I usually carry 1 spare tube on a short tour of a week. Muhamud too brought one spare tube. However, his spare tube was useless. The valve was too big to insert in the bike rim. Sometimes these are the little things one took for granted. This would be something he would not forget on his future trips.
The effort delayed us for about 30 mins. So after a quick photoshoot in front of the hotel, the two brothers were off for our 6-day cycling tour of Minangkabau country. We headed for Solok, roughly 60 kms east of Padang. From there we would head for Danau Singkarak for our overnight stay.
Then began the wait for the patch to be good. No timer required. Through experience, the repairman knew when to remove the tube from the hot plate, otherwise we would have a melted tube. The whole process took about 20 mins. Cost to us was IR 5,000 (RM1.50), 10% the cost of a new tube.
While waiting, we struck a conversation with a salesman selling Proton cars. The showroom was opened a month back and they had sold 7 Wajas. I failed to jot down the price sold in Indonesia, but I believed it is cheaper than the Waja sold in Malaysia. Toyotas and Hondas are the more popular brands here.
I had told Muhamud earlier that a steep hill awaited us. Just like on my earlier trip, I bet he did not figure out how steep the hill would be. So there it was, looming up ahead waiting for these two cyclists.
To attempt to climb would be a folly. We had no records to beat, nor anything to prove to anyone. Safety always remain priority number One. Cycling up would raise my heart-rate to max, a situation I would want to avoid, especially since the heart beat will stay maxed for a considerable length of time.
We waited for a suitable vehicle to come by and to request for a lift. Luck was on our side. 15mins into the waiting, a passenger van stopped near us and a passenger alighted with several bales of fruit products.This left some space in the van. Inside there were still 3 schoolchildren and 1 lady. Putting the 2 bikes in would cramp their seating position. It is of course common for passenger vehicles in Indonesia to carry non-passenger items. I recalled at a village near Cilacap on my Jogjakarta trip last year, a van carried tree trunks!
Checking my altitude on my Polar cyclo-cum-heart rate monitor, we were at 80m above sea level at the point of taking the van. We started at sea-level from Padang. In no time, the altitude was clocking higher altitudes and by the time we reached Setinjau Lauik, we were at 1,000m above sea-level, over roughly 8 kms distance. IR40,000 (RM14) for two passengers and 2 bikes were indeed worthwhile.
Setinjau Lauik is a view point. "Setinjau" would be "meninjau" in BM and "Lauik" is I believe the Minang version of "laut". Indeed from this view point, one could see Padang below and could also see the Indian Ocean.
Setinjau Lauik was not actually the peak. There was another 2kms of uphill but my contract with the driver was only up to Setinjau Lauik. He was reluctant to go beyond. Well, a 2kms push would be manageable.
The air was pleasantly cool and breezy which makes the effort of pushing less tiring. We came across a welcome sign, welcoming us to Kabupaten Solok. We stopped for a photo shoot, up above my pose were "fruits" hanging from the pillar. I prayed theses "fruits" would not suddenly ripen and fall off. If it does then Muhamud, my younger brother would enjoy free fruits, at my expense!
Of course, we joked about it. If only they were real fruits! Anyway, when we were at the real peak, the signboard below was for real. We need not care whether "MINTUO" or "MINMUDO".
We just felt we deserved this!