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Seven R@SKLs Ride to Teluk Intan

Teluk Intan Banner

Photograph courtesy of tourismperakmalaysia.com/

My first ride to Teluk Intan, in 2016, was along Federal Route 5, which is one of three north–south backbone federal highways in Peninsular Malaysia.  Which makes it a heavily-used road by all manner of motor vehicles.  The road surface bears the scars of constant pounding by heavy lorries and buses.  Which makes it less than ideal to cycle on.

I rode to Teluk Intan twice in 2017, each time trying to find more and more secondary roads to ride on, as an alternative to Federal Route 5.

It fell to me to plan the route for this ride to Teluk Intan.  Ride With GPS has a route planning feature which is easy to use.  My goal was to put us onto as many roads like this as possible.

Smaller, scenic roads and paths, with very few cars or motorcycles.  For the first 110km / 68mi or so, we rode on Federal Route 5 only when we had to cross a major river, e.g. the Sungai Selangor at Kuala Selangor, or the Sungai Bernam north of Sabak.  We rode all but 13km / 8mi on these quiet, secondary roads.

There were a few surprises though.  We came upon a few sections where the tarmac turned into this.

Off Road 4 Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

I had discovered, too late, that Ride With GPS will plot a route along any road possible, paved or otherwise.

I now know that counter-checking a route generated by Ride With GPS with Google Map Street View is essential.  All the laterite or otherwise unpaved roads and paths which Ride With GPS took us onto do not have Google Map Street Views.  This check is easy to do, because Ride With GPS uses maps provided by Google Maps.  So the small yellow Street View man is always available in the lower right corner of the map.

The red line on the upper map shows the route we rode, as created with Ride With GPS.  The blue lines on the lower map show where Street View is available.  That section we rode, where Street View is not available, was a narrow, unpaved track.  We were able to ride it, but it was a bit worrying on narrow 23mm or 25mm tires.

I learned through experience that in future, I must avoid plotting routes on roads and paths where Google Map Street View cameras have not been.

Map 1

Upper map courtesy of Ride With GPS.  Lower map courtesy of Google Maps

Despite the unexpected off-road bike handling skills tests, we all had a good time.  Fortunately no one took a tumble or had a flat caused by the uneven surfaces, which at times were liberally strewn with sharp stones.

As is par for the course with the R@SKLs, a long ride like this one required frequent refreshment stops.

Breakfast was at 23km / 14mi.

Meal 1 Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

We had a 10am snack at 65km / 40mi.

We made a slight detour to the beach at Sekinchan, to look at some of the catch being brought ashore at the jetty.

Catch of the day Simon Soo Hu

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

And to pose under the “good luck” tree.

Wishing Tree Simon Soo Hu

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

The good luck tree didn’t work out for Simon.  He had a flat tire at 89km / 55mi.  It was lucky for the rest of us though.  Simon’s flat was conveniently right next to this stall selling Air Batu Campur, which is a local dessert made of shaved ice coated with with brown sugar syrup, other flavoured syrups, and evaporated milk. Other ingredients are kidney beans, red beans, creamed corn, and crushed peanuts.

Meal 2a 2 Hsing C Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

While we were quenching our thirst, the stall owner told us that there was a restaurant 2km / 1.2mi away that serves very good mee kari udang lipan (noodles and mantis shrimp curry).

It was 12.30pm when we got to that restaurant.  Which, coincidentally, was when it opened.

After lunch, we had just under 25km / 16mi, including another unexpected off road section, this time 3km / 2mi long, before we got to the bridge over Sungai Bernam.  From that point we had no option but to ride along Federal Route 5, and then Federal Route 58 to Teluk Intan.  Fortunately the roads north of Sabak are wide, the road surface is reasonably good, and the traffic is a bit lighter.

The 55km / 34mi ride from our lunch stop to the Yew Boutique Hotel in Teluk Intan had worked up a thirst and hunger.  It was three and a half hours to dinner.  We needed something to keep our strength up until then.

The famed Teluk Intan chee cheong fun (rice noodle roll, char koay teow, and a fermented barley drink did the trick.

The main event was at 7.30pm, at Restoran d’Tepian Sungai.  The udang galah (giant river prawn) feast.  Clockwise from top left:  curried, grilled, fried with turmeric, and in spicy coconut gravy.

We made short work of 4 kilos / 9lb of Grade A prawns, plus fried mixed vegetables, omelettes, white rice, and three jugs of fruit juice.

After all that food, I barely managed to ride my bike to the Menara Condong (Leaning Tower) for an illuminated photograph to go with the daytime shot we took when we arrived in Teluk Intan.

Menara Condong Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

The trip back to Kapar the next day was equally food and drink-filled.

We had breakfast at the coffee shop across the street from the hotel.  Our rooms came with breakfast, but the hotel starts serving at 7am.  We had filled our bottles at the nearby 7-Eleven and were on the road by then.

