Thursday, November 22, 2012

Malacca : Peranakan Bike-Packers Day 1

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Malacca : Peranakan Bike-Packers
13th-15th November 2012 : Day 1 : Bike-Packing from Kuala Lumpur to Malacca
Small Group Ride (This blog covers Day 1 of 3)
Train Ride : Bandar Tasik Selatan>Sungei Gadut
Bike Ride : Sungei Gadut>Malacca
Cycling Distance Day 1 : 83.75 km. (per MapMyRide App)
Ride Start Time : 9:00 am 
Time Taken : 7:39 hrs. (including stops - eats, refreshment & photo shoots)


I am excited again, but this time very much so. A few friends and I are bike-packing down to Malacca from Kuala Lumpur. There was a stretch of a 3-day holiday ahead, and it would just be the right time. I have never been on an overnight biking trip and this would cover two nights; so I have reasons to be very, very excited.

But first thing first. My Dahon Dash P18 was not equipped for bike-packing. I either have to carry a back-pack or fix a carrier. With my poor back, I opted for the latter.
So I got Johnny of My Bicycle Shop to take the carrier from my First Foldie and fixed it to the Dash, my 2nd Foldie.

Siew Yung (one of the ride planners) did some research and suggested that we take the KTM Commuter Train to its last stop at Sg. Gadut, from there we shall start our cycling. All was agreable - Andrew and Hui Min will drive down and meet us there.

Siew Yung & her Claret Brompton
And I was eager to see Siew Yung's new Brompton.

Rita in Pink & Riding a Hot Pink Brompton
I was also keen to meet up with the Pink Lady, Rita Wong.

The night prior to the ride, I folded and packed my bike into the carry-on bag, and packed a minimum of clothing into a small back-pack.

And we are READY TO GO!

This ride blog will be in three parts :
Day 1. Trip Down from Bandar Tasik Selatan, Kuala Lumpur to Laksamana, Melaka
Day 2. Biking Around Malacca
Day 3. Trip Back from Laksamana, Melaka to Sentral, Kuala Lumpur

DAY1: 13th November 2012 - THE TRIP DOWN

Peranakaan Bike-packers - Day 1 Cycling Route: KL>Sg Gadut>Melaka
The ladies were very sporting. Rita picked up Kookkeong; and Siew Yung picked me up at 4:00am. We all met at the Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS). At the back of my mind, I made a mental note of how to make up to the ladies for their kind gestures - carry their bikes for them, be gentlemanly all the way, etc. etc. ....

Rita, me & Siew Yung at the TBS
The TBS is the south KL main bus terminal for south-bound buses going outstation.
It's a large multi-storey place.
Luckily Siew Yung had the presence of mind for us to meet earlier, for it took us a while to figure out how to get from this bus terminal over to the train station.

One would have thought that the train station would be below the bus terminal.
But no! We had to lug our bags across the terminal, across three bridges, up & down several staircase to get to the train station. And there are not rest rooms at the trains station, so do whatever you have to do at the terminal.

Other bikers wanting to start off from the TBS - so be warned!

We put our complains aside, after all we are here to enjoy our ride.
I bought the RM6-00 commuter ticket for the train ride form BTS to Sg Gadut.
The rest used their Touch & Go cards.

Soon we were on the train, it was air-conditioned and comfortable. This being the second train of the morning, it was quiet empty and we had the coach to ourselves.

We were soon relaxed and chatting away, the train passing by and stopping for short stops at several stations.
At one of the stop, we were sitting laid back, when Rita looked out and asked "What's this place Sg Gadut?"

"Sg. Gadut!" We all jumped up and quickly disembarked. We had almost missed getting down - was it the comfortable ride that had lulled us into complacency or was it getting up early in the morning that has made us groggy? Probably a mix of both.

Here's Siew Yung calling up Andrew & Hui Min
But "Surprise... surprise!" They are already here and waiting for us downstairs.

Quickly we went down and started unpacking and unfolding our bikes. I was most impressed by the Bromptons that the two girls were using - with a flip here and a twist there, their bikes were ready; and there I was halfway unfolding by bike!
We took a memorable group photo, most of us grinning from ear to ear glad to meet up and happily fresh to start our bike ride.

Here's Hui Min's, Andrew's, Kookkeong's and my bicycles; all with an assortment of luggage wrapped in plastic bags, garbage bags.

And here are the girls with their Brompton accessory bags neatly hooked onto the bikes.
See the difference.... I MUST get one of those Bromptons!
Ok! Enough of this mumblings, time to move one.

8:45 am - WE ARE OFF!!

Passing by the SDAR (Sekolah Datuk Abdul Rahman), one of Malaysia's oldest & premier boys' boarding school.

