akmal's bike park

akmal's bike park

Monday 27 July 2015

25.07.2015: Bukit Putus

It was raining last night hence a scheduled charity ride with Perpatih was duly cancelled. I had an impromptu morning ride out to Bukit Putus. Partly because the weather is nice and partly because it has been quite some time since my last ride. Perhaps the other reason is I want to keep the exercise streak that I had over the week.

choose your route here
A couple of months ago I took the family for an outing at Ulu Bendul and deliberately drove up there through the old road. It is quite deserted and the lush greeneries either side of the route make the place cool and shady. Naturally I had the thought of cycling along the route.

I have cycled up to Bukit Putus before, with the gang from Perpatih during a night ride. However, it was on the new expressway, with a few hills along in between.

Otais from Senawang: Pres Jamari and Zack
En route from home, I stopped at a Petronas station to get me a bottle of isotonic drink. Bro Zack was sitting out there waiting for Pres Jamari, also heading to Bukit Putus on road bikes. I spilled out my intention to Zack and he advised me about the dogs at Bukit Putus old road. It is quite dangerous to go solo. I decided to enjoy the old road in reverse, and pedaled solo to the new expressway.

Just when I was near the junction to the old road, they caught up on me and signalled to turn right into the old road. Yeay! So we went up via the old road together.
taking a fiver for hydration
Unlike the expressway, the old road is with a mild gradient steadily going up; no flat sections. I had no problems with my heart rate nor legs, alhamdulillah. The fruit of labour from my recent runnings (and burpees, of course!).

the view from the new expressway, on the way back towards Senawang/Seremban
I enjoyed tremendously this morning's ride. One thing I noticed, though, I was quite cautious during the descends and couldn't enjoy them fully. Thanks otai-otai Jamari and Zack for the company.

We parted our ways when we reached Panchor, at the bus stop. They climbed the steep hill towards Lavender Heights while I cycled towards home but continued to Seremban Jaya to my parents' house.

the flat rear
After (a late) breakfast, I went home and concluded the morning's ride. As I reached home and took a photo of the cyclometer, my rear tire gave a loud bang and suddenly the rear gone flat. I don't know what happened, but alhamdulillah, it happened at home. Nope, I didn't replace the tube yet. Hehe.

total distance about 40km
Photos are in here.
Ride map and data of the Bukit Putus leg are here.

Sunday 19 July 2015

Touring: Labis to Seremban - Day 3 (Part 2: Pantai Puteri to Seremban)

22.05.2015, Friday.
The ride home.

It was quite hilly to get from Pantai Puteri to Sungai Udang. I remembered from my journeys by car that it was not that far, but perhaps due to the rolling hills it took us quite some time to get there. I enjoyed very much the sight of traditional houses dotted along the main road. Much more, the ability to just stop whenever we wanted to and take a look up close of the house's general build and typical of Melaka's traditional houses - their artful main stairs.
Melaka traditional house

We went ahead to Masjid Tanah, again quite hilly at some parts. I must say that I enjoyed riding through the road nearby one picnic area very close to an army camp. There are big trees lining up the road giving shade from its canopy. Cool, shaded section.

at Masjid Tanah
easily the biggest Chapal ever
From Masjid Tanah, we went along towards Lubok China. By this time we were looking for a masjid or a surau for solat, and something to eat for lunch. Latfy saw a big Nasi Ayam sign by the roadside. I detected the word Cendol on the bunting. It's an eatery stall set up in front of a kampung house. We stopped over and parked our bikes in the house compound. The place was quite busy durint that time circa 3.00 pm, and unfortunately for us they ran out of Nasi Ayam. We had to settle for Mi Rebus instead. And cendol of course.
Latfy enjoying his cendol
I have to say that the cendol is among the best that I've ever had. The al dente green cendol with its texture (the pakcik makes them himself) and  rich coconut milk mixed with perfect amount of gula melaka make an unforgettable bowl of beverage. Granted that I was hungry and thirsty, but this one is quite special by its own right.
durians on tree by the roadside
After our simple meal, we went ahead to a masjid not far from there as guided by the locals at the eatery. I've been to that particular masjid a couple of times before this, and quite comfortable with it. Nice, clean and cool. We took our time, and went off on our way towards Negeri Sembilan at a bit more than half past four.

We reached Sungai Linggi which is the border of Negeri Sembilan and Melaka only 15 minutes after we started off from the masjid. We carried on to Linggi, reached there some half an hour later and stopped for some cold drinks. By 6.00 pm we have entered the Seremban border (still quite far from the town!).

at the states border, Sungai Linggi
brief stop at Linggi
(technically) Seremban, baby!
Not long after that we reached our next marked destination which is the small town of Rantau. It was getting dark, and we headed home via the Mambau roundabout and entered Ampangan. It was drizzling as we reached Ampangan and stopped for dinner. Rushed home for Maghrib as it was nearing Isya', and  the journey ended just like that. Latfy had to get back to Ampang that night, so he loaded his bike into his car and said goodbye with his usual wide grin.
taking a (sweet smelling) breather at Rantau
nice road heading towards Ampangan
I was grinning too, and felt elated inside. 250+ km on a bike over 3 days with a good friend. It lasted me several weeks, that happy feeling.

big boys flashing teeth
I did something that I have always wanted to do and experience. The amount of money spent was quite minimal, I'd say, but importantly the experience simply cannot be bought.

