Some adventures take months of planning. Others come together in a matter of days. This latest bike-packing ride to Teluk Intan (the fourth or fifth for some of us) was an example of the latter.
The idea was mooted on 24th July and by the next day, we had seven riders signed up. A draft itinerary had been drawn up, hotel rooms had been reserved and the udang galah (giant freshwater prawn) dinner had been ordered.
Over the next week, a few riders had to drop out and some more joined in so we ended up as a group of ten. We also added two others who would drive to Teluk Intan. My Biker Chick Zulfa, always ready for an udang galah meal, was one.
Having drivers was why a bikepacking trip for ten became a bikepacking trip for three. Seven of us, myself included, opted for transporting our stuff in a car rather than on our bikes.
The railway tracks between Kepong and Kuala Lumpur has recently reopened after the conclusion of the double-tracking work, so Choo Chian could board the Komuter train to Tanjung Malim at KL station. He was the first of us on the train at 6.34am.
Zaryl and Dan were the next to board the train at Segambut station at 6.50am. Lay, Mark and I set off on our bikes from Taman Bukit Emas at about 5.20am. We met up with Amy, Bin Soo, Kenix and Zeus in Kota Damansara at about 5.35am and we rode at a leisurely pace to Kuang station.
We had no mishaps along the 30km ride so we got to Kuang station with plenty of time to spare.
We bought tickets for our bikes (RM2 each) and had a drink at the coffee shop across the road from the station while waiting for the train.
We took up half of the last carriage on the train. There was room to spare because we had the entire carriage to ourselves for the entire trip.
The first order of business upon arriving in Tanjung Malim was breakfast. Our usual breakfast spot, Kedai Ocu Amy, was closed so we stopped at the next roadside restaurant that had lots of people in it. Which was a very good choice. The roti canai was excellent. And the price was right. Enough roti and nasi lemak for ten, plus more than a dozen drinks for RM38 (USD9.15).
Fed and watered, we got on the road at about 10.15am.
The first 45km was along Federal Route 1 to Sungkai through Slim River and Trolak. Route 1 is believed to be Malaysia’s earliest public roadway. Construction began in 1880 under the orders of the Sultan of Kedah at that time. It was the backbone of the road system in the western states of Peninsular Malaysia before being supplanted by the North–South Expressway in 1994.
The rest of the way was on quieter roads, the majority being on Jalan Teluk Intan – Bidor.
It is always a boost when you see your destination name on a road sign.
60km from Tanjung Malim (with 80km or so already ridden by those who cycled to Kuang) the group split into two groups. Zaryl, Bin Soo and Dan forged ahead while the rest of us looked for a place to stop for a stretch and a drink.
The temperature is always a concern on longer rides in Malaysia. This day was overcast, which was a blessing. Nevertheless, it was warming up. When we left the sundry shop it was 31ºC / 88ºF.
Getting to the McDonald’s in Teluk Intan was our next goal. While a McDonald’s might not be everyone’s mid-ride choice of restaurant, it does have one key attraction. Air-conditioning.
As it turned out half of the population of Teluk Intan was enjoying the AC in their local McD’s. So we had to sit outside. Thank goodness for the fan. And chocolate sundaes!
The lead three had stopped at the same McDonald’s but didn’t eat there. “Who rides to Teluk Intan to eat at McDonald’s?” was their sentiment 😳. They opted for fruit rojak and fresh coconut water at a stall close to our hotel.
It was just a few more kilometres from the McDonald’s to the Yew Boutique Hotel. Our go-to hotel whenever we ride to Teluk Intan. Reasonably priced with nice rooms, a secure place to leave our bicycles, and a comfortable lobby where we can relax and chat. A bonus is that it is fifty metres from Liew Kee Chee, the purveyors of Teluk Intan’s famous chee cheong fun.
A shower and a nap, followed by a mid-afternoon snack of that chee cheong fun, char koay teow, washed down with Tiger and Asahi beer at the New Glutton Square next door to the hotel, did wonders to rejuvenate everyone.
We walked from the New Glutton Square to Restoran d’Tepian Sungai to enjoy the main reason for cycling to Teluk Intan. The udang galah.
As its name suggests, the restaurant sits on a bank of the Perak River.
As always the udang galah masak lemak cili api and udang galah goreng berempah were the stars of the show.
I had also ordered sweet and sour red snapper for Jeff, who is allergic to prawns. Sadly he had to pull out of this ride. We enjoyed the fish anyway. This dish will be part of our standard d’Tepian Sungai dinner order from now on.
This was the first visit to Teluk Intan for Amy, Jolene, Zaryl, Zeus and Dan. So, of course, we walked the one hundred metres from the restaurant to Teluk Intan’s landmark Leaning Tower.
Constructed in 1885 as a water tower, it started leaning to the southwest due to the weight of the water in the tank and the soft ground upon which the tower was built. Unsurprisingly the tower is no longer used for water storage.
We chatted and laughed back in the hotel lobby for a while before hitting the hay. Breakfast was scheduled for 6.00am.
Breakfast was at 6.00am. Earlier for some who were at the Kedai Kopi Jalan Pasar across the road from the hotel before the place was ready for customers.
We were checked out of the hotel and on our bikes at 6.40am. We made a short stop after five hundred metres to buy water at a 7-Eleven. Then it was toward the sun and Sungkai.
We stopped at the Petron station in Changkat Jong to use the restroom.
We didn’t make another proper stop, i.e. not counting traffic lights and a brief halt to regroup after a particularly sharp climb in Trolak until 47km later at the Petronas station in Slim River.
Despite the intention to take it a bit slower than we had the day before (there had been rumblings amongst the troops about riding back to Tanjung Malim in a support car), we moved along at a decent pace. We averaged 28kph between Changkat Jong and Slim River.
So we had plenty of time to cover the remaining 21km from Slim River to the Tanjung Malim station. We were targetting the 10.59 train. We had one hundred minutes.
Which gave us enough time to stop for a quick drink at the same roadside restaurant where we had that excellent roti breakfast before we needed to be at the station.
We decided to have lunch at Patty & Pie in Aman Suria. Everyone except Choo Chian either lives or parked in the area. We said our goodbyes to Choo Chian and got off the train. at the Sungai Buloh station.
It is 14km from Sungai Buloh station to Patty & Pie. After 7km Amy, Bin Soo, Kenix and Zeus split off toward where Bin Soo lives.
Zaryl, Dan, Lay, Mark and I rode the rest of the way to Patty & Pie. Amy, Bin Soo and Kenix drove there after getting their vehicles. Jolene and Zulfa joined us too, after driving from Teluk Intan. Which was very convenient because Zaryl and Dan could get their bag from Zulfa, and load their bikes into Amy’s truck.
You couldn’t miss that we were at this restaurant.
Patty & Pie has had some mixed reviews recently as the owners have been busy opening a sister restaurant in Mont Kiara. We hit one glitch with Mark’s order, which was rectified, and everything else was very good. I still recommend this place for their salt beef, burgers and pizzas.
An excellent way to end a laughter-filled and fun weekend. We are already thinking of our next touring destination.