Cycling in Malaysia: the East Coast
My dream places to cycle in Malaysia are the Cameron Highlands ( CH) and the East Coast.
Though hilly and requiring strong legs, the cool weather in CH means you never tire of pedalling. It tempts you to go farther and farther which means a tough ride back to your hotel!
Kota Baru is a small place and easy to cycle around to explore the sights.
Kota Baru to Kuala Besut, the springboard for Perhentian island, proved to be a greater challenge.
I started off at the worst time of the day: noon. As I pedalled, I felt as if I was being BBQ.
Mindful of the danger of heat stroke, I drank copious quantities of water and took every opportunity to soak myself with water.
I forgot about my passport and it got wet too together with a wad of RM 50s.
The Kelantanese are friendly and cordial folks, and we had a good chat whenever I stopped to cool off. The older ones insisted on speaking in English though I spoke to them in Bahasa.
At a petrol station, a little 2-year-old boy kept staring at me as if he was seeing an apparition. Can’t blame him really.
There are few Chinese here. And one wearing glasses and and a helmet but not riding a motor-bike might have given rise to alarm in the kid.
To assure him I was human, I gave him a packet of dried fish fillet sticks and two pieces of multi-grain bread slathered with a thick layer of “kaya” (Gardenia original flavour). He broke into a shy smile which reassured me somewhat.
The heat sapped my energy and frankly I found the ride the toughest challenge so far.
By 7 pm, after a gruelling 70 km (according to the cycle computer), I finally arrived at Kuala Besut.
Start earlier. Ideally 6 AM. But that’s what I always say.
Well, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.