Sunday, August 2, 2015

Cycling Malacca 2015 Day 3: A Road Less Travelled

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Cycling Malacca 2015 Day 2: A Road Less Travelled
Day 3 - 20th July 2015 : Malacca to Sungai Gadut
Distance: 86.91km.
Time : 9:30am - 4:45pm.
Time Taken : 7 hrs. 15mins. (Including stops for brunch, lunch, rest, regrouping and photo opps).

Route Recommendations :
1. The route uses some main roads, although at stretches there may be emergency lanes to cycle on, still do ride with care. It is generally flat.
2. These roads do not over much shade so do cover up and re-hydrate often.
3. We did have a detour passing by some rural roads at Lendu, this turned out to be an interesting detraction as the road were shady. These rural roads had some slopes.
4. As we were on a tight schedule and did not get to visit Interesting places. One place of note that we passed by is Pedas Wet World Hot Spring Resort.

This blog comes in a few parts. This Day 3 blog, is on our return ride, from Malacca City to Sungai Gadut. To see other parts:


PRELUDE
We had cycled down from Seremban to Malacca City a couple of days earlier, and the previous day had some good cycling around Malacca which included  a Hari Raya open house and ended with viewing a beautiful sunset at Masjid Selat Melaka.


THE RIDE
Our route today would be one that traverse the interior of Malacca and Negeri Sembilan nearer to the Main Range hills. Running through valleys, it was surprisingly not that hilly. This route is one that is seldom used by cyclists, hence I call it a road less travelled; perhaps it should be a road less cycled as there were definitely much other traffic.

9:30am - With a group photo at the Cheng Ho Sayang Guest House, we are all set to leave, all set to say goodbye to Malacca which had given us some wonderful time these past couple of days.

Soon we were at the outskirts of the city, crossing the Malacca River at Jalan Panglima Awang. We noticed that the walkways on the banks of the Malacca River has been extended all the way up here, perhaps the next time we are down here we will try cycling along those walkway and see how far up they have extended.

Passing by the KiP Mart hypermarket at Batu Berendam brought back memories. Just about a year back they had sponsored a big group of us cyclist to participate in their opening (... see KiP Mart blog).


10:30am - Stopped at Kian Huat Coffe-shop at Taman Krubong for drinks. I also had my favourite - toasted bread and two half-boiled eggs.

No, Sin was not baptising Anne here; it was getting hot and at one of the regroup points (a lemang road-side stall) there was a convenient tap. We drenched ourselves a much as we could to cool down, sad to say the hot sun dried us out within half an hour later.

11:15pm - Ahead is the Alor Gajah-Lendu crossroad, an important crossroad for our ride as from there we took an unexpected detour. Sin's GPS unit had given directions for us to make a left turn there.

We rode past University Technology Malacca along the Alor Gajah-Masjid Tanah road before we realised we were on the wrong track; instead of making a U-turn back, we decided to make a right turn at Lendu to Route M58.

The Lendu road (M58) was a pleasure to cycle on; although narrow it had very light traffic and more importantly it was shady. It took us pass small villages, the names of which we had never heard before. Sometimes, getting lost is a good thing.

The road also has undulating slope, not steep but enough to give some variation in our cycling pattern. Well, this will be another route we will try out in future.

(Photo by Kong)
No, these cyclists are not smelling each others' rears. Rather they were drafting behind each other. This a good method when cycling at areas with strong headwinds, the cyclists at the rear follow closely behind the leader, trailing and fitting into the pocket of the leader's tailwind to avoid the headwind and cycle with more ease.

1:15pm - A long stop at the Simpang Ampat Rest & Recreational area for lunch. It was the fourth day of Hari Raya and most of the stalls were opened by then.

This was a good place to take a short nap. Some of us took advantage of the deck chairs available at this stall, Panda Chew was glad to be able to take five; this was his first bike-packing trip and the first day's tough cycling had taken a toll on him.

Somewhere after the rest stop, our support truck arrived. Panda Chew was most glad to see it and went down on his knees to bow in thanks; but he decided to stick it out and continue to the finish. In fact none went up the support truck and instead most of us just loaded our luggage into it to lighten our cycling load.
Baki arrived with the truck too, he had went back the previous evening to attend to work this morning. Legs itchy, he rushed down to join us eventhough he did not get much sleep.


Near Kampung Cerana Putih Brian took us on another detour, one using plantation roads with hardly any traffic.

 Something unexpected though, a stretch of this plantation road was not tarred and some of us did a bit of off-road cycling while others came down to push.
Somewhere along this stretch, unnoticed we had crossed over the border into Negeri Sembilan.

