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Seven R@SKLs Ride to Teluk Intan

Teluk Intan Banner

Photograph courtesy of tourismperakmalaysia.com/

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

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

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

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

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

Off Road 4 Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

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

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

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

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

Map 1

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

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

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

Breakfast was at 23km / 14mi.

Meal 1 Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

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

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

Catch of the day Simon Soo Hu

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

And to pose under the “good luck” tree.

Wishing Tree Simon Soo Hu

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

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

Meal 2a 2 Hsing C Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Menara Condong Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

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

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

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

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

Meal 7 Simon Soo Hu

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

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

Fishing Jetty Hsing C Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

Fishing Jetty Birds' Nests

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

Meal 8 Drinks Simon Soo Hu

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

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

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

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

Off Road 3

Photograph courtesy of Google

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

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

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

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

Teluk Intan Quote

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

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Graphic Courtesy of Bukit Bintang Rotary Club

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

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

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

rotary-112-kidney

Graphic courtesy of MIMS Pte. Ltd

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

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

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

rotary-kl-to-teluk-intan-map

Map courtesy of Strava

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

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

Photograph courtesy of Yap Fatt Lam

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

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

Photograph courtesy of Ivan Wong

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

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

Photograph courtesy of Cher Weng Chun

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

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

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

Photograph courtesy of Cher Weng Chun

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

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

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

Photograph courtesy of Cher Weng Chun

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

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

Photograph courtesy of Johny Sui

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

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

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

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

Photograph courtesy of Cher Weng Chun

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

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

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

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

Photograph courtesy of Yap Fatt Lam

We made it before the rain!

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

Photograph courtesy of Cher Weng Chun

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

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

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

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

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

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

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

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

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

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

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

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

Photograph courtesy of Yap Fatt Lam

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

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

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

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

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

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

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

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

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

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

Photograph courtesy of Yap Fatt Lam

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

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

Photograph courtesy of Wong Thean Liang

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

Photograph courtesy of Wong Thean Liang

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

Photograph courtesy of Wong Thean Liang

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

Photograph courtesy of Wong Thean Liang

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

Photograph courtesy of Wong Thean Liang

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

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

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

Photograph courtesy of Javan Yap

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

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

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

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

rotary-teluk-intan-to-kl-banner

Graphic courtesy of the Rotary Club Bukit Bintang

Udang Galah Tour – Teluk Intan to Petaling Jaya

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

Photograph courtesy of blog.tourism.gov.my

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

This is the view from the hotel rooftop.

teluk-intan-mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

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

yew-boutique-hotel-mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

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

cooler-weather-mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

coconut-shake-marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

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

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

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

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

mark-flat-marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

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

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

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

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

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

saying

Quote courtesy of Alistair Humphreys

Udang Galah Tour – Petaling Jaya to Teluk Intan

teluk-intan-banner-itbm

Graphic courtesy of ITBM

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

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

ready-to-roll-mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

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

moon-mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

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

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

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

latar-marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

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

getting-hot-mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

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

kuala-selangor-mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

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

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

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

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

mcdonalds-lime-sundaes-marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

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

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

indian-temple

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

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

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

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

Teluk Intan 3.5 km

Teluk Intan 2.5 km

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

The Restoran D’Tepian Sungai.

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

BCG Tour Teluk Intan Udang Galah

Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia

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

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

we-made-it-2-mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

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

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

dinner-remains-3-mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

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

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

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

menara-condong-at-night-marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

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

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

BCG Tour Ijok – Teluk Intan – Ijok

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BCG Tour Teluk Intan Banner

When the first Facebook posts about a supported ride from Ijok to Teluk Intan and back appeared on my News Feed, I was intrigued.  It was the maiden ride organised by Johan S and Danial AM, who together are BCG Tour.  They describe themselves as “2 cyclists who are dedicated to spreading the joy and good feeling of cycling to everyone.”

BCG Tour Teluk Intan Organisers

I am always up for joy and good feeling.  Leslie and I signed up, and joined eleven other cyclists in Ijok.

Right away we all made new friends.