The cool morning air made riding a brisk and we were soon nearing Rantau.

8:45 am - And Rantau here we are!
We covered the 8-9km ride here in 30minutes, quite an impressive pace.
The town was a mix of old and new - on one side were pre-war houses and on the other, newer ones.

Alright,... alright. We are getting hungry, with most of us not having eaten breakfast. We passed by some shops, but they did not look interesting.

Ahead, we saw this food court with many stalls and more importantly, with many patrons.
Can't be wrong with many people eating there, can it?
So we quickly parked our bicycles and went in.

We made our orders, they came and we wolfed them down in no time.
It was our hunger that had built up our appetite, not the tastiness of the food; frankly the food wasn't that fantastic.
I guess we had higher expectations than the locals.

Our park bikes seem to draw the attention of the locals, drawing curious stares and remarks from them.
"So small the wheels, how to cycle one?" they remarked in the local Manglish.
And of the Bromptons, "Aiyee! Can fold like so small one meh?", "Wah, very keng!"

9:25 am - Stomach filled and the curiosity of the locals satisfied, we continued our journey.
Andrew will be leading and Siew Yung will be the sweeper as she is fairly familiar with the territory.

Our next destination - Linggi.
The roads were shady as we left Rantau.

But soon the weather was not so friendly, and it got hot.
The girls were smart; wearing arm-covers and balaclava scarfs to protect themselves.
I just used sun-shade lotion and did get a good tan but at least was not sun-burnt.

Here's my Dash with the back-pack strapped onto the carrier with a blue garbage bag on standby for rain.

9:55 am - Linggi 6 km. ahead! So near but yet so far as we are hitting a series of dragon-back slopes that will definitely slow us down.

Conquering those daunting dragon-back slopes.

A badly needed refreshing drink to take those slopes. "Invigorating... Yeah!"

Take Five after those steep slopes. Kookkeong showing thumbs up - meaning "Good ride. I love them dragon-backs!"

10:25 am - Yipeee! At Linggi, riding by the police station.

A quick stop to check our bearings, Andrew & Siew Yong checking our ride route map.
Yes. We did have proper ride route maps, this is no slip-shot ride; it's pretty well organized.
"But, er, I hope we are not lost."

Signboard indicating left to Malacca, but we are proceeding straight!
Odd? That's why we had the route check earlier.

Further on we met some bullish natives. This route is nice and quite with little traffic.
Yong Sin & Siew Yung had planned well.

Aha! A signboard saying Malacca straight ahead.
We are on the right track, this is another route to Malacca. Sometimes these direction signboards are confusing, earlier another one said straight ahead is Port Dickson, and left to Malacca.
Good thing we had our route maps to guide us.

11:10 am - At Rembau River, the boundary between Negeri Sembilan and Malacca. The blue signboard on the right indicates where the state boundary is, at the other side of the river.

Yahoo! We are into Malacca...
... but looking at our route map, we are just halfway on our journey *Sigh*

At a roundabout, we made a right turn to head towards Masjid Tanah.

The hot weather was getting to us, a little further on we stopped at a road-side stall opposite the Lubok China Post Office.
Hey! Isn't Lubok China the other way? Well, I did say that the road signs are confusing, #%@%$#!
Per the maps, this place is called Kampong Pengkalan Paoh.

And what's more refreshing than coconut water?
Here's Yong Sin desperately reaching out for one - "Come to Daddy, come... please."

Here's Rita posing strikingly in her pink next to green petai beans, looking very nice.
What was going through her mind, was it -
"Looks good & cheap too, shall I get them? Shucks No! Forget it, that's too much a load to carry."

The Goreng Pisang girl looks good & nice too. Heh! heh!

About 2 km. onwards, Hui Min turned around and exclaimed, "Hey! Where's your helmet?"
In my enjoyment of the coconut water and the admiration of the Goreng Pisang lass, I had forgotten to wear my helmet.
This forgetfulness seems to be catching, as later on some of the guys left behind their back-packs at the places we stop to rest.

I pedaled furiously back to the stall. Pak Mat, the stall owner was patiently waiting for me. He had kept the helmet. Such is the honesty of the kampong folks. By the way, he mentioned that he sells one kicker of a Nasi Ayam (Chicken Rice, and his signboard says so), we were a bit late to try as it's only for lunch.

Okay... okay... I know what's going through your minds...
Seriously, forgetting was not an antic to go back an see the Goreng Pisang Girl, Hummmph!

Further on we saw some Indonesian cyclists coming from the opposite direction. There were about eight of them, including a lady. They came all the way from Jakarta!

