Sunday, February 26, 2012

Georgetown Hotels

From renovated 100 year old Chinese shophouses to historic colonial British luxury, there is no end to the hotels on offer in Georgetown. We got a sneak peek of some of the hotels and chose our favorites where we can really picture guests relaxing at the hotel and within walking distance of everything to enjoy the city. Here are some pictures from the visits:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Penang Hill

I couldn't leave Georgetown without trying the climb to Penang Hill again. Last year I read about it and tried it. Blog entry 2011. I knew what was coming, 5 km with ramps at 35%. 16% average.
I didn't take the Felt, used Debbie's Orbea instead, with a compact 34 in the front, 28 in the back.

I tried to make it earlier, but it was already 11am. At least it rained last night and it's a bit cloudy. I left the busy streets of Georgetown behind and went by the botanical gardens.
Passed by the open barrier to the climb, the steep grade arrives quickly, 30%. No more gears. Standing up and giving everything to go 4-5km/h.

In the first 300meters, memories start coming from last year, realizing it's harder than I'd wanted it to be. There are marks every hundred meters, which change very slowly. By km1, I start to fade down and think about going home.

After a few minutes to take a breath, I keep going up. Some hikers cheer me on. One says, oh you must have a triple...huh...i wish!

1 hour later I am at the top!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Riding in Penang

Today reminded me of the days Jordi and I have gone out from Girona to explore alternatives and new rides. The conversation goes something like this, ¨Look! This is new, we never did that before. Where does this paved trail go? Oh, the pavement has ended…¨ If we’re lucky, the path is in good condition. If not, it turns into a hard mountainbike trail, with mud, plants…but it pays off if we find a good connection. Those are the days we may end up doing 3hrs and 35km of riding, destroying our legs. 
That was today. I left Georgetown. I wanted to climb up to a reservoir and try to reach the other end of the island. The map showed a road, or a trail with a different color than the other roads. Other riders said it could be done on a mountainbike… The first climb was hard, but having done Penang Hill before, I would call it medium hard. Once at the top, the road is what one may dream of when thinking about riding in the jungle. This is what the real experience in Malaysia should be.

The plains by the sea in the southeastern part of the island were also nice, and I took a few small roads through banana and palm trees, and rice fields.
I stopped for some fried noodles and iced coffee (kopi’o ais) to recover and consider the way back. Option 1: the direct easy way. Option 2: checking more options. Of course I take the second choice…

Debbie and I went for a ride and got a bit lost in the mountains. Needed a breath in some steep parts. A guy came by in a mountain bike and we followed him to the next town. The cemented path we went on was amazing and we had difficulties to follow him. At the bottom he bought us a drink and showed our way back to Georgetown just before dusk. The kindness of malays

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


While we are still deciding where the tour will start, we head north to Georgetown.
We are travelling with road bikes and just a suitcase for the two of us. It’s easier to travel and move around than last year, when were riding with panniers. Everything felt heavy and slow. This time we only have to take care of finding good riding, accommodation and food.
 Why Georgetown? Declared a UNESCO World heritage city in 2008, the city is bustling with life: the mixture of Malaysia’s three cultures Indian, Chinese and Malay are well differentiated in different parts of town. This also translates in the amazing food on offer, fine restaurants and hundreds of food stalls that serve the best Malaysian, Indian and Chinese dishes.
The construction of the traditional Chinese houses, built under Feng Shui rules, give the old city a special character. The hotels we selected combine old Chinese and Malay luxury and we see similarities with our Bikecat style.

Georgetown is on the little island of Penang and the riding, once you leave the busy center, is exhilarating. The trails in the jungle are very challenging and have some steep sections…
Then there is Penang Hill, which is definitely the hardest climb I have ever done.  4.5km and 700meters of total ascent, more than 15% average, with pitches around 30%! I highly discourage doing it, but on the last day of the tour, I´ll be happy to try it with you.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Planning

We used our initial days in KL to meet up with Jeff, plan our stay and direct energies for creating the tour in Malaysia. Here we are enjoying Malaysian tapas, checking out the velodrome and the 2012 Asian Cycling Championships. Jeff brought us to nice places to plan the trip, like the birdpark café, where we could admire the hornbills. Jaume working from the heart at our hotel. Then we were off to Georgetown, Penang!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Cycling in Malyasia 2012

Malaysian Adventure 2012 begins
This year our time in Malaysia is to make it happen: Cycling Tour in Malaysia starting in 2013. We will meet up with Jeff, our local contact, do the rides, find the best restaurants and hotels, just like in Girona.
Off to Kuala Lumpur through Amsterdam and some quiet cramming time for learning Malay