Before we headed out onto Jalan Kuala Selangor we got a short briefing about what to expect along the way.  We were given ziploc bags holding cue sheets for the route.  There weren’t many turns to watch out for, so none of us were worried about getting lost.  Danial and Johan would both be driving support vehicles, one of which was a pickup, so help would always be close at hand.

BCG Tour Teluk Intan Support

Johan is a photographer by profession.  He started snapping photographs at the start, and regularly hopped out of his car along the route to take action shots.  All the photographs in this post, unless indicated otherwise, were shot by him.

The route took us west from Ijok town to Jalan Kapar.  There we turned right and headed north to Kuala Selangor and Sekinchan.

BCG Tour Teluk Intan Route

Route map courtesy of Ride With GPS

We made our first stop at Sekinchan after covering 48km / 30mi in 90 minutes. Pretty quick, thanks to Eric leading the way.  It was time to regroup, and have a cold drink and a rest at a PETRONAS station.

The pace stayed high between Sekinchan and Sabak Bernam, which was our next designated regrouping point.

The staff at the KFC weren’t fazed by a throng of sweaty cyclists rocking up to the counter to order drinks and food.  I’m not sure what the other patrons thought though.

We spent ninety minutes at the KFC in Sabak Bernam.  By the time we were all ready to leave it was starting to get hot.  Very hot.

IMG_2740

Weather graphic courtesy of Weather Underground

Certainly hot enough for me to slather some more sunscreen on my exposed skin, and to tuck a bandana under my helmet to keep the sun off the back of my neck.

The last 40km / 25mi to Teluk Intan started with a 5km / 3mi detour through town and along the Sungai Bernam to avoid roadworks on the main road.  The detour did include the opportunity to show off some cyclocross skills.

 

Once back on the main road we hit the climb of the day – the entire route is so flat that bridges across rivers count as climbs.

BCG Tour Teluk Intan KOM

Photograph courtesy of Danial AM

After that it was a non-stop ride to Teluk Intan.

I am sure we were all glad to get to the landmark Menara Condong (Leaning Tower) in Teluk Intan.  The end point for Day 1.

BCG Tour Teluk Intan Menara Condong

Photograph courtesy of Yew Boutique Hotel

Overnight accommodation was at the Yew Boutique Hotel, situated a few hundred metres from the Menara Condong.  The hotel ticked all the boxes.  The lobby cum coffee house is bright and spacious.  The room Leslie and I shared was clean and comfortable.  The air conditioning worked well, as did the water heater for the shower.  We were even allowed to bring our bikes into our room.

Most of us hung out in the coolness of the coffee house before heading up to our rooms for a shower etc.

BCG Tour Teluk Intan Yew Boutique Hotel

Once we were cleaned up it was time to eat.  Next door to the hotel is the Medan Selera GSB (Glutton Square Baru) that serves delicious vegetarian popiah.

BCG Tour Teluk Intan Popiah

Photograph courtesy of Daniel N

Three servings, and some of Leslie’s shrimp wan tan, were enough to tide me over until dinner that evening.

Next came a dusk photo session at the Menara Condong.

BCG Tour Teluk Intan Menara Condong

A dinner tip from local boy Shahfiq was the udang galah (giant freshwater prawns) at Restoran D’Tepian Sungai.  Udang Galah are a big deal in Teluk Intan.  These big versions are at Dataran Udang Galah (Udang Galah Square), which we walked through on the way to the restaurant.

BCG Tour Teluk Intan Dataran Udang Galah

I took this photograph

As its name implies, Restoran D’Tepian Sungai overlooks the Sungai Perak.  It is a simple open-air place.

BCG Tour Teluk Intan Restoran D'Tepian Sungai

Photograph courtesy of narizan.blogspot.com

Essentially just a roof over tables and chairs, with the river visible behind.

You don’t come to Restoran D’Tepian Sungai for a fancy restaurant experience.  You come for this.

BCG Tour Teluk Intan Udang Galah

Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia

Ordered by the kilo, and cooked in your choice of six different ways.

