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Avillion Coastal Ride 2017

Banner 3

Graphic courtesy of Avillion Coastal Ride 2017

I lived in Port Dickson (PD) for a couple of years.  For many years after my family moved away, PD was a regular day trip destination.  The Si Rusa Inn, with its restaurant and bar open on all sides to the sea breeze, outdoor jukebox, and kampung ladies sitting under the casuarina trees, weaving and selling mengkuang hats, bags, and mats, was a favourite place to spend a Sunday.

That was forty years ago.  The Si Rusa Inn is now derelict.  PD has become crowded with resorts and hotels.  The beaches are not what they used to be.  I stopped going to PD for beach holidays.

PD pdwaterfront com my

Photograph courtesy of pdwaterfront.com.my

In the last few years it has instead become a cycling destination for me.  See BCG Tour Klang – Port Dickson – Klang and Chinese New Year 2017 Tour.

The Avillion Coastal Ride (ACR) has been hosted by PD for a number of years.  I made up for missing the previous ACRs by turning this year’s ACR into a three-day cycling event.  Kota Kemuning to Morib with the R@SKLs, and then solo to PD on Saturday.  The 160km Endurance ACR with friends on Sunday.  And a solo ride home on Monday.

You can tell by the way the pre-ride formalities are managed that an event is run by a competent organiser.  In this case Pedal Explorer and their technical director, Encik Zulkarnain Shah, seen here keeping an eye on the goody bag distribution.

Organiser

Information about the ride was clearly posted outside the room where participants were to collect their goody bags.

IMG_4386

The distribution of ride packs / goody bags was efficiently managed.   I was out of the room, three goody bags in hand, in a matter of minutes.

Those goody bags were heavier than I expected.  That 500g pack of organic rice was an unusual goody bag item.

Goody Bag Mohd Farid Abu Bakar

Photograph courtesy of Mohd Farid Abu Bakar

Registration for the ACR 2017 entitled participants to a discounted rate at the host hotels.  Either the Avillion Admiral Cove, or the Avillion PD.  I had opted for the latter.  So I had a 4.5km / 2.8 ride from the goody bag pickup at Avillion Admiral Cove to the Avillion PD.  With goody bags swinging from my handlebar.

I had been in my cycling kit for more than eight hours. The first thing I needed after checking in to my water chalet was a shower.  I stood fully-clothed under the high-volume shower head, rinsing salt and grime off body and out of kit.

Avillion PD I hadn’t eaten anything since stopping at Morib with the R@SKLs.  I had a late lunch in the Crow’s Nest restaurant, with a view of the Straits of Malacca.

 

Avillion PD 2

Marco, Mark, and Martin drove from KL to PD early on Sunday morning.  I met them at the Avillion PD car park, and we rode to the start line at the Avillion Admiral Cove.

Here we are, waiting for the ride to be flagged off.

Four Musketeers Mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

There were lots of cycling clubs and teams, resplendent in their matching kits.  Including this group of former students from my secondary school.

SJI Avillion Coastal Ride

Photograph courtesy of Avillion Coastal Ride 2017

There were three distances to choose from.  The 25km / 15.5mi Fun Ride, the 90km / 56mi Scenic Ride, and the 160km / 99.5mi Endurance Ride.

The Endurance Ride participants set off first.  Led out by three riders on postman’s bikes.  The national courier, Pos Laju, was the main sponsor of the ACR 2017.

Pos Laju leadout

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia magazine

1,606 participants streamed under the Start / Finish arch.  Including two riders on unusual machines.

Recumbent 2 Avillion Coastal Ride

Photograph courtesy of Avillion Coastal Ride 2017

Elliptigo Marco

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia magazine

The Endurance Ride route took us south past the old Si Rusa Inn, and then eastward.  Within ten minutes the four of us had latched on to the rear of a fairly large group.  Which included this gentleman on a fat bike.

Fat Bike Avillion Coastal Ride

Photograph courtesy of Avillion Coastal Ride 2017

He, and the others ahead of us, provided a draft which we enjoyed all the way to the first water station at Linggi.  Almost everyone in the group stopped there.  We rode through that water station, so we became a peloton of four.

Route

Map courtesy of Avillion Coastal Ride 2017

At about the 40km / 25mi mark we crossed the border between the state of Negri Sembilan and the state of Melaka, at Lubok China.  We were enjoying the very pleasant roads between the small towns and villages.

