Some activities require a lot of planning. Others happen almost spontaneously. This trip to Melaka was one of the latter. The idea was mooted on the 13th. There were few takers initially. On the 20th there were four of us interested.
Things sped up from there. Within a couple of days, hotel rooms were booked and the ride start location and time were agreed. At 6.15am on Sunday 25th, six of us were starting the 180km / 112 mi ride to Melaka.
Our route took us along the Maju Expressway (MEX) toward Cyberjaya. It started drizzling as we rode toward MEX. When we got onto MEX via Jalan Kampung Pandan the expressway was wet but the drizzle had stopped.
The roads got progressively wetter as we rode through Cyberjaya and on to Dengkil. Our touring saddle bags came in very useful as fenders to keep the spray from our rear wheels off our butts and backs.
We had planned to stop at the same roadside roti canai stall where we always have breakfast on rides through Dengkil. To our surprise, the stall isn’t there anymore. So we stopped at the closest mamak shop for teh tarik and roti telur.
It was still overcast when we got to Sepang. 70km / 44mi into our ride. The Shell station at Sepang is a convenient place to stop for a rest room and to raid the convenience store refrigerator.
15 minutes earlier we had ridden through Pekan Salak, where on a previous trip Liang and I had been gouged by the owner of the bike shop there. If I recall correctly we were charged RM30 / USD7.15 per inner tube. We had to buy some there because we had both already had flat tires and had used all our spare tubes.
This time none of us had a flat during the entire trip.
The weather changed between Sepang and Lukut. In less than 20km / 12mi it went from overcast and cool to sunny and hot. And very humid too, thanks to the wet roads.
When we got to the Port Dickson Waterfront it was well past 30º C / 86º F. We were looking forward to an ice cold cendol but the stall was closed. Which seemed odd for 11.15am. So we moved on to the McDonald’s. That was open but they had no fountain drinks nor ice. They had no water supply at all.
So we rode to the nearest 7-Eleven, where we were told that the entire town had been without water since Friday due to the forced shutdown of the Sungai Linggi water treatment plant. No wonder the cendol stall was closed. Residents were dependent on tankers to deliver water for cooking and bathing. The chillers at the 7-Eleven were well stocked and the air-conditioning was running full blast. It was 35º C / 95º F outside. We cooled down in the 7-Eleven for fifteen minutes.
80km / 50mi to go. We covered just over 26km / 16mi before we had to stop again to seek respite from the heat. We had reached the junction with Jalan Pasir Panjang – Kuala Linggi, where we would leave Federal Route 5 and ride along the coast. There is a stall at the junction selling fresh coconut water.
I needed that drink. We all needed a drink. We all needed thirty minutes in the shade.
5km / 3mi up the road is the Linggi river which in that neck of the woods forms the border between the states of Negri Sembilan and Melaka. That sign over Brian’s head reads Selamat Datang ke Melaka (Welcome to Melaka).
It was about 1.30pm when we crossed the bridge. We were hungry. Our planned lunch stop was at Kuala Seafood in Kuala Sungai Baru. 9km / 6mi away. Despite the heat, we got there in twenty minutes. It was past the usual lunch hour, but there was still enough food left on the buffet for us to fill our faces.
It was about 40km / 25mi from Kuala Seafood to our hotel in Melaka. We weren’t going to cover that distance all in one go. We made another 7-Eleven stop after 7km / 4mi to refill our bottles. We were going through fluid at a very rapid rate.
Our next stop was at Klebang Original Coconut Shake. This is a “must-stop” venue for hot and thirsty cyclists.
I had two of these fresh coconut water and vanilla ice cream concoctions. And got a brain freeze in the process of sucking down the first one. Which wasn’t as bad as it sounds, given the heat of the afternoon.
Revived by the coconut shakes we pedalled the last few kilometres to the Euro Rich Hotel. Once we had stowed our bikes in the storeroom near the front desk, it was time for a shower and a rest. Six and a half hours in the sun had taken it out of us. And turned parts of our bodies a few shades darker.
We met at 7.00pm for dinner. Earlier we had thought of riding to somewhere to eat, but we nixed that idea. This had been Jake’s and Martin’s longest ever ride. They had had enough of riding for one day.
Instead we wandered to Pahlawan Walk.
I got a mango juice from the stall on the right on the way to dinner, and another one on the way back to the hotel. I was probably hungry and dehydrated in equal measure.
It was an early night for all of us. Thank goodness the hotel is in a quiet part of town. Undisturbed sleep until 6.30am.