Guest Blog: Conehead and the Pacesetter in Malaysia / Singapore
13 December 2011
Malaysia and Singapore / September 2011
When putting the finishing touches to our preparation for our trip to become temporary vagabikers, never did it cross our mind that we would have more maintenance issues inside the first 48hrs of our trip than Henry and Jamie have experienced in over 14 months on the road! A broken pump, punctures, broken pannier racks and pedals falling off were just some of the problems we encountered and the first day alone we were forced to walk and hitch 40km...not the best start!
After Todd’s pedal fell off on the second day we realised that Lady Luck was definitely not on our side and after attempting a number of failed botch jobs, Toddy decided to soldier on and asked me to tie his foot to his one remaining pedal so that he could both push and pull with one leg. Somehow however he forgot this within 20s of me finishing it and after wobbling a bit, attempted to put his foot down (which was tied to the pedal) and promptly stacked it! This was made all the worse by the toothless and undoubtedly crazy old Malaysian man who was cycling along and kept stopping to laugh at us in his best Nelson from the Simpson’s impression!
We managed to crack on under the hot midday sun taking it in turns on the one pedal bike until we collapsed into a petrol station for some much needed shade and refreshments. We got chatting to an extremely friendly local on a motorbike who told us we had another 20km to go. We now realised that we were not going to make the last ferry out to the Perenhtian Islands so like two fat kids with no more cake, we rather dejectedly set off. This however proved to be our first experience of the now infamous Malaysia inability to give accurate directions to absolutely anywhere because an hour later we were on the fast ferry to paradise!
Our few days on the islands could probably be summed it three words....sun, sea and vodka! As beer was so expensive, we decided that Russia’s favorite would sort us out. Now the readers of this blog (including me) have long been told by everyone’s favorite vagabikers Henry and Jamie that throughout their adventures through eastern Europe and central Asia they have been force fed vodka at every opportunity. Imagine the surprise experienced by Toddy and I when on the first night on the voddy and throwing out some shapes at some random beach bar, we stumbled across Jamie completely sparked out asleep in what he thought must have been a lovely spot of sand. Unfortunately for him it turned out to be the middle of the “dance floor” and before long he had become somewhat of an attraction.....especially when he didn’t move even when Henners dropped his trunks to dip his festering boil next to Jamies’ face!! Funnier still was the reaction of one of the Danish girls we had met who looked genuinely upset and said to Todd, “What is wrong with your friend? I tried to help him up and he punched me in the face!” Other highlights of our time on the islands included being introduced to, and sharing with the whole island the art of ‘bushwacking’, night time swimming with amazing phosphorescence and witnessing one of the most outrageous pieces of athletic prowess by Henry when he bushwacked his way down an almost vertical rope ladder after about 6 vodkas!
When we eventually dragged ourselves away from paradise we were confronted with the task of getting to Kuala Lumpur in 5 days. We weren’t too worried though cause our friendly motor biker (remember him) that we had met at the petrol station had confidently told us that it was only 400km to KL. It wasn’t until we actually looked at a map that we realised it was in fact 600km and I had a flight to catch in 6 days! Todd and I had only cycled 100km in a day once in training for the trip and now we were faced with covering 120km a day for 5 consecutive days!!
The next few days are a bit of a blur of deserted beach camping, amazing jungle, huge rainstorms, mountains, motorways, and cycling, cycling and more cycling! The final day consisted of an epic 130km cycle, with a huge amount of climbing up some 8% inclines but when we went through a tunnel in the mountain we knew we were finally at the top! From here on in it was 35km of incredibly fast downhill all the way into Kuala Lumpur. Disaster struck though early on as Todd’s tyre exploded and with the other lads already way ahead, I had no chance but to leave him to try and hitch his way down. After meeting up with the lads (and Todd) we attempted to fix his tyre but to no avail. After doing all the hard work it was incredibly gutting for Toddy to miss the best cycle of the trip! However the Malaysian people’s generosity was summed up when after a mere 5 minutes of hitching (this happened far too many times on this trip!) a guy stopped in his jeep to help us out. Amazingly, he was a keen cyclist and said he saw us two days before and as he beeped his horn at him, we all waved and that was the reason he stopped! He then took Todd well out of his way to our hostel in the centre of KL....jeep man - we salute you!!
It was an amazing experience and it was hard not to feel a little emotional when we finally rolled into KL. It was an honor to be able to travel with these two extraordinary fellas for a short time on their epic adventure and an experience I will never forget. What these guys are doing is nothing short of incredible and the challenge they have undertaken was summed up to me in 3 events.
1. When I swapped my lightweight road bike for Henry’s and Jamie’s touring bikes and in the space of no more than 5 minutes I could no longer see the rest of the group!!
2. When Todd’s pedal fell off the umpteenth time, Jamie towed him for 20km without even breaking a sweat!
3. With Henry’s boil at it’s painful peak, he actually rode his (extremely heavy) bike STANDING UP for three days solid! The guy is a machine!
Toddy's comparison of us between May 2010 and October 2011:
Henry Brydon - May 2010
Henry Brydon - Oct 2011
Jamie King - May 2010
Jamie King - Oct 2011
by Andy Jones and Todd Carter
Great blog boys, jimmy one punch!!!
Woah woah woah. I've ways been the mature one.
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