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Roadies and Fixies Cendol Tour: Kajang to Melaka

melaka-banner-i1os-com

Photograph courtesy of i1os.com

Four of us, two on road bikes and two on fixies, did a credit card tour to Melaka.  We started from Kajang.  After breakfast, that is!

breakfast-alvin

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

The road bikes were fitted with Apidura saddle packs.  The fixie riders carried backpacks.

ready-to-roll-2-alvin

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

The ride didn’t start very auspiciously.  Liang had a puncture after 8km / 5mi.

repair-1-alvin

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

You know that feeling you get when one of your mates gets a puncture?  That “Glad it’s not me” feeling?  I lost that feeling as soon I got back on my bike.

repair-2-3-mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

My rear tire was flat.

I checked the tire for any embedded sharp objects that would have punctured the inner tube.  I didn’t find anything, so installed and inflated a new tube.

Which immediately started losing air.  So I had to go through the whole process again.  We were at this bus stop for fifty five minutes, fixing flats.

As we were in touring mode, the delay didn’t bother us.  And with Alvin and Liang having to pedal nonstop, even going downhill, speeds were moderate.

We figured on a stop every 30km / 19mi or so to rest and fill bottles.  The PETRONAS station at Pekan Salak came at just the right time.  As we left the petrol station we spotted a small bicycle shop, where Liang and I stocked up on inner tubes.  At what was a slightly overpriced RM18 each.  But as the saying goes, beggars can’t be choosers.

buying-tubes-alvin

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

From Pekan Salak the route took us to Sepang, where we joined Route 5 to Port Dickson.  Our route was almost identical to that taken by the BCG Tour from Kajang to Melaka.

Our next stop was at the 99 Speedmart in Tanah Merah.  For Cokes, Nestlé Bliss peach mango yogurt drink, and water.

99-speedmart-1-alvin

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

We got to McDonald’s at the Port Dickson Waterfront at about noon.  That McDonald’s has become a standard stop on any of our rides through Port Dickson.  Usually for something to eat as well as something to drink.  This time we just had a drink.  Lunch would be grilled chicken at Cowboy Place in Teluk Kemang.

mcdonalds-alvin

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

When we got back on our bikes, I saw that my rear tire had flatted.  Again.  I was getting tired of this.  It’s a good thing I had bought some inner tubes in Pekan Salak.

repair-4-alvin

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

An almost forensic examination of the tire finally revealed the culprit.  Undetectable by touch, and visible only by flexing the tire.

the-culprit-alvin

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

Another flat tire, and I would have been tempted to leave my bike up a tree.

up-a-tree-2-alvin

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

By the time we got to Cowboy Place it was 1.30pm.  We were all hungry.  To the tune of one and a half chickens, a plate of mixed vegetables, and two omelets.  Washed down with pitchers of watermelon juice.  In retrospect the grilled chicken wasn’t all that good.  But as I said, we were hungry at the time.

lunch-cowboy-place-alvin

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

As we were finishing our lunch, a storm rumbled through to the north east of Teluk Kemang.  All we got was a very light sprinkle.  Nonetheless, very much appreciated as it cooled the air.  But not for long.  The sun came back out, and the air turned steamy as the day warmed up again.

With the sun beating down, we were ready for our next “every 30km / 19mi” stop.  Which came at Restoran Kuala Seafood in Kuala Sungai Baru.  We rehydrated, and caught up on essentials.  Be it social media updates, or a nap.

catching-up-alvin

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

After Kuala Sungai Baru we hit 25km / 15.5mi of rolling terrain to Tanjong Kling.  Liang and Alvin stopped along the way in Sungai Udang to get something to eat.  I am not surprised that they needed food.  Riding fixies had to be really hard work.

