Thursday, April 24, 2014

Malacca : Peranakan Bikers Day 1

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                                      AhPek Biker - Riding Adventures                                  
Malacca : Peranakan Bikers Day 1
Day 1 - Malacca 19th April 2014 
Small Group Ride : Day 1 - Malacca City>Tanjong Bidara
Distance : 81.57 km.
Time : 8:20 am - 7:30 pm
Duration : 11 hrs. 10 mins. (including stops - eats, rest, museum visit refreshment & photo shoots)

Route Recommendations:
1. The Submarine Museum is educational and interesting. It's one of the few in the world.
2. Nyonya cakes from Baba Charlie is a close to being authentic as one can find.
3. Do take care when riding on busy trunk & main roads.
4. Don't miss out on the renown Malacca Coconut Milkshake.


PRELUDE

It's been a while since I last rode in Malacca, almost 1-1/2 years ago (well, that's a long time by biking standards). So when Chris invited a few friends for a two day ride in his home-town, eventhough that I was swamped with work, I was of very keen to join them. Managing to clear off my work, just one day before the ride I informed them that I will be joining.
On an early misty Saturday morning, I drove down to Malacca to meet up with the others.
  It's a GO!  


THE RIDE


Cycling Route Day 1 : Malacca City>Tanjong Bidara
It will be a simple route with some riding in Malacca City for breakfast before heading via the coastal road to Tanjong Bidara about 40 km. away. En route we will visit the Submarine Museum in Klebang.


8:20 am - Unpacking and unfolding our bikes, we left Batu Berendam on the outskirts of the city. They were seven of us - Chris, Chin, Liliana, the Wong couple and me. Irene got lost a bit and ended up at another corner of the city, no worries we will all ride over and meet her.


A statue of a hornbill at one of the newer developments in Malacca City.
We did a loop of the newer part of the city to pick up Irene .....


..... and within minutes we were riding pass the maroon Dutch colonial houses of Malacca's heritage town centre. Going by these strongly coloured houses, one will definitely know that one is in Malacca, they are that iconic.


Breakfast was at Restoran Yong Tau Fu Cheng Fong nearby the Bukit Cina area.
We had.... er... what else but Yong Tau Fu. But this was slightly different, coming with a separate bowl of noodle soup. The fishballs here are excellent and fresh seeing that Malacca is a coastal city. Looks like we did eat a fair bit but then we have a long journey ahead.


Stomach full and palates sated, we are ready to begin our 40 km trek, heading down Jalan Tengkera. Along the way we will be making a few stops, some intended and some not so intended; some that we were welcomed, others .... oh... we shall see.
The first was a quick stop at the Tengkera Mosque, a noticeable landmark along Jalan Tengkera.


The next was Baba Charlie situated at a lane just opposite the Tengkera Mosque. Here they make Nyonya kueh that are one of the most authentic that I have tried (except for my Grannies one, of course). Chris has this great idea that we take away these cakes for a picnic lunch at Tanjong Bidara. Cool!


Yes, the cakes at Baba Charlie is authentic, there are even a few Nyonya ladies there, sitting down and patiently making the kueh. This friendly Nyonya lady was happy to pose with me; her warm and chatty ways reminds me so much of my late grand-mother.


Oops... a not so intended stop, and definitely an unwelcomed one.
Liliana's bike had a puncture, fortunately Wong was very adept at repairing the puncture. The culprit causing the puncture was a small shard of glass, probably from a broken car headlamp that we frequently saw on the roadside.
A word of advise: look ahead a bit when cycling so as to avoid hazards like this. Also try not to ride on sand accumulated at roadsides, on can never know what's hidden there that could possible cause a puncture.


We continued on, making our way down Jalan Klebang Besar, this is a nice stretch to ride on as one can view the sea while pedalling on. Along the way, I noticed several stall that I thought were selling some golden looking coral souvenirs.


On close-up, I found out that they were Jack Fruits (Nangka), peeled artistically to attract customers.


Chin seems so happy here as we made a short detour onto the reclaimed land here, which cyclists wouldn't be when they get to cycle on a nice stretch of beach.


That short detour brought us to the Submarine Museum which displayed the SMO Ouessant (S623) an Agosta Class French submarine. Good, I can be an old salt of the sea for a moment, while I imagine myself exploring the Seven Seas just like those mariners of the Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea TV series.


We are out of the city, leaving the high-rise towers behind riding now pass kampong houses.


1:00 pm - Making a left turn into Road M143 we headed for the Terendak army camp.
Chris was hoping to cut through the camp to head for Tanjong Bidara which is just on the other side of the camp. This short cut should save us several kilometres of riding; it would be a most welcomed short cut as the weather was getting hot.


What is seen as a public road is actually one that runs through the camp. Chris went to talk to the guards at the guardhouse to see whether they will allow cyclists to ride through.
Well, while waiting must at least take some photos of these armoured car parked at the entrance.
Chris came back looking forlorn, "Sorry, they don't allow cyclists to go through". And "We are not allowed to take photos here." Security sure is strict at this place, it's enforced even before one goes in.


