Two-wheel love af­fair

Well-known names in Malaysian en­ter­tain­ment and busi­ness be­lieve cy­cling can help in­spire unity and har­mony.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Living - By MING TEOH star2@thes­

SLOW down, smell the roses, and get to know your neigh­bours and com­mu­nity.

That’s what many of the peo­ple tak­ing part in the Ride for Malaysia event next month are say­ing about this in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar ac­tiv­ity.

“The slower pace of cy­cling and tour­ing on a bi­cy­cle ex­poses one to dif­fer­ent peo­ple and dif­fer­ent views of places, and you find that at the heart of it, peo­ple are ba­si­cally the same ev­ery­where. Whether fa­mous or not, we are all just or­di­nary folks who want to lead sim­ple but happy lives,” says David Chin, 65.

In fact, the F&B en­tre­pre­neur feels that cy­cling is good for the mind, body, and soul.

“Not only is it a good ex­er­cise, but it can be an af­ford­able sport, pas­time, or means of trans­port. It’s also en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly. And be­sides, it’s cool!” he en­thuses.

Chin – who started the now fa­mous Dave’s Deli group with a sand­wich bar in Bangsar Shop­ping Cen­tre, Kuala Lumpur, in 1989 – be­lieves that cy­cling is good for Malaysia be­cause it’s an ac­tiv­ity that is closer to the grass­roots and makes peo­ple in­ter­act with one an­other, which will in turn make them more ac­cept­ing and tol­er­ant of one an­other, re­gard­less of age, race, or so­cial sta­tus.

Chin, now re­tired, was di­ag­nosed with ad­vanced prostate can­cer four years ago and be­gan cy­cling as part of his self-heal­ing process. He cy­cles three times a week, but what he looks for­ward to most are the oneto four-week long cy­cling tours.

Ras An­gela Wong, 34, also strongly be­lieves that cy­cling can help to bring peo­ple to­gether and in­spire unity and pa­tri­o­tism.

“Cy­cling, just like most sport­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, can en­cour­age a spirit of co­op­er­a­tion, team­work, com­pro­mise and trust. It goes be­yond cul- tu­ral and re­li­gious be­liefs and eth­nic­ity,” says Wong, who runs her own event man­age­ment com­pany.

“Whether it’s a leisure ride or com­pet­i­tive rac­ing in a team, cy­cling en­cour­ages peo­ple from all walks of life to unite in one com­mon goal,” says the for­mer beauty queen who has par­tic­i­pated in many in­ter­na­tional races where she proudly bore the Jalur Gemi­lang.

“Cy­cling com­mu­ni­ties have al­ways em­pha­sised a com­mon tagline, ‘leave no one be­hind’, and every­one co­op­er­ates to look out for one an­other.

“A cy­clist with a punc­tured tyre is able to get as­sis­tance eas­ier than a car with a flat tyre. We also share route info and se­cu­rity news across dif­fer­ent cy­cling groups,” she ex­plains.

Wong, who loves to travel and ex­plore new places, started cy­cling at a young age and got her first bi­cy­cle at the age of 13. She rides her road bike on leisure tours and also in com­pet­i­tive races. In fact, she is deeply em­bed­ded in the cy­cling world, as she is a bi­cy­cle and cy­cling ap­parel brand am­bas­sador and she writes a col­umn for a lo­cal cy­cling mag­a­zine.

Her first tour be­gan at Sim­pang Pu­lai, Perak, and she rode to Cameron High­lands, Pa­hang, with a sup­port car last year. Sub­se­quently, she went on her first self-sup­ported cy­cling tour in Chi­ang­mai and Chi­an­grai in Thai­land, and this year, she com­pleted a 10-day self-sup­ported bike-pack­ing tour in South Viet­nam.

Her favourite place to cy­cle in is Pe­nang, where she can ride for cof­fee and good food.

“There is a va­ri­ety of ter­rain there, rang­ing from flats to breezy coastal roads and scenic hilly moun­tains.”

