Family effort: Ragu (centre) and his daughters Nithya Rubhini (left) and Nithya Darshini (right) cycling along Jalan Kolam Air, Alor Setar.
ALOR SETAR: A family from Ipoh who started a “patriotic walk” two years ago to mark the National Day celebrations has taken their adventure to a new dimension this year – cycling across peninsular Malaysia to spread the word of nationhood.
In 2012, wireman R. Ragu and his family walked 937km from the A Famosa fort in Malacca to the Alor Setar clock tower in 14 days.
Last year, they took 22 days to complete the 1,373km walk from Dataran Bandaraya in Johor Baru to Taman Merdeka in Kangar, Perlis.
“This year, my sister suggested a cycling expedition,” said 15-year-old R. Nithya Rubhini, who was born on Malaysia Day (Sept 16).
The SMK Jalan Tasek student, her sister R. Nithya Darshini, a Year Six pupil of SK Ho Seng Ong, and Ragu, 39, left their home in Taman Ipoh Timur on Aug 4 and are expected to cover 2,900km in their Jom Kayuh 1Malaysia tour before returning to their starting point on Sept 4.
Escorting them are Ragu’s wife, G. Meelaawathi, and three children aged nine, six and four, in a car decorated with mini Jalur Gemilang and state flags, images of first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman and a slogan asking the public to pray for the victims and families of the MH370 and MH17 tragedies.
The family members, who reached here on Monday, plan to cover 108 destinations.
The only black mark in the trip happened on Aug 18 when they were robbed of about RM3,000 in cash and electronic items in Kuala Ibai, near Kuala Terengganu.
Among those who sent them off was T.H. Subra, the special adviser on Indian affairs to Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir.
“People come to us during our journey, take pictures with us and give us encouraging words. It gives my sister and me the boost to accomplish our task,” said Nithya Rubhini. “I’m a Malaysian girl, born on Malaysia Day and proud to do this.”
Ragu, the president of Kelab Rekreasi Unik Ipoh, said the journey had generally been great as they met many generous and supportive Malaysians who encouraged and cheered them on.