Pedal Power

Published by Time Out Penang on 2 May 2013

Cycling through scenic landscapes on the mainland, Raewyn V. McBain encounters a fisherman’s cove, Leaf monkeys, herds of cows but, thankfully, no crocs!

I will give you that one of my favorite bike rides is slightly off the beaten track South of Juru, however just to experience the sheer tranquility of Malaysia’s nature makes it well worth the journey. After loading our bikes into the car we found ourselves on Penang Bridge and in no time we were taking Exit 160 towards Juru.

Having deposited our car in the kampung on Sungai Sembilang (dead end road) we set off on our cycle journey after taking the first left turn onto Lorong Semilang 5 we were beside the local SSFC clubhouse with the gravel path in front of us.

In the heat of the afternoon with plenty of water in stow our 33 KM journey along the single lane gravel track was in process. This ride has many advantages, no traffic apart from the odd local on a motorbike searching for that perfect fishing spot and the flat terrain for the entire route are all bonuses in my book.

The only sounds to be heard were our cycle tyres crunching through the gravel. Occasionally we would hear the splash of a fish jumping or witness a monitor lizard cooling off his parched skin in the estuary. As the ride hugs the water inlet fairly early on in the ride we passed the fisherman’s cove where the colourful fishing boats were an explosion to the eye.

Thankfully, we didn’t witness any salt water crocodiles, apart from the sign warning of their presence. One couldn’t help sing the tune to the Malaysia Beautiful Asia advert as the CEO of Pink Tiger Media I can’t help remembering taglines of advertisements.

We got to witness troops of Leaf monkeys, including spectacled Langur’s (The species of monkey with White panda looking eyes). Wild life was abundant with herds of cows and goats, flocks of birds such as yellow Orioles and Egrits looking as if they were partaking in a daily meditation, along with exotic looking butterflies.

To one side of the track were palm and rubber plantations adding to the overall ambience of the ride on this perfect afternoon in the tropics. As we approached Kami Farm (+604 588 7320) a local chicken farm, the noise of “chicken chatter” was an interesting form of music to ones ears. The quaint architecture of the Church of the Holy name of Mary (+604 588 7799)and the Indian Temple – Sri Akni Muniswarar were a sign that we were back into civilisation.

For anyone that wants to embrace nature unspoiled by civilization this is an easy ride on a mountain bike, being Malaysia there are hawker stalls at the end of the ride in Seberang Prai. Thus after a teh tarik and a plate of fried rice it was time to do the journey in reverse. I can recommend Restoran Taman Perwira. A very worthwhile three hour round trip which can only be described as both a tranquil and energetic adventure.