We skipped the off-road section between Sabak and Sungai Besar.  I’m not convinced that the equivalent stretch of Federal Route 5 was any smoother.

Our first stop was in Sungai Besar, 50km / 31mi into our ride.  We had iced Milo, coffee,  and roti canai.

Meal 7 Simon Soo Hu

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

Our next stop was a sightseeing one.  Our route along the coast took us past a small fishing jetty at Pasir Panjang.

Fishing Jetty Hsing C Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

Fishing Jetty Birds' Nests

We put in a further 42km / 26mi before stopping again.  This time for air kelapa (fresh coconut water).  Most of us had two coconuts each.

Meal 8 Drinks Simon Soo Hu

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

The air kelapa stand was 60km / 37mi from our Sungai Besar food stop.  The guys were hungry.  Mark and I knew that the Kuala Selangor McDonald’s was only 4km / 2.5mi down the road.  A sundae was calling my name.  Burgers, chicken nuggets, and fries were calling out to the others.

The air-conditioning at McD’s was another attraction.  It was pushing 30°C / 86°F, and it would get hotter.  40 minutes in cool air was a welcome respite.

There was 35km / 22mi left to ride from Kuala Selangor to Kapar.  Including another unexpected 2km / 1.2mi sandy and stony section.  Fortunately it wasn’t wet like it is in this Google Maps Street View.

Off Road 3

Photograph courtesy of Google

Our tires survived the sharp stones.  There was just one more section of Federal Route 5 to ride along.  It is a toss up between riding to the right of the road shoulder, where the surface is cleaner but rougher, or on the road shoulder, where there is always a lot of debris.  The heavy traffic often makes the road shoulder the safer option, but the risk of having a puncture is higher.

My rear tire went soft. It was hot, and I was cheesed off at flatting with just 5km /3mi left to go in our 290km / 180mi round trip.  In my impatience, I fumbled two changes, rendering both inner tubes unusable.  Lay, Marvin, and Ridzuwan bailed me out with another inner tube, helping with the tube installation, and buying cold drinks from the petrol station across the road.

The day ended well though.  Simon got home with plenty of time before the concert he was going to that evening.  There had been no falls or major mechanical issues.  Everyone enjoyed the ride to Teluk Intan and back, despite the unpaved sections.

And Lay, Wan and I had one more meal together before our day was over.  Braised lamb shanks and cendols all round.

Teluk Intan Quote

R@SKLs at the NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017

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NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017 Banner

It pays to have friends with connections.  In this case, Heng Keng, who got some VIP parking passes for the R@SKLs driving to Puncak Alam for the NST C-Cycle Challenge century ride.  We all car-pooled, two people and two bikes to a vehicle, and got parking spots just meters from the start line.

Once everyone was ready, i.e. after last minute visits to the loo, we joined the 1,000 or so other participants behind the start gantry.  There were two events:  a 160km / 100mi race, and a 35km / 22mi Fun Ride.  We combined the two events, and planned to have a 160km Fun Ride.

The horn sounded and the starting flag fell at about 7.50am.  Only twenty minutes late, which is par for the course at Malaysian cycling events.

C-CYCLE CHALLENGE 2017

Photograph courtesy of Khairull Azry Bidin

The organizers had made some late changes to the course that had been initially announced.  They took about 15km / 9mi off the total distance, including 6km / 4mi of climbing.  Which significantly increased the odds that we would all have a fun ride.

The course followed a rough figure-of-eight path.  We headed south from Puncak Alam over a few of the Dragon’s Back climbs before heading west and then north around the clockwise lower loop.

NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017 Route.png

The temperature was in the mid to high 20s C / 70s F.   We had a support vehicle loaded with ice chests packed with water and 100-Plus isotonic drink.  Everything was lined up for an excellent ride.

NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017 On The Road Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

But you know that saying about the best laid plans?  Kelin and Thomas, together with about twenty other riders, didn’t see the admittedly poorly-placed directional arrow, and sailed past the 90° right hand turn at 43km / 27mi, where the route around the lower loop turned inland.

It was 15km / 9mi before they realised their mistake.  Which perhaps wasn’t a mistake after all, as they found a cendol stall, while the rest of us didn’t.

We made our first stop just after that right turn.  It makes such a nice change to have a support vehicle on our rides, instead of depending upon the official rest stops.  Being guaranteed cold drinks and bananas is a massive plus.  Thank you Heng Keng for loaning your driver and vehicle to the R@SKL cause.

NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017 First Stop Danial Shaz

Photograph courtesy of Danial Shaz

The weather had been closing in from the time we started pedalling again.  By the time we started the climb to the Department of Civil Aviation site at the top of the hill on Jalan Batu Arang, the rain had started.  It rained, heavily in places, along the entire 22km / 14mi hilly stretch which made up the middle section of the ride.  The rain kept us cool, but care was needed on the steeper descents.

NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017 Rain Kelin Chan

Photograph courtesy of Kelin Chan

Stop number two came after 87km / 54mi.  It had stopped raining, but roads were still wet.

NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017 Water Stop 2 Simon

Photograph courtesy of Luanne Sieh

Leonard didn’t get the memo about which camera to look at.

NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017 Water Stop 2 Which Camera

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

Despite the rain, everyone was having a good time.  That came to a crashing halt, literally, when Danial and Ray went down just shy of the 100km / 62mi mark.  It was a high speed crash precipitated by a depression in the road surface.  Ray came out of it with just some scrapes and bruises.  Danial was not so lucky.  He will be off his bike for some time with a fractured cheekbone and the after-effects of a mild concussion.

The official paramedic who arrived on the scene was very good.  He checked Danial out for broken bones and internal injuries, cleaned up his cuts and scrapes, and got him off the road.  Forty minutes after the crash, Ray and Danial were in an ambulance to the Sungai Buloh hospital, accompanied by Luanne.

We were shaken and a bit shocked by what had happened.  We debated whether to continue the ride or not.  The group decision was to ride on, but at a slower speed.

We had more rain to contend with over the 15km / 9mi to Kuala Selangor.  The McDonald’s at Kuala Selangor was a good place to stop for some shelter and some food.

NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017 McDonald's Simon

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

After burgers and chocolate sundaes, we realised that we would miss the cutoff time for the event.  We would all officially DNF.  Never mind.  In the bigger scheme of things, that was not the worst thing to happen that day.

Our last 40km / 25mi were made easier for us by three marshals on motorbikes, who accompanied us all the way back to Puncak Alam.  They kept traffic at a safe distance, pointed out potholes and other hazards, and blocked off junctions so we didn’t have to stop for any traffic lights.  That added some fun back into what had become a bit of a somber day.

NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017 Jln Kuala Selangor - Sg Buloh Rosdan Wahid

Photograph courtesy of Rosdan Wahid

The sun was out as we negotiated Jalan Kuala Selangor and Jalan Bukit Cerakah toward the finish.  The day had warmed up considerably by the time we crossed the line.

NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017 Finish 01 Tomoe Suga

Photograph courtesy of Tomoe Suga

Thomas and Kelin were already at the finish, medals in hand, after their unexpected detour cut short their ride.

NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017 Medals Thomas Tan

Photograph courtesy of Thomas Tan

The rest of the R@SKLs joined them at the finish area while we waited for TH and the support car to get back from the Sungai Buloh hospital with Luanne.

NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017 Finish 02 Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

I suppose we could have let ourselves be entertained by these superheroes while we were there.

NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017 Super Heroes Muhd Zaaba Zakeria

Photograph courtesy of Muhd Zaaba Zakeria

It had been a day of mixed emotions, and we were all more concerned to get an update on Danial’s condition than anything else.

Even the lucky draw held no attraction for us, despite the attractive prizes.

Upon reflection, it was a fun ride.  It was just such a shame that Danial and Ray had that bad crash.  All the R@SKLs are very relieved that the outcome was not worse, and we wish the both of them speedy recoveries.

NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017 Medal.png

 

Another Udang Galah Dinner – Courtesy of the Bukit Bintang Rotary Club

rotary-112-banner

Graphic Courtesy of Bukit Bintang Rotary Club

Johny Sui, the Deputy Organizing Chairman and Immediate Past President of the Bukit Bintang Rotary Club, one of the 78 clubs that make up Rotary International District 3300, asked Mark if he would help them with a ride to Teluk Intan.

Rotary International celebrates its 112th anniversary in 2017.  In conjunction with the anniversary, the clubs in RI District 3300 are organizing a four-day charity bicycle ride, called Rotary 112 – Cycle 4 Life. Riders will cycle from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh to Penang, and then around the island of Penang, covering a total of 500km / 311mi.

Rotary 112 – Cycle 4 Life will raise funds for the Rotary Kidney Fund to give assistance to dialysis patients from five Dialysis Centres located in the Klang Valley, Ipoh and Penang. The Rotary Kidney Fund also provides education and leads advocacy efforts to help the people of Malaysia.

rotary-112-kidney

Graphic courtesy of MIMS Pte. Ltd

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a major health issue in Malaysia.  The number of new dialysis patients who suffer from CKD has doubled over the last decade.  In the last four years alone, 24,000 new patients required regular dialysis.

Rotary 112 – Cycle 4 Life was initiated by Yap Fatt Lam, Organising Chairman & Past President of the Rotary Club of Bukit Bintang.  He was inspired to organise this charity ride after participating in the recent End Polio Taiwan Round Island Charity Ride from 22nd to 30th October 2016.