A dejected looking Jason missing the petai pau as the shop was closed.
2:45pm - We are back on the main road, riding along the Seremban-Tampin stretch of  Federal Route 1. Baki is back to his role as our Dǎoyóu (导游 - tour guide in Mandarin); at Kota he took us over the Sin Hiap Chang coffee-shop where they sell bao kampung, one of the unique pau they sell is the petai bao. Most of us had never tried that before but unfortunately did not try it that they as the shop was closed!

SIESTA AT REMBAU!
The heat has taken its toll on us; at a road-side shady spot near Rembau, we just stopped laid out our raincoats, fly-sheets and took a nap.

At Pedas, we dropped in to the police station there and the police-men were sporting to take a photo with us.

Not to far ahead is the Pedas Wet World Hot Spring Resort. It was under refurbishment/upgrading; another point of interest for future rides.

4:45pm- YAHOO! WE MADE IT!
And we did it in seven hours and fifteen minutes, not too bad a time for some of us oldies.
Baki and Jason could even do some acrobatics in celebration!

From there it was taking the Commuter Train back to Kuala Lumpur.
The seats may not be comfortable for sleeping, but the air-conditioning made it perfect and most of us snoozed all the way back!

TILL THE NEXT RIDE THEN...

ADIEU!


(The next ride will be an interestingly rare one of riding up to Genting Highlands.
Why rare? ... Stay tuned and find out soon)


This blog comes in a few parts. This Day 3 blog, is on our return ride, from Malacca City to Sungai Gadut. To see other parts:


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You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Negeri Sembilan-Malacca / Cycling Malacca 2015 / Day 3: A Road Less Travelled     |     Jump to- Day 1 / Day 2
If you like this, view my other blogs at Jotaro's Blog
(comments most welcomed below. if you like this pls share via facebook or twitter)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cycling Malacca 2015 Day 2: A Hari Raya In Malacca

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Malacca / Cycling Malacca 2015 / Day 2: A Hari Raya In Malacca     |     Jump to- Day 1 / Day 3
                                     AhPek Biker - Riding Adventures                                   
Cycling Malacca 2015 Day 2: A Hari Raya In Malacca
Happy Cyclists at Anuar's Hari Raya Open House at Bukit Pulau, Malacca (Photo by Anuar).
Day 2 - 19th 2015 : Around Malacca
Distance: 34.57km.
Time : 10:30 am - 10:30 pm.
Time Taken : 12 hrs. (Including stops for brunch, chilling/shopping at the Shores Gallery. attending a Hari Raya open house, dinner, drinks, rest, regrouping and photo opps).

Route Recommendations :
1. Malacca City is a good place to cycle, in fact cycling is the best way to get around within the city area during peak holidays seasons when many tourists throng to the place resulting in traffic jams.
2. Interesting places to visit includes:
    - The Malacca Riverside with it's casual atmosphere, many wall murals and a musical fountain.
    - Various historical sites such as the Stadhuys (a Dutch fort) and A'Famosa (ruins of a Portuguese fort), etc.
   - The rocky beach adjacent to the Masjid Selat Melaka to view on of the most scenic sunsets in the world.
3.  Malacca also has a good Baba-Nyonya food, there are many outlets selling these, such as:
    - Donald & Lily's which serves good authentic (we had brunch there).
    - Bayonya where we had dinner. The food here is average only.
    - Another good place to try is Aunty Lee at Ujong Pasir
    - Also don't miss the chicken-ball rice.

This blog comes in a three parts. This Day 2 blog, is on our ride around Malacca City. To see other parts:


PRELUDE
The day before we had rode a hot and long ninety kilometre route from Seremban to Malacca City. Although it was a tough ride, most of us were able to make it and were rewarded with a good sense of achievement.


THE RIDE


It was an easy day of riding around Malacca City today with a bonus of attending a Hari Raya open house at the outskirts of the city. After that we went to view one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world at the Masjid Selat Melaka.

11:00am- After a good-night's sleep, we are ready to set of for a full day riding around the city. Actually most of my buddies woke up much earlier and had done breakfast followed by a bit of exploring of the nearby streets. This old AhPek needing more rest, woke up later, and breakfast was some Nyonya kuehs being sold by a friendly lady running a road side stall just next to Cheng Ho Sayang Guest House, where we were staying.

Larry and Winnie had brought along their compact Jab Nanoo 12-inch bicycles. These bike may look small, but they are compact when folded, and are handy for cycling around the city. For those who don't feel like using their leg power, there is even an electric pedal-assist version.

Within twenty minutes we were at Donald & Lily's Nyonya Food restaurant for a brunch. Even at this hour business was brisk and a long queue were waiting to be seated. Fortunately for us Baki was a sort of god-son to the old couple. Family connections helped and we did not had to wait long to be seated.

