravels! Disappointing though was George's fall caused by the irresponsible teens that tagged along. It was nothing serious and he went on without a wince into Kg Simpang Arang, returning to Singapore after a mini birthday celebration for Philip, Jon and Jack !!!

Photo courtesy :
Ang Yee Ling
Jack Aleoca Tan
Lionel Tan
Seah KP
Daniel Ng
....and everyone that attended the ride!

It takes 3-4 days to fully load a kiln with wood
Steam, when condensed becomes vinegar
Igloo like structures
Fire is to heat up the kiln. It is a smoking process.
Wood for charcoal is stacked on a raised floorboard
These are not charcoal but part of a floorboard

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Chap Goh Meh Ride for Leisure, Love and Lobsters!!! (11 February 2017)

Happy Chap Goh Meh and Happy Chinese Valentine's Day!!!
Batu Layar, note the rock shaped like a sail
 The first bridge at Kuala Sungai Punggai
Batu Layar Beach Resort

Batu Layar
Oil Rigs in the horizon at Batu Layar
Watch the coconut tree blown by the wind!
Kuala Sungai Punggai
Kuala Sungai Punggai

Cactus in full bloom
By mid afternoon, the flowers curled up into a bud!
Towering cactus plant
Titi Kayu
Dark, brooding water
Sungai Rengit fishing jetty
Hooks and pulleys to haul up the catch, Sungai Rengit
Sungai Rengit
Sungai Rengit
Learning to Dab
The making of Dab
Dab Fail!!!
Still trying a Dab pose!
Best effort....Fail!!!

Getting out of the controlled climate of their car at Petronas, Bandar Penawar, VT and Claudine immediately felt the actual onslaught of the North Easterly winds. Just by looking at the movements of the clouds was enough to gauge how strong the wind was, no anemometers required! However, Jason and Siew Hong who were tailing their car all the way from home were nonchalant, perhaps still new to the challenges posed by headwinds!

Before long, Bernie and Suzie arrived at the meet up point. They led us to Bandar Penawar's bus station where we found some good parking spots. All set up, we rolled out of town and headed for Batu Layar.

Dahon P8 leading!!!

Once we hit Jalan Desaru, the rolling hills began....gradual but enough to start our body on aerobic respiration. Bernie was all eager to test out his Dahon Speed P8, speeding ahead of everyone. Speed is contagious and soon Jason left Siew Hong to give chase!

The junction to Batu Layar was a good 14km away. Midway, Suzie who was driving the support car stopped to take our photos. Her excuse for not riding with us on this first leg was, "Tak Nak Hitam!"

Once we hit the coasts, we all slowed down to enjoy the beauty of the sea. This morning though, the sea was a menacing body of water that pounded the beach relentlessly!

We found Suzie at the quiet car park near the Batu Layar Beach Resort. With the North East Monsoon nearing its tail end, the beach was almost deserted except for a handful of daredevil Indians who were bathing on red flag conditions. While we watched them, Suzie brought out our small picnic of curry puff sardines, sugar doughnuts and kuih keria, a malay doughnut made with sweet potatoes, all bought from Bandar Penawar.

After our snacks, we hit the road again, riding along the coasts and passing by many locally run resorts. Coming near to the junction to Punggai Beach Resort, we were all captivated with a giant cactus plant in full bloom. A little ahead was Kuala Sungai Punggai, decked with fishing boats and squalid homes along the river.

Soon, we came to the end of the coastal road and had to take on the main road again. The fields along this route were overgrown with lalang which can be beautiful on a sunny day. Bernie took us into the fields for a photo shoot but soon realized the road led to a dead end.

Reconnecting with the main road again, we made another go for yet another small coastal road. This second one led us right to the construction site of The Amerald, a high rise serviced accommodation by Amerald Land Pte Ltd, based in Singapore. Beside it was the squatter homes for the labourers.

Leaving the construction mess behind, we found a serene village surrounded by tall coconut trees just a hundred meters away. We crossed a wooden bridge that traversed a brook with dark, slow moving water. Beyond the homes of the villagers, the road diverged into smaller lanes overgrown with weeds and coming to a dead end once more!!!

Nobody dared to pass any nasty comments as we headed out to the main road again, dodging branches, weaving through rubbish and rolling over creepers. When Bernie, made his third turn for the coasts, everyone followed meekly as none knew the roads better than him. This time though, there were no more dead ends but one that led to the sea. At the far horizon, we spotted ships as rightfully this is the South China Sea, one of the busiest shipping routes in the world.

Heading out again, we coasts along the seaside. This time we were rewarded with views of barges and sand dunes in the middle of the sea. We then, crossed yet another small bridge at the mouth of a small river.

Before heading inland for Sg Rengit, we made another stop at Pantai Timur to take photographs of the barge docked by a construction site. Strange that the beach was cordoned off from the public perhaps of the close proximity with the sand dredging work.

Hungry, we pumped the pedals for Sg Rengit. The factories and orstrich farm was a blurry vision as we sped past. We spotted the small Chinese temple on a big open ground, an indication that lunch is near.

Before turning into Jade Garden Seafood Restaurant, we made a stop at the fishing jetty. This time, besides a view of ships, we also saw oil rigs bobbing faraway. With Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex nearby, we can't deny these ugly structures.

The restaurant was just opened for lunch when we arrived and the Captains were not as eager to see us as we were for their lobsters. We weren't fussing when we were told to park our bikes at the back of the restaurant with a seafront. But when the second Captain, the familiar lady that we meet on all our visits made nasty remarks over our lobster orders, we had to shrugged them off as spoiling their early morning naps!

The 3 lobsters we ordered made us RM360 poorer. Adding on a kangkung belacan, tofu and edible lemon chicken, the total bill was RM480. An expected price for a lobster meal on Chap Goh Meh and Chinese Valentine's Day!

Wrapping up our lunch, we headed back to base. The headwind we encountered was so strong we were barely moving even though we pedaled hard. When Claudine overtook Bernie, he blamed it on the lobsters ingested earlier!

Our initial plan to take the main road back was abandoned as the coastal road had more trees which helped to break the strong winds. When we reached Batu Layar again, the temptation to abandon the ride was too great.  Everyone except Claudine, wanted a free ride home. However, the Collective Mind was too powerful. It broke down Claudine's resolve and in the end, she too climbed up the truck.

Coming near to Bandar Penawar, VT who rode at the cargo area banged hard on the roof of the cockpit. He cautioned the possibility of bumping into some law and order officers. It was then decided that we will not get a free ride all the way back to our cars but a little more pedal work was required!!!

Photo Credits :