When the first Facebook posts about a supported ride from Ijok to Teluk Intan and back appeared on my News Feed, I was intrigued. It was the maiden ride organised by Johan S and Danial AM, who together are BCG Tour. They describe themselves as “2 cyclists who are dedicated to spreading the joy and good feeling of cycling to everyone.”
I am always up for joy and good feeling. Leslie and I signed up, and joined eleven other cyclists in Ijok.
Right away we all made new friends.
Before we headed out onto Jalan Kuala Selangor we got a short briefing about what to expect along the way. We were given ziploc bags holding cue sheets for the route. There weren’t many turns to watch out for, so none of us were worried about getting lost. Danial and Johan would both be driving support vehicles, one of which was a pickup, so help would always be close at hand.
Johan is a photographer by profession. He started snapping photographs at the start, and regularly hopped out of his car along the route to take action shots. All the photographs in this post, unless indicated otherwise, were shot by him.
The route took us west from Ijok town to Jalan Kapar. There we turned right and headed north to Kuala Selangor and Sekinchan.
We made our first stop at Sekinchan after covering 48km / 30mi in 90 minutes. Pretty quick, thanks to Eric leading the way. It was time to regroup, and have a cold drink and a rest at a PETRONAS station.
The pace stayed high between Sekinchan and Sabak Bernam, which was our next designated regrouping point.
The staff at the KFC weren’t fazed by a throng of sweaty cyclists rocking up to the counter to order drinks and food. I’m not sure what the other patrons thought though.
We spent ninety minutes at the KFC in Sabak Bernam. By the time we were all ready to leave it was starting to get hot. Very hot.
Certainly hot enough for me to slather some more sunscreen on my exposed skin, and to tuck a bandana under my helmet to keep the sun off the back of my neck.
The last 40km / 25mi to Teluk Intan started with a 5km / 3mi detour through town and along the Sungai Bernam to avoid roadworks on the main road. The detour did include the opportunity to show off some cyclocross skills.
Once back on the main road we hit the climb of the day – the entire route is so flat that bridges across rivers count as climbs.
After that it was a non-stop ride to Teluk Intan.
I am sure we were all glad to get to the landmark Menara Condong (Leaning Tower) in Teluk Intan. The end point for Day 1.
Overnight accommodation was at the Yew Boutique Hotel, situated a few hundred metres from the Menara Condong. The hotel ticked all the boxes. The lobby cum coffee house is bright and spacious. The room Leslie and I shared was clean and comfortable. The air conditioning worked well, as did the water heater for the shower. We were even allowed to bring our bikes into our room.
Most of us hung out in the coolness of the coffee house before heading up to our rooms for a shower etc.
Once we were cleaned up it was time to eat. Next door to the hotel is the Medan Selera GSB (Glutton Square Baru) that serves delicious vegetarian popiah.
Three servings, and some of Leslie’s shrimp wan tan, were enough to tide me over until dinner that evening.
Next came a dusk photo session at the Menara Condong.
A dinner tip from local boy Shahfiq was the udang galah (giant freshwater prawns) at Restoran D’Tepian Sungai. Udang Galah are a big deal in Teluk Intan. These big versions are at Dataran Udang Galah (Udang Galah Square), which we walked through on the way to the restaurant.
As its name implies, Restoran D’Tepian Sungai overlooks the Sungai Perak. It is a simple open-air place.
Essentially just a roof over tables and chairs, with the river visible behind.
You don’t come to Restoran D’Tepian Sungai for a fancy restaurant experience. You come for this.
Ordered by the kilo, and cooked in your choice of six different ways.
We were treated to an epic thunderstorm as we ate our prawns, squid etc. The rain persisted after we had all finished our dinners. By the time we could venture out into the open to walk home, some were peckish again.
Teluk Intan is noted for its chee cheong fun. The best is reputedly made by Liew Kee (Ah Lek) Chee Cheong Fun, which conveniently was on the way back to the hotel.
Despite all the food I ate for dinner, I was up early for the set breakfast that came with the hotel room. Toast and jam, a fried egg, baked beans and coffee set me up for the ride home.
Riders headed back onto the road when they were ready, beginning before dawn.
My day didn’t start very well. I had a puncture 9 kilometres from the hotel.
The fix was complicated by a valve core that kept unscrewing from the valve, rapidly releasing all the air that Leslie and I had just worked hard to pump in. Fortunately Danial appeared in his truck, with a small pair of pliers, and perhaps more crucially, a foot pump that had a push-on rather than a screw-on head.
Once my rear tire was back on my bike, we had no more trouble. We retraced our route back to Ijok, this time without the need to detour around road works.
As it had done the day before, the temperature climbed steadily through the morning. The humidity level was also very high after the heavy rain during the night.
I wasn’t the only one sweating buckets on the return ride. Leslie and I stopped at a Caltex station in Batang Berjuntai for a cold drink and a dose of air conditioning.
We stopped again at the Padi Box in Sekinchan, which was the scheduled regrouping point.
The Padi Box is a homestay place built out of repurposed shipping containers.
Unfortunately the cafe was closed because there was a video shoot going on. So we descended on the fruit stall on the corner of Jalan Tali Air 4 and the main road. Where I drank three large glasses of fresh mango juice in double quick time. I had been drinking regularly from my bidons, but the fluid was dripping out of me almost as fast as I was taking it in.
20km / 12mi later we stopped at Cendol Durian Borhan in Kampung Permatang. Yet another food outlet that has achieved stellar status in the eyes of foodies.
I can’t fault the decor.
The cendol was very good.
So good that I had another bowl after I finished the two in front of me.
Given the amount of fluid I had drunk during the previous two hours, I am surprised that I wasn’t sloshing around during the 25km / 16mi from the cendol stop to Ijok. It was straight into the 7-Eleven at Ijok for another drink as soon as we finished.
Johan and Danial did an excellent job making sure that everyone got back to Ijok safely. Kudos to the both of them for organising a fun event. And congratulations to all the participants. For some this was their longest ride to date. Well done.
If you are interested in joining the next BCG tour event, click here. Kajang to Melaka and back on June 4th and 5th. 260km / 162mi in all. I’m sure you will enjoy it.