Malaysian TV pre­sen­ter and ra­dio host Baki Zainal, 36, be­lieves that cy­cling is an ac­tiv­ity that cuts across race, cul­ture, and so­cioe­co­nomic back­ground, and can help to in­stil a muhib­bah, or mul­ti­cul­tural, spirit in peo­ple.

“From my ob­ser­va­tion, cy­cling doesn’t dif­fer­en­ti­ate peo­ple by so­cial sta­tus or cul­ture, every­one on a bi­cy­cle is a fellow cy­clist. There is no bar­rier of race or lan­guage, and peo­ple are usu­ally wel­com­ing of cy­clists,” he says, re­fer­ring to his ex­pe­ri­ences of bike tour­ing through Malaysia.

He’s hop­ing that more Malaysians will take up the ac­tiv­ity.

“We Malaysians, es­pe­cially those in ur­ban areas, of­ten live life at such a fast pace that we don’t have the time to prop­erly digest in­for­ma­tion around us, and of­ten con­sume what we are fed without prop­erly di­gest­ing it.

“When we cy­cle, we take things at a slower pace, we can get to know a place and its peo­ple bet­ter, and once we know and un­der­stand a place or peo­ple bet­ter, we learn to ac­cept them,” he ex­plains.

Baki picked up cy­cling se­ri­ously again three years ago; he loves the cur­rent pop­u­lar­ity of the ac­tiv­ity, and is happy to see how even his In­sta­gram pho­tos and Face­book post­ings have started in­flu­enc­ing peo­ple to get out there and cy­cle.

“Many have this idea that cy­cling in cities like KL is dan­ger­ous be­cause of the heavy traf­fic and theft. But af­ter see­ing me cy­cle, they have started to think oth­er­wise. In fact, cy­cling is a life­style and I’m glad many have started to em­brace it,” he says.

Singer, voice-over artiste, and MC Sharizan Borhan ,43, known to many as the King of Swing, be­lieves that cy­cling is good for the na­tion. The avid cy­clist has cer­tainly seen the ef­fects of the ac­tiv­ity, hav­ing started his two-wheel love af­fair at the age of four.

“From my ob­ser­va­tion, peo­ple on two wheels are united, re­gard­less of their so­cial or cul­tural back­ground. You can see that when a cy­clist is in­volved in an ac­ci­dent, you can see every­one stop­ping to help – some peo­ple will hold back traf­fic while oth­ers will go and as­sist the injured cy­clist,” he points out.

Sharizan, who owns four bi­cy­cles – a hy­brid com­muter, a folded bike, a moun­tain bike, and a road bike – en­joys cy­cling a few dif­fer­ent routes in the Klang Val­ley with his bud­dies, in­clud­ing the Guthrie Cor­ri­dor Ex­press­way and the Da­mansara Heights area.

Ac­tor and long-time ra­dio per­son­al­ity Pa­trick Teoh, 70, fondly re­mem­bers meet­ing all sorts of peo­ple on bi­cy­cle tours, such as a re­cent tour he em­barked on from Sun­gai

Pelek near

Sepang, Se­lan­gor, to Tan­jung Pi­lai, the south­ern­most point of the Asian con­ti­nent, lo­cated in Jo­hor.

“When you go on a bi­cy­cle tour, you get to meet many peo­ple from ev­ery­where along the way.

This makes one less nar- row-minded or in­ward-fac­ing and helps to dis­pel a lot of prej­u­dices that many ur­ban folks might have about many things Malaysian,” he ex­plains.

He ad­mits with a laugh that he was sur­prised to dis­cover many peo­ple in the ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties that they cy­cled through ac­tu­ally recog­nised him.

“Al­though they were too po­lite to come up and ask ex­cept when prompted, many would shriek in de­light at discovering that I was the guy in this or that movie,” he smiles. Teoh, as any­one who knows his story, walks with a limp af­ter con­tract­ing po­lio when he was eight

years old. But that did not stop him when he took up cy­cling three years ago.

