Saturday, March 31, 2007


28th MARCH 2007
Another cycling trip back to Kota Bharu within 3 months. What's the reason? Should there be a reason to return to your birth place? OK, I'll find one.

While in Dublin in February, I bought a Brooks Saddle, a new camera bag and a purpose-built pannier for touring. The Brooks was "the saddle" for touring, so said reviews in the internet. I need to test this out, "break" the saddle along the way to be ready for my 500kms ride from Phuket to Perlis end April. The pannier was also required to be tested on some long journeys. So too was the camera bag. There we are, my reasons for a second trip back.

The starting off point was again Bentong. My eldest son and wife sent me off early morning. I will ride solo this time. At 0810 said goodbye to my boy and wife. I set off on the 91km ride to Kuala Lipis to catch the train to Bertam Baru. That was the plan. I made good progress before the sun came down hard. Once the sun was out, it was merciless and I was perspiring madly. The pannier was equipped to carry 2 water bottles and with 1 on the bike, the 3 bottles became very handy in this weather.

It proved even more handy when this Herbal Coconut stall didn't open for business. Probably it went out of herbs.

This signage of a oil-palm estate caught my eyes. It had caught my eyes before and I'm still wondering why this estate bears a name of a Kelantanese delicacy. Perhaps, it's the Kelantanese who came to open up this estate a long time ago and wanted to leave a trade-mark.

I reached K Lipis in very good time but the local train didn't arrive on time. It got itself stopped at Kerambit, one station away. The hot weather had bent a section of the rails and it was too risky for the train to ride on this stretch. (I told you it was hot!) It was to be a 4 hours wait and by the time the train rolled out of Kuala Lipis, it was 6.30 pm. Soon it got dark and I missed the opportunity to capture scenes along the way.

That aside, Bertam Baru, a small kampong and a first time visit for me will be in total darkness by the time I get there. The prospect of finding a place to eat and a place to overnight will be pretty challenging. I decided to stop at Cave Fox (Gua Musang) instead. A wise decision for the night but not necessarily so for the following day.

It was close to 2030 when the train rolled into Cave Fox. I was debating whether to look for a cheapo hotel first or to fill the stomach. It wasn't long before I had both - a room for RM40 (air-cond) with a restaurant. I chose to freshen up first before the attack on the food - nasi goreng USA (??) and sup daging. RM8 including my favorite Teh O Ice.


Total Riding Time : 4hrs 31mins

Average Heart Rate : 141 bpm

Max Heart Rate : 159 bpm

Distance: 91.7 kms

Av Speed : 20.3 kph

Max Speed : 51.7 kph

29th March 07
115kms is ok. Have done this before, regularly. The Gua Musang - K Krai highway has always been challenging, even in the comfort of a car. It's a pretty straight highway, oil palm estates of Felda, some limestones as you leave the town of Gua Musang and several dotted settlements along the road. The road is rolling, at quite a number of places, long gradual rolls.

As usual, progress was good before the sun woke up. Left 0710 after a Nasi Lemak breakfast. Switched on my PDA media player and settled to listen to some motivational THE SECRETS audio. In the cool morning, the mind can absorb. There were not many vehicles yet so early and it a pleasant ride. 20kms out of Gua Musang, stopped at the purpose-built R&R for a quickie but find no reason to fill in the stomach yet. Made pretty good progress, perhaps because there were not many areas to stop for a rest. I have travelled this road many times in a car. The Felda settlements didn't seem that far apart. On a bicycle, it seemed ages before you arrived at each settlement. I looked for a fruit stall to buy some bananas for quick energy. There was none, until much much later.

The sun had been kind at some areas. Cloud cover helped at some stretches, but the rolling hills were there. Vehicle population started to increase, including the dreaded timber lorries. I counted no less than 30 timber lorries overtaking me. Must get my Director General friend in FRIM to convert that into daily statistics and the hectares of cleared jungle.

The rape of the jungle. I stopped to photograph the Kelantan river from a bridge. The teh tarek colour (kau kau type) of the river is testimony of this rape. Did any one care? I had planned for a canoeing trip down Kelantan river as one of my goals. I'm not quite sure now whether this will still remain as one of my goals. About 10 years ago, I did the a 3-day Sungai Nenggiri white-water with some friends. The Teh Tarek color wasn't this "kau".

