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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bikepacking in Kelantan June 2012

The idea to go bikepacking to Kelantan was suggested by yours truely ... and since both of us (me and my brother) got the invitation to attend Safwan’s wedding reception in Kg Pohon Tanjong, Pasir Mas .. apa lagi, belasah ajelah. I had once voiced our my plans going bikepacking  in Kelantan to some of my friends and they simply just dismissed it as some kind of a joke! Zaws, you gotta be kidding? A trip from Kota Bharu to a small kampung near the Malaysian-Thai border on a three speed Dahon Curve D3 with 16 inch wheels? No way! Okay, cabaran disahut and I really enjoyed myself. Sure, the Curve D3 is not fast, but its a  real joy to ride and found it difficult to wipe the silly grin while riding.. hahaha! I share the exact  birthday (date and year) with Lance Armstrong (yeah, really, seriously... tak percaya ke? hehehe) but who cares.. it is the determination that counts and this is the story of our journey .....like what Lance wrote in his book, Its is not about the bike.

Day 1  15th June 2012 Hentian Putra Station 10.30pm

My brother took care of the transportation – we would be going to Kota Bharu by bus as all the comfy KTMB sleeping berths tickets were sold out! Dapat tiket bas Transnational 2 tingkat... bas sampai ke Terminal Putra lewat ya amat and to make matters worse, kami dapat seat kat tingkat atas. Our bikes got the best location for storage, right near the extra driver’s sleeping berth. Aku takut kalau bas buat kona baring along the windy Karak highway and the notorious Gua Musang road and cause the bikes to fall upon the poor sleeping driver! Alas it did not happen. We had the bikes wrapped up in a bag and the driver was surprised when we told him that we have folding bikes in our bags! Rasanya malam tu tah beberapa kali I found myself flying out of my seat...tiap kali bas ambil kona.. macam terbang rasanya!

Sampai sahaja in Stesyen Bas Kota Bharu, we had some drinks at a nearby restaurant (next time we shall not go there again) and thereafter scrambled to unwrap our bikes and setting up our bikes. I had the bike fixed with a raised rear rack a few days before and the panniers that I bought during my recent trip to Melbourne would be put to good use to store our belongings. Our actions setting up our bikes at the roadside cause a group of people to congregate and admire our bikes...

We then headed  out to TESCO in Kg Sireh where our hotel is located, right near a 7-Eleven store. Since it was still early in the morning, we had our breakfast and we were feeling really good that decided that we would be heading to Safwan’s house on two wheels and abandoned our primary idea of riding our bike to Wakaf Bharu train station to commute to Pasir Mas. 

A GPS was at hand to provide the much needed guidance and  we had barely started our journey when we noticed that there was some special event that was taking place in Kg Sireh. It was some sort of gathering of people with so many silat demonstrations taking place at the same time and at the nearby  Kelantan River banks, there was also a fishing competition taking place.  

Took some photos at the silat demonstrations. Later I accosted a police officer  to inquire whether bicycles are permitted to use the bridge to cross the Kelantan River and he was quite amused of our idea taking a bicycle trip to attend a wedding but gave his utmost support! Kelante ni jale sume sumbat belako... kalo naik beskal bagus!...
Ha amek ko!
 Aku musnahkan ko!
 After crossing the Kelantan River
The bride and her man

No wonder bro polis tu kata best giler naik basikal... the river crossing was a smooth sailing event. There is a special bicycle/motorcycle lane on that bridge although it was a tight fit considering that we brought along full panniers. If a motorbike were to overtake you on that bridge & if bernasib malang, a slight hit would cause you to be hurtled into the Kelantan River! (On the second day I saw a beca guna jalan tu... and  it caused a slow traffic to built-up on that bridge). Permandangan tepian sungai yang amat indah... only to be marred by the construction of an extra lane using ironworks and workmen busy fabricating the frame to support the extra weight. It is unfortunate that I did not manage to take any photos there (a dangerous  gamble!).