The charity ride is scheduled for 31st August to 3rd September, and planning is already underway.  This ride to Teluk Intan was to recce the route for Day 1 of the charity ride.

rotary-kl-to-teluk-intan-map

Map courtesy of Strava

Twelve of us did the ride.  Rotarians Johny Sui and Yap Fatt Lam from the Rotary Club of Bukit Bintang, Steven, Ben, Jack, Cher, Mark, Leslie, Lay, Alvin, Liang and myself.  We were a diverse group of riders, ranging from Jack, who had never ridden more than 58km in one go before, to the likes of Alvin and Liang, who were on their fixies

rotary-kl-to-teluk-intan-start-yap-fatt-lam

Photograph courtesy of Yap Fatt Lam

We all met up at Rasik Bistro in Ara Damansara, where we had breakfast.  Then we loaded our overnight bags into the two support vehicles, driven by Javan and Ivan.

rotary-kl-to-teluk-intan-support-vehicle-ivan-wong-wai-keong

Photograph courtesy of Ivan Wong

Mark gave us a short briefing before we rolled out of the car park.  We were less than 2.5km / 1.5mi from the start point when a recurring feature of the ride made its first appearance.

rotary-kl-to-teluk-intan-first-flat-cher-weng-chun

Photograph courtesy of Cher Weng Chun

We would have half a dozen more punctures before we got back to KL.

We made our first rendezvous with the support vehicles at the junction of the LATAR Expressway and Jalan Kuala Selangor.  There we dipped into a ice chest filled with chilled Coca Cola and 100 Plus.

rotary-kl-to-teluk-intan-latar-cher-weng-chung

Photograph courtesy of Cher Weng Chun

By the time we had covered 65km / 40mi it was time for a food stop.  The McDonald’s in Kuala Selangor did very nicely.  RI District 3300 should ask McDonald’s Malaysia to sponsor their charity work.  We certainly ate enough of their food over the two day ride.

The two guys in polo shirts are Javan and Ivan.  They drove the support vehicles, and were a great help to all the riders.

rotary-kl-to-teluk-intan-kuala-selangor-mcdonalds-cher-weng-chung

Photograph courtesy of Cher Weng Chun

90km /56mi into the ride we had reached Sekinchan.  It was past noon by then, sunny and hot.  The lady running this fruit stall must have felt like she had just won the lottery when twelve thirsty cyclists appeared, all demanding multiple cups of iced mango juice .

rotary-kl-to-teluk-intan-mango-juice-johny-sui

Photograph courtesy of Johny Sui

Once rehydrated, we decided to get off the main trunk road, Jalan Kuala Selangor – Teluk Intan, aka Route 5, in favour of the secondary roads that run parallel to it.  The road surface of Route 5 is damaged in a lot of places, and the speeding lorries, buses, and cars are no fun to share a road with.

We got onto Jalan Tepi Sawah, which literally means “the road beside the paddy field.”  Those smaller, traffic-free roads are so much more relaxing and pleasant to cycle on.

We rode past the Sekinchan Padi Box on the short jink between Route 5 and Jalan Tepi Sawah.  Padi Box is a homestay location made out of repurposed shipping containers.  A recent addition is N. 16, a restaurant in a converted bus, which I assume, once upon a time, was the number 16 bus.

rotary-kl-to-teluk-intan-padi-box-wc-cher

Photograph courtesy of Cher Weng Chun

At about 2pm we rolled into Sungai Besar.  We stopped at, surprise surprise, a McDonald’s.  This time just for drinks and a visit to the bathroom, although one or two hungry ones had a burger as well.

The rest of us held off eating until we got to Sabak Bernam.  Restoran Ammin Maju was a food stop on the Flipside ride to Teluk Intan, and so it was for the Rotarians as well.

Here we are, fed and watered, and after yet another inner tube change, ready for the final 40km / 25mi push to Teluk Intan.

rotary-kl-to-teluk-intan-sabak-bernam-yap-fatt-lam

Photograph courtesy of Yap Fatt Lam

We made it before the rain!

rotary-kl-to-teluk-intan-menara-chondong-wc-cher

Photograph courtesy of Cher Weng Chun

Drinks all round before picking up our room keys at the Yew Boutique Hotel next door.

rotary-kl-to-teluk-intan-finish-mark-lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

The main reason for the ride was of course to help the Rotarians to recce the route from KL to Teluk Intan for their August charity ride.

This came a close second on the list of reasons to ride once again to Teluk Intan!

rotary-kl-to-teluk-intan-dinner-mark-lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

There were twenty of us at Restoran D’Tepian Sungai.  Riders, support vehicle drivers, and distinguished guests from the Rotary Clubs of Bukit Bintang, Titiwangsa and Teluk Intan.