In the country Avillion Coastal Ride

Photograph courtesy of Avillion Coastal Ride 2017

There wasn’t much traffic on those roads.  Not that traffic would have been a problem.  We were accompanied by a capable set of marshalls on motorbikes, who shielded us from any vehicles.

Outrider Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

There were also mechanics on motorbikes and scooters.  More than a few participants were very grateful for the roadside assistance they received.

Flat Repair Avillion Coastal Ride

Photograph courtesy of Avillion Coastal Ride 2017

The mobile marshalls were complementd by marshalls positioned at intersections.  They stopped traffic so that we could keep rolling.  The ever-present marshalls are another hallmark of a well-organised event.

Marshall 3 Avillion Coastal Ride

Photograph courtesy of Avillion Coastal Ride 2017

It takes considerable resources to efficiently and effectively manage a cycling event.  In the case of the ACR 2017, this included 300 support crew, officials and volunteers, 3 ambulances, 3 broom lorries, 7 support vehicles, 6 police patrol cars and 60 police motorbikes and pilots.

Kudos to Pedal Explorer, Encik Zulkarnain Shah, the police personnel, and the support crew, officials and volunteers for making the ACR 2017 a safe and memorable event for all the participants.

3km / 1.8mi after crossing the state border, we became a group of three.  Martin did the Scenic Ride.  His route split from ours at the junction of Federal Route 5 and State Route M140.

90km Route

Map courtesy of Avillion Coastal Ride 2017

We waved goodbye as Martin turned right.  By then, Marco and Mark had been ready for breakfast for some time.  I had had the benefit of a room service breakfast, albeit at the ungodly hour of 4.40am.  (My breakfast was delivered twenty minutes early).

My companions were on the road while I was eating my pancakes, so they were hungry.  We stopped at a food stall in Kampung Jeram, about 50km / 31mi into the ride.

Nasi lemak and iced Milo sorted out the hunger pangs.

Breakfast Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Having only recently fed and watered ourselves, we rolled through the next water station at 72km / 45mi.  We missed out on the dabbing action there!

Water Stop ACR

Photograph courtesy of Avillion Coastal Ride 2017

Halfway through the ride we were on the AMJ Highway.  The clouds had burned off, and the temperature was rising.  Our thoughts turned to the ice cold coconut shakes at Klebang Original Coconut Shake.  5km / 3mi away.

All the turns along the route were very clearly marked with red arrows.  Even at junctions without a marshall, it was obvious which way to turn.  We got to Jalan Klebang Besar / Klebang Kecil and turned right, as indicated by the red arrow.

We started looking for Klebang Original Coconut Shake.  2km / 1.2mi later we were riding out of Klebang Besar, without having seen the coconut shake shop.  One look at our route on Strava revealed why.  Klebang Original Coconut Shake is 200 meters / 660 feet to the left of the junction where we had turned right.  So close!

Klebang Shake

Map courtesy of Strava and Google Maps

A couple of kilometers later we turned left onto Jalan Pekan Tanjung 2.  And found a sundry shop with cold drinks and a tap where we could wash our faces.  We spent fifteen minutes there, sitting inside the shop, under a fan, cold drinks in hand.

We had met up with Johan S. a number of times along the route.  He would pass us on the downhills, and we would pass him on the uphills and flats.

IMG_4396

Photograph courtesy of Avillion Coastal Ride 2017

We spotted him as he rode past the sundry shop.  A quick yell, and he was soon resting in the shop with us.

Our next destination was Kuala Seafood at Kuala Sungai Baru, 25km / 15.5mi away.  This is the restaurant which was closed, to our great disappointment, when we rode to Melaka about a month ago.  I was certain that the restaurant was along our route, so we wouldn’t miss it the way we had missed Klebang Original Coconut Shake..

Kuala Seafood

Kuala Seafood was open!  A waitress told us that the restaurant had closed for a month so that the staff could have a long holiday.  It had been re-opened for two days.  I told her that the next time they plan to close for a month, they need to put an announcement about it in the newspapers.

It was 12.30pm when we got to Kuala Seafood.  It was at least 35° C / 95° F.  We were shoes-off hot.

Hot Feet Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

The food looked delicious, as we expected.  But we were too hot to eat any of it.  All we wanted were ice-cold drinks.

