This morning it was KC's turn to wake up early and go for a dawn walkabout while I was enjoying a longer than usual snooze, all tucked in. We didn't have to rush as the agenda was to get back to Hat Yai to Tyro Bike, an easy 34km away at 10am and we gave ourselves 2 hours for this.
For those who know me, I do not like repeats especially in my meals and hence, yesterday's decent breakfast at Club Tree became somewhat boring as it was almost the same today. I didn't eat very much but enjoyed my Kao Tom (pork porridge) and I wish I wasn't fussy seeing how KC was enjoying himself.
That said, it was hard to leave this beautiful hotel especially to say goodbye to my new rather stiff friend, Ginger the dog. I have the feeling he will be in the same position for many years to come.
Continuing on the tradition of not wanting repeats as far as possible, we rode out of Songkhla a longer but different way, this time through the Highway 407 passing by the airport and Thaksin University. At first I thought that this uni was named after the controversial PM Thaksin Shinawatra who was and still is very popular in the North but Thaksin simply means Southern.
Traffic was surprisingly quite heavy in town and many policemen were stationed to manage it. Surprisingly when one considers Songkhla a rather small town. We had to wait for ages at this lights and look at the queue behind me!
The ride down Highway 407 is flat as a pancake and offers a nice wide shoulder for cyclists. I believe this is a great beginner's tour as the 30+km distance is very manageable, traffic is light and no hills.
After about 16km, it was time for a little break and my eye caught sign of the famous yellow Shell station. We enjoyed a beautiful cafe yesterday at a Shell station and bingo, there was one too in front of our eyes. It seems to be a trend to put beautiful cafes in Shell stations and that can only be a good thing. Coffee De'Sunrise was not as flash as yesterday's but still, very nice.
The interior was decorated with bright colours and I wanted to plonk myself on the nice red sofa except that with all my sweat and grime, it just would not be good manners and a wee bit inconsiderate! We settled for normal chairs, much to the relief of the counter staff, and enjoyed a lovely cuppa of Cha Ron. An added bonus was the addition of a pot of Chinese tea a a chaser, and that was really a nice gesture.
It is always hard to get back on the saddle after too comfortable a break and this time, for reasons I cannot explain, it was hard to get back into rhythm. Perhaps it was going from cold aircon back to the dense humidity, or a stomach full of liquids, or that I simply didn't want the adventure to end so quickly. But I believe that God always knows me intimately and as I was huffing and puffing, a big yellow tractor came from nowhere and overtook KC and I! Immediately like a wild dog, I gave chase. It was hard as I was cruising at about 18-20km/h and the tractor was at least 30km/h and a bit more.
KC tried to whisk out his camera and as he did so, he was too far behind to catch him but at least he got a shot. As for me, I found new legs and pedaled furiously and managed to finally catch up. Once behind the tractor, it was so easy as the huge vehicle blocked off all wind and cycling at 30km/h felt like 18km/h. As I enjoyed the blessing of drafting, poor KC was no where in sight. I must have got a free ride for at least 3-4km until Abang Besar decided to turn off.
It seemed ages as I pulled back and crawled before KC appeared, all jolly and well as he always was. By this time, we were nearly at the turn-off from Highway 407 and we made a left turn and cycled into Hat Yai through the smaller country roads, which is always the better choice for so many reasons.
The quieter roads were literally a breath of fresh air as traffic was nearly non existent. Gliding through villages and minor roads, it was wonderful to see how the locals lived. Before we knew it, we found ourselves in Hat Yai proper and arrived at Tyro Bike 5 mins before schedule.
It was great to be the first customers and we were received warmly, even given 2 cold drinks. They were expecting us - 2 mad cyclists all the way from Singapore to collect 6 handlebars. But then again, these were not just ordinary handlebars but German designed Ergotech Space bars, a sort of riser touring bars.
Tyro is not just a bicycle shop but a bicycle lifestyle shop, filled with all sorts of goodies that easily fulfills Madonna's call to, "Express yourself"...
KC took the opportunity to check out all the latest fashion gear and decided that this bag would best express himself, style wise!
We took this opportunity to do a mini-service of our Fridays where my RD needed some adjustments and KC's Llama needed a rear hub service. I decided too to get my brand new Ergotec bar fitted on my Tikit in Tyro's most professional aircon workshop.
While that was being done, I got out of my smelly clothes and had a shower in their bike friendly facilities. How many bike shops do you know have shower facilities? Tyro Bike really rocks!
It was great of Tyro to provide me with a Dahon bike box so that I could pack my Tikit in, ready for my 230pm flight to Singapore. One advantage of travelling with the Tikit is that it is so easy to prepare for travel, with very little parts to dissemble. I only needed to remove the handlebar and that was all! The other Ergotech bars could also fit in as there were tonnes of room.
Lunch was a simple affair near Tyro and just rice and egg. 2 of those with drinks costs only 100B, a new record low. It was wonderful too that I managed to meet up with Khun Antz, the owner of Tyro who is a remarkable young lady with a flair for design. She rides a Dahon Boardwalk Anniversary model among many many other bikes. The perks of owning a bike shop!
The lovely staff of Tyro arranged a taxi for me to go to the airport for only 250B and I was pleasantly pleased to be picked up in a brand new Toyota Prius Hybrid, a most green vehicle. Turned out the taxi driver was also a cyclist, a MTB to be precise and we got along very well.
Checking in the small bike box was easy enough and when I arrived at Changi, I expected the box to pop out at the odd-size luggage. However, it came out on the regular belt and that goes to prove how easy it is to travel with a foldy.
It was good to be back in Singapore and my mission had officially ended. However, KC's adventure part 2 continued where he rode from Hat Yai to Satun the next day, ferried to Langkawi to meet our friend, Sandra Loh, author of Peddling around the Peninsula, then off to Penang, Malacca and as I write this blog post, KC had just returned from his adventure.
Thank you for following Abang and Adek and we hope it inspired you to pay a visit to Songkhla, a most beautiful destination.