We went through 6kg / 13.2lb of Grade A udang galah, 1.5kg / 3.3lb of batter fried squid, plus plates of chicken, omelettes, mixed vegetables, and rice.  All washed down with twelve pitchers of watermelon juice and orange juice.

A very big thank you from all the riders to Amy Kong, President elect of the Rotary Club of Bukit Bintang and five others Rotarians: Sherman, Wilson, Elsie, Steve and Wendy, for generously picking up the dinner tab.  Very much appreciated!

The ride back to KL started just like the ride the morning before.  With a flat tire.  This time before we had even left the hotel.

rotary-teluk-intan-to-kl-hotel-flat-yap-fatt-lam

Photograph courtesy of Yap Fatt Lam

That wouldn’t be the last opportunity to stand around watching someone change an inner tube!

The Yew Boutique Hotel is a stone’s throw from a 7-Eleven.  Which was a great place to restock the ice chest in the support vehicle, and to refill bottles.  And to take an arty photograph or two.

rotary-teluk-intan-to-kl-arty-fixie-shot-alvin-lee

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

We opted for an alternative to riding along Route 5 again.  That road is the only way out of Teluk Intan, but there are options once you get to Sabak Bernam.  We regrouped after riding 35km / 22mi along Route 5, at the corner where we turned right onto Jalan Gertak Tinggi.

rotary-teluk-intan-to-kl-sabak-bernam-rest-stop-alvin-lee

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

We wanted to stay on the back roads all the way to Sungai Besar, but we weren’t sure of the way.  We unintentionally ended up back on Route 5 for fifteen minutes before stopping for refreshments at Restoran Rashid Fadil RM3 in Sungai Besar.

It was the network of back roads again for us as we left Sungai Besar and headed south to Sekinchan.  We stopped at Kampung Batu 23 to raid the ice chest following behind us.  This turned out to be a convenient place to stop.  We all needed something to sit on as we waited for yet another flat tire to be repaired.

rotary-teluk-intan-to-kl-rest-stop-yap-fatt-lam

Photograph courtesy of Yap Fatt Lam

We were blessed with perfect riding weather from Kampung Batu 23 onward.  Clouds rolled in, and it stayed overcast and cool for the rest of the day.

rotary-teluk-intan-to-kl-on-the-road-4-liang

Photograph courtesy of Wong Thean Liang

rotary-teluk-intan-to-kl-on-the-road-1-liang

Photograph courtesy of Wong Thean Liang

rotary-teluk-intan-to-kl-on-the-road-2-liang

Photograph courtesy of Wong Thean Liang

rotary-teluk-intan-to-kl-on-the-road-3-liang

Photograph courtesy of Wong Thean Liang

rotary-teluk-intan-to-kl-on-the-road-5-liang

Photograph courtesy of Wong Thean Liang

By 2.30pm we had reached Sekinchan.  We had a very nice lunch at Restoran Bagan Sekinchan, and continued down the pleasant roads along the coast until we got to Tanjung Karang.  At which point staying off Route 5 was no longer realistic, especially as the bridge on Route 5 is the only way to get across Sungai Tengi.

You’ll never guess where we stopped in Kuala Selangor for drinks and to regroup.

rotary-teluk-intan-to-kl-kuala-selangor-javan-yap

Photograph courtesy of Javan Yap

About 70km / 43.5mi to go.  We took a slightly longer route to Bukit Rotan, via Kampung Kuantan, so that we could stay off Route 5, and spend less time on Jalan Kuala Selangor.

We stopped to raid the ice chest again at the entrance to the LATAR Expressway.  And stopped again at the Kundang Timur R&R, where we said our farewells to Ben, Cher, Jack and Steven, who were finishing the ride at MisiCafe in Bukit Jelutong.

Johny, Yap and we six Flipsiders ended our ride where we had started, at Rasik Bistro in Ara Damansara.

Thank you Rotarians for organizing the ride and the accommodation in Teluk Intan, and for providing the support vehicles and drivers.  And congratulations to all the cyclists for riding 350km / 217mi over the two days.

rotary-teluk-intan-to-kl-banner

Graphic courtesy of the Rotary Club Bukit Bintang

Udang Galah Tour – Teluk Intan to Petaling Jaya

teluk-intan-overview-blog-tourism-gov-my

Photograph courtesy of blog.tourism.gov.my

Teluk Intan extends into an oxbow meander of the Perak River.  The Yew Boutique Hotel is the blue and white building to the left, about halfway up the spit of land.

