The route: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/204731406 167km, total: 8525km
The chat: Today was another example of what we have christened a TUBE – a Totally Unnecessary Beasting Exercise. We could have quite happily stopped for the night at pleasant Kota Tinggi (95km into the ride), or even at Johor Bahru (133km in), where we’d booked a hotel in a pique of pre-planning. But for some reason, and despite Emma’s saddle sores, we opted to press on at each stage to our final destination in SE Asia, Singapore.
The ride was far from flat, with relentless rollers passing through a monocultural landscape of yet more palm plantations (yawn). But there were monkeys in the remaining patches of secondary jungle, and the traffic was significantly lighter, at least until Kota Tinggi, our lunch stop. Feeling strong enough to push on as we arrived in the uninspiring border city of Johor Bahru, we calculated we could get to the Tree In Lodge (http://www.treeinlodge.com/) in Singapore by 7pm.
We were surprised to pass through Malaysian customs without getting stamped out of the country, but thought nothing of it as we joined the thousands of domestic border hoppers crossing the causeway, who call Johor Bahru home, but work in Singapore. Expressing surprise to the Singaporean immigration official that we’d made it to him without the expected Malaysian ‘out’ stamp, phone calls were made, and we were efficiently, companionably but firmly escorted back to Malaysia under police escort. Whoops.
Second time round, we found the relevant desk which we’d cycled past oblivious first time through, got our papers in order, and ground-hog day style, recrossed the causeway. By now it was 7pm, and with 140km under our belts, we had a 30km time trial to beat the fading light. We failed by an hour or so, and were met by a concerned Yong at the super bike-friendly (50% off for bike tourists!), genuinely green, fantastic Tree In Lodge – surely a contender for best hostel in Asia. Seriously. If you’re coming to Singapore on a budget, with or without bike, check this place out.
After an anticlimactic and very weary celebratory beer, we congratulated ourselves on having completed our tour with no crashes, no major illnesses, and most importantly, still speaking to each other – sometimes quite fondly.