Thursday, September 01, 2005

biking @ RRI

My friends (Eric, Shi Fun, Andrew and Stephen) were itching to go for a ride on Merdeka day. How often do you get to escape the city humdrum in the middle of the week, right? We decided on a quick and easy bike ride at RRI (Rubber Research Institute) – gentle slopes, non-technical, baby routes… or so they tell me. Being the novice biker that I am, I’m usually pretty sceptical when it comes to so-called baby routes. I just ain’t a good biker, having learnt to actually ride a bike just 4 months ago without falling over and embarrass myself. But hey… practice makes perfect, so I tagged along to their trip.

After a quick drive – 15 minutes or so from our meeting point at Riana Green – we parked at the dusty, sandy RRI entrance. Dark clouds were already looming above the estate, but since we were already there, might as well make the most of what’s left of good weather. A quick setup and we were off.

ride into RRI

The main road into the estate was really sandy and dusty, and it didn’t help that the trucks were going in and out using that road, kicking up a cloud of dust behind it. If we had hung around there any longer than necessary I’m pretty sure we’d have developed respiratory problems!

Shi Fun on the trail

From the main road we did a right turn into the estate, where the trail became more clay and earth-ish. Easier to cycle on too, with less drag. Not long into the trail we hit a couple of small uphills, which I still had a bit of breath left in me to keep up. Then came the deceivingly simple but long uphill – about 15-20 degrees incline, apparently 1.2 km in distance (but felt more like 2km to me). The rest pulled ahead and I started lagging behind. I pedalled… cycled… huffed… puffed… I think it took me about 10 minutes before I reached the top where the rest were waiting. Heck, I could’ve run much faster than cycling up that road!

Andrew's tourist shot

From then on it was mostly downhill (thank God). We pushed ahead to a very scenic trail – rows and rows of rubber trees on slopes with leaves scattered all around. It was almost like cycling in autumn in a foreign country (without the heat and mosquitoes, of course). The three of us – Andrew, Shi Fun and myself – just couldn’t help but do the “Japanese tourist” thing – take photos! Too good to pass, really.

taking a break - Eric, Shi Fun, Stephen

We caught up with Eric and Stephen who were resting at a small hut. By then the weather really didn’t look good, and it didn’t help that we weren’t sure of the trail after that. We looked around for awhile but gave up when the rain started pelting down, and we took to the tar road which connected us to another trail, leading us back to the start.

Stephen ridin' back

Made it back to our cars just in time, we could see the sheet of heavy rain just a few meters away coming closer and closer. Since I didn’t have a bike rack, packing in my bike into my small Kancil was no easy task in the rain – dirt and sand sticking on everything everywhere. Argh!

Well… I must admit that it was a good ride despite the rain. At least I didn’t fall over like I used to, that role seemed to have been taken over by Andrew. Hey buddy, get used to your SPD pedals fast, haha!

Dang… I need to wash my bike now.