Pedalling to a Paradise

loading Group photo at Tanjung City Marina. A total of 114 came to take part from Penang, Kedah, KL, Petaling Jaya, Ipoh, Taiping and Sarawak. There were even several from abroad, flying in from Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines.

A group of Brompton buffs pedal off the beaten path.

Karen Lai

Half-folded Brompton bicycles.

Guar Petai lies north of Bukit Mertajam. With beautiful blue ponds amid a green landscape surrounded by reddish-brown hillocks, it is a place not many, even locals, know about. But that is changing. Its abandoned quarry is steadily becoming a hit with hikers and picnicking families.

MY Brompton Malaysia, a group that regularly holds events for owners of a Brompton – one of the world’s most compact and robust bicycles (making them suitable for bike-packing onto planes, trains and buses) – arranged a cycling trip that would take cyclists onto the ferry over to the mainland and Guar Petai.

Cycling At Pengkalan Weld.

Many were eager to meet up in comradeship and enjoy the charms of Penang. In fact, most arrived a day earlier to explore the charms of George Town’s old streets, quaint houses, engaging street art, friendly people and, of course, the food. We cycled everywhere; it was so much easier than walking and we could cover more sights.

Ride day kicked off with us gathering at the Tanjung City Marina at the break of dawn and then cycling over to the Sri Weld Food Court for a quick breakfast of delicious nasi lemak.

Shortcut across the railway tracks

Shortcut across the railway tracks.

Sarawakian Brommie rider with Orang Ulu rattan basket.

And then it was on to the ferry to go over to Butterworth. For many, it was a first: going over the North Channel on a slow rocking ride while holding on to their Bromptons; for the port authorities it was a record number of bicycles on a ferry (as one official put it).

Most arrived a day earlier to explore the charms of George Town’s old streets, quaint houses, engaging street art, friendly people and, of course, the food. We cycled everywhere; it was so much easier than walking and we could cover more sights

Cycling along the Butterworth Outer Ring Road.

As we reached Butterworth Terminal, a shout went out: “Hold on to your bikes and stand firm!” as the ferry berthed with a couple of lurches.

We sped out of the ferry onto the Butterworth Outer Ring Road and headed north.

Jalur Gemilang flying high.

Off-road cycling on red laterite roads.

Just after Kampung Lahr Yooi we turned off from the busy main road onto quieter rustic roads, surrounded by green paddy fields.

Taking a break for a photo..

Every once in a while we passed scenic rivers.

But our adventure was just getting more exciting. At Kampung Guar Petai, we turned off the tarred road onto reddish laterite roads that led past a brick factory.

Behind this factory is the treasure of the locality, the abandoned Guar Petai quarry – a serene quiet landscape of laterite hillocks interspersed with bright blue ponds.

All of us were taken in by the beauty of the place, a small paradise indeed. Soon we were snapping photos of ourselves with the emerald pools in the background or with us high on the reddish hillocks. Happy with the beautiful memories made, we rode back, promising to be return.

Scenic views of the Guar Petai quarry.

The AhPek Biker is a cyclist in his late fifties. His cycling adventures have taken him to many interesting places such as Borneo, the Batanes in the Philippines, New Zealand and Japan. Read more about his cycling adventures at http://ahpekbiker. blogspot.com.



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