This is the view from the hotel rooftop.

teluk-intan-mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

The hotel is bicycle friendly, with a Cyclist Corner in the lobby.  Bicycles in rooms?  No problem.

yew-boutique-hotel-mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

After breakfast in the hotel, we were on the road at just after 8.00am.  It looked and felt like it would be another roaster of a day as we made our way out of Teluk Intan.  But after 25 km / 15.5 mi it became overcast, and consequently a little cooler.

cooler-weather-mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

The cloud cover was not total, so weather vacillated between being overcast and being sunny.  Which kept the temperature relatively high, but thankfully it never got to the boiling hot levels of the previous day.

Despite feeling warm, we were comfortable enough to make good time to Sabak Bernam, where we made our first stop.

The fried egg, sausage, baked beans and toast breakfast at the hotel had been burned through, so we had brunch at Restoran Ammin Maju.  Roti telur, thosai, and lots of teh tarik and iced Milo.

The sun continued to play with us, alternately toasting us and retreating behind the clouds, as we made our way through Sungai Besar.  Sticking to our schedule of a stop every 30 km / 19 mi, we pulled into the PETRONAS station at Sungai Haji Dorani.  We already had 57 km / 35 mi in the bank.

I wasn’t the only one who had started out in the morning feeling dehydrated.  Despite drinking lots and lots during and after the previous day’s ride, I hadn’t replaced all the fluid that I had lost to perspiration.  All of us commented on how little we had in our bladders through the night and into the morning.

No surprise then that dry mouths and empty bottles signalled the need to stop after 90 km / 57 mi.  We had been looking for a cendol stall.  We came upon a few.  All were closed.

Then we arrived at the Gudang Food Court, with its large sign advertising coconut shakes.  The coconut shakes were good.  The cendol shakes – not so much.  I think it was because they used the same coconut water mix in the cendol as was in the coconut shakes.  Cendol needs coconut milk to taste right.

The cendol shake was however cold and wet, and everything is improved by a dollop of ice cream.  So down it went.

coconut-shake-marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

We had been watching the sky since leaving Sabak Bernam.  There were rain clouds to the east, and at one point we thought the precipitation would come our way.  It never did.  The skies continued to alternate between overcast and sunny.  It never got as hot as it did the day before, but we were riding faster, averaging about 27 kph / 17 mph.  Thus we were sweating a lot.

We decided against stopping for lunch, or for another visit to the coconut water stand, in Kuala Selangor, but we did need to rest and refill water bottles at the PETRONAS station there.

We were more than halfway home, and we were moving onto roads which we had ridden many times.  Interestingly, the state of the roads was better coming south.  Even the stretch near Sabak Bernam was less rough on the southbound side.

Perhaps spoken a bit too soon.  Mark had a pinch flat as we made the left turn onto Jalan Kuala Selangor.  The Caltex Assam Jawa station was a convenient place for Mark to sit down while changing his inner tube.  And for me to have an iced lolly!

mark-flat-marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Once we got going again we were heading toward the rain clouds.  By the time we got to the entrance to the LATAR Expressway, the sun was well-hidden by the clouds.  Which was a very good thing.  Up to that point the route had been pan flat.  Now there were some hills to ride over along the LATAR Expressway and the rest of the way back to Petaling Jaya.

It was about 2.45pm.  Often the hottest time of the day in these tropical parts.  On this day it was just over 30° C / 86° F.  Very nice.  We were able to stay cool as we cruised over the hills.  So cool that we didn’t need to stop as planned at the Kundang Timur R&R.  Instead we carried on into Kampung Melayu Sri Kundang, looking for a stall selling banana fritters, cendol and the like.

We found Cendol ABC Setia across the road from Tasik Biru Kundang.  Exactly what we were looking for.  Cendol, banana and cassava fritters, and prawn fritters.

The last 30 km / 19 mi of this ride were much more comfortable than the equivalent kilometers the day before.  We weren’t feeling beaten up by the roads and the heat.  We made a final stop at the PETRONAS station in Kuang to fill our bottles.  Then enjoyed a relaxed ride back to Petaling Jaya.

Once again I had a lot of fun, laughs, and good eats, with great friends for company.  Thank you Lay, Marco and Mark for a wonderful bike tour.  Let’s do another one soon.

saying

Quote courtesy of Alistair Humphreys

Udang Galah Tour – Petaling Jaya to Teluk Intan

teluk-intan-banner-itbm

Graphic courtesy of ITBM

Two days after completing the Cendol Tour to Melaka, four of us embarked on a credit card tour to Teluk Intan.  This time Mark and I had Marco and Lay for company.

Everyone was on road bikes this time, all sporting Apidura saddle bags.

ready-to-roll-mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

We started the ride under the sun, the moon, and clouds.  It looked like we would have nice weather for our ride.  Looks can be deceiving!

moon-mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

We rode from Ara Damansara to Denai Alam.  Once on the motorcycle lane alongside the Guthrie Corridor Expressway, we cycled past the Lagong toll plaza to Exit 3501.  There we joined the LATAR Expressway toward Ijok.

