Saturday, Nov 21st 2009: Ride with Signor Beppe Damioli

From Left: Syamsul, Zack, Faizol, Beppe and Zaha

Original Route: Sg Long
Extended Route: Sg. Long-UKM-Salak-UKM-Sg. Long
Total Mileage: 80+ Km
Beppe's Blog:

There’s nothing like waking up on Saturday morning for a ride on the bike. I took a quick look to check the weather condition. It was cloudy and a bit windy but It didn't look like it’s going to rain soon in the morning. The ride was On On!

The drill was simplicity by itself, Saturday route will be Sg. Long, RV at Sg. Balak toll plaza at 7.30am. Least would I expect that we’re about to embark on a journey to.... Salak....with an Italian guy by the name of Beppe Damioli, age 61, riding solo from Phuket en route to Singapore and was making a trip Port Dickson.

Part 1: The 1st Encounter

Zack, Syamsul and I started our ride from the Sg. Balak toll. It had been a while since Syamsul joined us on the rides. Saipol couldn’t joined us as he had domestic responsibility at hand that needed his utmost attention. Zack was with his MTB.

With hit the road soon after with Syamsul leading the pack at 30-35 KM/H.

Right after we’ve passed the Sg Ramal (south) toll booth, before the Bandar Baru Bangi exit we came across a foreigner on a touring bike waving his hands at us. We stopped by to check if the guy needed any help. He introduced himself as Beppe from Italy and was trying to find his way to Port Dickson (PD). To make matter more complicated Signor Beppe couldn’t speak proper English. He showed us the map he had with him and asked where he was in Italian mixed with a little bit of English.

Apparently he’s been cycling from Phuket en route to Singapore and along the way visiting few places such as Penang, Langkawi, Kuala Kangsar, Slim River and quite recently Kuala Lumpur. He’s heading to to PD, Melaka, Johor and eventually Singapore.

In the spirit of “cycling brotherhood” or whatever that means, Zack suggested that we ride with Beppe up until Salak via Bangi Lama as this route was the best option to PD from where we were. So we called Zaha and explained the situation and asked him to meet up with us at the junction en route to Putrajaya.

Who would have thought of such an interesting occasion? Suddenly we’re off to Salak to help a fellow rider while enjoying the detour. The plan was set and we continued our journey together. Unfortunately an accident happened and Beppe was thrown off his bike after hitting one of the ridiculously designed drainage metal bars on the road shoulder. Luckily he only had minor injuries but we had to stop to fix his punctured front wheel.

Part 2: The detour

We continued soon after that with Zack leading the way through the Jalan Reko to UKM filled with pot holes, sand traps and bumps.

While cycling through the shady road of Bangi Lama, I reckoned that Beppe were getting uncomfortable and began to struggle to keep up with Zack who’s cranking at the speed of 33-35 KMH but he always managed to close the gap whenever we were on flat roads.

We stopped at the juction to Salak to wait for Zaha who already on his way here. While waiting for Zaha, we took some pictures and exchange blog addresses. Signor Beppe apparently posted his journey details on his blog regularly.

Syamsul and I were wondering why Zack was on full throttle and to our surprise so did Beppe too. He asked Zack to lift his bike while explaining that his bike was heavy with the bags strapped on it. He jokingly asked Zack to swap bikes with him. I thought that was funny though.

We continued our journey once Zaha joined us. Zack led the pack followed by Beppe and the rest of us but this time, for fear of Beppe insisting to change his bike, Zack capped the speed at 25-28 KM/H.

The ride was decent up until De Palma hill where Beppe was struggling to climb it with the loads he was carrying. We stopped on the hill for a while to catch a breather before continuing our journey to the Salak town.

Finally we arrived at Salak town and made a stop at the infamous Kedai Janda, a local restaurant for a drink. Beppe requested a group photo together with our bikes right under a bus stop across the road opposite the restaurant.

Surprisingly, I didn't keep track of how much time exactly spent on the wheels from the Bandar Baru Bangi exit up until Salak town. Personally, I'd figure it must had slipped my mind as I was so consumed with the ride and enjoying the moment while riding with these bunch together with Beppe.

After a brief break and refueling we parted ways with Beppe who continued his quest to PD but not before he gave each of us a hearty hug. I guess it might be the Italian way of expressing gratitude.

To Beppe, good luck with your journey and hopefully you’ll enjoy our country and put on good words to your friends about Malaysia.

Part 3: Finish the route, stay the cause, no chicken out.

We cycled our way back to where we came from and parted our ways with Zaha at the Bangi Lama-Semenyih interchange. Zack and I continued our way back to SILK highway and climbed the Sg Long to complete the route while Syamsul took the Sg. Jelok exit to Kajang Perdana.

This was one indeed a memorable ride. Thank you all for being such a sport. Great Ride!

Pictures taken during the ride:

At the RV

Fixing Beppe's bike

At the Salak junction waiting for Zaha

Beppe was checking on our location

Beppe showing his bruises...

En route to Salak town

Taking a breather on top of De Palma hill

At Kedai Janda, taking a break and refueling.

Beppe smoking his pipe while Zack was asking him about the price of a Pinarello bike in Italy.

Beppe was checking his blog on Syamsul's Iphone

Beppe continued his journey to Port Dickson. Abbia un buoni viaggio e buona fortuna Signor Beppe!

At Salak's Petronas, refilling the water bottles

Bangi Lama fruit stall en route to Jln Reko, continuing the Sg. Long's route

At Bukit Kajang's toll plaza, taking a break at 12.00pm

It was hot, it was 12.30 noon.

Syamsul chicken out...puck puck puckkkkkk...



Anonymous said...

Dear Faizol, Syamsul, Zack, and Zaha, I'm a friend of Beppe Damioli. What a surprise to see him riding with You to Port Dickson! I only want to congratulate with You for your great blog and thank You again for helping my friend Beppe.
Good Luck to You and your families!

Giorgio, an italian cyclist (Pinarello)

Anonymous said...

This is a ride that I will remember.
And it wasn't planned pun.
Meeting Beppe was a real eye-opener to what some people are capable of.

Thanks guys and Beppe too.


Faizol said...

Hi Giorgio,

I hope your are in the pink of health.

We were glad to be able to help Beppe to Port Dickson. It was an enjoyable and memorable ride.

My friend Zack is a Pinerello fan...he kept asking Beppe about Pinarello all the time...

Beppe told us he has a TREK Madone 6.9 and his a TREK fan.

Thank you for your kind wish. My friends and I wish the best for you and family as well.


Iwan said...

You guys are ROCK !! That is the spirit and hope this is only the beginning for greater things in the future !

Iwan said...

You guys are ROCK !! That is the spirit and hope this is only the beginning for greater things in the future !

Faizol said...

Thanks Iwan!