Friday, December 30, 2016

SRT Day 5 - The long way home but not without a last visit to the best bike shop in Hat Yai!

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Pic Berenda

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Pic Berenda

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Our last morning in Hat Yai was a most fruitful one. Despite the rain, we decided to cycle for breakfast. Unfortunately, Siew Yung's pedal got stuck due to the rain washing away the lube.

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Small issue easily fixed and as we cycled, we were amazed at how near our destination was. A mere 3-4 mins bike ride and that only made us a bit annoyed about yesterday's Tuk Tuk driver, how he took us for a ride literally!

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Breakfast was supposed to be at Chok Dee Dim Sum but we were attracted to the huge crowds at an eatery beside it selling soup and rice. This place is frequented by the locals and we had challenges parking our bicycles even. The fierce old lady/owner scolded us for not parking properly and she was truly a food Nazi. That can only mean one thing - amazing food!

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If you are fan of spare parts, and I mean of the piggy kind, this would be the place for you! Unfortunately, I'm not but there was enough variety for me to have a decent breakfast.

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So famous was this place that all the regulars even from overseas came here and KC met a very good friend who is also a tourer. Seems like we were destined to be meeting interesting people this morning.

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Pic Berenda

Following breakfast, we made our way to Tyro Bikes after we said goodbye to KC. He had booked himself for a 1030am bus to Malacca while ours was 1230pm and we had plenty of time. We knew we were a bit early but would try our luck nevertheless. Riding there in the rain, we wanted to wait at a nearby cafe but that was closed. Upon reaching Tyro, we saw the doors opening much earlier before their 10 am opening time. These guys are on the ball! They were amazing and welcomed us warmly.

There are bike shops and there are bike shops. Tyro Bike is one of those rare ones that presents itself as a lifestyle bike shop. Beautiful decor, soft lights, fantastic range of products, showroom style presentation and even a cafe that serves gourmet coffees.

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They carried top brands such as Moulton, Dahon, Birdy, Fuji, Miyata, retro bikes, fixies and so many other types of bikes. I even spotted an old Japanese red postman bicycle beautifully restored.

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All of us were truly smitten and we went on our own way like kids in a lolly shop, scouting for stuff to buy. Siew Yung spotted some Pearl Izumi gloves that she liked, Berenda went on a shopping spree for bike T-shirts while I managed to find a new very impressive kick bike stand for my Tikit.

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Thank you Berenda for this neat T!

The mechanic fitted it professionally and when we complained about how our bikes were squealing after being ridden int he rain, he started lubing all our bikes!

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It was wonderful to meet up with Khun Antz who came a bit later, like a boss. Young, adventurous, intelligent and passionate about folding bicycles, it was a great joy to have a friendly chat with her. Antz studied English in Singapore and it showed with her fluency in the language. She showed me her special anniversary Dahon Boardwalk and it was pure joy to hear from Antz about her vision for Tyro Bikes. What is exciting is her upcoming bike hostel/guesthouse for bicycle tourers!

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Good bicycle shops are like magnets, attracting famous cyclists and we had the privilege of seeing a couple of tourers who had just completed the arduous Mae Hong Son Loop wheel in. It was none other than Malaysian's top tourers Acid Mustafa and friends. His legendary goatie and shirt/jean style was immediately recognised by Siew Yung who has toured with him before. So it was a real bonus to finally meet up with him and to hear his interesting stories.

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We really enjoyed our visit to Tyro and even downed a cuppa of Latte, served with style! It was hard to leave Tyro but we had a bus to catch and it was off to The Colour Hotel to pack our panniers and head for the bus agent. We bade farewell to Siew Yung who had to catch a mini-van to Padang Besar where she would catch a fast train home to KL.

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Since Berenda had not had her Pad Thai, we managed to find one eatery near the bus agent selling it and it turned out to be amazingly good. On hindsight, we should have ordered an extra plate but it is hard to enjoy a meal when you know you have only 20 mins left!

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We made it to the bus agent office with 10 mins to spare and folded our bicycles in preparation for the long journey home. The agent told us that it was to be a 14-15 hr bus ride and we would be at Woodlands Causeway about 4am. This was perfect as it meant a smooth crossing.

Though it was a full bus with plenty of other luggages, our foldies had plenty of room in the bus storage compartment.

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YC and I rode in the front passenger seats and settled ourselves comfortably for the long journey home. Berenda was seated somewhere at the back, next to a lady eating smelly cuttlefish. The Sadao border crossing was smooth and soon we were back in Malaysia, cruising past the beautiful and vast rice fields of Kedah.

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The bus ride surprisingly did not feel as long as the 14 hr it took and I appreciated the coffee/toilet breaks along the way every 4 hours or so. We arrived at Woodlands just before 4am and thankfully, crossing was not an issue as well. I would highly recommend this timing as anything later could mean being stuck for 2-3 hrs crossing the causeway!

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We arrived at Golden Mile just past 5am and it was sad to say goodbye to Berenda who had to rush home to get ready for work on that same day!  YC and I had time to enjoy a traditional Singapore breakfast of tea and toast before I caught the first MRT back home.

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What a trip it has been! This experience of taking long distance coaches has been a very easy and comfortable one for me, and I can't wait to embark on my next adventure using coaches.

Thank you for reading Lovethefold and as we say goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017, may I wish you my dear readers a very blessed and happy New Year!  May your experiences both off and on the saddle be filled with much joy, fruitfulness and meaning.  God bless you!



You crown the year with Your goodness,
And Your paths drip with abundance.
Psalm 65:11


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3 comments:

Francis said...

What a great trip to end the year. Enjoy your writing and many more wonderful trips in coming new year!

acid mustafa said...

Keep riding and writing mate. Peace Yo!#

Ding Chee Kok said...

Wow! Excellent writeup. Will be doing an exactly trip like yours next month, March 2017. Start from KL. Thank you for all the tips !!