One Pedal At A Time

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We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Clocking the hours on our bums, our noses too close to the screens of our overused, if not abused, laptops, we typed away the extra hours at work, hitting the target word count for one story after another.

There’s nothing like an approaching deadline and departure happening simultaneously. Oh, Sabah, so near and yet so far.

Little by little, we were closing the distance between our desks of monotony and the dirt of adventure, finding ourselves mid-air, buckled up onboard the aircraft, while exchanging sighs of relief after a job well done.

Leaving behind our cushy office chairs and the drama of our big deadlines, we began to think gutsy adventure. Think Sabah.

Touchdown The Land Below

A breath of fresh air, Kota Kinabalu was our treat to ourselves. The kind of treat that was also a step outside of our comfort zone, especially when it would involve cycling extended miles on and off the road.

Came morning, all geared up with our Fox cycling apparel, we, together with Auther and Wilson of Trek Finder Tours, began spinning our wheels from Kilometer Zero near the Sabah Tourism Board building. It’s set in stone like our little exploit that we’re bound to finish strong. We could see the distance between us and the majestic Mount Kinabalu. We giggled in a little nervousness and a whole lot of excitement. Let the wheels roll!

 

No, we would not exchange our sturdy saddles for any swivel chair back in the office. As we were pedaling, the sun was warming our skin lightly, and with the wind blowing from the Anjung Ocean, we knew it’s going to be a great day—far greater than the past few days buried in work.

We rode through the city that brought a completely different meaning to a city ride. There was about 1km of bicycle lane, overlooking the scenic blue sea and outlining the city at the corners.

Stray creatures caught the gentlemen’s eye, while strangers caught ours. The fisher folk became captives of our childlike curiosity. They answered to our questions like willing storytellers. If not for our cycling buddies and their reliable translations, we would get lost in the conversation—or, it would never have happened at all.

We even managed to capture fishermen selling crabs to an old lady. As we cruised along the roads, the heat began to prickle our skin with sweat. That only called for one thing—coconut water! We stopped at a small shack and were introduced to “kelapa bakar” (burnt coconut). By simply burning the coconut in a fire, it becomes charred and the water inside gets used for medicinal purposes.

Our wheels took us to roads paved with much urban greenery. We crossed a couple of bridges, wooden and of golden age, on foot and on wheels. There were children singing under the bridge, old folks walking past us, and our team returning smiles at them.

As we cycled, we came across a beautiful lake with a floating house on it. A small bridge led us to the open waters. Dark shades of green stood afloat, creating a lonely ambience to the already abandoned area.

We crossed a couple of bridges, wooden and of golden age, on foot and on wheels. There were children singing under the bridge, old folks walking past us, and our team returning smiles at them.

We continued our expedition and stopped at a market place to enjoy their local food and rub shoulders with the locals. We were served delicious rojak mee. Walking around the market, we found ourselves amid loud fishmongers and quiet gray-haired women selling fruits and vegetables. But of course, everyone smiles when you point a camera at their faces and we captured them all! We filled our stomach with good local food, but little did we know that we were being prepped for a long haul far from the city, that which would take us closer to our destination.

Laugh Until Your Stomach Hurts!

Cracking up jokes here, taking photos there; nothing was done without humor mixed in.

For the next few kilometers that followed, we held on to their punchlines to keep our sanity intact throughout the lung-busting climbs and descents on the road. We tied our shoelaces a little tighter to prepare for what was behind the gates of the city.

But what shut us up, not for long, was the off-road challenge that mocked our weak attempts at the pretty steep hills, coming at us one after another. Auther and Wilson shot us grins, as we were panting and almost-failing; we couldn’t help but react and break into fits of laughter.

Shredding downhill was not as easy as we thought it would be, especially not when there’s the drizzle teasing the trail, melting it into slippery mud. This was the time where all you had to do was trust the dirt with abandon.

All the warning we got was Hold on to your brakes as you go down! Unfortunately, one of us did fall. But as we got to her, she was not only covered with mud but also with laughter. That only meant one thing—on with the show!

What better way to finish off this cycling escapade than with beers and cheers with men of restless genes? It would have been almost impossible to enjoy the grueling grind without this duo’s hilarious stories.

We were transferred to a homestay in the evening situated in a vast land full of homes that were full of life! We witnessed kids playing, dogs, chickens and ducks freely roaming around and in harmony. There were no frowns, and everyone seemed content with their lives—something you don’t see in the city. We sat down at the porch to live their lives for a night. We filled the air with conversations and laughter and ended the night with a home-cooked dinner.

what shut us up, not for long, was the off-road challenge that mocked our weak attempts at the pretty steep hills, coming at us one after another.

 

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