At that point we had about 35km / 22mi left to ride.  We were back on familiar roads between PD and Melaka.  We had cycled before on these roads at about the same time of day, so we knew it was going to get hotter over the next hour or two.  The number of people we saw taking a break in whatever shade they could find bore this out.

In the Shade 2 Avillion Coastal Ride

Photograph courtesy of Avillion Coastal Ride 2017

The last 12km / 7.5mi of the ride included a 10.5km / 6.5mi stretch of Jalan Pintasan Teluk Kemang.  That road is a dual carriageway that serves as an inland shortcut to the Seremban – Port Dickson Highway.  It bypasses the narrow, winding two-way road which runs along the coast.

It was probably 37° C / 99° F, if not hotter, on that bypass.  There is no shade.  And it rolls up and down over its entire length, to the tune of 162 meters / 530 feet of climbing.

Bypass

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia magazine

It was too hot to linger.  So we upped the pace, helped by a tailwind, to the finish at the Avillion Admiral Cove.

Because we had lingered over food and drinks along the way, we were amongst the last finishers.  Well behind all the Fun and Scenic Ride participants, and most of the Endurance riders.

So we didn’t get any of watermelon or iced Milo on offer at the end of the ride.  It had all been polished off by the cyclists ahead of us.  I’m looking at you Martin!

There were plenty of packs of biryani rice, chicken, and cabbage left.  It was pretty good too.  Some of the better post-ride food I’ve tasted.  There was lots of water, and chocolate muffins as well.  We didn’t really have to eat our medals..

Sweet Marco

After we ate and cooled down, we rode back to the Avillion Hotel PD for a shower and a change of clothes.  We had one more place to visit.

Azmi Chendol Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

A bowl of Azmi chendol was an excellent end to the ACR 2017.

I’m looking forward to the ACR 2018.

Medal Mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Eating Our Way to Melaka

Melaka Banner Johan Sopiee

Graphic courtesy of Johan Sopiee

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.

Melaka MEX R&R Alan

Photograph courtesy of Alan Tan

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.

Melaka Dengkil Mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

We had a visitor looking for handouts during breakfast.

Melaka Dengkil Cat Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

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.

Melaka Rolling Johan sopiee

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

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 . . .

Melaka Sepang Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

this picture was taken.

Melaka Flat 1 Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

My front tire had gone soft while we were at the Shell station.  This was the culprit.

Melaka Flat 2 Alan Tan

Photograph courtesy of Alan Tan

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.

Melaka Sepang Rolling Johan Sopiee

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

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.

Melaka Port Dickson 1 Chee Seng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Chee Seng

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.

It was.

Melaka Coconut Shake 1 Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

And the coconut shakes were good.  Good enough for us to drink a second round of shakes.

Melaka Coconut Shake 2 Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

This place is worth visiting again.

Melaka Coconut Shake 3 Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

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.

Melaka Alan & Chee Seng 1 Lee Chee Seng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Chee Seng

And a refreshing recovery beverage.

Melaka Alan & Chee Seng 2 Lee Chee Seng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Chee Seng

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!

Fried eggplant with chilli, beancurd skin rolls, cincalok omelette, chicken rendang, curry prawns with pineapple, and chendol.

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.

Melaka Train Alan Lee Chee Seng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Chee Seng

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.

Melaka Tourist 3 Johan Sopiee

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

Melaka Tourist 2 Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

We had, briefly, considered cycling back to KL.  Riding to Tampin and taking the train seemed like a more reasonable thing to do.

Melaka Lebuhraya AMH Johan Sopiee

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

40km / 25mi of pedalling got us to the Pulau Sebang (Tampin) KTM station.

Melaka Tampin 3 Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

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.

Melaka Santa 1 Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

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.

Footnote

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.

 

Chinese New Year 2017 Tour

gong-xi-fa-cai

Danial, Safwan and I kicked off the Year of the Fire Rooster with a three day / two night credit card tour from Kuala Lumpur to Port Dickson, Melaka, and Seremban.

cny-2017-day-1-route

Map courtesy of Strava

On the morning of Day 1, Safwan and Danial rode from Bangsar to the McDonald’s at Ampang Park.  I met them there.  This would be the standard start to each day.  Breakfast at McDonald’s.

cny-2017-day-1-ampang-park-mcd-danial

Photograph courtesy of Danial Marzuki

The ride along the MEX Highway was quieter than usual.  Being the second day of Chinese New Year, the roads everywhere were relatively empty.