Until the next adventure...

Hope you enjoyed the details of our short touring as much as I had ridden and written.
Thanks for stopping by.


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Friday 17 July 2015

Touring: Labis to Seremban - Day 3 (Part 1: Batu Berendam to Pantai Puteri)

22.05.2015, Friday.
The leisurely ride to (impromptu) relax at the beach.

me, Adlee and Latfy
The Friday morning started early, with a breakfast. Abang Bakar drove us to a breakfast joint and we met up with Adlee over there. Adlee is Abang Bakar's son, who is also my schoolmate in Jasin. Latfy knew Adlee too, from our short 6 months together in MLA Cheras when we were 18. As we chatted along we discovered that we were interconnected within a circle of friends and close relatives.

Abang Bakar's little vineyard
After breakfast we went back to Batu Berendam and got ready for the journey of the day. It's our last day and we'll be pedaling back to Seremban. It shall be a pretty interesting ride as we'll be passing by Ramuan China. A route that I have been dreaming of cycling on for so long since I first got along it many years ago by car. From Batu Berendam we'll get to Sungai Udang (route 33), Masjid Tanah and Lubok China (route 5), Linggi (route N7), Rantau (route N5), Senawang and finally my house in Seremban. The total distance is around 86 km (via Google Maps).

one for the road
We had some more catching up with Adlee at Batu Berendam after breakfast, and were ready to roll at just before 10.30 am. By that time the sun has already risen and it was a bit hot. We didn't really mind about it though. The morning thus far has been great.

We went to a Shell petrol station to get drinking water. Shell in particular sells them in a special sized PET bottle with flip top cover and valved spout. Pretty handy and relatively cheap option for a touring water bottle.  I had this in mind when I bought the Topeak adjustable diameter bottle cage in Muar the day before.

The route was quite flat, and we somehow got lost somewhere but quickly navigated towards Tanjung Kling. We passed by a rice field along the way and also a private museum . We took another detour and got ourselves in a very nice neighbourhood located along the seashore.

the rice field en route
we turned right at the T-junction
a nice private museum along our route
quite nice to have the sea breeze right at the back of your house, no?
Eventually we reached Pantai Puteri and Latfy quickly spotted a stall along the road selling coconut water and snacks. It was about noon and I need something to eat as well. Naturally we stopped and ordered for ourselves coconut water, karipap and pisang goreng. We asked the seller if they can set up a table for us. He said yes and even offered us to have it by the beach. We had our table under the casuarinas shade and took our time there at the beach. With more helping of karipap and pisang goreng, of course.
la table pour deux à la plage
Latfy enjoying his coconut water
People were busy getting to the mosque some distance away, but we took our travelers grant and had our nap at the beach. I couldn't really get a decent sleep actually, but I did enjoy the relative tranquility and sea breeze.

A few minutes after the Friday prayers adzan circa 1.30 pm, we went off on our way towards Sungai Udang.


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Tuesday 14 July 2015

Touring: Labis to Seremban - Day 2 (Part 2: Muar to Melaka)

21.05.2015, Thursday.
The interesting journey from Muar to Melaka

The goal of the day is to cycle to Melaka and go around the city by bike upon reaching Bandar Melaka. In my recent visits to Melaka before this, I was intrigued by the idea of going around the city by bike. There is so much to explore. Too slow by foot (and not to mention comparably tiring) and the area is quite vast to be covered. Bikes are accessible and simple. More importantly, they are much faster and less tiring. Of course, much more fun. However, I didn't have a plan laid out before hand on where and what to do in Melaka. Some sort of 'crossing the bridge when we got there' kind of plan. For the night's stay I've contacted my cousin Abang Bakar and he agreed to be our host in Batu Berendam, some 8km away from Bandar Hilir.

The route plan was to go to Tanjung Agas, Kesang, Sungai Rambai, Merlimau, Telok Mas, Bandar Hilir, Peringgit and finally to Batu Berendam. The estimated distance is about 52 km in total. We would be taking a coastal route, which is quite flat. So in theory it would be a fast ride and we would reach the destination in time. Of course, this did not happen, and we had to tweak our plan and route as we rode along.

the view of Sungai Muar from Jambatan Sultan Ismail
a little adjustment
for a smoother ride ahead
We crossed Sungai Muar towards Tanjung Agas on the Jambatan Sultan Ismail at about 1.30 pm. From there we went along Jalan Kesang (Route 5) and got to Kesang.

