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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 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.

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

 

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes *

Image courtesy of Dave Ern

Image courtesy of Dave Ern

The weather has not been kind lately to Kuala Lumpur.  It has been very hot and dry.  The month-long drought has had two effects.  One is that water rationing has been imposed.   The other is that forest and peat fires have sprung up, driving air quality to unhealthy levels.

It is no wonder Dave Ern posted weather and haze updates in the days leading up to the Iron Horse ride.

Image courtesy of Dave Ern

Image courtesy of Dave Ern

Image courtesy of Dave Ern

Image courtesy of Dave Ern

The main concern was the haze.  The air quality was in the moderate range on Wednesday.  Conditions deteriorated as the weekend approached.  By Saturday the API value was in the unhealthy range.

Nevertheless about forty people gathered in the car park at GM Klang for the start of a two-day round trip ride to Port Dickson and back.

Photograph courtesy of Nelson Ng Hong Tuck

Photograph courtesy of Nelson Ng Hong Tuck

The ride would take us out to the coast at Morib.  We would then ride south along the coast to Port Dickson.

Avillion Route

The early going was not pleasant.  This was on the way out of Klang enroute to Banting.

edfea8dbf44688ed52f78eb4764cddc8

The air quality got worse the closer we got to Morib.  Many of us had masks or bandannas over our mouths and noses.  I had neither, but made sure that I was breathing through my nose rather than through my mouth.

There was little we could do about our stinging eyes though.  Except hope that the air would be clearer and cleaner along the coast.

At Morib we should have been able to see the beach and the sea.  We couldn’t.

It was not until we got to Tanjung Sepat, about halfway to Port Dickson, that the haze started to clear.  At that point I was in a group of six cyclists that was ahead of the other riders.  Traffic lights, flat tires and other stops had slowed the rest down.

The six of us made our first stop at Tanjung Sepat.  Soft boiled eggs, buttered toast and kaya, and iced tea for everyone.

The wind had picked up by the time we got rolling again.  Not so good that it seemed to be a constant headwind.  Very good that it cleared the smoke and haze.

Photograph courtesy of Junie Leow

Photograph courtesy of Junie Leow

At Sungai Pelek we took a detour through a housing estate and an oil palm estate to get to the little ferry that crosses the Sungai Sepang.

Photograph courtesy of Ann Daim

Photograph courtesy of Ann Daim

We got onto the ferry in the state of Selangor, and disembarked a few minutes later in the state of  Negeri Sembilan.  This is the Selangor side of the river.

Photograph courtesy of Junie Leow

Photograph courtesy of Junie Leow

The first half of the ride was a battle through the smoke and haze.  The second half of the ride was a battle though the heat.  We stopped for cold drinks and ice cream at Sungai Pelek.  We stopped for more cold drinks and ice cream 15 km later on the outskirts of Port Dickson.  We had only 10 km further to go, but it was so hot.  We had to rehydrate and cool down.

I dove into the freezer cabinet and discovered Nestle Apple Sourz iced lollies.  They were so good, and I was so hot,  that I had three of them.  Those frozen treats, and the air-conditioning in the 7-11, cooled me down enough to face the final 10 km to the Avillion Hotel.

Photograph courtesy of ScoopyScoop.com

Photograph courtesy of ScoopyScoop.com

Twenty five hot minutes later the six of us rode up to the lobby of the Avillion Port Dickson.

Photograph courtesy of Travel Advisor

Photograph courtesy of Travel Advisor

Our relief at arriving at our destination was short-lived.  There are two Avillions in Port Dickson, and we were at the wrong one.

So we had 5 km more to cover before we got to the Avillion Admiral Cove.

Photograph courtesy of Travel Photographer Asia

Photograph courtesy of Travel Photographer Asia

The other Flipsiders had made a stop along the way for clay pot chicken rice.  They arrived later but not as hungry as I was.