We made a short “nature calls” stop at the Seri Kembangan R&R.  Then another stop at the PETRONAS station in Dengkil, for provisions.

Other than a few stops for traffic lights, like this pretty long wait at the junction of the Nilai – KLIA Highway (Federal Route 32) and Jalan Besar Salak (Selangor State Route B48), we kept moving for the next two hours.

cny-2017-dengkil-danial

Photograph courtesy of Danial Marzuki

Our next stop for a drink and a bathroom was at the Shell station in Sepang.

cny-2017-sepang-shell-danial

Photograph courtesy of Danial Marzuki

After that is was over the lumps on Federal Route 5 to Lukut, and then the flatter closing 12km / 7.5km to Port Dickson.  About 100km / 62mi for the day.

It was lunch time when we arrived in Port Dickson.  We had cendol and rojak at Azmi Cendol, and the guys bought cheap flip flops from a nearby shop,  before we rode to the Waterfront Boutique Hotel.

cny-2017-waterfront-hotel-danial

Photograph courtesy of Danial Marzuki

After a shower, in my case whilst wearing my kit so it got a wash as well, I took a short nap.  Then we met in the lobby for the short trip around the corner to Starbucks Coffee.  A venti Mocha Frappuccino hit the spot.

That evening we revisited Restoran Seri Mesra Ikan Bakar for dinner.  We had eaten there during a BCG Tour to Port Dickson.  Fortunately we didn’t have to cycle the 11km / 7mi to the restaurant.  Darshini had made a day trip to Port Dickson, so we had a car ride there and back.

There was the option for another Starbucks after dinner, but I was fading.  We planned a 7.00am start, so I fell into bed and was soon fast asleep.

My kit was dry, and more importantly, not smelling funky, at the crack of dawn.  We checked out of the hotel and rolled the few hundred meters to McDonald’s for breakfast.

cny-2017-day-2-start-danial

Photograph courtesy of Danial Marzuki

Melaka here we come!

cny-2017-day-2-route

Map courtesy of Strava

The roads between Port Dickson and Melaka, along Federal Route 5, Federal Route Route 138, Melaka State Route M142, and back onto Federal Route 5, are very pleasant.  The road surface is good, and there isn’t much heavy vehicle traffic to contend with.

cny-2017-day-2-otr-danial

Photograph courtesy of Danial Marzuki

33km / 20.5mi from Port Dickson, we crossed the Sungai Linggi, which at that point doubles as the border between the states of Negri Sembilan and Melaka.  We did notice that the road narrowed a bit, and changed colour, once we crossed into the state of Melaka.

cny-2017-melaka-border-danial

Photograph courtesy of Danial Marzuki

We made an early lunch stop at Restoran Kuala Seafood, in Kampung Kuala Sungai Baru.  Not everything on the lunch buffet menu was ready yet, but there was enough on offer for us to fill our tummies.

Our lunch stop, or more accurately, our brunch stop, came about halfway to Melaka.  We made a semi-emergency stop 10km / 6mi further on, at the Petron station in Masjid Tanah.  Danial needed an ice-cream to quell the flames in his stomach from the too-spicy curry he ate at lunch.

We had planned to ride non-stop the rest of the way to Melaka town.  We got to Tanjung Kling before large raindrops began to fall.  We ducked under the first shelter we could find, and waited out the rain.

cny-2017-day-2-rain-danial

Photograph courtesy of Danial Marzuki

I was quite smug about having packed shoe covers and a rain vest.  I put those items on as we waited for the rain to stop.  Twenty minutes later we rolled out onto the wet road.  We could hardly have gone more than a kilometer before the road changed to being completely dry, and the sun was out.  I wasn’t so smug anymore.

We had been caught, quite literally, under a cloudburst.  And now it was sunny and dry, and I was getting hot under my vest.  We started making jokes about my rain gear having the power to repel rain.

It was 12km / 7.5mi to Melaka from Tanjung Kling.  There was a traffic jam for most of that distance into Melaka.  I was glad to be on a bicycle.  We stopped on the bridge over the Sungai Melaka for a photograph of the river.  A river that is much cleaner these days.

cny-2017-day-2-melaka-river-danial

Photograph courtesy of Danial Marzuki

Then it was off the bridge and around the corner to the Fenix Inn.  The bicycle-friendly hotel that we have stayed at before.