Our first stop was at Sin Loong Kee Noodles in Kampung Baru Kundang.  Steaming bowls of beehoon and mee, accompanied by strong coffee.

That breakfast set us up nicely for the ride along the rest of the LATAR Expressway toward Ijok.

latar-marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

At this juncture it was still overcast and relatively cool.  It didn’t stay that way.  By the time we were riding through Bukit Rotan on our way to Kuala Selangor, the sun was out, and the heat was on.

getting-hot-mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

We stopped in Kuala Selangor for a photograph by the Selangor River.  And truth be told, a bit of a rest.

kuala-selangor-mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Then we were on the hunt for something to drink.  Which we found at a roadside stall advertising ‘kelapa wangi’ (fragrant coconuts).  You pick the coconut that you want, or just let the vendor choose for you.  Four or five swings of his cleaver, and the top of the coconut is off.  Add ice and guzzle.

The sun was unrelenting.  By 1.00pm the “feels like” temperature was 40° C / 104° F.  We were in Sekinchan, and had covered 101 km / 63 mi.  It was time to stop for lunch.

We sat in the KFC in Sekinchan for seventy five minutes.  Half of that time was spent eating.  The rest was spent sipping drinks and summoning up the willpower to leave the air-conditioning and venture back out into the furnace.

We got as far as Sungai Besar before we needed another dose of air-conditioning.  This time in McDonald’s, where we chilled our insides with lime sundaes.  The green food colouring in the lime topping might have been flourescent, but there was nothing wrong with the taste.  Those sundaes hit the spot.

mcdonalds-lime-sundaes-marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Back on our bikes again, we were starting to get worn down by the double whammy of the broiling heat, and the frequent stretches of rutted, poorly patched, and pot-holed roads. We were expending a lot of energy negotiating around and over the holes and bumps in the road.  A raised or depressed manhole cover is just an irritation to a driver, but it is a hazard to a cyclist.

After a particularly bad section of road north of Sabak Bernam, where even the patches over older patches had themselves been patched, we pulled over under some trees, beside a small Indian shrine, to rest our tired hands and forearms.

indian-temple

It was nine and a half hours since we left Ara Damansara.  That dead straight road ahead of us seemed endless, disappearing into the horizon.

We had roughly 25 km / 15.5 mi to go.  Not a lot.  But we were getting to the end of our reserves of energy.  We were at that point where every kilometer seems to take an age to cover. The distance markers at the roadside were becoming more of a hindrance than a help. Seemingly mocking our slow forward progress.

We covered just 15 km / 9 mi before we needed another stop.  The Shell petrol station at Taman Aman was a haven of air-conditioning and cold drinks.

As the distance between us and the Yew Boutique Hotel in Teluk Intan fell to single digits, the sun finally dropped low enough in the sky so as to make the heat less oppressive.  At this point the distance markers were in partial numbers.

Teluk Intan 3.5 km

Teluk Intan 2.5 km

At 6.00pm we made the left turn onto Jalan Mahkamah, and then left again onto Jalan Mahkota.  We had arrived at the the place that was the reason for making this trip to Teluk Intan.

The Restoran D’Tepian Sungai.

The udang galah (giant freshwater prawn) restaurant right on the bank of the Perak River, where the participants in the BCG Tour to Teluk Intan had feasted.

BCG Tour Teluk Intan Udang Galah

Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia

We wanted to order our food ahead of time, so that we could come back at 8.00pm knowing that we had a table, and that our food would be ready.  Just as the proprietor was telling us that the largest of the udang galah, the Grade A ones, were finished – “Boo”, a supplier pulled up with a fresh delivery – “Yahoo!”

We made one last stop before the hotel.  The Menara Condong, or Leaning Tower, is the iconic structure of Teluk Intan.

we-made-it-2-mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

We were back at the Restoran D’Tepian Sungai at 8.00pm sharp.  Waiting for us were 2 kilos / 4.4 lbs of those Grade A udang galah, prepared three different ways.  500 grams / 1.1 lbs of batter fried squid.  And a couple of steamed crabs.

It sounds like a lot of food.  It was.  But we consumed all of it!

dinner-remains-3-mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

You would have thought that everyone was full after eating all that.  Think again.

Teluk Intan is noted for its chee cheong fun.  The best is reputedly made by Liew Kee (Ah Lek) Chee Cheong Fun.  Which is not far from the Yew Boutique Hotel.

We took a few night shots of the Menara Condong on the way to the chee cheong fun shop.

menara-condong-at-night-marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

The chee cheong fun shop looks like a maximum security prison.  There are no tables and chairs.  Strictly takeaway only.  Nevertheless, the queue was long.  The place is famous far and wide.