“I like cy­cling be­cause it pro­vides me with a level of mo­bil­ity that I oth­er­wise don’t have be­cause of my po­lio-af­flicted legs and poor balance,” he ex­plains.

He cy­cles at least three times a week, be­tween 25km and 40km each time, for ex­er­cise; he also joins rides or­gan­ised by cy­cling groups and goes on cy­cling tours once or twice a year.

Ac­tress, model and pro­ducer Kavita Sidhu be­lieves cy­cling can bring peo­ple from all walks of life to­gether, which is why she’s happy to sup­port the Ride for Malaysia event.

But the stat­uesque beauty also loves the event sim­ply for the fun it will of­fer: “How fun will it be? No di­a­logue, de­bate, or pol­i­tics, just cel­na­tion, ebrat­ing our and show­ing love and grat­i­tude for each other, which is the true essence of all human be­ings!

“A col­lec­tive ‘we’, not ‘me’,” adds Kavita, who mar­ried Ital­ian ge­ol­o­gist, Roberto Guiati last year.

The 40some­thing for­mer beauty queen ac­tu­ally bears a scar from her first bike ride! Her mum and two broth­ers taught her to pedal when she was six – and the ad­ven­tur­ous tot promptly rode down a hill and came off the bike at the bot­tom and scraped her nose, a scar she still bears to­day. But the fall didn’t put her off and she’s still cy­cling to­day. In fact, she hopes to en­cour­age more Malaysians to take up the ac­tiv­ity, as she be­lieves it also brings a lot of health ben­e­fits.

Malaysian singer DJ Dave (real name Datuk Ir­wan Shah Ab­dul­lah) knows all about the muhib­bah spirit: Over the years, his clas­sic tunes have ap­pealed to ev­ery eth­nic group.

“The Malays, Chinese, In­di­ans, and Pun­jabis have all en­joyed my mu­sic over the years,” he says proudly.

The 70some­thing singer is all ready to bring that spirit to the Ride for Malaysia event on July 30.

“The power of mu­sic is like the strength of sports, as both are able to break through so­cial, cul­tural, and re­li­gious bar­ri­ers, and bring peo­ple to­gether,” he says.

Ride for Malaysia is hosted by Star Me­dia Group and prop­erty de­vel­oper Sunsuria Bhd. The event will be flagged off at 6.30am at Sunsuria City on July 30. Whole fam­i­lies are wel­come, and there will be spe­cial prizes for the most sport­ing fam­ily of four, the best look­ing cou­ple, and those who come in fancy dresses.

There is a Fun Ride of 30km along scenic routes for in­di­vid­u­als aged 16 and above, with a RM60 en­try fee. There is also a Fam­ily Ride of 5.5km with en­try fees of RM40 for adults aged 18 and above and RM25 for chil­dren aged be­tween seven and 17. A first prize of RM2,000, sec­ond prize of RM1,000, and third prize of RM500 are up for grabs in each cat­e­gory.

For more in­for­ma­tion and to reg­is­ter, go to sites.thes­ ride­for­malaysia. For group book­ings, call 03-7967 1388 and ask for Events.

Wong be­lieves that cy­cling can en­cour­age the spirit of co­op­er­a­tion, com­pro­mise, and trust. — RASANGELA WONG


Chin en­joys the chal­lenge of cy­cling up Fraser’s Hill, Pa­hang.


Baki with his fold­ing bi­cy­cle.

Teoh (left) and his wife cy­cling along Le­buhraya Darul Aman in Alor Se­tar while on a bike tour to Thai­land with friends. — Filepic

Sharizan (in black) with his cy­cling bud­dies dur­ing their ride along the Guthrie Cor­ri­dor Ex­press­way. — SHARIZAN BORHAN

Dave is a big be­liever in the abil­ity of sports to unite peo­ple. — NORAFIFI EH­SAN/The Star

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