Ok. Let's look at the brighter side. The longer route will give us an opportunity to ride pass the cooling Sungai Udang Forest Reserve.....


... and a chance to savour Malacca;s renown Coconut Milkshake from a road side stall.
Cheers, mate!


These Coconut Milkshake are made by blending together coconut flesh with vanilla ice-cream. Some coconut water and condensed milk is added too.


They look refreshing especially to us tired, hot and sweaty cyclists.


2:40 pm - We are at Tanjong Bidara Beach. Time to break open our take-away Nyonya kueh and have our picnic.
Chris is all smiles. He's a jovial person and when it comes to eating he's is even more jovial. He eats with gusto, cleaning up every tasty morsel. Watching him eat one can't help but smile or even laugh, his eating style is that entertaining.


Our beach time was to last an hour. Chin took the time to do some meditation and catch up on some sleep.


Tanjong Bidara faces the Straits of Malacca which is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. Very often containers ships and tankers can be seen sailing in the horizon. It is one of the few sandy beaches on the southern west coast of Malaya. There are not many such beaches as most of the west coastline are lined with mangrove swamps.
Local tourist comes often to swim and play on its beaches.


Its a favourite for campers too.


4:20 pm - Leaving Tanjong Bidara, we headed back for Malacca City. Our route back will be a different one. It will take us away from the coast through the Cheng Corridor and pass the airport. By the time we drew near to the city, the evening sun was casting long shadows.


But before ending the ride, Chris had another treat for us, another eats! I did mention that he loves to eat. This time it's for late tea at the Thong Shui House at Batu Berendam. Hot and cold desserts are served here.
I had this towering Ice Kacang Special. It had all sorts of filling from the read bans to sago seeds to sourish lemon strips and crowned by a scoop of ice-cream.

Till Tomorrow then, Adieu!

- this blog comes in two part, click here to go to Day 2.

Related Blogs :

Submarine Museum @ Malacca
Klebang Beach, Malacca : April 2014
Visiting this educational submarine museum rekindled my old salt of the sea spirit.

Malacca : Peranakaan Bike-Packers Day 1


You may also like :

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

YummY! - Nyonya Temptations @ Aunty Lee, Malacca

YummY! - Crepes Layered Cakes  @ Nadeje Malacca


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

Be captivated by the water-puppets and awed by the beauty of Ha Long Bay


You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Malaysia / Malacca / Peranakan Bikers Day 1     | Go to Day 2
If you like this, view my other blogs at Jotaro's Blog
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Perak : Kampar-Chenderiang Loop

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Malaysia / Perak / Kampar-Chenderiang Loop
                                    AhPek Biker - Riding Adventures                                      
Perak : Kampar-Chenderiang Loop
Kampar, Perak : 5th April 2014
Distance covered : 52.93 km.
Time : 8:45 am - 7:40 pm
Time Taken : 10 hrs. 55 mins.(inclg. stops for breakfast, organic farm visit, dinner, coffee, rest, regrouping & photos ..... and repairing puncture.)

Route Recommendations :
1. Part of the route is along the main trunk road, Federal Route 1. Traffic can be heavy here, do cycle with care; cycle on or beyond the road outer edge demarcation white line if possible.
2. The Hebron Organic Farm is worthwhile visiting, it's quite large and they do sell their organic produce and products.
3. We missed out swimming at 
Lata Kinjang waterfall as it was raining. It is sound advice not to swim at waterfalls; when it rains a sudden deluge of onrushing water from upstream can be dangerous.
4. We just popped in for a quick visit at the Sungai Salu Forest Reserve. It's a nice stop for relaxation or picnics.


PRELUDE

Cyclists at the Taiping Lake Gardens during the Taiping Heritage Fun Ride.
Yes! I am back in Perak again. Within a period of three weeks I have cycled in three places in this state; all three places different and uniquely interesting.
First, me and two other friends did a short ride in Ipoh while on a stop-over en route for the 2nd Penang Bridge Ride. Then a week earlier, a few of us joined the Taiping Heritage Fun Ride event.


Cycling at UTAR.
This time round, it's back to Kampar; a small town that has been often by-passed since the opening of the North-South Highway. Fortunately, Universiti Tengku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) location here has breathed life back to the town again. This will be my second time cycling in Kampar, the first was during a charity event - the UTAR Ride 4 Charity.


The ride will take us from Kampar to Chenderiang via the main trunk road then to a visit of the Hebron Organic Farm, and then back to Kampar via Road 118. Generally, the route was relatively flat as we road round Gunung Tempurung instead of across it.
This ride was organized by Siew Yung with the help of Alex MSixR & Alexander Mcnab in planning the route. Many thanks to them for letting us have a wonderful time.

