Sunday, January 11, 2009

Earth, Wind & Friendships

Mix beer with Sprite = Shandy

Spotted this 20 yo Dahon in a village bike shop. A classic folder.

A most comfortable hotel after a ride... Desaru Pulai

My wonderful friend Doc Mike aka "Daddy" - always taking care of the team!

Kevin & Celine feasting on a well-earned lunch. Kudos on their first 100km ride!

It was a glorious morning when we left Singapore at Changi on the big, speedy ferry that was only 1/10 filled, this being Thursday. Making interesting new friends is a big plus in trips like this and it was a real joy to meet Mike, Kevin & Celine. They were relatively new to the world of foldies and I admired their can-do spirit in wanting to do this ride with us.
Arriving in high spirits at Tg Belungkor, 8 of us rode the quiet 18km road out to the main 92 trunk road only to meet headwinds and rolling hills. We took more time than anticipated but it was nevertheless a nice enough ride. A rest at the T junction and we headed north towards the Fruit Farm just 11km more. It was unnerving to have cars zoom pass you at 120km/h just inches away and we were only too glad to arrive for a good fruit break in one piece.
We had our fill of yellow jackfruits and mangoes and continued the 2nd part of lunch at a local malay warung to tuck into fried rice and noodles. Mike, ever the foodie, managed to get his hands on a most juicy and salacious seedless water-melon that we all attacked immediately. With ourselves totally stuffed, the ride to Desaru Pulai in the blazing sun proved to be tiring, not physically but mentally. It was here that the 2 doctors got lost, taking a turn too early but we were glad for mobile phone technology and were reunited safely at the hotel.
Desaru Pulai has generous sized rooms that we totally appreciated as our bikes could be accommodated safely and easily. Paul jumped straight into the raging sea only to be twirled about like a rag doll in a washing machine as this was the monsoon season!

Paul vs nature!

Dinner was in town and we did some exploring until we found a decent local eatery. Riding back at night was magical with clear, starry night skies. We all slept very soundly, despite aching legs and slightly sore bottoms. Roadwalker who wasn't feeling well had some medication and was fit as a fiddle in the morning thanks to Mike's skill as a physician.

The full suspension of RW's Birdy was put to good use on the rough shoulders of the highway...

Setting off after a most satisfying breakfast was difficult but with winds behind us, we were flying at a good clip. I took this opportunity to ride alongside Celine to offer some tips and how to optimised the gears of her brand new Dahon MU SL. She was soon flattening those hills and was feeling very accomplished.
. A gal's most impressive accessory - the superlite Dahon MU SL

At Batu Layer Beach Resort, we encountered nasty speed bumps that were unpainted. Poor Richard on a roadie hit it at full speed and crashed. It was fortunate that apart from road abrasions, he was not badly injured and it was a real blessing that Doc Mike was at hand to offer treatment, once again. A painful lesson of what can happen when you loose your front end. I wonder if a broader front tire would have saved the situation?
Ouch! Hope you heal quickly Rich.
We enjoyed the flattish coastal 38km ride to the seafood town of Sungei Rengit. Drafting iron leg Paul on his Curve D3, we were cruising at 40kmh with the aid of tailwinds. Celebration lunch was a 7 course affair but we avoided fish and lobster this time as prices for these were astronomical due to the poor catch no thanks to rough seas. Coupled with some beers, our humongous lunch made riding to the Penggerang jetty a real drudgery. We quickly discovered that beer and sports make poor bedfellows despite all the hype their ads promised! The trip ended all too soon and I rode the last remaining km slowly, just savouring the scenery and the plush comfort of my unequally yoke set up.

Undulating earth and strong headwinds were bug bears for this trip, but enjoying the friendships of old and new friends made this a most satisfying 106km ride for us.

Winds of 30-40kmh. Good behind you, bad in front!


Marianne & David said...

Alvin, Fun blog!. I'm Dave and we met while waiting for the Belungkor ferry last week and discussed foldies. My wife and I are interested to try a Dahon TR for touring but all the shops are out of stock. I recollect that Kevin has one. Can you advise how I might contact him to arrange a brief meeting? It would be greatly appreciated. One question - on the LuangPrabang-Vientiane trip over the mega hills you didn't use a foldie - are they not so good on long climbs or ...? Look forward to hearing from you. Dave Hibbard

Oldyonfoldy said...

Hi David,

Gd to hear fm u! Both Kevin & Mike own the TRs. Many are happy with the vast gear range, comfort, front & rear racks. But the problem on the 2008 model is the front dynamo hub. The idea is good but it impedes the free rolling of the front wheel such that it bothers Mike.

You could email me at: and I will pass you the relevant contact details.

Long climbs and foldies - its a question of gear range. TR, Speed Pro & particularly those with double/triple chain ring set ups should have no problems.

Hope that helps! :)

Nat said...

First off, I should mention that I have not done long distance rides on Foldies but have done test rides on and off on a few models.

I personally like the idea of a off the shelf, touring ready folder. TR probably offers the best value I think (Seasons Tikit is priced a bit too high by comparison). TR would be a lot better value if they made the front racks and dynamo hub as optional and dropped the prices. If I had a TR, I would yank the font rack out.

That said, on test rides, I felt the gear range pretty wide and the granny was fairly low too. The complaint I have with foldies (particularly small wheels) is that the front end is twitchy. Would Prefer the 20" TR here over the Seasons Tikit, but that is just qualitative.

I came across a nice review of the TR a couple of days back and am sure it would be useful for you.

If you have been researching foldies, I suppose you have encountered number of questions, I documented some I had asked myself, you might find it useful too.

Oldyonfoldy said...

Nat, that is a great review. I enjoyed reading it thoroughly. Thank you very much for sharing it with us on Lovethefold :)

Its on 40c here in Perth. Not exactly bike friendly at the moment.

Las montaƱas said...

Hi, came here from Chris's pages! Have to say that I'm mesmerized by the photos and reports of your trips! Cycled in Belungkor many years back.. wanted to go back there perhaps with people who are more familiar with the place.