Cir­cle of cy­clists

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - SENIOR - – By Majorie Chiew

OVER the years, Peter Yoong has kept in touch with cy­clists from all over the world through The Warm Show­ers Com­mu­nity, a world­wide hos­pi­tal­ity ex­change web­site for tour­ing cy­clists. “Through this web­site, I man­aged to have some­one host me dur­ing my short tour in the US. I even man­aged to bor­row a bi­cy­cle from one of the Warmshow­ers hosts. “Ken­neth Col­burn did not only loan me his bi­cy­cle. He even ar­ranged for his good friend Gill and Laura Richardson to host me along the way. My ex­pe­ri­ence rid­ing on small coun­try roads, beau­ti­ful lakes, quiet farm houses and moun­tain pine tree was awe­some.”

His hosts opened their homes to Yoong. The Richard­sons’ house at the White Moun­tains in New Hamp­shire was to­tally off the grid, built on the fringes of a lush for­est. “I was re­ally hon­oured to stay in a beau­ti­ful room and fed so gen­er­ously by them,” he re­calls.

Since 2010, Yoong has hosted 33 in­ter­na­tional cy­clists pass­ing by Kuala Lumpur.

“I pro­vided them with meals and a place to sleep and shower.

“Dur­ing their stay here, we also went cy­cling to­gether. We ate as a fam­ily and they shared won­der­ful sto­ries of their ad­ven­tures with us. A solo woman cy­clist, Leana Nie­mand, who I met dur­ing my tour to Bangkok in July 2015, has be­come close to me and my fam­ily. She is 61 and I have hosted her four times. She is still roam­ing the globe,” says Yoong.

Yoong’s old­est guests were 66- year- old Bri­ton Val Had­den and Merv Sav­age who were cy­cling from Eng­land to Aus­tralia for nine months.

The most in­spi­ra­tional cou­ple to Yoong was Bri­ton Stani Velo­mad and French­man Richard Velo­mad who stopped by in Kuala Lumpur in Fe­bru­ary 2012 on their 10- year world tour.

The youngest biker he hosted was Ann Burkov, six, who rode with her Rus­sian fa­ther An­drey, from Thai­land to Kuala Lumpur.

“I re­alised that hav­ing phys­i­cal strength with­out pas­sion can only take you so far. But if you’ve a burn­ing pas­sion, it will pro­vide ev­er­last­ing en­ergy to cy­cle around the world.”

Many cy­clists, he says, are never paid to go on such ar­du­ous jour­neys. In fact, some of them sold all their be­long­ings just to do their epic tours.

Yoong says: “They couldn’t be hap­pier mak­ing that de­ci­sion to see the world on a bi­cy­cle.”

Meet­ing these ad­ven­tur­ous cy­clists has in­spired Yoong to pur­sue his dream world tour.

— AFP

Bik­ing tours are ad­dic­tive and you can make friends along the way.

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