Saying "Hello" to Freda.
The start point was the KTM Kampar Station, where Mcnab gave a briefing on what to expect of the ride route and to ride with care, especially at the start where we will be cycling on the main trunk road. Except for the two Alex'es (who were on a short cycling tour and arrived in Kampar to lead us), the rest of us drove here. We were suppose to take a train here, but in the end everyone drove - so much for bike-packing, Haha! Regrets though, I should have took the train here and would have avoided a misfortune at the end of the day!
At the station I met up with Freda, a FaceBook friend, for the first time. She's liveliness packed into a small frame.

A quick pop-over ride to the "36 Stalls" for breakfast. This is a cosy stream-side hawker centre right in the old town area. There must be thirty-six stalls here, hence the name - but I did not count, too hungry, see.
The ride planners here, probably having serious discussion - whether to torture us with a tough route, or let us enjoy a fun one!

The Chee Cheong Fun here was quite good, I had it with some curry gravy.

Don't believe me about the Chee Cheong Fun? Then believe the timber chopping board that has been worn down by constant use; business must be good for the stall.

9:40 am - Eats time over, all feeling invigorated and ...
READY TO RIDE!!
The two Alex's will be leading the ride. Doc Chung and me will be sweeping.

First thing first, we dropped by a Mcnab's nearby house to pick up his kids. He's a great dad, frequently tacking his kids along. That's his great way of bring up his kids, exposing them to the great outdoors. All along the ride, I could hear him patiently answering his children's curious questions while his wife rode closely behind, keeping a watchful eye on them.

I can imagine his young son following his footsteps pretty soon.

Mcnab was right to advise us to ride with care along the main trunk road. Heavy vehicles ply this road, very often coming quite close to us.

At some stretches, we were fortunate that the road shoulders were wide enough for us to ride on.

11:00 am - After 20km we are off the trunk road and onto Road118 that will lead us to Chenderiang town.

Coffee time at Chenderiang before we proceed to our first destination, the Hebron Organic Farm. It was not just coffee time, but some briefing time by Mcnab on the next stage of our journey.

12:10 pm - The road to the Hebron Organic Farm was an off-track road that led us under the North-South Highway...

... that led up some gentle slopes through oil palm plantations.

The main farmhouse of the organic farm. Hebron is one of the largest organic farms that I have visited covering some lowland area and stretching up the slopes of a hill to the top where the farmer & his family stays.

Planting is done very naturally, blending into the flora of the place. If one is not familiar with the plants or don't look properly, one will probably not notice them.

To get to the parts of the farm further uphill we had to cycle (or rather push) up slope.

Here they breed free range poultry...

... have organically grown fruits such as papayas, bananas, star-fruits, etc. .....

..... they even make soy sauce here!

Up here, it's so green. It's just the trees, the wind ... everything is so natural, so peaceful and so calming.

Our sojourn here was interrupted by the rain. While us adults were hiding form the rain; the children were having a lark of a time playing in it.

It's always good to have children around, they liven up the ride in some ways, bringing out the smiles in us; and definitely knit us into a closer group. Whatever maternal, paternal or caring instincts came out easily, making it so natural to look out for them.

3:30 pm - The heavy rain abated but did not stop. It was getting late, and we had better continue to avoid riding in the dark later. Most of us donned our raincoats; the more innovative ones like Irene here, just use plastic bags as a make-do raincoats.

Braving the rain we pushed on literally that is - pushing our bikes down the watery slopes.

And then rode through the tunnel under the North-South Highway; this time round it was moodily as dark as the skies.

Into the rain we plodded on, we still have close to 30 km. to ride back to Kampar.

Fortunately for us, there was a good stretch of free-wheeling and down slope coasting.

Disaster!
A puncture to my rear tire and the rest of the gang were too far ahead to hear my air horn blaring. That brings us to the question, "Who sweeps the sweeper?"
Luckily for me, a passing motorcyclist rode ahead to inform Doc, who turned around to come help me. It was help that was most appreciated, seeing that it was raining and that it was not easy to change tubes when wet.

The two of us had to ride hard and fast, to make up for lost time and to catch up with the others. Thank goodness the rain stopped and we were able to meet up with the rest who were worried of having "lost" both their sweepers. *blush*

6:30 pm - We are back in Kampar, at Lam Kee Restaurant where we had Kampar's renown claypot chicken rice. Probably business here was too good as it turned out that the rice here was not up to par. Never-the-less, we whacked everything being to hungry to care.
Then we left Kampar, feeling very satisfied and happy for having had a good, enjoyable ride.

DISASTER AGAIN!
On the drive back my car broke down and had to be towed all the way back to KL.
Did I pee at a wrong spot earlier during the ride to incur two bad luck incidents? I better go light some candles and pray.
And then, come to think of it, I should have taken the train up to Kampar.

Till the next ride,
Good night folks, 


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You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Malaysia / Perak / Kampar-Chenderiang Loop
If you like this, view my other blogs at Jotaro's Blog
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