The TMS Cycling Challenge: Day Eleven

Friday 15th November. To Johor Bahru. It’s 2130hrs and John and I have just finished our meal at the buffet restaurant on the ground floor of the hotel. We tried to find a restaurant in the streets surrounding but we wanted a beer and none of them served alcohol. Johor is primarily a Muslin state. We both admitted to be completely drained. It’s been a tough eleven days in many ways for each of us, admittedly for different reasons. But we are still laughing and embracing what has been an incredible journey. The buffet restaurant also didn’t serve beer but John couldn’t traipse around the streets any more so we had an alcohol free evening.

We started the day leaving the hotel in Batu at 0820 and spent about 40 mins getting out of town and into the country before letting the boys get on their bikes. The total mileage for the day was 120kms and we expected the boys to cycle about 90kms. The morning’s route repeated the same as the past two days following the quieter coastal roads through the countryside including a detour to follow a river,

and stopping at Sungai Kluang for sweet coffee and very sweet tea, too sweet for John, with pancakes and a walk around the local market at mid morning

and lunch at the side of the estuary into the Malacca Straights at Pontian Kecil of curried fish steak and rice. John had an omelette as he had a dickie tummy, poor chap.

The afternoon repeated he morning as we meandered towards the southern tip of mainland Malaysia and arrived at Johor about 1800hrs. Total cycling mileage for the day was 56 miles. Just after lunch 40 minutes were spent trying to reconnect the van with the bikes as they got separated going through a town and although the route had been discussed and plotted on both Sang’s and Tina’s phones, Sang decided to take a short cut and thereby cut the thread. The walkie talkies were out of range after 2kms and the phones weren’t connecting on WhatsApp because Sang’s phone used for making calls (as opposed to his other phone used for plotting routes!) battery had got damaged in a rain storm whilst cycling in the past few days, so comms were almost dead. Finally we realised we could put a pinhead on the Google map of our location and SMS it to Sang who did likewise with his location to us in the van. You get lost and learn how to find your way out of a problem and back on track and its never too late to learn!

Its been a long and windy road and we have one day left, crossing the border into Singapore. There is so much to reflect on and celebrate. What a challenge, what a journey!

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