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.
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.
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.
Our next stop for a drink and a bathroom was at the Shell station in Sepang.
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.
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.
Melaka here we come!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The guys ate well. Luckily it was only a few hundred meters from the restaurant to the train station.
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.
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!
Three happy guys, ready to do it all again sometime soon.