Sunday, July 08, 2007

Pengerang Ride

I like what I do, so I'll do what I like. Don't you agree?
      (The Cheshire Cat in American McGee's Alice)

After a few delays, I took off riding from Dairy Farm Road in the early hours of a cool Saturday morning.

Some of what's in my pack, from the top, left to right:  tire pump, two 26" x 1.0" (650cc x 25mm) tubes, patch kit, tire boot, multi-tool pouch, brake pads, chain lubricant, zip ties, Swiss Army knife, lanyard, spare Energizer AA lithium batteries, painkillers, anti-inflamation pills, spare memory card, compass / whistle / thermometer (on reverse side), emergency thermal blanket / shelter, tire levers, long 5mm allen key, FiberFix™emergency Kevlar™ Spoke (picture here), adaptor for Presta valve, spare rim strip; original, 1st edition, ancient, boat-anchor-heavy Topeak Alien multi-tool; spare Shimano chain master pins, Swiss-Tech mini pliers (if you do not have a pair of pliers, have fun trying to snap off the leading half of the Shimano master pin with your teeth); waterproof / windproof storm matches and flint; spare cleats and cleat bolts (learned this on my 1st Mount Tamalpais solo from San Francisco); sunscreen, Gerber Tracer ultra-light LED headlamp (hey, it brought me down Mount Hamilton); REI reflective strip (to strap at the back of my helmet to increase visibility to traffic at night); Cateye rear LED light, Cateye front LED light, backup Cateye front LED light, Cateye AT-100 Cyclocomputer with altimeter, Garmin Forerunner 201 GPS unit, Adventure Medical Kit Ultralight, GU and Hammergel, Laraba energy bar, Odwalla energy bar, pen, UltraPod II lightweight tripod, rosary (not the ornate version; this is much lighter).

Not shown: spare jersey and cycling shorts (in case I have to stay overnight), water bottle, 3 liter Camelbak bladder (filled with 1.5 liters of water).

I also made other preparations. E.g. eating pork for every meal for a couple days. That way, even my sweat is haram — if anyone tries to rob me, all I have to do is to fling my sweat at them and they will flee.

GPS track of the ride. Dotted lines represent ferry passage (and are omitted from distance calculations).

A drunk by the road at Newton Circus. Behind the bushes is the infamous Newton Hawker Center. I thought it was a dead body until I got closer and heard snoring.

5 AM. 23.2 miles (37 km) later: Changi Ferry Terminal. I was ahead of schedule so I rode on to Changi Village for food.

25.7 miles (41 km): Nasi lemak with a double portion of rice. I also managed to finish a 1.5 liter bottle of 100 Plus with the meal too. Water buffalo or pig, pick your invective :-D

Ivy sitting pretty at the stern of Water Front II. Fare: SGD$16 for a one-way ticket. SGD$5 for a bicycle. Ferry schedule here.

She's joined by a quad of triathletes. Hi Bernard! Hi Sharon!

Planes on their final approach to Changi International Airport.

Gathering storm clouds portend a wet ride today.

         Lightning crashes, old mother cries...

Riders of the storm. It was a choppy 6.27-mile (10 km) journey to Malaysia in the thunderstorm; I was glad to be on a big ferry instead of a tiny bumboat. Upon reaching Tanjong Belungkor, the captain took more than half an hour to dock the boat, no thanks to the strong currents.

Waiting for the downpour to ease, I chatted with the other riders for half an hour at Tanjong Belungkor before setting off.

Right outside Tanjong Belungkor. It would rain or drizzle during my entire ride in Malaysia. Plus side: you drink a lot less water. Down side: puddles mask potholes, and vehicles have trouble spotting you.

The highway serving this area. Masochists head left toward Mersing. Mortals head right. Those who are heading to Desaru will have to head left for a while before making a right.

Sebana Cove. There is a ferry back to Singapore's Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (@ RM34) from here. Ferry schedule. Hat tip to the blursotong for the information  :-D

This guy practically ran me off the road as he pulled over to take a leak. I had to hop sideways — Hot damn! So I can do it! (Just under duress  :-D ) — to avoid being flattened. When I went to confront him, he gesticulated that he didn't know English. You don't say? I reckon you don't know how to drive as well! I was sorely tempted to teach him his first phrase in his English vocabulary — "knuckle sandwich."

50 miles (80 km): the end of the southbound highway.

What the sign says. 12.5 miles (20 km) of flats to the Tanjong Pengelih Jetty.

Fishing trawlers berthed at the mouth of Sungai Rengit. shenjiaqing produced a very useful map of the town.

A closer look. As I still felt full from the breakfast of nasi lemak at Changi Village, I did not stop at the town of Sungai Rengit.

Fishing boat.

Gone is the rustic charm of the Tanjong Pengelih Jetty. A sprawling immigration complex and a sheltered pier has replaced it. Pardon the non-Halal term, but this is probably an example of pork barrel spending.

Ivy takes her first bumboat ride. RM10 for me. RM4 for the bike. If you are planning to return to Singapore via this jetty, be sure to reach Tanjong Pengelih before 3 PM.

What is a bumboat? Well, here's a picture. They cruise at 4 knots. Distance from Tanjong Pengelih Jetty to Changi Village Jetty is 7.16 miles (11.5 km).

Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal. You can take a ferry to Sebana Cove from here.

Where I left from this morning, Changi Ferry Terminal.

This lamp on top of the bumboat utilizes a Fresnel lens, the same sort found in lighthouses, spotlights, railroad / traffic signal lights, overhead projectors, and credit-card-thin road map magnifiers.

While image quality is not as high as a conventional convex lens, a Fresnel lens is thinner in profile; consequently, much lighter, and optically more efficient. (I dig nautical stuff. I should, having worked as a divemaster and an assistant SCUBA instructor for a spell.)

Approaching Changi Village Jetty.

An unusual sight greeted me on Changi Coastal Road (after an Ah Pek on his electric bicycle overtook me. Grrr!): this container truck was moving along when a tree toppled and fell right between the driver cabin and the container.

What are the chances?

The workers started yelling at me when I stopped to take pictures. When I yelled back, "4D! 4D!" they laughed.

Dropped by to say "Hi!" to Louis, Viki, and company before heading home. After Malaysia, South Buena Vista Road is anticlimatic; you ride through the equivalent of 3 to 4 of its equivalent from Tanjong Belungkor to Sungai Rengit.

Total distance::  102.5 miles (164 km)
Total elevation climbed:  2030 ft (619 m)

Ride conducted solo.

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