Winter is the time that I return back to Asia as I don't particularly like it when it gets below 5c and it is school holidays in Perth, where things slow down. Took this opportunity to organise an impromtu ride up to Malacca. The plan was originally to ride from Spore to Batu Pahat, then onward to historical Malacca over the weekend.
But the huge distance of 150km to BP would be rather exhausting for me as I have not trained and so I opted to leave one day earlier to break at Pontian, then meet the rest of the gang. George and KC decided to come along with me and we met at 740am at Kranji MRT station on Friday. Crossing the Causeway was a bit of a drama as I used the wrong booth on the Spore side. Note - only the extreme one on the left #1`can accommodate bicycles. The ride up to Pontian was easy enough but we had our first break at Hainam Kopitiam. As we approach Taman Perling, it poured cats and dogs. Our reward however, was a beautiful rainbow.
Another unexpected blessing was a car stopping for us and it happened to be Irene and her son of Khass Cycles. They wanted to know if we needed any help. Perhaps we looked like drown rats but we were fine. It was very nice of them.
Moving on, George went through a puddle and was not expecting a huge pot hole. This caused a pinch flat and he to stop to fix the puncture. We made it to Amin's for morning tea and continued on to Pekan Nanas where we went to a bike shop to get another tube. We arrived in Pontian relatively fresh as it was only 70km and the first thing we did was to have the famous Chendol.
Oikos Hotel, recommended to us by Chris, proved to be comfortable and bike friendly. We had a most amazing foot massage for RM$40 and enjoyed dinner by the seafront.
Day 2 Sat we had a Fishball noodle breakfast and set off to Nictar Farm, some 17km away near Pekan Nanas to meet up with Claudine, VT, Sue, Ying Chang, Berenda and Freddie. We had to wait as some were delayed crossing into JB from Spore due to the rains and traffic. So nice to see them finally as we waited at the coffee shop and together we continued on towards Batu Pahat. The ride was a bit hot but we all maintained a very good pace of 22-24km/h. Just 10km before reaching Batu Pahat, the touring legend Mike Khor appeared in his brand new Surly Troll. He had taken an earlier bus from KL to join us. When we hit Crystal Inn in BP, Berenda who rode from Tampines Spore on her Brompton clocked 177km!
We ordered a lovely Chinese dinner and had a bit of a walk after that. What blew my mind was the local desserts, which was quite good and costs a grand total of RM15 for the 10 of us.
Our final ride to Malacca was "easy" as it was only about 100km. A highlight was meeting our new friend another famous tourer Acid Mustafa in Muar for lunch. Enjoyed sharing news and touring tid bits. I learned that he has double the bikes than I and that made me feel very happy! The ride to Malacca was very hot and an unexpected durian stop was most welcomed and invigorating.
We were very blessed as we approached Malacca to see a black Vellfire van stopping to meet us at our drink stop. Friends from Malacca, Siew Yung and KC Tay popped out beaming and welcoming us. What made this trip so special is the many friends we meet as we rode along. KC Tay hosted us to drinks along the beautiful Malacca River and that was most appreciated!
It was a bit of fiasco for those needing to go back that Sunday due to work commitments etc as only 2 bus tickets were available. Fortunately, Claudine and VT has a most amazing mother who was willing to drive down from KL to pick them up in Malacca, and drive them home to JB. She was even wanting them to have a leisurely dinner with us before setting off.
The rest of us 6 enjoyed staying at 3 Little Birds and sampled the delights at Jonker Street where we rewarded ourselves with magnificent Chendol desserts, some topped with durian.
All in, though this ride was a short weekend one, it was long distance wise and we had a most amazing time together. But more importantly, I discovered afresh what a lovely country Malaysia is for touring and am planning for the next long weekend ride - Malacca to Klang for BKT in late Sept.
Touring on the Bike Friday Pocket Sport
Touring on the Bike Friday Pocket Sport
First time I took my wife's BF on a tour after a long time and boy, this bike is fast! Was not sure if I could get used to drop bars but it proved comfortable. The Pocket was happy to cruise at about 25-28km/h and was in its element when it rode behind Freddy's road bike. To keep things light, I bought a Topeak Backloader 10L rear pack which proved to be more than enough for me.
And when it came to storing in the bus, it was as expected, much easier than a full size bike. Bike Friday rocks!