There was talk of a few drinks before calling it a night.  That turned out to be talk only.  Once we got back to the hotel all thoughts turned to sleep.  And dreams of cooler weather for the ride back to Petaling Jaya.

Cycle For Life 2103

Cycle for Life Logo (Triathlon Malaysia)

Logo courtesy of Triathlon Malaysia

The final organized ride of the year for my riding buddies and I was a 125km / 78 mi charity event in aid of St. John Ambulance and Mission for Missing Children.

The route ran clockwise from Setia Alam to Kapar, and then north to Kuala Selangor.  There we turned right onto Jalan Rawang and followed it through Batang Berjuntai before turning right again onto Jalan Batu Arang for the southward leg back to Setia Alam.

Cycle for Life Route

It wasn’t a particularly big group that gathered in the Setia Alam Welcome Center parking area at the crack of dawn.  About 350 of us were at the start to listen to the pre-ride briefing from Chan Chee Seng.

Chee Seng was a familiar face from my past.  The last time I met this accomplished sporting figure (he represented Malaysia in swimming at the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics, went on to become a successful coach, and then launched a second sporting career, becoming the first Malaysian to participate in the Kona Ironman World Championships in 1995) was about forty years ago.

Photograph courtesy of Cyclinghappy

Photograph courtesy of Cyclinghappy

Most of the usual suspects in our group did this ride.  Raj, Mark, Chris, Marco, Keat, and a friend almost ready to roll.

Photograph courtesy of Raj

Photograph courtesy of Raj

Marvin, Griffin and Chon were also there.  Gary rode too, but he didn’t make it into the start line photographs.

Photograph courtesy of Chon

Photograph courtesy of Chon

The first 65 km / 40 mi were as flat as the proverbial pancake.  Just one highway overpass to get over as we hummed along at 35 kph / 22 mph.  We grabbed bottles of water on the go (how pro is that?) at the first water zone at the 40 km / 25 mi point.

Photograph courtesy of Khairuddin Abdul Aziz

Photograph courtesy of Khairuddin Abdul Aziz

This was the road we were on between Kapar and Kuala Selangor.

Photograph courtesy of Cyclinghappy

Photograph courtesy of Cyclinghappy

We hit the first of the lumps on the route after 65 km / 40 mi, as we entered Batang Berjuntai.  That sudden 20 meter / 66 ft climb took so much out of us that we had to stop at a 7-11 for a break!  Where we were joined by a fellow rider in need of some rest and refreshment.

Photograph courtesy of Cyclinghappy

Photograph courtesy of Cyclinghappy

Marvin and Chon caught up to us at the 7-11.

Photograph courtesy of Cyclinghappy

Photograph courtesy of Cyclinghappy

We had been told that the next water stop was after 90 km / 56 mi.  So we were surprised to come across it just 7 km / 4 mi later.  That didn’t stop us from partaking of the PowerBars and bananas on offer.

Photograph courtesy of Cyclinghappy

Photograph courtesy of Cyclinghappy

As well as enjoying a touch of Mother Nature.

Photograph courtesy of Cyclinghappy

Photograph courtesy of Cyclinghappy

Most of the excellent photographs in this post come courtesy of this gentleman.

Photograph courtesy of Cyclinghappy

Photograph courtesy of Cyclinghappy

He was on his bike with his DSLR camera in his right hand, taking photographs as he rode.  Fantastic.

Photograph courtesy of Cyclinghappy

Photographs courtesy of Cyclinghappy

Perhaps the organizers moved the stop so that we could refuel before the route turned really hilly.  Which it certainly did.  We had about 225 meters / 740 feet of climbing in the next 20 km / 12 mi.

Then there was a respite for 15 km / 9 mi before we came to the part of the ride that we were all dreading.  The Dragon’s Back.  100 meters / 330 feet of elevation over 5 km / 3 mi, with a 12.5% pitch on the last climb.

The profile looks like this.

Cycle for Life Dragon Back Profile

This is the view back down the last hill.

Photograph courtesy of Cyclinghappy

Photograph courtesy of Cyclinghappy

By the time most of us got to the Dragon’s Back it was noon.  It had been a warm, albeit overcast, morning to start with.  The temperature kept rising throughout the morning, and by midday the heat index was pushing 34° C / 93° F.  Everyone in our group had to battle cramps at some point during the ride.

The remainder of the ride was thankfully flat.  Even so it felt like a long 11 km / 7 mi to the finish.  I suspect that more than a few riders were grateful for the assistance from the St. John Ambulance volunteers during and after this ride.

Cycle for Life St John Ambulance 01 (Cyclinghappy)

Everyone in our group made it to the finish on their bikes rather than in a support vehicle, despite the heat and the cramps.  This was the longest ride to date for Chon, Gary and Raj. So they more than any deserved their finisher’s medals.

Cycle for Life 2013 Medal