I do not drink Teh Tarek. Somehow I feel bloated even at the thought of it. I always settled for my favourite, Teh O Ice, no matter what other attractions there may be. Not even made in Kelantan Sarsis @ RM1 a bottle, even if it claimed to be BERKAT!

At the junction to Dabong, I finally stopped for lunch. Time was 1230 and another 40kms to Kuala Krai, my destination for the day. Had a long good rest at the warong. Having done several solo rides, I had now mastered some art of resting (sleeping) while seated and such breaks freshen the body tremendously. By nature I don't snore (unlike one brother-in-law), so my bliss is non-disturbing. There were no other customers except for three police personnels in a blue cheloreng. I don't quite understand why blue cheloreng. Surely the color of the jungle had not changed!

Anyway, back on the road, if I had overnighted in Bertam, I would be coming out through Dabong. The road would probably be even lonelier but perhaps with more picture opportunities. Anyway, I photographed the road signage for future reference on mileage. This is an "unfinished" project for me.

I took another long deserved rest in a mosque, 20 kms before K Krai. As I later made my way into K Krai town at about 1815, a strong smell of Satay filled the air, with a big crowd at this huge warong. I know where my dinner is going to be. Look for a hotel, freshen up and then "attack". But I could not find a hotel, none! I can't believe it. A phone call to my brother and a return call later, indeed there is no hotel here. But, there is a motel by the Lake Garden. Yes, K Krai may not have hotels, but can boast of a Lake Garden. I have noted it earlier as I cycled into the town. So, "attack" first and lodge later.

The motel, tucked within the Lake Garden is an old place, probably a government building -RM60 a night on triple sharing. I however failed to bargain for one-third of the price since I was only 1 person. Anyone wants to share? The motel is quite a cool place, lots of old and big trees and a lake. Plenty of joggers too.

After a good bath, and the early Satay dinner, I settled for 2 left over bananas I bought earlier. A phone call from Rahman Zakaria @ 2100 hrs went unanswered. I was already in dreamland.

Total Riding Time : 6hrs 40mins
Average Heart Rate : 130 bpm
Max Heart Rate : 164 bpm
Distance: 121.6 kms
Av Speed : 18.2 kph
Max Speed : 57.8 kph

30th March 2007

Kuala Krai - Kota Bharu (65 kms)

Today will be a short ride to my final destination. My brother will cycle with me today. The wife drove him to RV with me. 7 kms after leaving the motel, we crossed path. He will ride his road bike and I will have to play catch up. I offload my 2 panniers into the car and was immediately 10kg lighter, but still 10kg heavier than his TREK.

Breakfast was to be on the way. His wife was tasked to find the breakfast warong. It came 10kms after our ride and the right time, just past 0800. Nasi Berlauk was on my order, plus the ever favorite Teh O Ice.

I contacted Rahman Zakaria after noting his missed call in the morning. He planned to welcome me on the road and we promised to maintain contact of my whereabouts. By the time he called, I was roughly 20 kms from KB, and by the time we met, I was 7kms to Kota Bharu.

He brought his entourage and 3 young coconuts. Rahman has a way with young items! Even his youngest is 7 months old. Need I say more?

Anyway, we agreed to RV at my brother's house and savoured the fresh young coconuts there. We were not disappointed even though 2 coconuts were too young. The air kelapa was just perfect. Thanks a million.

Another goal accomplished. Yet another in April is keenly looking forward to.

Sawadee Kap!!!


Did I just say that? said...

hahahah..funny..interesting bits and pieces of ur travel.
didn;t know there was a gua ikan?!!
so the sole purpose of dublin was the purchase of your touring things..heheh

Chief Kutu said...

As usual good write-up & well done Kutu Lagenda.....a very nice picture of u & Drame kita.....keep on doing what u are doing brudder..
Chief Kutu

ARZ said...

Pres FAD,

TQ for comments. Carry on with the adventures you loved.