On the road. Photo courtesy of Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh.

1. Never forget to eat and drink.

On long rides your appetite can fool you. I once had a slightly smaller lunch at 12pm. At around 6pm, I suddenly went from feeling fine to almost fainting in a matter of minutes. That power bar in my bag came in handy.

2. Stop at roadside fruit shops.

Great conversation, free fruits. Almost always.

3. Every gram counts.

Shed as much weight from your bicycle and bags as possible. Do you really need that portable speaker? Listen instead to the sounds around you.

4. Give yourself extra time so you can stray from your schedule.

Some of the best encounters we had were spontaneous and off our pre-determined routes, like the old Indian retiree who invited us to stay for a couple of nights in his under-construction beach chalet in Cherating, Pahang.

5. Smuggle.

The only time customs haven’t checked us when crossing from Malaysia into Singapore was when we were on bicycles. You’re a cyclist, you’re harmless, you’re innocent. Take all the chewing gum you want.

Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh is the author of Floating on a Malayan Breeze,  a book about the writer’s journey by bicycle through peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. You can read an excerpt of his book on Poskod.MY and purchase a copy at Borders, Kinokuniya and MPH.