GEORGE TOWN: Four men who cycled for 18,300km from Downing Street in Penang to Downing Street in London, flew home to a tearful reunion with their families after being away for almost six months.
Businessman Bakar Noordin, 49, pensioner Chew See Lim, 54, retiree Saw Peng Hooi, 62, and national cycling trainer Abdul Razak Kamis, 58, touched down at the Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas here yesterday to be greeted with hugs, kisses and banners.
Team leader Tim Davies, 55, is back in his hometown in Manchester, England.
Bakar said China was the most challenging of the 15 countries that they had to cycle through because they had to brave both cold and hot weather as well as 70 days of uneven roads.
“It was very tough. At one point, when we went up a hill, the trees were covered in ice and our hands were freezing. We suffered and I even cried,” said Bakar, who is also the Penang Mountain Bike Association president.
After leaving No. 1, Downing Street in Penang on Feb 4, the group travelled through countries like Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Bulgaria and France before arriving in London at the end of last month.
While Bakar and Saw reached London on July 26, Chew and Abdul Razak arrived two days later as they had used a different route from Bulgaria.
Chew said that although he found the journey called “Penang-London 2012: On Wing Wheels The Green Expedition” to be an exciting one, he would not do it again.
“I don't think I'll go again. I've left my family for too long,” he said, adding that he was unable to return for his mother's funeral in June as he was then in Istanbul.
In London, the group had been treated to a feast with Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah and Malaysian athletes competing in the 2012 Olympics.
It was earlier reported that the cycling expedition to raise funds for the state's green fund and St John Ambulance's (SJAM) Emergency Medical Assistance Service (Emas) had come to nought.
Tanjung Bungah assemblyman Teh Yee Cheu, who was supposed to be one of the riders, said he had suspected the money could not be raised because some developers became reluctant to donate after he brought up the issue of rampant hillslope development in his constituency.