Our post-ride routine was identical to the one the day before.  A shower with kit on, a short nap, and then a walk to the Starbucks Coffee next door to the hotel.  The guys even had to buy flip flops.  It turned out that the RM2.50 / USD0.60 flip flops they had bought in Port Dickson weren’t such a good deal after all.  They were more stiff plastic than rubber, and were very uncomfortable.  So the guys left them in Port Dickson.

I was happy to wait until dinner to eat anything.  Danial and Safwan were peckish, and wanted to try the chicken rice balls at Ee Ji Ban Chicken Rice Ball.  I related my disappointing experience with the chicken rice balls at that restaurant.  Ee Ji Ban Chicken Rice Ball has developed quite a name for itself, so the guys thought that I must have been there on an off-day.

They admitted after eating there that they should have listened to me.

Dinner was at the Restoran Ole Sayang, on the recommendation of AiLin, who is a Melaka girl.  AiLin was in Melaka for Chinese New Year, and not only came to Ole Sayang with us, but picked up the tab as well.  We owe you one Ailin.  Thank you.

A Starbucks was between the restaurant and out hotel, so we stopped for coffee and cake.  There were some brief thoughts of going on to somewhere else after Starbucks, but common sense, and age in my case, caught up.  I needed to get to sleep if I wanted to be ready for another 7.00am start.

Guess where we went for breakfast on Day 3?

cny-2017-day-3-mcd-danial

Photograph courtesy of Danial Marzuki

The sharp-eyed will have spotted that Safwan had packed a second set of cycling kit.  Danial and I stuck to our wash-and-dry routine.  Which worked yet again.

cny-2017-day-3-route

Map courtesy of Strava

Our route out of Melaka to Seremban took us onto the AMJ Highway (Federal Route 19).  A road which is characterized along its entire length by rolling terrain.

cny-2017-day-3-amj-highway-danial

Photograph courtesy of Danial Marzuki

Compounded on the day by a headwind that blew all the way to Seremban.  All that up and down riding against the wind was thirsty work.  We stopped at the R&R at Simpang Ampat for a cold drink.  We had covered all of 31km / 19mi.

The sun had come out in full force while we were at the R&R.  I pulled on my arm screens, and made a mini keffiyeh out of a bandana to keep the sun off the back of my neck.  Of course, as soon as we got going, the cloud cover rolled in and blocked out the sun.

We were blessed with excellent rising weather over the three days.  Apart from brief periods of bright sun, we rode in overcast and cool conditions.  We think my bandana was the charm.

cny-2017-day-3-sun-chasing-gear-danial

Photograph courtesy of Danial Marzuki

Our plan was to hop onto the KTM Komuter at Seremban, rather than ride all the way back to Kuala Lumpur.  After 39km / 24mi we turned left off the AMJ Highway onto Jalan Seremban – Tampin, which roughly paralleled the rail tracks we would be on later.

cny-2017-day-3-tracks-danial

Photograph courtesy of Danial Marzuki

The guys were hungry at about the 50km / 31mi mark, so we stopped at Isyani Café in Rembau.  They devoured large plates of fried rice, and I sucked down a couple of iced Milos.

There were 30km / 18.5mi to go to Seremban.  Or more precisely, to Restoran Nelayan Seafood, which is where Danial wanted to have lunch.  That restaurant is well-known for its masak lemak dishes, which are a Negri Sembilan speciality.  A variety of meats, fowl and seafood are cooked in a coconut milk and bird’s eye chilli gravy, which is coloured a rich yellow by turmeric.

cny-2017-day-3-restoran-nelayan-seafood-warisn9world-blogspot-my

Photograph courtesy of warisn9world.blogspot.my

The guys ate well.  Luckily it was only a few hundred meters from the restaurant to the train station.

cny-2017-day-3-seremban-station-danial

Photograph courtesy of Danial Marzuki

 

RM11 / USD2.50 each for ourselves and our bikes, and we were in air-conditioned comfort for the ninety-minute train ride to the Bank Negara station.

cny-2017-day-3-komuter-danial

Photograph courtesy of Danial Marzuki

I skipped eating at Restoran Nelayan Seafood.  I was looking forward to the Lamb Balls and Egg at Born & Bread Café.  A mere 4km / 2.5mi from the Bank Negara station.  Admittedly through some heavy traffic.  It was worth the wait and the ride!

cny-2017-day-3-lamb-balls-danial

Photograph courtesy of Danial Marzuki

Three happy guys, ready to do it all again sometime soon.

cny-2017-day-3-bb

 

Roadies and Fixies Cendol Tour: Melaka to Kajang

being-tourists-5-alvin

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

Our plans for an early start were scuttled by rain.  We lingered over breakfast while waiting for the rain to stop.

ready-to-roll-alvin

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

We rolled out of the Fenix Inn at 9.00am.  Not to immediately head north toward Port Dickson and Kajang, but to ride to the ruins of the A Famosa fortress, and to the Stadthuys. Two of the most photographed colonial buildings, the first Portuguese and the second Dutch, in Melaka.

