Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Reaquainting with old mates

93 Bridgestone MB3 - my old & faithful friend

The badge says it all...

Makers of fine bicycles, ridden the world round!

We are so blessed to have many good friends in Perth. The Yapps are marvellous people with generous hearts and they have allowed us to stay in their huge house for the time being. They have gone to Spore just after we arrived, so talk about His perfect timing!
What a wonderful surprise too that I found my trusty 93 Bridgestone MB3 in their shed. It looked pretty happy and well.

I gave the bike to them 9 years ago and it still looks in pretty good shape. This bike brought me many precious memories. I rode this bike on my wedding day to pick up my bride.
If you are a fan of Bridgestone bicycles, you will probably be familiar with Grant Peterson and his unique ideas & concepts (much I see eye to eye) about how bicycles should be build. The MB3 is a mid range MTB then and comes equipped with centre pull brakes, LX components, Rock Shox fork, old school leather Avocet seat, among other things.

I took it for a test ride around the park and enjoyed myself immensely.

Yes, the RD cable has snapped, the front wheel needs to be aligned and a general tune up is in order but other than that, the red MB3 still looks like it can deliver many years of faithful service. ChrisW, now you need to come over to Perth, there is a project that awaits your surgical skills.

Reaquainting with old friends, ah, what a pleasure that is indeed! To all my friends, old and new, this song by Michael W Smith is for you... enjoy.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Earth, Wind & Friendships

Mix beer with Sprite = Shandy

Spotted this 20 yo Dahon in a village bike shop. A classic folder.

A most comfortable hotel after a ride... Desaru Pulai

My wonderful friend Doc Mike aka "Daddy" - always taking care of the team!

Kevin & Celine feasting on a well-earned lunch. Kudos on their first 100km ride!

It was a glorious morning when we left Singapore at Changi on the big, speedy ferry that was only 1/10 filled, this being Thursday. Making interesting new friends is a big plus in trips like this and it was a real joy to meet Mike, Kevin & Celine. They were relatively new to the world of foldies and I admired their can-do spirit in wanting to do this ride with us.
Arriving in high spirits at Tg Belungkor, 8 of us rode the quiet 18km road out to the main 92 trunk road only to meet headwinds and rolling hills. We took more time than anticipated but it was nevertheless a nice enough ride. A rest at the T junction and we headed north towards the Fruit Farm just 11km more. It was unnerving to have cars zoom pass you at 120km/h just inches away and we were only too glad to arrive for a good fruit break in one piece.
We had our fill of yellow jackfruits and mangoes and continued the 2nd part of lunch at a local malay warung to tuck into fried rice and noodles. Mike, ever the foodie, managed to get his hands on a most juicy and salacious seedless water-melon that we all attacked immediately. With ourselves totally stuffed, the ride to Desaru Pulai in the blazing sun proved to be tiring, not physically but mentally. It was here that the 2 doctors got lost, taking a turn too early but we were glad for mobile phone technology and were reunited safely at the hotel.
Desaru Pulai has generous sized rooms that we totally appreciated as our bikes could be accommodated safely and easily. Paul jumped straight into the raging sea only to be twirled about like a rag doll in a washing machine as this was the monsoon season!

Paul vs nature!

Dinner was in town and we did some exploring until we found a decent local eatery. Riding back at night was magical with clear, starry night skies. We all slept very soundly, despite aching legs and slightly sore bottoms. Roadwalker who wasn't feeling well had some medication and was fit as a fiddle in the morning thanks to Mike's skill as a physician.

The full suspension of RW's Birdy was put to good use on the rough shoulders of the highway...

Setting off after a most satisfying breakfast was difficult but with winds behind us, we were flying at a good clip. I took this opportunity to ride alongside Celine to offer some tips and how to optimised the gears of her brand new Dahon MU SL. She was soon flattening those hills and was feeling very accomplished.
. A gal's most impressive accessory - the superlite Dahon MU SL

At Batu Layer Beach Resort, we encountered nasty speed bumps that were unpainted. Poor Richard on a roadie hit it at full speed and crashed. It was fortunate that apart from road abrasions, he was not badly injured and it was a real blessing that Doc Mike was at hand to offer treatment, once again. A painful lesson of what can happen when you loose your front end. I wonder if a broader front tire would have saved the situation?
Ouch! Hope you heal quickly Rich.
We enjoyed the flattish coastal 38km ride to the seafood town of Sungei Rengit. Drafting iron leg Paul on his Curve D3, we were cruising at 40kmh with the aid of tailwinds. Celebration lunch was a 7 course affair but we avoided fish and lobster this time as prices for these were astronomical due to the poor catch no thanks to rough seas. Coupled with some beers, our humongous lunch made riding to the Penggerang jetty a real drudgery. We quickly discovered that beer and sports make poor bedfellows despite all the hype their ads promised! The trip ended all too soon and I rode the last remaining km slowly, just savouring the scenery and the plush comfort of my unequally yoke set up.

Undulating earth and strong headwinds were bug bears for this trip, but enjoying the friendships of old and new friends made this a most satisfying 106km ride for us.

Winds of 30-40kmh. Good behind you, bad in front!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The first shall be the last

As I shall be relocating very soon to Perth, Australia, a final farewell ride with my friends was in order. We head for Desaru, a beach resort at the Southern part of the East Coast of Peninsula Malaysia in 11 hours time. The ferry has been booked and 8 of us are raring to go.

It will be a melange of foldies from Birdy to various Dahons for this 95km ride, with some new friends tagging along. I shall be using my unequally yoked Speed Pro. This is a very quiet part of Malaysia especially on a Thursday so it should be a traffic-free ride with quiet, scenic coastal roads. Weather forecast afternoon rains with breezy and sunny mornings. Sounds perfect as we should check into Desaru Pulai Springs by 230pm latest.
The last time I rode here must have been 5 years ago. An old riding friend "Nuke Heng" who rides this route often, tells me that there is a fruit farm that offers a great lunch, so that is a must stop. Now, is this a healthy ride or what?

Its sad that the first ride for 2009 will be my last, at least in this part of the globe for some time.