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Pengarang Revisited

6.00 o'clock in the morning on a public holiday. The city is silent and sleeping. Undeterred, certain gung-ho Team Absolutees are up before sunrise and loading their bikes, wives, friends and themselves onto and into (as the case may be) their vehicles, shooting off in the direction of the rising sun. Others peel themselves from their beds with aspirations of burning off some of that old Christmas turkey still lodged in their bellies.

And…while our fellow Muslim friends are "breaking-fast" for Hari Raya Puasa, some men and "wimmin" dressed in tights conduct their own "break-fasting" ritual at the Changi Point Hawker Centre - downing oily wan ton noodles and other sinful numbers to charge up for the grueling day ahead…or at least, until they refuel during lunchtime. Others took "charging" off their biking agenda, ever ready to "brake fast" to avoid an endo replay.

At 8.30 am, more than 20 bikers lined the wooden seats of 2 bumboats with their metal appendages and from Changi Jetty II, sailed off "overseas" to a foreign land. 45 minutes later, they were greeted by stable weather conditions at Tanjong Pengarang, Malaysia…and the Pengerang immigration department. After the Malaysian authorities were convinced there were no illegal immigrants in their midst, the pack of riders started off the first leg of the journey along the coastal road.

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Unknowing victims being led out
on the latest teamabsolut ride!
This is a picture of their
black, black souls

For the benefit of some of us who still wonder who our comrades of that day were, here is a feeble attempt at an introduction :-

The usual and ever faithful Team Absolutees (in no real order) : Cocopops , Viagra, Pianoman, Skin, Stick, Wanker, Porky, Sandman, Oldman, Beef, Keith and Beyka ….and perhaps more.
The runner who bikes for fun : Messieur Marche (Heinz….Zwei….Drei…)
The "leisure" riders : Mr Ng (Tchi Mun), Beverly, Greg (on his Original Litespeed) and Ling Legstrong (an Absolutee who doesn't use her frequent biker mileage that often. And by the way, that's me…the authoress)
Ms Mama "MIA" (or "Missing in Action") : June (making a guest appearance)
Newcomers : Martha (Mart, the proud owner of a 30+ pound rigid bike), Paul (who rented a Changi Bike Shop-owned close cousin of Mart's bike), Lim (Orangina from KL), Porky's cousin and other bikers whose names escape me at the present moment (my deepest apologies).

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Ah, blue skies and the open road.
What more could you ask for?
The fateful turning that took
us away from civilization

After some easy cruising on concrete, we finally turned left, off-road and resisted the temptation of harvesting rambutan at a little village. Dutifully following in Keith's tracks, we combed the palm tree plantation, gliding on the relatively straight and flat trails.

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Skin's smiling cos he
thinks the ride is over
And the winner is...no one...
60 km to go you guys..
Heavy traffic on the main highway
in the middle of nowhere


Then…we branched off onto wide undulating orange earth surrounded by seemingly open fire combat tracks on both sides. After scaling a couple of slight inclines, we stopped for a water break at the next (and only) shaded spot in the hard desert. There was a flurry of activity at this oasis : I asked newcomer Mart "so, how was the ride?" and Mart retorted "you…promised….me…. only….(breathe)…"one"….hill,….you ******". Skin was making a giant stone pizza delivery. Heinz Beans and Beef displayed their MTB trekking skills to no end. Others were content simply to hide from the scorching sun.

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I think it's left to town
..or is it right?
If you look closely, you will
see a can of beans on the hill
Can you imagine running into
us in the middle of nowhere?

As we continued, it all came back to me...flashbacks…"You can do it", Beyka cheered as I approached the only downhill that brought an abrupt end to my previous Pengarang trip. I crossed the line in slow-motion with the "Chariots of Fire" theme song running through my head. Yes, I did it. I survived the gravel monster!!!

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This is the downhill that bites back!

That ecstatic feeling vapourised as soon as the smell of rubbish set in. Holding our breath, we scooted out of rubbish-dump land and onto the trail parallel to the main road, which led our hungry tummies to its calling : the ultimate eating station at Sungei Ringgit town. On the way, we found the skull of a canine…or so we assumed.

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The aftermath of Zouk Out 2000 OM is the one with the helmet.
The other thing is the skull

After a light appetizer of Baluku, we headed for the kill at the local Seafood house. In a feeding frenzy, the food on all 3 tables were gone in seconds. Cocopops, with the Western tastebuds, happily chomped down his de-licious Mary Brown chicken and distributed some jet-propulsion food : durians. And to think that the prick of the durian will kill you, just then, a worn-out tube exploded in the heat of the sun. Viagra [and ?…] volunteered to change the tube belonging to Mart, who later purchased from the local tyre dealer a new set of tyres and tubes for the price of only S$10. What a find!!!

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This ride is sponsored
by...100 PLUS
You thought I
was kidding right?
Check out the guy
with the beer
And you thought the rubbish
was bad. Imagine having to
ride behind him!

Shortly after, one group of impatient bikers led by Oldman sped off, leaving the remaining bikers Absolut-ly clueless. The second group finally caught on, only to find Mr Orangina and his friend meditating under a tree along the way. Meanwhile, Mart, Paul and June checked out the town. The rest of us headed for the beach resort some 30 minutes away. Beyka, Legstrong and Skin went skinny dipping, while the rest squatted and bike-talked.

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Skinny dipping. Actually
more like Skin swimming
This is "squatting and bike talking" Survivor 2001. The Malaysian Outback.
Coming soon to a TV near you

En route to town, Orangina left his glasses under the tree. While the "speedy Gonzales" bikers waited for his return, the "slow coaches" had a headstart - against all odds, we had to catch the last ride home scheduled for 4 pm. "Only 30 minutes away" did we hear someone say? Keith assured some that 7 km to the jetty translates to about 30 minutes. More than 1/2 hour later, we still could not smell the sea. T'was the miscalculations of a mad biker.

Our motto was "cheong until you drop dead", fighting against the headwind on the road that never ends. No doubt, the Absolutees made it in good time, followed by the rest, slowly but surely. Overheard : "I died twice in this strip", said anoyher newcomer, Paul. Beverly did not get her butt pinched this time by unruly locals on motorbikes, thanks to her personal guard, Mr Ng. Beef, having passed with flying colours, got the loyalty award for sticking by June all the way.

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Coco Pops and Heinz
mock you for being slow!!
The team just before
starting the swim home..
Poor OM, all that water
and not a drop to drink.

The boats left about 4.30 pm, carrying stoned bikers with tanned faces, tired limbs and their rather clean bikes. Not only did the heavens not piss on us, we were blessed with excellent weather and good company. One last comment : Keith, the weather forecaster, should keep his day job.

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Zzzz...really need I say more? Lardo checking out the cool
customs booth in Changi

This page was last updated on 05/30/02.
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