NINETY cyclists recently cranked up their pedal power for a three-day ride from Yan, Kedah, to Krabi, Thailand, in a challenging journey which covered 530km.
They did it for a good cause which was to raise funds for six charity homes and community centres in Kedah and Perlis in an annual event called the ‘Malakoff Charity’ Ride.
Their exploits earned them RM73,880 which was a sum collected from business associates of independent power producer Malakoff Corporation Berhad.
Professional cyclists from around the northern region as well as amateur participants who took up the challenge for the first time had also to negotiate sharp bends and steep slopes.
Their reward was to take in the spectacular views of meadows, padi fields, sandy beaches and waterfalls.
For 67-year-old Faisal Mohamed Mukadin who was the oldest cyclist in the group, completing a 530km ride proved that age was not a barrier.
“I tried my best to cycle as hard as I could. It was tough as the younger cyclists were cycling at a faster pace. I was (initially) lagging behind them on the first day and I felt discouraged. Thank God, I had good companions who constantly motivated me to complete the ride,” he said.
Shahrom Abdullah, 30, who is a Malakoff employee, described the first day ride as the most challenging as it covered the longest distance of 190km.
“We had to help push others up the steep slopes to reach Wang Kelian in Perlis and many started giving up towards the end,” he said.
Upon arriving at the Perlis State Park in Wang Kelian, some participants started vomiting while several lost their shoes as a result of the arduous journey.
By the second day, the ride was straightforward as they cycled across the Malaysia-Thai border for a distance of 180km towards Trang in Thailand and on the third day, the remaining distance of 160km to Krabi was covered with relative ease.
Malakoff managing director and chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya was among the cyclists.
He said he was comfortable leading the group on the first day but started feeling nausea as he went up Wang Kelian. He nevertheless pressed on and managed to complete the journey to Krabi.
Raja Muhammad Ikhwan Asyraf Raja Yahaya, the youngest cyclist at 16, impressed everyone with his determined performance.
Muliaayu Ramli, 28, stood out as the only female cyclist.
The assistant engineer managed to cycle despite enduring the hot weather and at times a downpour.
She paid tribute to her husband Mohamad Nizam Ismail, 32, for training her well.
Housewife Ivie Ong Beng Ai tagged along as a sign of supporting her husband Randy Tan Kong Kim, 35.
Bringing along her own home-made energy bar, Ong trailed her husband in one of the supporting convoy of vehicles.
A van was used to ferry journalists invited along for the charity ride.
Ong wanted to ensure her husband did not hurt himself throughout the journey.
Asked how did she spend her time as her husband cycled, Ong said she learned to make energy bars, snapped photographs and create her own website to post her husband’s cycling achievement.
The charity ride was initiated in 2006 and has since served as a yearly rendezvous for those who took interest in cycling through challenging terrains in peninsular Malaysia.
Over the last three years, the rides raised and distributed more than RM150,000 to 24 schools, community centres and orphanages throughout the country.