Photographs snapped, we crossed the Melaka River and started our 150km / 93mi ride back to Kajang.

alvin-1-mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

We retraced our route from the day before.  We also followed our schedule of stopping every 30km / 19mi or so.

The first stop came at a coconut water stand 27km / 17mi outside Melaka.  Mark and I had become separated from Alvin and Liang by that point.  We stopped again at the junction of Route 5 and the M142 to make sure that they didn’t miss that turn.

Riding together again, we got to Kuala Sungai Baru at 11.40am.  The Kuala Seafood restaurant already had its lunch offerings on display.  Everything tasted as good as it looked.

lunch-alvin

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

We lingered over lunch and drinks for an hour.  It had been hot the day before, and it was already hot again.  I were all dehydrated, and our bodies needed all the fluid we could take in.

The weather can change very quickly, and it did so after lunch.  We had to take cover at a bus stop near Batu Ibol as a sudden cloudburst rolled by.

rain-mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

The rain eased after ten minutes, so we headed back out onto the very wet road.  We rode through drizzle and on wet roads all the way to Port Dickson.

We stopped at Azmi Cendol in the town centre to dry off a bit.

And for some of this.

why-we-ride-alvin

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

And some of this.

liang-sleeping-alvin

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

We were just over halfway home.  The sun came out again as we sat at Azmi Cendol.  Time to reapply the SPF70.  The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful.  No punctures!

It was hot and steamy.  We stopped for a much needed rest and something to drink just before the 100km / 62mi mark.  Coincidentally at the 99 Speedmart in Tanah Merah where we bought Cokes and such the day before.

There are 140 meters / 460 feet of climbing in the 12km / 7.5mi between Tanah Merah and Sepang.  Which was especially hard work for Alvin and Liang on their fixies.  They fully deserved the stop at the Shell petrol station in Sepang.

The climbing doesn’t stop after Sepang.  There is another 465 meters / 1,525 feet of elevation in the 45km / 28mi to Kajang.  By the time we got to Pekan Salak we all needed to refill our bottles.

refill-alvin

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

We needed to catch our breath one final time with 20km / 12.5mi to go.  Then it was a leisurely ride past some high tech bodies:  the Atomic Energy Licensing Board, the Malaysia Genome Institute, and the Malaysian Nuclear Agency.

The National University of Malaysia in Bangi is the last landmark before the right turn toward Bandar Teknologi Kajang.  From there we had just 5.5km / 3.5mi to the police station where we had parked.  Oh, and a final 100 meters / 328 feet of climbing, just for laughs!

It had taken us ten and a half hours to get from Melaka to Kajang.  Six and a half of which were spent on our bikes.  We had done the return trip in about twenty five minutes less than the outward leg the day before.  Kudos to Alvin and Liang for pedalling for every second of those thirteen hours and fifteen minutes, as we covered a tad over 320 km / 199 mi over two days.  Very impressive!

We closed our credit card tour with dinner at Restoran Yip Sheng, down the road from the police station.  Fried rice, lemon chicken and braised beancurd.

dinner-alvin

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

A tasty end to a very enjoyable two-day tour in the company of very good friends.

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 Klang – Port Dickson – Klang Day 2

BCG Klang - PD - Klang Logo 2

The photographs are in!  Thank you Johan Sopiee.

The plan for Day 2 was to roll out at about 7.00am.  A few of us crept out of the hotel before dawn for breakfast at McDonald’s.  Trying not to wake up the person at the front desk.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 2 Hotel

Then it was time to put on cycling shoes (which had dried overnight after the ride through the rain), sun tan lotion, inspect our bikes, and wake up the desk clerk so we could check out.

