Monday, October 4, 2010

Bintan ride - My first bicycle touring journal

Riding brings people together... I mean how likely can u find 3 Doctors, 1 Tennis Coach, 1 Pastor and 1 Product designer together? Well that is exactly what we did, because we all lover to ride our bicycles. Simple as that. 
Meeting at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, we took a ferry to Bintan Bandan Bentan Telani. For all u people reading, this is me, Steven and Joshua virgin touring ride. All not knowing if we will make it to the resort alive... only 70 clicks...which from the youtube video...seem really fun....... right... 

Wonderful Bintan sky

Wonderful Sea and sand

Rolling start

Bintan showed hand early in the form of hills.. we dropped to our lowest gearing cranking up the hills. When it was too much, we walked.. tongue sticking out and dripping with sweat. I also learnt lots from the old birds like Al(love the fold) and Kelvin who taught me to Zig Zag up the hill and look just ahead one step at a time. The rain came down and was a nice respite from the heat. Slowly and surely we made it to the Ocean Bay Resort.  What a lovely place! Kampong style, creaky planks, clean and eco friendly rooms .No air cons, just a mosquito net and good old fan. This is not 5 star accommodation but I really like the undecorated and very honest feel to the whole place.  The food that was served up was fabulous, Crabs, fish, Sotong...etc, cooked simply and to perfection. The staff are friendly and helpful.  I know one thing for sure... I am bringing my little girl and wife to experience this again!

After dinner, we simply sat along the planks chatting, looking at our bikes, our friends bikes, the sea, the sky which changes colors so wonderfully. Simple pleasures of life.. and just 1 hour away from Busy Crazy Singapore.  One of the hight light of the evening was Kelvin pre-occupation with the ipad. He was playing international chess and raving on how cool the Ipad was... to the extent he taught us how to read the stars. I finally saw Scorpio for the first time.. very cool!

Pushing up the hills.... and putting on a brave front:)

Brother AL of love the fold pumping it up!
What goes up must come down.. push on!

Steamed flower crab with lots of garlic..bbbaaaggggus!
Papa Mike showing true grit and spirit! 

The next morning, it was riding to Tanjong Pinang. Roads were ok and what I like most is that the friendliness of the people. Cars, bikes, lorries hooted nicely as they passed, smiling and waving. The villagers waved and thumbs up... we waved back and smiled too...even though our behinds are quite sore...  but must act cool... :) 
Nearer to the city, traffic was brisk and wasn't as fun. We stopped midpoint for Otak otak and drinks and visited a fish market. The sea food sold was electic.. Sting ray and shark.. I mean very big shark... also If u fancy shark fin, this it the place to visit.  Reaching our objective at Ramayama - Tanjong Pinang "Takashimaya", we found the restaurant - Bundo Kanduang  which was fantastic... 17 dishes in all and we finished it!  Some of the group went for massage and Joshua, Kelvin and myself chose to roam around the place and drink coffee.

Otak Otak, small but very nice...we ate tons 
Shark lovers will not be pleased... found at the fish market
That's what i call a balanced meal
Magical sunset moment
Joshua at Ocean Bay Resort, we actually rode to our rooms!

Time passes so fast when u having fun...soon it was time to leave. We chose the coastal route this time which was flatter and nicer to ride. We passed by some fishing village and snapped more shots.. and even bought wild honey to bring home. 

The sun was up already and getting really hot. Still we pressed on, stopping several times to cool off have some drinks. On one steep down slope, I was bombing down the steep slope along side Alvin and at the bottom it was loosed gravel. I could feel my bike sliding side ways and it was an "oh oh" moment. Somehow, we both rolled passed safely... but it was close.  

One take away from this it that don't take things for granted and always wear helmet and gloves and look ahead. 

Soon we reached the ferry terminal. Yeah! I survived the Bintan ride and met some really cool friends. I guess I will be doing touring more often to ride, ride to eat! 
In the mood to sleep...zzz
 Star gazing lesson from Kevin using Ipad


  1. Heartiest congratulations on your first touring ride on foldies TW. So glad you came along and indeed, our common love for cycling is the glue that brings people together. Perhaps if all the world leaders went cycling like us, MJ's hope that "the world will be a better place" will be realised.

    Great pics as expected!

  2. Thanks AL for all ur encouragement and advice. I enjoyed it very much
    esp the chats outside our rooms, looking at the bikes, talking about bikes, about life, with the stars sparkling in sky. I will not forget that feeling.
    I think I have just caught the Folding touring bug!

  3. is the marathon supreme..?nice trip man..

    foldie (the guy at MBS who recommended you to fix marathon supreme) =P

  4. Hi Ken, it is great and roll well. Most importantly, no punctures. I think u will see some people asking for this tyre more now. Join us some day!

  5. Hi TW and aL
    Didnt know world so small! enjoyed the read.. been to some of the places but not cycling but via minibus enroute to some kelong and then off on boat fishing :P

  6. Hi, Our group plans for Bintan couple of years ago were folded (pardon the pun) when we were told the ferries no longer took bikes. But I seem to see at least one non-foldie in your group. So there were no problem transporting it? May I ask how much the ferry charged for bikes then?

  7. hello Dennis,
    Nice one!10 bucks each way. we kept it unfolded as it makes it easier for the workers to roll on the ferry. Nope, no problem for full size bikes. we saw afew road biking groups zipping around.. I guess they training for the tour de bintan, which will be held this week end I think.

    Ferry service is extremely smooth, aircon and in 1 hour u are transported back to into time. Try it.. it is fun!

  8. Hi Taiwoon

    My memories fail me. Our trip was to BATAM, and ferries to Batam told us they do not take bicycles.

    However, we did go to Bintan on another occasion and cycled down to the resort on the east coast. Don't remember the name, but it was close to Yatsin (sp?). I remember there was a pretty long stretch of cobbled road down the east coast. It was a fun trip.


  9. I just bought it at MBS. Only $599. It’s on offer. Original price was $1,350. Not bad.