BCG Tour Teluk Intan Udang Galah 2

Photograph courtesy of Daniel N

We were treated to an epic thunderstorm as we ate our prawns, squid etc.  The rain persisted after we had all finished our dinners.  By the time we could venture out into the open to walk home, some were peckish again.

Teluk Intan is noted for its chee cheong fun.  The best is reputedly made by Liew Kee (Ah Lek) Chee Cheong Fun, which conveniently was on the way back to the hotel.

Despite all the food I ate for dinner, I was up early for the set breakfast that came with the hotel room.  Toast and jam, a fried egg, baked beans and coffee set me up for the ride home.

Riders headed back onto the road when they were ready, beginning before dawn.

My day didn’t start very well.  I had a puncture 9 kilometres from the hotel.

BCG Tour Teluk Intan Puncture

Photograph courtesy of Leslie T

The fix was complicated by a valve core that kept unscrewing from the valve, rapidly releasing all the air that Leslie and I had just worked hard to pump in.  Fortunately Danial appeared in his truck, with a small pair of pliers, and perhaps more crucially, a foot pump that had a push-on rather than a screw-on head.

Once my rear tire was back on my bike, we had no more trouble.  We retraced our route back to Ijok, this time without the need to detour around road works.

As it had done the day before, the temperature climbed steadily through the morning.  The humidity level was also very high after the heavy rain during the night.

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Weather graphic courtesy of Weather Underground

I wasn’t the only one sweating buckets on the return ride.  Leslie and I stopped at a Caltex station in Batang Berjuntai for a cold drink and a dose of air conditioning.

We stopped again at the Padi Box in Sekinchan, which was the scheduled regrouping point.

The Padi Box is a homestay place built out of repurposed shipping containers.

BCG Tour Teluk Intan Padi Box

Photograph courtesy of Seng Chee Photography

Unfortunately the cafe was closed because there was a video shoot going on.  So we descended on the fruit stall on the corner of Jalan Tali Air 4 and the main road.  Where I drank three large glasses of fresh mango juice in double quick time.  I had been drinking regularly from my bidons, but the fluid was dripping out of me almost as fast as I was taking it in.

20km / 12mi later we stopped at Cendol Durian Borhan in Kampung Permatang.  Yet another food outlet that has achieved stellar status in the eyes of foodies.

I can’t fault the decor.

BCG Tour Teluk Intan Cendol Durian Borhan

Photograph courtesy of asparaguswhite.blogspot.com

The cendol was very good.

BCG Tour Teluk Intan Cendol

Photograph courtesy of Leslie T

So good that I had another bowl after I finished the two in front of me.

Given the amount of fluid I had drunk during the previous two hours, I am surprised that I wasn’t sloshing around during the 25km / 16mi from the cendol stop to Ijok.  It was straight into the 7-Eleven at Ijok for another drink as soon as we finished.

BCG Tour Teluk Intan Finish Ijok

Johan and Danial did an excellent job making sure that everyone got back to Ijok safely.  Kudos to the both of them for organising a fun event.  And congratulations to all the participants.   For some this was their longest ride to date.  Well done.

If you are interested in joining the next BCG tour event, click here.  Kajang to Melaka and back on June 4th and 5th.  260km / 162mi in all.  I’m sure you will enjoy it.BCG Tour Teluk Intan Next Tour Banner

 

 

Janamanjung Fellowship Ride 2014

JMFR 2014 Logo

My riding buddies and I, now collectively known as team Flipside, have signed up for a number of 100 km or longer rides this year.  The first was the Janamanjung Fellowship ride.  This ride has been on the cycling event calendar since 2008.  The ride starts and ends on the grounds of the Sultan Azlan Shah power plant, a 2,100MW facility that will bring a fourth 1,000MW unit on stream in 2015.

The power plant is on the Perak coast, 250 km from Kuala Lumpur.  We convoyed to the town of Manjung on Saturday morning.  As is always the case, the drive was punctuated by stops for food.  Marco, Keat and I are enjoying a mid-morning snack of wanton mee in the town of Bidor.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

On the way back to his truck, Keat gave in to temptation and bought some jambu air, or rose apples.

JMFR 2014 Bidor Fruit

Our next stop was at a well-known tourist spot in the town of Teluk Intan.  The Leaning Tower.