 The above refers to the actual route we took from KB Bus Station to Kg Pohon Tanjung. Click to enlarge.

The above refers to the actual route we took for our trip back to the hotel. Slightly a different route as we took a short-cut

Apa rasanya berbasikal di Kota Bharu? Best gila...  sebab most of time, we would be cruising on flat land. Sambung balik cerita - right after we crossed Sultan Yahaya Petra Bridge, my shoe started to give problems... inilah masalahnya kalau kasut tak jahit tapak. Geram gak sebab beli dah la branded yang patutnya tahan lasak... Camel Active.. yeah right... so sudahnya kami singgah kat kedai bundle tepi jalan yang banyak jual kasut/sandal preowned. Tah preowed atau kasut kena POW tah aku tak tahulah. Atas cadangan my brother, we settled for a pair of sandals yang ada tali ikat belakang. Nampak macam tahan lasak. Sudahnya my Camel Active kena gantung dalam plastik kat handle bar... Perjalanan masih jauh & dah ada beban yang menyebabkan my ride tak aerodynamic. Hmmmm.... nak buat macam mana sebab all our pannier bags dah penuh!

We passed by banyak kampung melayu... banyak surau... bannyak rumah tumpangan untuk para musafir disediakan dan macam-macam jenis homestay dan roomstay... aiseh kalau macam ni, I think we had made a mistake book hotel awal-awal in KB! In our case, it would be a do or die thing - mesti balik ke KB hari ini juga as the hotel would have charged my credit card whether we show up or not! We stopped a couple of times to rehydrate ourselves. Minum kena banyak, takut cram kaki kat tengah jalan susah! After a while, we reached Masjid Kasar. (yes nama tempat tu Kasar) and stopped here for about 45 minutes or so. Waktu solat Zuhur belum masuk lagi, we we took the opportunity to rest & freshen up. Wajdi pulak standby untuk recharge his smartphone. Tah pasal apa gps dia tak boleh dapat signal satellit. Macam ada gangguan aje. Panas tu takle panas sangat sebab cuaca cerah dan berawan. Masa kami relaks kat masjid tu la jemaah masjid datang sorang-sorang dan berkenalan dengan penulis. Fuh.. banyak yang depa tanya. Panjang cerita.. while Wajdi escaped the ordeal ...dok dalam masjid. Well, somebody have to keep a watchful eye on our bikes and panniers. Tambahan la pulak we brought along a netbook, bought pre-owned from my wife's good friend, Si Halizaton. Dah la tak bayar lagi! Kalau kena kebas naya! 

Lepas masjid kosong barulah kami bertolak.. Pekan Pasir Mas lagi 3 km aje lagi.. ikut Bro Fadli (member kenal kat masjid, group Tabligh) dia kata ada short cut merentas Pekan Pasir Mas. Tapi tak jumpa la pulak short cut tu. kalau redah masuk kampung orang, takut salah jalan. Ikut kata GPS, kema masuk Jalan Meranti .. ada la juga sesat sebab GPS pilih jalan jauh sikit, so kena patah balik sebab tak jumpa pun jalan keretapi yang jemaah masjih kata kami kena rentas. Akhirnya sampai la juga ke sekolah dan balai polis & ada signboard besar menunjukkan arah Kg Pohon Tanjung... melalui Jalan lama Rantau Panjang. Bersemangat nak mengayuh. Tension betul asyik kena kutuk dengan Wajdi, katanya basikal along tak bagus, lambat, rolling resistance tayar tinggi dll... iyelah, niatnya pakai basikal ni adalah untuk riadah & sight seing. Bukan nak bawa laju-laju. Adalah sebab I had chosen this bike. Antara lain sebab kalau nak pergi kerja naik basikal, kena meredah trail yang penuh ranjau dan jalan berbatu. kalau pakai basikal tayar 20 inci yg tipis tu, dijamin selalu pancit!

Update is always work in progress.

1 comment:

calios said...

Keep on updating sir!

I am at planning stage of a foldie touring in Kelantan too. Hope to learn from you as much as possible.