the welcome sign at Tanjung Agas
It appeared that we were riding on an expressway, so Latfy stopped and suggested for a safer route parallel to it. Hence a detour. The road we took was Jalan Kesang Laut (J134).

a deer farm by the road side on Jalan Kesang Laut
Latfy at the fishery jetty at Kesang Laut
across the jetty is Melaka and the river flows out
to Selat Melaka (the Straits of Malacca)
some colourful (tiny) hermit crabs- see if you can spot them
Boy, was I glad that we took the detour. The road was practically ours (again), breezy, lesser vehicles and interesting things to see. There's a small deer farm just beside the road. We went out further closer to the west and were brought upon a fishery jetty at Kesang Laut. On our way there, we spotted a cendol joint but upon second thought we went on our way instead of stopping for a bowl (or two).

taking the route less travelled
We made many stops and kept referring to the map on our phones. Latfy suggested the alternate routes, mostly, and I happily agreed. I'd say that I would stick to the main road and be quick but he seems unperturbed to have a more challenging route. Well, why not? There's nothing to lose but time, and gain things that we could not have otherwise if we were to drive a car. We actually didn't have much time as we started riding for the day quite late, but to miss the opportunity of going where normally we would not take by car could be remorseful. So we took the path less beaten, and I personally glad we did. For most of the part, I'm glad that Latfy suggested so.

no smog here for sure. I love the tranquility of the surrounding
the road (if you can call it so) ahead is not inviting,
but interesting nevertheless!
happy old boy
finally out to the tarmac in the end
I was surprised that the offroad route that we took en route to Sungai Rambai is actually charted in Google Maps as a viable road. It straddles along an inland waterline which I don't think a normal car would be able to go through it as there were bumps and potholes, and muddy. It was a slow ride, but we enjoyed it.

At the end of the offroad, we got onto Route 5 near the Lebuh AMJ exit towards Sungai Rambai. Not far from there is the small bordertown between Johor and Melaka, Sungai Rambai.

the gantry welcoming us to Melaka at Sungai Rambai
an obligatory shot
quiet small town of Sungai Rambai
old wooden shophouses lining the main road
It was quite an exhilirating ride, and we were famished by then. We stopped at a Petronas station for the toilet and had a meal not far from there at a stall by the roadside. Nasi goreng and cold drinks on our table not long after; and in much lesser than the waiting time, they're already in our tummies.

The road ahead towards Merlimau is flat and featureless. However, it is lined with trees and kampung houses making it an enjoyable ride. Again, as we rode along, Latfy suggested another detour closer to the shore. Eventually, we came to another jetty at Kuala Sebatu.

off on another detour

From the jetty, we took a kampung road (if we can call it a road) amidst palm oil plantation, local houses and eventually the road led to a dead end. Fortunately, there's a trail leading to a housing area and we got back out to the proper road. Albeit, we are still not on the main road towards Merlimau. Much to my surprise, we rode along a vast area of paddy field. It was scenic.

masked rider
we were actually smiling underneath our Buffs
the vast paddy field in Merlimau
onthels make nice road decor too
Masjid Jamik Serkam, built in 1853
From Merlimau we headed to Telok Mas. We stopped by an old mosque, Masjid Jamik Serkam, which was built in 1853. I made a casual check on my drivetrain and was dumbstruck as I found out the chain was not properly routed on my RD. The chain was rubbing outside the RD cage all this while. Duhh!!! No wonder I felt a bit hard when pedaling. It took me some time to make it good and make thorough inspection on the whole drivetrain. Looks like the chainring tooth are a bit worn now, and those will be the next to be changed. Fortunately, my SLX RD cage is not suffering major damage, only a parallel cut from the chain plates which is not too deep as I had anticipated. Pheww...

at the seashore towards Umbai, Pulau Besar in the background
at Umbai
We headed on the coastal road and reached Medan Ikan Bakar at Umbai nearing dusk. Earlier on, Abang Bakar had contacted me and invited us for dinner with him in Melaka so we stopped at Umbai only for snack; I took out the cekodok pisang that we brought from the homestay. Seeing that we are short of time, we cancelled our initial plan of riding around Melaka. Personally, I think what we had en route was a much better substitute if not on par. So we proceeded out to the main road and hurried on towards Batu Berendam.
night ride at Alai on Route 5
The flat roads of Merlimau and Telok Mas were behind us and we rode on the rolling hills of Alai, Kandang and Semabok (Route 5) before getting onto Lebuh AMJ expressway en route to Peringgit and Taman Melaka Baru. It was already dark and we focused on getting to Batu Berendam as Abang Bakar was already waiting for us at his house. We reached safely at about 8.30 pm, with mixed emotions. Happy, tired, elated and famished of course.

After taking our baths and getting all freshen up, Abang Bakar took us out to a special dinner at Dima Nasi Arab restaurant at MITC area. I couldn't believe that I could down the whole plate with large serving of rice and lamb. It was good, and partly because I was hungry too. After solah, we went to bed with tummies full, alhamdulillah.

Night night, see you the next morning.


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