Was spent checking our wounds and the bike and reassessing the situation. We of course knew an accident was always a risk but it was a good to time to reassess our motivations to make sure we were both happy to continue. We knew we were going to get back on a bicycle again at some point… so it only seemed to make sense to do it sooner rather than later…
And we were back on the road!
Thanks to Stevie’s skill making sure the tandem is ok and mounting our fabulous Woho bike adventures courtesy of Cycle Touring Life as front panniers (we didn’t bring the fixings) we could still take all our gear!
We took it steady today and it was a less scenic ride giving Kuala Lumpur a wide berth. Some morale boosting haribo and our sponsors have saved the day by getting us some new prototype panniers to Singapore!!! What legends!
We had so many offers of help and are so so grateful. The messages of support really spurred us on.
Laura was busy doing admin from the backseat and we’re just about getting sorted!
The most painful thing now wass the cost of changing the flights…
But the good news was, it looks like we might be going business class.
A steady start through some busy traffic on the outskirts Kuala Lumpur. Then getting past the airport it thinned out and the roads got a lot more peaceful. Acres and acres of palm oil plantations lined the road, dark and empty underneath the dense fronds and where they had been cleared there were large swathes of empty land in contrast with the busy jungle in other parts of the country.
We were tantalisingly near the coast again but didn’t see it until Malacca City where horrendously tempting hotels, restaurants and beach resorts flew past us… it was too early to stop yet!
We caught the rush hour traffic on the way out which was a bit stressful but found a peaceful hotel inland and a nice cafe for dinner.
And it’s been a hot one!
Riding parallel to the coast most of the day but seeing nothing of it it was crosswinds against and we sweltered against the hot breeze.
Through small towns most of the day the scenery wasn’t as pretty but we cracked on determined to make good time. A couple of garage stops and by the time we thought about stopping for lunch it seemed too late…so onwards we pushed to get out of the heat.
Our destination for the night though was Pontain and we were rewarded with not only views of the sea but a Seaview hotel for our last night in Malaysia.
Having snacked our way through the Malaysian equivalent of a mixed grill went down a treat.
Now onwards to Singapore!
After a serene rooftop breakfast with a sea view it was back on the roads…which were only getting busier towards Singapore. Some weather was looming but we managed to miss the most of it and Singapore was visible across the water.
The flyovers and unders, slips on and off were massively confusing as we got closer and we desperately looked for a “Singapore this way” sign. Somehow we managed to find our way into the motorcycle queue to get through immigration and over the bridge… not ideal given what happened last week!! They scooted around us, undercutting and overtaking so we were almost glad to get in the queue.
Making it through relatively quickly we were up and over the bridge and into what seemed like a dreamland…it was so quiet!! The roads were quiet and peaceful and after a quick break for a cold drink we were soon at our hotel. With just an hour to spare we have just enough time for a craft beer and pizza to celebrate our successes so far – it all felt.very Westernised and a wonderful respite from our adventures in Asia. We are missing a few home comforts!
We met a friend of friend Julio and his lovely wife at the hotel and they had brought us everything we needed to box the tandem up and we were delighted! They also had a host of parcels for us and it felt like Christmas come early: new bike lights, new bib shorts, electrolytes, beard oil, biltong, spare chains and cassette, new tyres and our wonderful replacement panniers -prototypes, not even in the shops yet!!
Exhausted from a must day we finished up about 11pm before the alarm going off at 4:45am
And early start and a bit of a diversion getting to the airport (the route Laura planned was fenced off!) The stress began early…
Thankfully there was only a short wait for the boxes following us in a taxi and we were good to box up. There was a repacking area at Singapore which was perfect but it was a big job this morning as the tyres needed changing too and the bike cleaning to be allowed into Australia.
Three hours later we finally had two neatly packed boxes and we’re ready to check in. Our hopes for business class were dashed but we did managed to get some more leg room to help with the flight. Half an hour for a quick preflight drink from a local brewery and we were boarding.
Not the best flight we’ve had but we were thankful for no connections this time. Next we had to get bicycle and biltong through customs and after making sure we’d ticked the right boxes and declared everything we were finally entering Australia!!
Country number 14!!
Continent number 3!!
Hemisphere number 2!!
Now to undo all our hard work of the morning by unboxing and also the cassette and chain needed changing. We repacked our existing panniers and brand new Woho panniers and at about 9pm we were on the road. A fanastic bicycle friendly route provided for us and a short 9mile ride to our hosts who are fellow tandemist.
Rob and his wife were so welcoming and are overwhelmed by their kindness and generously: a home cooked lasagne was heaven after so much Asian food and new shoes for Stevie from were another treat.
Finally we got to bed ready to roll out early in the morning and finally see Australia!
We woke up to a blissfully crisp cool morning and after our wonderful hosts had fed us as much as they could fir breakfast and sent us with a second breakfast and packet lunch we were delighted to share the first few miles with them.
We have been astounded by their generosity and hospitality and they guided us out through suburban Perth along serene bike paths along the railway line on their own tandem.
Eventually they had to turn back (as not many people are a daft as we are to ride >100miles a day) but we were well set up for the day.
A brief loo and tandem tweaking stop before we got into the countryside and excitement mounted as we got our first glimpses of Australian fauna and flora. None of the trees seemed familiar and the undergrowth was strange, even after our time in Asia. Weird covids cawed from the branches and parrots swarked and cried occasionally. The race was on for the first to spot a (live) kangaroo and there was a pint of beer in it for the victor!
The road was rolling and with cross-headwinds made for a stiff ride. There was nothing but forest for miles and we had lunch on a picnic bench just off the road. Pushing on after that we soaked up the scenery until suddenly Stevie cried “kangaroos!”
After a few false alarms from Laura for sheep, alpacas and rocks, this turned out to be true and at least three were skipping through the forest, rapidly disappearing into the undergrowth.
We were pretty excited to have seen kangaroos on our first day and it made up for the first garage we’d seen since Perth being closed. Luckily there was a roadhouse 5miles on and we pulled in for cups of tea (trying not to wince at the price) and affer a brief chat with a couple from New Zealand (we’re reintegrating slowly!)we pushed on for the last 30 miles.
The forest gave way to field of lurid yellow rapeseed and sheep with lambs at foot reminding us that it is Spring here. We rode until dusk with bright green and turquoise parrots fleeting from the trees and the temperature plummeting to what we were sure were subzero figures. We’d not felt this cold since Europe but we held on to find a hotel on the second attempt and a pub dinner!
Total mileage 7111.06
Kangaroo sightings: 1