Saturday, July 11, 2009

Tikiting thru Bintan, Indonesia

Note Australian Penfold Merlot wine in front pannier pocket for a more spirited ride!

Bintan is the largest of the Riau Islands in Indonesia and is about 3 times the size of Singapore. The northern portion has been developed as an upmarket playground for the well heed, boasting of Club Med, Banyan Tree and other hotel chains. However for the adventure cyclist, this is our nearest Disneyland with long, quiet, good roads and enough hills to call upon Granny (the gear ie). Throw in superb coastal views especially along Trikora Beach, its no wonder cartographer cyclist Jan Boonstra ranks this the best Riau Island to explore.

My good friend Dr Mike Khaw mustered a team of 4 foldies and a Surly LHT to celebrate my short return to Asia. Mike is a foodie and a foldist, passions that I share deeply. We landed north at the Bintan Ferry Terminal and made our way 68km to Ocean Bay Resort at Trikora. The super smooth Catamaran Ferry made the 45 min sea journey painless and this ultra modern ferry terminal is very unlike sleeze central of Tg Pinang.

OBR kindly send us a van with driver to meet us and carried all our luggage. This was the first time for me, and I did not mind one bit.

The weather was cloudy with intermittent rain and that meant a relatively cool and breezy ride. 4, 12, 33 were the magic numbers we needed to note as these represented turn-off km points, courtesy of Jan's sharing. Ian, who first saw my 16" Bike Friday tikit wondered if this small wheel commuter could handle the challenging terrain. However, from the word GO, the tikit earned his respect and he called it "The Rabbit".

I myself was pleasantly surprised at how well the tikit toured, how it climbed and how absolutely rock steady it was at 40-50kmh downhills. Some of the roads were pretty bad but the tikit cruised through them with no drama.

Our largely small wheeled posse attracted a lot of attention from the locals including the security personnel, fishermen and durian sellers. We arrived at Ocean Bay Resort and was given a 5 star reception and treated to a huge seafood lunch of crabs, prawns, fish and soup. This more than made up for the simple rooms on stilts over the sea.

What a glorious start to a great cycling holiday in Bintan!


Enno said...

great road-movie. Proof that the BF TIKIT can handle most of the roads in the world. I like the funny moments in your video besides the touring / cycling impressions. Happy to report I can approve of the ridingqualities, I am a happy owner of a Tikit myself since feb 2009. ( I am the Bike Friday Addict on YouTube enjoy ) Wish all of you many happy and safe cycling miles. Enno Roosink Amsterdam.

Oldyonfoldy said...

Hi Enno,

Welcome to LTF! I'm very honoured to receive your kind comments from such a famous fellow BF cyclist all the way from Amsterdam. Yes, the tikit is a really great foldie and I'm taking it across to Borneo this Oct. Stay tune for more videos and more adventures. Ride safe!

Al :)

TBC said...

Hi Alvin, Really nice photos. Makes me wanna go out get a bike and ride too! Have been googgling on BF,Dahon and Xootrs. Please share more information about your Tikit model. Is it BTO?