Liang was riding a 48 tooth chainring with a 16 tooth rear cog.  Alvin had a 49 tooth chainring with a 17 tooth rear cog.  That means that for each turn of the crank, Liang travelled 6.3 meters / 20.6 feet, and Alvin travelled 6.0 meters / 19.7 feet.  Those are hard gears to push on the flat, let alone uphill.  Without the opportunity to coast and rest every now and then.

the-fixies-alvin

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

Mark and I continued on into Melaka to visit a bike shop.  While fixing my first flat tire of the day, I had discovered a cut in the sidewall of my rear tire.  I had booted the tire with a one ringgit bill (a benefit of plastic notes), but didn’t want to risk riding on it for longer than absolutely necessary.

KHS Bicycles installed a new tire for me.  And in the process discovered that I had a suspect tube in my front tire.  So my ride to Melaka cost me five inner tubes.  I bought four inner tubes at KHS, for a more reasonable RM15 each.

Alvin and Liang caught up with Mark and I at the bike shop.  Which Alvin and Mark must have mistaken for a bar!

bike-shop-bar-alvin

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

It wasn’t far from the bike shop to the Fenix Inn.  Our home for the night.  Chosen for its proximity to the historic heart of Melaka, and for the fact that it allows bicycles in the rooms.

Showered and changed, it was time for dinner.  The original plan was to walk to Restoran Nyonya Makko.  However that restaurant is closed on Tuesdays.  So Mark consulted Google for alternatives.

We chose Big Nyonya Restaurant on Jalan Merdeka, which was a short bike ride from the Fenix Inn.

Chicken rolls, fried brinjals with chilli, cincalok omelet, pineapple prawn curry, and of course cendol for dessert.

The food was as good as we have had before at Makko, but pricier.

dinner-2-alvin

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

After dinner we took a short ride to the Riverine Coffee House on Lorong Hang Jebat.  We sat out back, right on the edge of the Melaka River.  Where we watched the river cruise boats race by.

Alvin took some arty photographs with his new Huawei P9.  The smartphone with the Leica co-engineered dual lens camera.  The low-light shots are impressive.

Then it was bedtime.  We wanted to have an early start in the morning.

BCG Tour Kajang – Melaka – Kajang Day 2

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BCG Tour Kajang - Melaka - Kajang Banner 2

We were up, dressed and packed in time for a nasi lemak breakfast at 6:45am and the Day 2 briefing at 7:00am.

We all got started at 7:43am.  Pre-warned to pace ourselves because although the return route was 45km / 28mi shorter, it had more climbs, including a big one at KM78 / MI48.

Sure enough the terrain started rolling 3km / 2mi from the hotel, and it stayed lumpy all the way to Kajang.

BCG Tour Kajang - Melaka - Kajang Day 2 Elevation

The three of us had planned to break the ride into thirds, with a refreshment stop after 40km / 25mi and 80km / 50mi.  We knew early on that it was the right strategy for us.  The morning was extremely humid.  Despite the overcast skies, I was sweating profusely, and we had been riding for only thirty minutes.

 

We started looking for a likely place to stop when we had covered 35km / 22mi.

 

A few kilometers later we entered the small town of Kota, where we found a shop selling roti canai.  I drank two iced Milos in quick succession while waiting for my roti canai telur.  The roti wasn’t very good, so I had a third iced Milo.

Despite the so-so roti, the shop was crowded.  We had a long wait for our food.  We spent almost forty five minutes in Kota.  Fortunately we had shared a table with a gentleman who was waiting for his order of one dozen roti.  Which explains why we had to wait so long for our food.  He was an interesting person to chat with, so we didn’t mind the wait.

The downside of the long stop at Kota was that the sun got higher and higher in the sky as we sat in the shop.  It was going to be another scorching day.

BCG Tour Kajang - Melaka - Kajang Day 2 Sun

About an hour later, as we were on yet another climb north of Pedas, Leslie dropped his chain.  Which was an opportune reason to stop under the shade of the trees for a short rest.  I am glad that we did, because a short while later we were riding through the built-up areas of Senawang and Seremban.

Johan and Danial did a great job of making sure we all stayed on the correct route as we rode through the exit to Bandar Seremban Selatan, Rantau and Linggi.

Video courtesy of HW Wee

Roads seem extra-hot when surrounded by concrete.

