Mark and I decided that it was high time to break out the Apidura saddle bags and go on an overnight bicycle trip. We chose Melaka as our destination, because it is a reasonable distance from Kuala Lumpur, the roads are generally good, and the eating along the way and in Melaka is excellent.
After some canvassing, we had a group of six. Alan and Chee Seng could not stay overnight, so their plan was to ride to Melaka, and then get to Tampin KTM station for the train back to KL. Johan S., Ridzuwan, Mark and I would spend Thursday night in Melaka.
We were all excited about the trip. Bikes and saddle bags were set up the day before, and some of us struggled to get to sleep the night before.
We started from where I live. We were on the MEX Highway by about 6.15am. The adrenaline levels are a bit high when riding on MEX. It is a highway after all. Though at that early hour, there isn’t much traffic leaving KL, so the riding is not too fraught.
We made a quick pit stop at the Seri Kembangan R&R.
As expected, given the wet weather of the preceding days, we got rained on as we left the R&R. Fortunately the rain wasn’t heavy, and it didn’t last long. We did have wet roads until we reached Dengkil. A benefit of the Apidura saddle bag is that it extends back far enough to block the spray coming off the rear wheel. It is like riding with a rear mud guard.
Dengkil was where our first planned food stop. There is a roadside stall on the corner of Jalan Aman and Jalan Mutiara 1J. We stop there for breakfast whenever our rides take us through Dengkil.
We had a visitor looking for handouts during breakfast.
From the Dengkil bypass we rode along the busy Putrajaya–Cyberjaya Expressway and the Nilai – KLIA Highway before turning right onto the quieter Jalan Besar Salak at Salak Tinggi.
Our next stop was at the Shell station in Sepang. 70km / 43.5mi done. 110km / 68mi to go. It was supposed to be a short stop for drinks and the loo, but soon after this picture was taken . . .
this picture was taken.
My front tire had gone soft while we were at the Shell station. This was the culprit.
An advantage of Two-Way Fit™ rims is that the tire bead stays locked to the rim after a puncture. A flat tire doesn’t roll off the rim. A very useful quality when you get a flat while speeding down a winding descent.
The associated disadvantage of 2-Way Fit™ rims is that it is difficult to get the tire off the rim, and even more difficult to seat the tire properly when reinflating the tube. Thank goodness for the air pump at the petrol station, which generated enough air pressure to quickly seat the tire.
Happy smiles as we finally got going again.
We rode out of the Shell station onto Federal Route 5, which runs along the west side of Peninsular Malaysia, from Skudai in the south to Ipoh in the north.
Our intermediate destination was Cendol Azmi in Port Dickson. Which serves some of the best cendol I have ever had. Mark and I have been there a number of times. We talked up Cendol Azmi over the 25km / 15.5mi to Port Dickson.
So imagine our collective disappointment when we go to Cendol Azmi and found it closed. What a letdown!
We settled on Sukand’s Food Station, across the road from Cendol Azmi.
To Sukand’s credit, their cendol was pretty good. As was the three-layer air bandung.
We debated having lunch in Port Dickson, but decided to hold out until we got to Kuala Sungai Baru, across the state border in Melaka. Mark and I had eaten at Kuala Seafood during previous cycling trips to Melaka. That restaurant was a highlight every time.
We stopped to buy Cokes at Pasir Panjang, about halfway between Port Dickson and Kuala Sungai Baru. We then picked up the pace over the 20km to Kuala Seafood. 2pm had come and gone, and we were hungry.
So imagine our extreme disappointment when we got to Kuala Seafood and found it closed. What a bummer!!
There weren’t many options for food. The few restaurants in the vicinity had sold out of their lunch offerings. We settled for some mediocre fried rice, just to fill out stomachs more than anything else.
We had 40km / 25mi to go to Melaka. Alan had been talking about getting coconut shakes once we got there. Melaka is known for good coconut shakes. Alan said that Klebang Original Coconut Shake was the place. Having been disappointed twice already, we made Alan call Klebang Original Coconut Shake to make sure that it was open.
And the coconut shakes were good. Good enough for us to drink a second round of shakes.
This place is worth visiting again.
By the time we left Klebang Original Coconut Shake, my patched inner tube was failing. I gave it a good pump up, and Johan S., Mark, Ridzuwan and I headed to our hotel.
Alan and Chee Seng were heading back to KL that evening. They first rode to Jonker Walk and Dutch Square for obligatory tourist photographs.
And a refreshing recovery beverage.
The rest of us checked in to the Hallmark Crown Hotel. I had booked the hotel sight unseen. Welcome to the Internet Age! The price was right – about USD25 per night for a double occupancy room, including buffet breakfast.
We weren’t expecting much, but were pleasantly surprised when we got to our rooms. Which were clean and comfortable, and had air-conditioning and a mini-fridge which worked. Plus there was lots of hot water on the shower, and the free wifi signal was strong.
Showered and changed, we walked to the next food destination on our list. The Makko Nyonya Restaurant. Another repeat visit venue for Mark and I. Fortunately for the two of us, Makko was open!
The 180km / 112mi bike ride was worth it for this meal alone.
While we were stuffing our faces at dinner, Alan and Chee Seng had made it to Tampin, and were on the KTM Komuter train back to KL. Comfortably so.
Not to be outdone in the food stakes, Alan and Chee Seng had supper in KL.
On Friday morning the four of us attacked the hotel buffet breakfast. An observer would have thought that we hadn’t eaten at all the night before!
Then it was out turn for tourist photographs.
We had, briefly, considered cycling back to KL. Riding to Tampin and taking the train seemed like a more reasonable thing to do.
40km / 25mi of pedalling got us to the Pulau Sebang (Tampin) KTM station.
We loaded our bikes and ourselves into the last carriage of the train.
Two and a bit hours later, we were at the Bank Negara KTM station in KL. It is a short ride from there to where I live.
It was lunch time, so we made a side trip first, to Santa Chapati House on Jalan Sarikei. A fitting end to our two-day adventure. It was, after all, an eating trip with some cycling thrown in for variety.
Thank you Alan, Chee Seng, Johan S., Ridzuwan and Mark for your enjoyable company. We had a lot of laughs and good riding. To be repeated for sure.
The graphic at the top of this post is a mashup of our coconut shakes and the logo for a anti-littering campaign which was launched by the Melaka state government in 2014. A take on the “Don’t Mess With Texas” campaign started there in 1986.