‘Hoovering up’ 700km, fuelled by scenic Tasik Biru, spicy lobsters and delicious cendol

To quote a dialogue from the Bollywood movie 3 Idiots; “It hurts when you come last in class and your friend fails the examination, but when you realise your friend has topped the class and you are last, it hurts even more.”

Likewise, when your motorcycle buddy sends you pictures of scenic routes, a succulent lobster, and a bowl of mouth-watering durian cendol, it hits you to the core, and you too, would be fuelled to ride the same route.

The call was made and last weekend, I embarked on a visual and gastronomical adventure. I managed to convince my former classmate, Dr Harjeet Singh, to ride with me.

He was known as ‘Speed Singh’ in medical school as he rode a Rajdoot Yamaha RD350, and later, a Honda CB500. Both were fast machines. Now more mellowed, he is known as ‘Tourin’ Singh’, for he rides a classic tourer, the Harley Davidson Street Glide CVO.

I once owned a classic 1965 Royal Enfield 350cc and clocked many kilometres on her. I remember I had just gotten the bike and I took it for a ride, with my friend Justin riding pillion, along National Highway 17 in India. We inadvertently re-enacted a scene from Sholay, but Amitabh Bachchan had a better landing on his Royal Enfield than we did, and I still carry the scars of that fall. I’m sure it’s the same with Justin, too.

My current beast is no slacker, a rugged beauty with hard lines. She’s the BMW GS Adventure 1200. Here’s a fun fact – ‘GS’ stands for Gelande/Strasse, German for off-road/road. She is a hybrid tourer on the tarmac, and when there is no road, she creates her own.

She showed her mettle when I entered the GS Trophy Southeast Asia qualifiers in 2017. Lugging her 267kg frame using her brute engine power and my muscles (ahem, ahem), we rode through the mud and knee-deep waters. She just kept on ticking. I finished 27 out of 45 participants. It was an experience in itself.

Back to our adventure last weekend. Our journey was supposed to be via the Kajang-Seremban Highway (Lekas) to the Temiang-Pantai Highway – dubbed the ‘Switzerland’ of Malaysia.

However, as we reached Kajang, Dr Harjeet suggested that we headed to Temiang via Broga. We faced twisty, dimly lit roads with secondary jungle on both sides. The only sound that accompanied us throughout the route was the thumping of the CVO Glide’s 1.9L V-Twin engine.

It was a beautiful ride. The Temiang highway was visually appealing – beautifully constructed and surrounded by greenery. The scenic highway has enticed many riders and exotic/super car clubs there, prompting increased patrols by our men in blue, reminding motorists not to stop for photos.

From there, it was a twisty and curvy 176km route via Kuala Klawang to Tasik Biru (Blue Lake) near Muadzam Shah.

For a biker, the twisty road sign, alerting you of a very sinuous route ahead, was a tempting appetiser. “Bon appetit, mon ami”.

The route was blanketed by a thick morning mist, and watching the Street Glide moving in front of me was like watching a yacht sailing the misty seas.

Tasik Biru lived up to its name, the azure waters will tempt you to take a dip. There’s just so much beauty in Malaysia.

There’s also the beauty of having a ride buddy – we could take proper photos of each other, and not just selfies or wefies.

From Tasik Biru, it was another 75km ride to Gerai Makan Azizah Udang Galah at Kuala Rompin. The food was delicious, the udang galah (lobster) masak lemak cili api was spicy, mouth-watering, and lip-smackingly delicious.

Dr Narendran (left) and Dr Harjeet with the stall owner, Nur Azura Sulaiman. Image: Dr. M. Narendran

We continued on our journey for another 75km and headed for some durian cendol at Cendol Saleem Maju in Pekan. Unfortunately, I had to settle for a cendol with pulut as they had run out of Musang King. The cendol pulut was delicious, nevertheless.

The owner of the stall was apologetic for having run out of durians. He even gave us his number and urged us to call him before our next visit.

The pulut cendol was delicious.

Our taste buds were certainly overwhelmed by our gastronomic adventures. The ride home via the East Coast highway was satisfying.

However, once you hit the Karak-Kuala Lumpur stretch, it’s all about anticipation, calculation, and execution. This stretch of the highway – with its tight turns, ascents, descents and oil spills – is a recipe for disaster if you are not in full control of your mind and bike.

So, anticipate the turns, traffic movement, oil marks, and calculate the speed into the corner and gear you want to be in.

This highway is unforgiving and has claimed many lives and maimed even more, over the years. So, it was full-on concentration for the next 65km. No room for error or showboating.

After the Karak toll, we stopped for fuel. We were approached by people who enquired where we were from, and where we were headed. They wished us a safe journey.

One gentleman named Nan, who rode a Ducati, could not follow his group to Terengganu, as he had a flat tyre. I felt his pain. Another gentleman, who rides a Benelli, was with his family, so it was a ‘no-ride’ weekend for him.

This just goes to show how tight the biking community is, that complete strangers would stop to chat and wish you well.

It was a fulfilling day in more ways than one. Over 700km covered – and I was physically, mentally, and gastronomically rejuvenated.

Thank you for the company, Dr Harjeet. Let’s keep the fire burning.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.

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