Video courtesy of HW Wee

Not long past the Sungai Gadut KTM Komuter station Danial drove past us in his sweeper truck.  Just fast enough to make it worth accelerating into his slipstream for a pull up the next hill.

Video courtesy of HW Wee

I was starting to get tunnel vision from the heat.  Our next planned stop at about 80km / 50mi couldn’t come fast enough.  In the center of Seremban we caught up with a group who were just getting going again after taking a break.  We tailed them for a few kilometers through town.  One kilometer from the start of the big climb of the day we stopped at a coffee shop and drank as much as we could.  In my case, a liter of chocolate milk.

We added ice to our bidons before heading back out into the sun.  And 180m / 590ft of climbing over 6km / 4mi.

By the time Mark and I had finished the climb and zoomed down the other side into Mantin, we had emptied one bidon each.  We started looking for a cendol or coconut water stall as we rode through Mantin.  It didn’t look promising at first, but as we were leaving town the Mantin Original Coconut Shake shop appeared on our left.

BCG Tour Kajang - Melaka - Kajang Day 2 Coconut Stall Mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark

Leslie and Mark opted for plain coconut water.  Two for Mark.  Leslie had one coconut water and one apple and sour plum juice.  I had two apple and sour plums.

BCG Tour Kajang - Melaka - Kajang Day 2 Apple Sour Plum Mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark

My face was starting to match my base layer.

Never mind.  Just 10km / 6mi to go.  I had expected a flat run in to Kajang.  But it was far from flat.  Dammit!  There was 213m / 700ft of climbing yet to do.

I should have paid more attention to the elevation profile.  When did Beranang and Semenyih get so hilly?

It was again feeling like 40°C / 104F° as we rode those last kilometers.  We were all relieved to see the Bandar Teknologi Kajang Police Station, and the mamak shop next to it.

“Can I have three iced lime juices please?”

The important thing was that everyone arrived safely.  There were only minor incidents over the two days – some flat tires and a couple of shoe failures.

It was another very successful weekend of riding orchestrated by Danial AM and Johan S.  Made even better of course by a fun and friendly group of fellow riders.

Thanks guys and gals.  I’m looking forward to riding with you again at the next BCG Tour.

BCG Tour Kajang - Melaka - Kajang Danial

BCG Tour Kajang – Melaka – Kajang Day 1

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BCG Tour Kajang - Melaka - Kajang Banner

Johan S and Danial AM of BCG Tour held their second event on June 4th and 5th.  This time from Kajang to Melaka, and back again the next day.

Unlike the inaugural tour from Ijok to Teluk Intan, this time the outbound and inbound routes were different.  It was about 149km / 93mi to Melaka, and 112km / 70mi back to Kajang.

BCG Tour Kajang - Melaka - Kajang Melaka Route

Or in my case, the outbound ride would have been 149km if I had followed the excellent cue card that was given out at the start.

Kajang Melaka 04jun16

 

I downloaded the .gpx files for the routes to my Garmin 705.  I should have just stuck with the cue sheet for the ride to Melaka.  Rather than just following the downloaded route, my Garmin directed me down an alternate route.  The Garmin did guide me to the New Century Hotel in Melaka.  But from the 117km / 72mi point it took me along a path very different from the one so carefully planned by the organisers.  More on that later.

Twenty of us met at the start point near the Bandar Teknologi Kajang Police Station.

Mark, Leslie and I grabbed a quick drink before we went to the pre-ride briefing.

BCG Tour Kajang - Melaka - Kajang Day 1 Start Mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark

The pre-ride briefing by Danial was thorough, and with our safety on the road in mind. Johan chipped in as well, in between taking the photographs.  Unless otherwise indicated, the photographs featured in this post are courtesy of Johan S.

In a delightfully retro gesture, Danial had a bulb horn rather than a whistle or a gun to start us off with.

