Photos by RAJA FAISAL HISHAN, KAMARUL ARIFFIN, AZMAN GHANI, SAM THAM and IZZRAFIQ ALIAS
SEPANG: The inaugural Ride for Malaysia cycling event by Star Media Group and Sunsuria Bhd saw a great turnout of 2,000 cyclists, who started assembling well before dawn at Sunsuria City here.
From 5.45am yesterday morning, the Celebration Centre@Sunsuria City began filling up with public figures, influencers and guests of all ages.
DJ Brian Chen from SuriaFM and DJ Cynthia Tan from 988 rallied the excited crowd to sing the Negaraku, after which the participants got ready for the ride.
The 30km ride was flagged off by Star Media Group chairman Datuk Fu Ah Kiow and Sunsuria executive chairman Datuk Ter Leong Yap, who were joined by Star Media Group group managing director and CEO Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai and Sunsuria executive director and CEO Koong Wai Seng.
Wong said: “It’s encouraging to see Malaysians willing to come from all over Malaysia to Sunsuria City, Sepang, to take part in this event.
“It shows their enthusiasm and excitement in wanting to support and make the Ride for Malaysia a success. It shows that people of all backgrounds and races want to ride for Malaysia.
“And the fact that people are willing to wake up at 4am to come here at 6am, and willing to pay (transport) to get here, willing to pay to rent a bicycle, willing to pay (registration fees) to ride, and with 2,000 people taking part, this is a genuine show of unity and solidarity among Malaysians, and that’s awesome.”
Wong added that the organisers hope to do this again next year.
The event featured two rides: a 30km ride which started at 7am and took participants from Sunsuria City through Kota Warisan and Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi; and a 5.5km family fun ride which began half an hour later, and included families with young children as well as tandem bike riders, on a simpler scenic route through Sunsuria City, passing landmarks such as Xiamen University Malaysia.
The atmosphere was jovial, with some participants turning up in fancy dress, one on an outdoor elliptical bicycle, and one man even pedalling a vintage penny-farthing.
National paralympic cyclist Alvin Lim turned up on his three-wheeled recumbent powered by a hand crank.
Adding to the carnival atmosphere of the jolly Sunday outing were food trucks, a lucky draw, BMX stunt demo, caricature artists and bubble blowers.
Fu remarked: “This is my first ride after so many years. The last time I rode a bike was in secondary school.
“The response today is overwhelming. It’s great to see participants, from corporate leaders to families with children, and students ... it’s not just a cycling event but a show of support for unity.
“The spirit of Merdeka is high with everybody holding and waving their flags, it’s a celebration of independence.”
The event was an ideal platform for property developer Sunsuria to promote positive living.
Ter said: “The ride was fun. I always enjoy exercising, and because Sunsuria has been promoting a healthy lifestyle, organising this event is in line with our vision.
“I see many happy faces and people coming with their families and friends for this event, and that’s very meaningful.
“Also, I’m a kampung boy at heart, and I love Malaysia. When we have a common activity like this, with everybody, from all the races, riding bicycles, holding flags and singing Negaraku together ... it will definitely go a long way to promoting and loving our country and being united.”
Celebrities and influencers like Amber Chia with husband Adrian Wong and son Ashton, Kavita Sidhu and husband Roberto Guiati, DJ Dave, Anas Zubedy, RasAngela Wong, Sharizan Borhan, Dr Lyana Khairuddin, former Miss Malaysia Yvonne Lee and Chloe Chen, mixed martial arts fighter Peter Davis, and Suria FM DJs Lin and Tyzo and 988 DJs Jason and Anson, all were sporting enough to cycle as well.
Public figures who turned up to support the event included CIMB Group Holdings Bhd group CEO and executive director Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz, Naza Corporation Holdings group CEO Datuk Samson Anand George, Enfiniti (M) Sdn Bhd and Enfinity Academy CEO Engku Emran Engku Zainal Abidin, and Organisation for National Empowerment president and Berjaya Corporation Bhd deputy general manager Danni Rais.
Tengku Zafrul, who took part in the 30km ride, said: “The ride was good apart from a bit of rain at the end. The weather was nice, not too hot. It was good to see so many familiar faces today, so many people, families and friends coming out to exercise.
“You can see people from everywhere joining in to cycle for unity, to cycle for Malaysia. I think we should continue doing this ... not just an annual event but even weekly. People should come out, cycle together and do things together!”
Ride for Malaysia not only attracted Malaysians but also envoys and delegates from Argentina, the Czech Republic, the European Union, the Philippines and Spain.
After the event, prizes were presented to the top three winners for both Men and Women’s rides (RM3,800, RM2,800 and RM1,800 respectively).
Then came the eagerly-anticipated lucky draw, which featured gifts such as a silver edition Vespa LXV150, an Ogawa iModa massage chair, OTO Row Bike, Wiko smartphones, and Gintell G-Beetle Plus foot massager.
The winner of the Men’s 30km ride was national cyclist Irwandie Lakasek, who finished the route in 47min 41sec.
Irwandie, who is part of the Armed Forces Cycling Team, said: “This is part of my training for the upcoming SEA Games, where I will be taking part in the team pursuit event.
“There were several professional cyclists today who have done events like the Le Tour de Langkawi, so I am happy to have come in first.”
The second and third spots went to Muhammad Farid Razali and Nik Muhammad Azuan.
For the Women’s 30km ride, another national cyclist, Nurul Suhada Zainal, came out tops in a time of 48min 49sec. She will be taking part in the SEA Games 96km road race.
The second and third winners for the Women’s 30km ride were Noor Azian Alias and Mariana Mohammad.
Both Irwandie and Nurul Suhada took up cycling seriously in secondary school in Terengganu, a state which has been promoting the sport.
Fun time for participants, and families too
Photo gallery: Ride For Malaysia 2017