Photograph courtesy of Brian Tan

Photograph courtesy of Brian Tan

I was thankful for a cold shower and air-conditioning.  My young riding partners were staying at the Best Western.  A further 15 km down the road.  They hung out for quite a while in the lobby of the Avillion Admiral Cove, waiting for their friends.

Photograph courtesy of Brian Tan

Photograph courtesy of Brian Tan

The most adventurous ones in our group camped on the beach.

Photograph courtesy of Kellie Itoe

Photograph courtesy of Kellie Itoe

These true tourers packed up their tents the next morning and rode the 115 m back to Klang.

Photograph courtesy of Ann Daim

Photograph courtesy of Ann Daim

The guys I cycled together with did the return trip also.  These guys rode an extra 20 km to get to the start at GM Klang.  They then had an extra 15 km to the Best Western Resort in Port Dickson.  So in all they rode about 315 km.

Photograph courtesy of Brian Tan

Photograph courtesy of Brian Tan

I took the easy way back home.  As a passenger in my biker chick’s car.

The ride was smokey.  The ride was hot.  Given the chance I am sure we all would do it again.

Photograph courtesy of Ann Daim

Photograph courtesy of Ann Daim

* With thanks to The Platters

Let’s Get Wild Ride

These pre-dawn starts to bike rides are getting to be a habit.  The latest Dave Ern-organised ride was scheduled to start from Bandar Sri Sendayan.  About 70km from home.  At 7.30 am.  Chon, Chris, Mark, Marvin, Shahfiq and I were among the thirty five or so bleary-eyed souls who convoyed to the Sendayan Galleria for the start of the “Let’s Get Wild Ride.”

Photo courtesy of Dave Ern

Photo courtesy of Dave Ern

This ride would take us to Raptor Watch 2013 in Tanjung Tuan, Port Dickson.  Regular readers of my blog will recall that Dickson is apparently one of a number of Scotsmen who have given their names to places in Malaysia.

For the last fourteen years the Malaysian Nature Society has organised a Raptor Watch event around the migration of birds of prey like the Oriental Honey-buzzard , Black Baza, Chinese Goshawk and Japanese Sparrowhawk.  These hunting birds migrate north between mid-February and mid-April to their breeding grounds in Mongolia, China, Russia, Siberia, the Korean Peninsula and Japan after a taking refuge from the harsh winter in the south.

Tanjung Tuan is the nearest landfall across the Straits of Malacca from Pulau Rupat in Sumatra, Indonesia.   The birds have to traverse just 10 nautical miles / 18.5 km of open water to catch the thermals at Tanjung Tuan to help them on their way back to their habitats in the northern hemisphere.  If the weather is right it is not unusual to see a hundred or more raptors swirling overhead in the updrafts.

The usual mix of road bikes, mountain bikes, folding bikes were joined by a tandem-like bike ridden by Dave Ern with his young daughter on a tag-along.

Photo courtesy of Ann Daim

Photo courtesy of Ann Daim

Our 40 km or so route to Tanjung Tuan along the old trunk road took us southward through rolling countryside and under the Seremban – Port Dickson Highway.  This highway  now carries the bulk of traffic between Seremban and Port Dickson.  We then went south-west, under the highway once more and through the town of Lukut to Port Dickson, or PD as it is commonly called.  From there is was about 15 km to Tanjung Tuan.

Tanjung Tuan Route

It was relatively cool when we started riding.  So we were presentable enough to be photographed.  This is Marvin and I.

Photo courtesy of Ann Daim

Photo courtesy of Ann Daim

We were less presentable by the time we got to Tanjung Tuan.  The sun had come out at it had warmed up considerably.  It was definitely arm-cooler and Sweat Gutr conditions.

Migrating raptors not withstanding, Tanjung Tuan, or Cape Rachado as it was once known, is perhaps best known for it’s lighthouse.  Local folklore states there has been a lighthouse at that location since the Portuguese colonization of Malacca in the sixteenth century.