BCG Tour Kajang - Melaka - Kajang Day 1 Start Danial

We followed Johan’s car for the first 20km / 12mi as he guided us along the busy roads out of Kajang and through Semenyih and Bangi.  A départ fictif.  Just like in the major bike races!

Once Johan released us, the pace quickened.  All the riders who were in front of Mark and I, which was most of the group, missed the left turn off Jalan Kajang – Dengkil onto the much quieter Selangor State Route B48.  So the two of us were riding alone for about thirty five minutes.

BCG Tour Kajang - Melaka - Kajang Day 1 Duo

BCG Tour Kajang - Melaka - Kajang Day 1 Duo 2

The rest of the group steadily made up ground on us.

BCG Tour Kajang - Melaka - Kajang Day 1 Chasing Pack BCG Tour Kajang - Melaka - Kajang Day 1 Chasing Pack 2

Mark and I were caught 5km / 3mi from Sepang.  The faster riders pulled ahead.  By then the bunch had broken up into smaller groups as riders settled into the pace that best suited them.

BCG Tour Kajang - Melaka - Kajang Day 1 Sepang

 

Leslie had caught us too.  The three of us, and Max, made our first stop at the Shell petrol station in Sepang.  We caught our breath and shared a litre of 100Plus as the rest of the group sailed past and onto Federal Route Route 5 toward Port Dickson.

We got going again at about 9.30am.  All hopes of a cool morning were evaporating in the sun that had broken through the cloud cover.  It was going to be a hot one.

At about 10:30am, as we approached Port Dickson, Leslie, Mark and I diverted off the published route onto Jalan Seremban.  That took us to the Port Dickson Waterfront.  More specifically to the McDonald’s there.  Mark and I, along with some other Flipsiders, had stopped at that McDonald’s three years ago, during our ride to Tanjung Tuan for the Raptor Watch 2013.

Why McDonald’s?  The Brekki Wrap with Sausage is the bomb after 70km / 43mi on a bike.

Mc Donalds weekday breakfast special brekkie wrap with sausage rm4 Possible To Earn RM30,000 A Month For Malaysian Blogger From the World of Advertisement Starting From McDonald's Ads

Photograph courtesy of Golden Arches Restaurants Sdn Bhd

And there is air-conditioning.  And a sea view.  What’s not to like?

BCG Tour Kajang - Melaka - Kajang Day 1 PD Leslie

Photograph courtesy of Leslie

By the time we  got back on our bikes at 11:15am the sun was out in full force and almost directly overhead.

BCG Tour Kajang - Melaka - Kajang Day 1 Sun

The shadows were getting shorter and shorter as we made our way through Port Dickson and past the Wan Loong Temple.

BCG Tour Kajang - Melaka - Kajang Day 1 PD Wan Loong Temple Leslie

Photograph courtesy of Leslie

Staying hydrated and cool become all important as the “feels like” temperature edged towards 40°C / 104F°.  An hour after coming out of the air-conditioned McDonald’s we were looking for some shade and another drink.  Others were looking for the same thing.

We found it at Kampung Sungai Raya, at the junction of Selangor State Route 5 and Federal Route 138.  There was a row of roadside stalls selling various drinks.  Leslie, Mark and I  downed two glasses of iced coconut water each in quick succession.

Someone else was thirsty too!

BCG Tour Kajang - Melaka - Kajang Day 1 Coconut 2

An hour further down the road we were again getting desperate for shade and something cold to drink.  We started looking for a petrol station or a shop after making the left turn onto Melaka State Route 142.  It seemed like a long time before we came upon a minimarket in Kampung Jeram.  In reality it was less than 4km / 2.5mi, but in the midday heat it certainly felt further.

It had been a long time since I had done this, but it was so hot that I resorted to the ice tricks that have helped me in the past.  Ice wrapped in a bandana and placed on the back of my neck.  Ice under my skull cap.  Even ice under my arm sleeves at each inner wrist.

Ice

I was dripping all over as the ice melted, but I felt cooler and much more comfortable.  So much so that I pulled ahead of Leslie and Mark, admittedly helped in that regard because they had to stop and wait at a couple of red traffic lights that were green for me.