 

 

Fikri, Izzat and I were ready to roll at the appointed hour.  We discovered then that the rest of the group had opted to eat breakfast after putting on their cycling kit and checking out of the hotel.

So the three of us hit the road while the rest went to McDonald’s.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 2 Early Breakfast

Before long we were making the left turn onto Route N4 toward Chuah.  I don’t think the others were that far behind.

By the way, despite what you see in these photographs, the national tree of Malaysia is NOT the oil palm.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 2 Kampung Chuah Oil Palm

The climb of the day came as we approached the left turn to get back onto Route 5.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 2 Kampung Chuah Climb

At 35km / 22mi the route curled through the small town of Sepang, before heading back toward the coast.  That was the closest we would get to the KL International Airport.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 2 Hot Day

It was 8.45am when I rode through Sepang.  I was supposed to be at Morib at 10.00am, to meet up with some Flipside friends, who were riding to Morib from USJ.  Morib is 45km / 27mi from Sepang.  I was going to be late.

I made a short stop at the PETRONAS station in Sungai Pelek.  The same one where Fikri and I stopped on the way to Port Dickson.  As I remounted my bike, Izzat rode by.  I chased after him and we rode together back out toward the coast.

About 8km / 5mi outside Sungai Pelek we came upon the U-turn point for the participants in the Klang Première Century Ride.  That ride started and ended at the Klang Première Hotel in Bandar Botanic, a kilometer or so from where we would finish our ride.

We shared the road back to Bandar Botanic with the Klang Première riders,including some who had decided that they had ridden enough for the day.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 2 Klang Premiere

I got to Morib at about 10.30am.  Alvin, Liang and Mark were still there.  I slurped down an iced Milo and an ais kacang, and enjoyed the sea breeze as we sat in the shade.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 2 Ais Kacang Mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Just as we were leaving Morib beach, Fikri rode up behind us.  He had been delayed by a problem with his seat post.  He might have wished he hadn’t caught up with us.  Liang proceeded to set a pace between 35kph /22mph and 40kph / 25mph for the next 20km / 12mi to Telok Panglima Garang.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 2 Flipside 02

It was midday.  And hot.  And the pace had been high.  So a stop at Cendol Santan Sawit Mak Lang was called for.  Nothing like ice cold cendol to induce a touch of brain freeze.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 2 Cendol Brain Freeze Mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Brain freeze or not, we stopped again 7km / 4mi later at a PETRONAS station for yet more cold fluid.

It is 5km from that PETRONAS station to the interchange between Jalan Klang Banting, as Route 5 is named at that point, and the KESAS Highway.  Fikri and I waved goodbye to the Flipsiders as they turned right at the interchange toward USJ.   The two of us crossed the KESAS flyover and rolled the final kilometer to the Hotel 99 in Bandar Botanik.

Izzat was already there.  He has a great capacity for riding long distances without stopping.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 2 Finish 03

Happily, everyone else made it to the Hotel 99 safely.

It was another excellent cycling event.  Foogie produced an excellent video summary of the two days.

Many thanks to Danial, Johan, Foogie, and the other participants for making this a fun weekend.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 2 Finish 13

So when is the next BCG Tour?

 

BCG Tour Klang – Port Dickson – Klang Day 1

BCG Klang - PD - Klang Logo

 

Johan Sopiee, Danial Marzuki and Foogie Sim organised the third overnight bike ride under the BCG Tour banner.  This time from Klang to Port Dickson and back.

The start was in the parking area outside the Hotel 99 in Bandar Botanik, Klang.  We loaded our bags into Johan’s car, collected our cue sheets, and paid attention as Danial briefed us on the day to come.  In the meantime Johan was already into his stride as official photographer.

Unless indicated, all the photographs in this post were taken by Johan.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 1 Start2 Johan

A dozen of us were going to spend the night in Port Dickson before riding back to Klang the next day.  Another eight or nine were joining us for the ride to Port Dickson, and were planning to turn around and ride straight back.  A 240km / 150m round trip.

All the formalities were done by 7.45am.  Danial tooted his roti man horn and we were on our way to Port Dickson.  Johan led the way in his car, while Danial and Foogie were in a pickup, on sweeper duty behind the group.

BCG Tour Klang - PD - Klang Support Truck Danial

Photograph courtesy of Danial Marzuki

The roads from Klang to Banting were not as busy as they have been on my previous Saturday rides through that area.  Fikri and I started riding together, and we stayed together all the way to Port Dickson.