12:30 pm - At Instiut Kemahiran Belia Negara, Alor Gajah. Fong posing in a cool James Bond look.
We are almost reaching Masjid Tanah.

We are definitely in Malacca, as can be seen in the different mosque architecture.
Instead of domed roofs, these had pagoda style roofs and even ridge end thingies, like in Chinese style roofing - shows the influence of Malacca's long historical interaction with the Chinese.

12:43 pm. - Finally we are at Masjid Tanah, our first main town into Malacca.
But, Oh Dear! Are those rain clouds ahead?

It started to drizzle and some of us put on our rain-coats.
Even the rain couldn't dampen Andrew's spirit, he's ever smiling!

1:30 pm - Passing by the Sungei Udang Forest Recreational Park. There were many roadside stalls here selling fruits and lemang.

There are even stalls selling durians, and the renown Musang King Durian.

Futher down, we stopped for coconut water again, and also goreng pisang & keropok lekor.
"Alright guys, this will be our tlunch (tea-lunch), gotta make up for time. No more makan stops."
"Okay, okay. I will try to sustain on those banana fritters and prawn crackers." I hope so, as my tummy was growling for more.

2:10 pm - We reached Sungei Udang town.

Passed by this interesting dark green kampong house, it must be the Portuguese influence that blended in with the local Malay culture give this color combination.

2:45 pm At Tanjong Kling.

The Ocean Palms Condos - we are reaching modern civilisation.... must be at outskirts of Malacca Town.
We are getting near. Great!

3:00pm - "Yo!, time to stop for Eats!" I shouted. Everybody agreed - the goreng pisang we had earlier has all been burnt up since. Cycling does work up one's appetite.
We stopped at the Klebang Beach Food Court.

I had this sambal terung (chillied brinjals). It was a bit cold, but my hungry tummy was not complaining.

 And also this Mee Goreng (Malay stir fried mee). It was ok - but then again by tummy was not being discrete. But later on Mr. Tummy did all sorts of flip-flops disagreeing with the food, I was down with diarrhea.
The rest of the gang had chicken rice, and complained that the chicken were hard as rocks. Hui Min knocked one onto the table to demonstrate this, but they were oblivious to our complains.
We are not going to eat from this stall EVER AGAIN!
Facing the food court from the main road, it's the 2nd stall from the right, next to the stall selling Penang Laksa. Bah!

We left that nasty food court and a bad Nosh-It (pun intended) experience behind.
4:00pm - Passed by this well known Klebang Original Coconut Shake. The long queue means something... Gosh! We should have stopped here to eat. Slurp!

Passing by the Tengkera Mosque.

 4:30pm - Finally!
We reached the Brilliant Hotel where Siew Yung & Rita will be staying. We made sure that they were properly checked in before we left for the service apartment where the rest of us will be staying in.
We also agreed to meet up again at 8pm, that is after a bath (Boy! Do I really need one, my sweaty odor would have even kept the cows away - not to mention the Goreng Pisang Girl) and a good rest).

Dinner was at the Kota Laksamana Coffee Shop. The place had many, many stalls and seating was indoor and outdoor-roadside.

Among the food that we had were Malacca satay. It was good...

... very good especially with this Malacca Satay Gravy. It's different from elsewhere, they put in some pineapple juice. The tanginess of pineapple creeps and bites onto one's tongue, it can become quite addictive *Grins*

Fried Oysters, this one "boleh tahan" (Malay for "not too bad").

And to round off the meal, some beer for cooling ourselves after a hot day's ride.

Well till tomorrow then, Good Night.


Related Blogs :

Malacca : Peranakaan Bike-Packers Day 2

Malacca : Peranakaan Bike-Packers Day 3

You may also like :

Kuala Lumpur : World Car-free Day Ride #2 - Klang to Pulau Ketam

Penang Bike Ride 07/07/2012 : Tg Tokong - George Town

YummY! - Nyonya Temptations @ Aunty Lee, Malacca

YummY! - Crepes Layered Cakes  @ Nadeje Malacca

Sites : Nyonya (Peranakaan) Mansion, George Town, Penang , Malaysia

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  1. This is great man!

    By the way, what rear carrier did you use on you Dash? Thanks

    1. Dear Micky,
      Many thanks for reading my blogs.

      The rear carrier was transferred over from my first bike a XDS-AFB260 (China made).


      Hope this helps.

      Cheers Bro.

  2. Thanks for your reply. Did you tweak the rack to fit your Dahon dash?

    1. Yes I hsd to slightly bend a couple of the diagonals so that the rack could fit wekk.

    2. Yes I hsd to slightly bend a couple of the diagonals so that the rack could fit wekk.