I should have waited for them.  12km / 7mi outside Kampung Jeram my Garmin directed me to turn left onto Lebuh Spa.  I should have stayed on Federal Route 5 to Jalan Malim Jaya.  Instead I had an unplanned mystery ride through some villages and residential neighbourhoods.

The ice on my head lasted just long enough before I rode into this.

BCG Tour Kajang - Melaka - Kajang Melaka Weather

A most welcome rain shower that kept me cool, and rinsed some of the sweat and salt out of my cycling gear.

The rain was quite heavy, but it didn’t last very long.  It had stopped by the time I popped onto Federal Route 19 with just 5km / 3mi to go.

Everyone got a bit wet before arriving at the New Century Hotel.

The rest of the afternoon and evening were spent reliving the day’s ride, eating, napping, and eating some more.

It had been an early start for Mark and I.  We had driven to Leslie’s home before 6:00am so that we could car-pool to Kajang in Leslie’s bike / people mover.  So we called it a night after dinner.

BCG Tour Kajang - Melaka - Kajang Day 1 Sleep

 

Is This a Cycling Blog or a Food Blog??

I haven’t eaten any satay since I came home to Kuala Lumpur almost six months ago.  I mentioned satay in Another Place to Eat three days ago.  We stopped for satay last night.

Karma?  Coincidence?  You decide.

Tuesday and Thursday nights have become KESAS ride nights.  I wrote about this route, along the Shah Alam Expressway to give the road its proper name, in Another Uncle Wiggily.

WhatsApp is our current messaging medium.  My mobile phone starts pinging with weather updates from 5pm or so.  Confirmation that the ride is on comes at about 7.30pm.  Between then and the 9pm start time the messages are usually of the “I’m on the way” and “Stuck in traffic” variety.  It was no surprise to get a message from Chris at 8.50pm, telling us that Chon and he were close by.  What was unusual was his second sentence.  “Satay ride.  Chon is hungry.”

It turns out that there are two choices for a satay stop.  Both are Sate Kajang Haji Samuri outlets.  The first is about 10km into the ride, at the Taman Kinrara Rest & Service area.  The other is on the opposite side of the expressway at the Awan Besar Rest & Service area.  About 19km from the start.

Chon chose the nearer one.

Sate RR-Kinrarakinrara1

Kajang has been traditionally known as the “Satay Town.”  There was a time when you had to make the 20km drive south from Kuala Lumpur to Kajang to get authentic Kajang satay.  These days there are numerous stalls and shops selling Kajang satay.

Sate Kajang Haji Samuri is a Malaysian equivalent of a fast-food chain.  They have twenty outlets.  Three in Kajang and the rest scattered around the Klang valley, Seremban and Port Dickson.  If the quality of their satay is consistent across all their outlets, they are doing something right.

We had chicken satay.  It came piping hot from the grill.  Tender and juicy, with the right hint of lemongrass in the marinade.  A key part of a good meal is the kuah satay or peanut sauce.  This one was good enough to eat by itself.  And in a nice touch the kuah satay and the sambal, or chilli paste, for the sauce came separately.  So each of us could add as much or as little sambal to our individual bowls as we wanted.  I skip the sambal completely.

We also got a generous serving of cucumber and nasi impit, or compressed rice cakes.  These are the traditional accompaniments to satay.  There was a time when ketupat instead of nasi impit was served with satay.  The difference being ketupat is cooked in a woven palm-leaf pouch, while nasi impit is cooked in a far less labor-intensive plastic pouch.

Satay During Kesas Ride 03

Photo courtesy of Mark Lim

Happy days for Gary, Chon, Chris and myself!

Photo courtesy of Mark Lim

Photo courtesy of Mark Lim

As an aside, the short zip on my Not Possibles jersey may have been adequate for Dutch weather, but it didn’t work so well last night in the heat and humidity of Malaysia.  Especially as we averaged about 32kph getting to the satay, and the same afterward to burn it off.

That satay was worth the effort!