Morib is about 40km / 25mi from Bandar Botanik.  Which made it a good place to stop for a drink and a nibble.  Some of us had soft-boiled eggs and kaya toast here.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 1 Delicious Bread2

The only photograph that I can contribute

Others rolled a further 500 meters to the food court at the beach.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 1 Morib kentmoo88 blogspot com

Photograph courtesy of kentmoo88.blogspot.com

Then it was onto the 25km / 15mi stretch along the coast to Kampung Tanjung Rhu.  A sea breeze was blowing.  Unfortunately it was a gusty block headwind.  I was thankful to have Fikri with me.  He did more of the work into the wind than I did.  I was finding the going tough.  Fikri spotted one reason why that may have been.  My rear tire was slowly losing air.

We stopped just after Tanjung Sepat.  A few seconds later Danial and Foogie pulled over ahead of us.  I decided to risk just pumping up the tire rather than replacing the inner tube.  It was a hot morning, I had been working hard, and one of the things I like least to do is fixing a flat with sweat pouring down my face.

Rear tire fully inflated, Fikri and I headed onward into the wind and sun.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 1 Tanjung Sepat Johan

40 minutes later we were on the lookout for a place to stop for some fluid.  Fikri’s bidons were empty, and I needed a refill too.  The PETRONAS station in Sungai Pelek fit the bill.  Cold drinks and air conditioning.  Danial and Foogie stopped there too, so I had my rear tire topped up as well.

By the time we got through Sepang and the climbs along  Route 5 to the right turn onto Route N4, the skies were darkening and thunder was rumbling in the distance.  In a matter of minutes the heavens opened.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 1 Rain Johan

It wasn’t long before we were completely soaked.  Both by the rain and the spray from passing vehicles.  The wind was still in our faces, but at least we were feeling a lot cooler in the wet.

At about the 100km point the group of ‘out and back’ riders rode past in the opposite direction.  The weather probably played a part in their decision not to ride all the way to Port Dickson.  Even so, they probably covered 200km / 124mi by the time they were done.

The roads were wet all the way to Lukut.  Fikri and I caught up with some of the other riders as we rode through Lukut.  With 4km to go to the hotel in Port Dickson, Asni had a puncture.  I wasn’t much better off.  The hole in my inner tube was getting bigger, and I was losing air at a faster rate.  After Johan fixed Asni’s flat tire, I had my tire fully inflated again and sped off, hoping to get to the hotel before my tire went flat again.

My tire held out, and everyone else made it safely too.  We stayed at the Waterfront Boutique Hotel.  The location on the esplanade walk of the PD Waterfront development means that the hotel is amongst a variety of food and beverage outlets, a bank, and shops.  Best of all, the hotel allowed us to take our bicycles into our rooms.

After a shower and a short rest a bunch of us headed out to lunch.  Danial and Johan drove to Teluk Kemang, one of the more popular beach locations in Port Dickson.  The eatery of choice, based on their past experience, was Cowboy Place.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 1 Cowboy Place Menu sharinginfoz blogspot my

Photograph courtesy of sharinginfoz.blogspot

Renowned for its grilled chicken and steamed rice.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 1 Cowboy Place Chicken  azienamico blogspot com

Photograph courtesy of azienamico.blogspot

The merely hungry ate quarter chickens.  The really starving ate half chickens.

Lunch was late.  It was about 3pm by the time we got to Cowboy Place.  By 7pm or so we were all thinking about dinner.

Foogie’s local knowledge took us to Restoran Seri Mesra Ikan Bakar.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 1 Restoran Seri Mesra Ikan Bakar TripAdvisor com

Photograph courtesy of Tripadvisor

You pick what you want from a variety of fresh fish, prawns, crab and other shellfish, and choose how you want each item cooked.  Sit back and wait a few minutes while everything is being prepared, then roll up your sleeves and dig in.  We had fish cooked two different ways, batter-fried squid, vegetables and rice.  Delicious.

We still had room for dessert.  McDonald’s was running a Mango Mania promotion.  A mango sundae sounded like just the thing.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 1 Mango

Photograph courtesy of Golden Arches Restaurants Sdn Bhd

Four of us went straight to the McDonald’s near our hotel after dinner.  Only to be disappointed.  They had sold out of mango sundaes.  We had to settle for chocolate soft ice cream cones.

Then it was time for bed.  It would be another early start the next day.