Monday, October 15, 2007

And he's off!

Updated version: I had blogged earlier about my friend John who planned to ride from the southernmost to the northernmost part of peninsula Malaysia in a journey to uncover his place in his nation and his nation in him. Well, he left this afternoon and you can follow his progress in his own blog.

The southernmost tip of Malaysia is Tanjung Piai, a National Park that has visitor friendly boardwalks criss-crossing parts of the 526 hectares of coastal mangrove swamps and canals.

A Ramsar certified site, Tanjung Piai is also the southernmost tip of the Asian continental land mass.

We headed out to Tanjung Piai at mid-morning and reached there just before noon. John, Mei and I decided to play tourists for a while and we walked along the boardwalk marveling at the swamp and the rich animal and plant life it sustained.

We finally reached the southernmost point, a stark, soulless jetty with concrete floor, bizarre sayings nailed onto the railings, and ...

... a globe that looks like it has seen better days in a 3rd rate amusement park. John, though, seemed transfixed by it, perhaps plotting his next trip?

After a lacklustre lunch in Kukup at a seafood restaurant designed to relieve unsuspecting Singaporeans of their dollars, we headed back to Tanjung Piai for the real business of the day... The Journey.

First off, getting the gear out of the car. "Hmmm, I seemed to be missing something?"

After much moving things about...

... out comes the frame and the bags.

Take out the second wheel...

... and make sure there is enough air in it...

... before securing it to the frame.

Tyre pressure check for the back wheel.

And make sure all the bags are secured properly.

Now it's time to put on the right gear, starting with shoes.

Load the bags at the back...

... making sure they are balanced.

Put on the funny little thingamajig they call a bicycle helmet...

... and some mean gloves....

before taking a swig of holy water, blessed by the patron saint of cyclists, St. Wheely.

Give the ol' gal a good, long hug. Notice how I cleverly focused on the background, rendering the tender moment in soft focus, something I totally intended to do when releasing the shutter of my idiot-proof camera.

Then it's time to climb on board, test the gadgets and go for a quick spin.

All set, the man flashes his trademark cheeky grin...

... and he's off. Good luck, John. Be safe.

1 comment:

Jen L. said...

Thanks for putting this up -- I feel like I was there myself! Have a safe and fun trip, John!