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