All together, we rode a total of about 200km in 3 days which is a very nice distance, not too long nor too short. Words cannot adequately described the sheer enjoyment and pleasure of new and old friends coming together to discover exotic places and fresh experiences on the saddle. As I reflect on the trip, 3 things come to my mind:
1. Its not so much the type of bike than the company that is important. Touring purists would shudder at the thought of riding their 700c touring bikes together with foldies of small 16" wheels like the tikit. Yet, this was not only possible but a lot of fun for KG and I.
We must also be careful not to be badge snobs and our mortley crew consisting of 2 entry level "Aeon" foldies could tackle the terrain with determine aplomb, and had a blast of a time!
2. Riding with music can be fun! I do not like wearing ear phones as that hampers my sense of traffic and can be dangerous. However the Otomo MP3 player is a must have for long rides. Its a mini-boom box that sounds really impressive. Beautiful scenery with great music is like good wine and good food.
3. While the ideal is for everyone in the team to be of similiar fitness level, this often is not the case. Thus, the need to be considerate, gracious, helpful and sporting is of paramount importance. This is not the Tour de France, its a Tour de Fellowship. Fastest rider should always stop at major turn off or intersections and always allow the last guy to catch up during the breaks. The balance is to allow freedom of individual pace, yet keep the group together.
Some useful info for those keen to do Bintan:
1. Bintan return ferry from Singapore is about $60. Do check out their website for exact fare details and ferry timings. Also, there is a $10 surcharge for bikes (& golf bags) each way unless you have your foldie stealthly hidden in a bag.
2. Plenty of shops selling water and drinks along the way. Perhaps every 10km though some may not have cold drinks. No need to carry too much water and food. Load up on fresh fruits like bananas, mangosteens, rambutans etc. Absolutely delicious!
3. Riding in light rain is nice and cooling but mudguards are truly a necessity for wet weather touring. Also, make sure all your valuables are waterproof in a zip lock plastic bag. We did not get any punctures but a spare tube and basic tools are always a good idea.
Do write me if you have any questions that I can help you with. Bintan is truly a very worthwhile island to explore if you are ever in this region. Highly recommended! You will love Bintan.