This is a restaurant run by a Nyonya family so the food here are authentic and also well presented. Their Nasi Lemak has a unique dark blue (with natural dye from the morning glory flower) and white combo. At first I made the mistake that this was the Pulut-Inti rice which has a similar combo colouring.
Anyway I detract. The rice had a good savoury creamy flavour of santan while the chicken curry was thick and good, it could do with a bit more oil though.

Some of my friends had this Ayam Pongteh that came with white rice. I was fairly good but the flavour was not as strong as the one from Auntie Lee's (another Malacca Nyona restaurant); somehow I felt something was missing, perhaps the aroma of the kayu manis?
The cendol should not be missed; it came with very fresh creamy santan and one of the best Gula Melaka. I had the Mee Rebus which was okay too; for those from the north do not expect something similar with a strong tomato base gravy, the southern ones don't use tomato gravy but instead have a santan based gravy.

Baki, having done some filming in Malacca, acted as our Dǎoyóu (导游 - tour guide in Mandarin). After brunch he took us to Jalan Jawa.
This short alley has two distinctions; firstly on the left is the longest shop house in Malacca. At close to two hundred feet length (I measured on Google map *smiles*) , the side of the house has been subdivided into several shops making it look like individually disticnt shops when actually it is all under one property.
This place is also called the "Wailing Lane" once as it use to have houses where men used to keep their mistresses. Estranged wives would bring their children here and together they would wail away their woes, that must have been a sorry sight then.

With time to spare, we went over to the La Bodega at the Shores Shopping Gallery to hang out and have some drinks/snacks while some even went shopping. Nearby, a kitchen staff was cooking this Paella Rice at an open cooking area; it did look deliciously tempting but we refrained from taking it as we would be attending a Hari Raya open house soon.

Brian was a good transport minister for the hamper we got for the open-house, all nicely secured with bungee cords to his bicycle.
We did achieve an important task at the Shores Gallery; getting a "buah tangan" for the open house visit. In Malaysia, it is customary and good practice to bring along a small gift for the host when visiting.

3:20pm - And we are off, cycling on the board-walk along the Malacca Riverside before heading for the roads. The river may not have crystal clear water but it is relatively clean. Much have improved here since my visit in 2012.

More wall murals have cropped up.....

..... most of the old, dilapidated houses have been restored. Unfortunately they are not for residence and instead house eateries and coffee joints, I guess the riverside properties are just too expensive to stay in.

Annuar & Albert
4:30pm - We arrive at Bukit Pulau for the Hari Raya open house. Anuar, a childhood friend of Albert one of our cycling buddies, had graciously invited us over. He and his family were very warm and welcoming hosts.

In the usual tradition, Anuar had prepared food, drinks and cakes for us; we are in for a feast!

Especially good was his Beef Rendang that went very well with the ketupats. It was done the Malaccan way, i.e. not so dark a curry and had more lemongrass.

Also very memorable was this laksa prepared the Penang Malay Laksa style. It was so good that one of our buddies whacked four bowls.
I do hope that we did not give a poor impression that we were greedy fellows. Hungry from cycling, we did really eat a lot of his tasty food. Anuar in his graciousness did not show any hint of noticing our odd behaviour. Before leaving we took a group photo with Anuar and his family (see top-most photo).

We cycled out along the quiet roads of Bukit Pulau, happy that we did get a chance to celeberate Hari Raya in Malacca.
Many thanks to you Anuar for this opportunity, we had a good time at your place.

7:00pm - We had cycled the fifteen kilometres back to the city and were now at a rocky shore near the Masjid Selat Melaka. Many other tourists (both local & foreign) were there to; all of us waiting in anticipation. Why?

We were all waiting to view on of the most beautiful sunsets in the world!


Beautiful isn't it?

On our way back we were looking for a dinner place and ended up at Bayonya. We were attracted by it's mysteriously red shop front. The food although okay was generally not up to par; we had cincaluk omeletAyam Pongteh and steamed assam fish, etc. The omelet did not have enough cincaluk and thus lacked that cincaluk biting flavour. The assam fish was quite good, with the fish being very fresh.

It had been a wonderful day that included a warm Raya celebration, a beautiful sunset and lots of eating
Tomorrow we will return to Sungai Gadut on A Road Less Travelled!
Goodnight.

This blog comes in a three parts. This Day 2 blog, is on our ride around Malacca City. To see other parts:


RELATED BLOGS:

_________________________________________________________________________

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You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Malacca / Cycling Malacca 2015 / Day 2: A Hari Raya In Malacca     |     Jump to- Day 1 / Day 3
If you like this, view my other blogs at Jotaro's Blog
(comments most welcomed below. if you like this pls share via facebook or twitter)