Nothing to do with male body fluids
but a brand of cement named, "3 circles or rings"
There are so many places in the world to explore and so little time to see them all. Therefore, it is rare for me to re-visit a place unless it is exceptional.
Bintan qualifies. The roads are quiet enough but are sufficiently challenging with "nice" hills, breath-taking rides along Trikora Beach sleepy fishing villages, abundance of value for money resorts and of course, great seafood. No wonder Jan Boonstra considers Bintan one of his favourite Riau island to explore on a bike.
6 of us went this time for a 2 night 3 day sojourn. Mike, Kevin and I the old birds with TW, Steven and Joshua - newbies who bravely joined us. I was told the video on our last trip had some influence. It was a classic case of never believing everything you see on the internet as they found out later. Struggling through some of the tough climbs, they wondered what they got themselves into but we were delighted they came along to share the joys and pain! Bintan is certainly not your usual Park Connector excursion.
Our ride to Ocean Bay Resort started normally until 1 hour into the journey, a thunderstorm came without warning and soaked us thoroughly.
Getting cooled that way after being baked by the sun was a blessing and we strangely enjoyed it. Our support vehicle told us of a brand new short cut which we foolishly agreed to try only to discover the punishing hills that laid in ambush for us. Yes, it was shorter distance wise but it winded us and by the time we reached the coastal road of Trikora, our tongues were hanging and legs soft like tofu, in addition to getting drenched by the monsoon.
The kelong itself is quite big and riding around the long and narrow corridors instead of walking was thrilling and a tad scary.
We enjoyed sitting around talking (mainly about foldies, what else?) and watching the sun set and the stars appearing one by one. Kevin took out his i-Pad and we had fun identifying each star.
Being out in the sea on stilts and enjoying the cool evening breezes with new found friends, while admiring our foldies, must truly be one life's greatest pleasures.
On the second day, we headed out to Tanjong Pinang, the capital city of Bintan for some good Nasi Padang and spa. It was a 70km round trip but worth it as we ate the most delicious local fare (17 course lunch), saw the impressive morning catch of the returning fishing fleet
and felt the kneading of skilled and healing hands on our tired legs. It was also exhilarating to cycle back pitch dark in the night.
The return ride proved to be enjoyable in the morning but most torturing when noon came. It must have hit 35c and we were glad we took the long way back, avoiding those cruel hills of the new shortcut. Still, it was tough work and at one stage, I was so overheated I had to pour cold water on my helmet. No wonder the Tour de Bintan attracts so many racers each year for its challenging route! On the flats, we drafted each other and this is easier with foldies as our smaller wheels enabled us to stay closer. 28-32km/h was achieved without too much effort.
It was a real joy to cover the 200km distance on my Bike Friday Tikit save for one stage while I was flying at 40km/h downhill and the road disintegrated into loose gravel.
That caught me by surprise and the small 16" front wheel went into a deadly weave! I turned pale white and mustered whatever little skill I had to stabilise the bike. Call it sheer good luck or I believe is divine intervention, I lived to tell the tale unscathed! Moments like these remind me clearly of God's graciousness, protection and amazing love for all of us*.
*He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go. If you stumble, they'll catch you; their job is to keep you from falling. Psalm 91:11,12