There is a paved path from the entrance to the Tanjung Tuan Recreational Forest up to the base of the steps leading to the lighthouse.  It is a stiff climb on a bike. 75 meters / 250 feet of elevation in 900 meters / 3,000 feet of path.  We all needed a bit of a rest before we tramped up the steps to the lighthouse.

Tanjung Tuan Lighthouse 05

Photo courtesy of the Malaysian Nature Society at http://mnsraptorwatch.wordpress.com/about-rw/

The area inside the balustrade is not normally open to the public.  However the keepers of the lighthouse agreed to open the area to the public for this weekend.  So we joined everyone else on the courtyard facing the sea, hoping to spot a raptor or two.  It had rained the day before, which kept the birds away.  It has to be a hot day to generate the thermal updrafts that the raptors depend upon.  It was certainly hot when we were there.  We were perhaps a bit too early though.  All we saw were a pair of native White-Bellied Sea Eagles.

It had been some time since I was last in PD.  I lived in the Sunggala army camp in PD for a couple of years from when I was seven.  My memories include the barber who arrived at our home on a bicycle, the neighbors who had one of the few televisions in the camp, the friend of my mother who would visit bearing a packet of ginger biscuits for a sweet-toothed little boy, the Officers’ Mess where my parents played tennis in the evenings and then watched Shindig on perhaps the only other television in the camp, and of course the long stretches of almost empty beach.

When I was nine or ten we moved to KL.  PD became a regular weekend destination.  The Sri Rusa Inn was a favorite spot.  We also spent a lot of time at the Port Dickson Yacht Club, especially after my father acquired a speed boat.  We would often fortify ourselves for the drive home with excellent Cantonese style fried noodles from a stall along the seafront in town.

Things are a little different today.  The army camp must be at least four times the size it was when I lived there.  It even houses an Army Museum.  The Si Rusa Inn is sadly derelict.  The Yacht Club has a Royal designation.  And much of the beach frontage is built-up.  Unfortunately the hotel and resort boom of the 1990s was curtailed by the Asian Financial crisis.  So amongst the resorts, hotels, villas and bungalows are many unfinished and abandoned projects.

I had to be back at my car by about 2pm.  The other five were happy to head back before the day got really hot.  Before we got going again we replenished our potassium reserves with coconut water.  As fresh as can be, straight out of a green coconut that had been opened to order.  The stall also sold cold canned drinks.  My bidons were almost empty so I topped them up with two cans of 100 Plus.

We made our way down from the lighthouse at about 11am.  Lunch somewhere in PD was the plan.  We made a photo stop about half way between Tanjung Tuan and PD town.  The road runs along a rise right alongside the beach at that point, so nothing has been built on the beach side of the road.  Which preserves views of the beach and the sea that I remember from many years ago.

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Shahfiq, Chris, Mark and Marvin.  Chon was behind me taking photographs of the views

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We rode into town in the vicinity of the noodle stall that I remember so fondly.  Except the area is now covered with rows of shops and restaurants.  Including the McDonalds that we patronized.  Obviously ‘fast,’ ‘predictable.’ and ‘air-conditioned’ were qualities that appealed to us.  The restaurant was surprisingly crowded.  It turned out that the locals knew something that we didn’t.

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It wasn’t yet noon when we got to the counter.  Our server told us we would have to wait a few minutes before she would take our order.  Something about a special offer.  Promptly at noon the menu boards were flipped to reveal all.  25% off double cheeseburger meals!

It was 12.45 pm and broiling when we left McDonalds.  We had been smart to take advantage of the free refills to recharge our bidons.  In no time I was sweating buckets and dipping into my bottles.  To the relief of all, it started to rain.  Patchy at first, but pretty heavily for the last 7 km.  We all got soaked to the skin but were thankful for the respitefrom the heat the rain provided.  The final 15 km of rolling hills were challenging despite the cooling rain.  That final section might have been just a bit too wild in the full heat of the day.