JMFR 2014 Teluk Intan Tower

We didn’t stay very long as it was an exceptionally hot day.  At least 33° C.

The power plant was our next destination.  We collected our ride numbers, and collectively hoped that it would be cooler the next day.

JMFR 2014 Power Station

We met up with Shahfiq and his wife at the power plant.  Shahfiq is from Manjung, so we depended on him to take us to a good place for lunch.  Which he did.

We had dessert at an institution in Perak.  James cendol.  This roadside stall opened for business in 1974.  Since then it has spawned a host of imitators around the country, but I wager that none are the equal of the original.  The stall operator is resplendent in an ever-present red bow tie.  The large photograph in the background is of this lady’s husband, with the Sultan of Perak seated on the right.

JMFR 2014 James Cendol 1

The reputation is well-deserved.  The cendol is old-school good.  Thick coconut milk, slightly salty pandan-flavoured noodles, palm sugar, and shaved ice.  No other ingredients required.  There is nothing better on a hot afternoon than an ice-cold bowl of cendol.  Except two bowls of ice-cold cendol.

JMFR 2014 James Cendol 2

The plan was to go for a bike ride in the evening, but the hot weather deterred everyone.  We were probably better off  napping in our air-conditioned rooms.

Other Flipsiders arrived throughout the afternoon.  The three in a VW combi had a scare when their van decided to take an unanticipated rest.

Photograph courtesy of Jason Chan

Photograph courtesy of Jason Chan

Fortunately the combi got going again once it had cooled down.  So we had the whole group carbo-loading together that evening.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Our hotel was 5 km from the power station, so we all rode to the start.  There were sixteen of us in our brand-new Flipside kit.

JMFR 2014 Shahfiq Abdul Manap

Photograph courtesy of Shahfiq Abdul Manap

About 1,380 of us rode under this arch, through the power plant gates, and out onto the route.

JMFR 2014 Start

 

The route was a clock-wise 115 km loop.  The power plant sits on an artificial island, which explains why the map shows the route extending out to sea.

JMFR 2014 Route

The organization for this ride was excellent.  Especially the marshalling along the route.  There was a large group of marshalls on motorbikes to keep the riders safe through intersections and on the open roads.

JMFR 2014 Marshalls

We got going a little bit late, which would translate into spending more time in the heat of midday.  The early going was relatively comfortable.  This is one of the nicest cycling event photographs that I have ever been in.  Along with Cedric at the front, and Jason.

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia magazine

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia magazine

The three stops along the route were well stocked with chilled bottles of water and cans of 100PLUS isotonic drink.  Which made for a happy group of Flipsiders.

JMFR 2014 First Stop

Not long after that first break we had an unscheduled stop.  I made the schoolboy error of taking my eyes off the rider in front of me as we were slowing down for some reason.  I went from 31.5 kph to 20 kph over 60 metres. Then very rapidly to 0 kph.

I have the good fortune to ride with a great group of guys.  They all pitched in to free the jammed chain, and straighten the bar, right shifter and front derailleur on my bike, while a couple of marshals patched me up.  I’ll do a full crash post in a day or so.

Photograph courtesy of Keat Wong

Photograph courtesy of Keat Wong

Thanks to the efforts of the Flipsiders I got going again.  By then we were the very last of the riders on the road.  Accompanied by some marshals who must have wondered if we would finish in a reasonable time.

By the second water stop at 70 km we had caught up with some riders.  We were well within the pack by the third stop.  Fortunately there was plenty of chilled water at that third stop.  It was not as hot as the day before, but the mercury was nonetheless pushing 30° C when we arrived at the stop.

We were all very very pleased to see a fire truck sending out a steady spray of cool water at the finish.  We need this at all our organized rides.

JMFR 2014 Finish Shower

Every Flipsider rode under the finishing arch.  We all had a good time, despite the heat, and the cramps, and in my case scrapes and bruises.

We all left Manjung with one of these.

JMFR 2014 Medal

 

And more than a few of us started the trip home with a bowl or two of James’ cendol in our bellies.