VW GTI back in action…between fast and fact….

Finally after 5 months of long and annoying wait, our red scorcher VW GTI is back in action. No I did not blame the car honestly, it was a fine machine, rather the poor and below expected standard of service at Wearners Sungai Besi that had frustrated us. And yet, the car was released, not in perfect condition either, after having to change the base engine, it still was not smooth, and later it was found the ignition coil fault (I wonder whether all these while it was the ignition coil problem and never the engine….). So, even after second release from the workshop the car was still not right, it still vibrated badly, come from ‘under’ the car, and they just told me ‘its the rear tyre’. Little did I know how bad they were until I visited the tyre shop, and they showed me the badly woven rear tyres resulting from broken rim. So we were another RM3k poorer as a result (changed two tyres, repaired a spare rim to replace the broken pair).

So last night I took it for a ‘test’ after a few month of redundancy. Just the day after the rear tyre changed, and it feels solid and sleek as ever. And I began enjoying this fast-paced speed machine again! Brisk acceleration, smooth and energetic engine, added with responsive breaking gives the performance needed on the road, high speed driving made more pleasant and confident.

Last night, I had regained the confidence on my GTI, it has again delivered itself as a powerful speed machine. Just when I launched from 0 to 120, the Mrs immediately remarked, now this is the right car!! she was referring to a few days ago  before the tyre changed, when it was still shaking violently even at very low speed. Then I started revving at x km/hr once the highway was relatively clear and she remarked again, eh you are just at this speed and its shaky again right?. Perhaps its hard to get away from the nightmare of yesterday and any little hint of instability we immediately thought if the old problem could still be there. But it isn’t, that was just the ‘feedback’ of the vehicle from interaction with the road surface etc, furthermore most of the highway of the country are not designed for super high speed. And furthermore there was little point going over that x km/hr speed anyway. Alas, indeed I accidentally floored the accelerator once and the car launched willingly to that crazy speed well beyond x km/hr, yess smooth and steady, huh, that was enough I thought, and the Mrs was fast asleep.

Then I had a flashback…to that old time when I started driving, I admit that driving at 90 miles/hour (145km/hr) on a country road was a norm for us young people back then. Then we would sprint close to 100 (160km/hr) on highway, never beyond that. When I came back to Malaysia for good, with a big family, I was much sober, and for long I did not know any speed beyond 118km/hr. Well, it was a lie if I said I never…coz on a few occasions I had to, like rushing on a clear highway, but never did I reach a constant speed of beyond 145km/hr. No, not until I drove a 3 series BMW (I bought a 318i in 2009), then I learned what it feels to move at 160km/hr. Then with the new bimmer, and later the GTI, life in the fast lane had taken its new dimension. It is crazy I knew, but then it was hard to get rid of that speed addiction. What’s more important, the threshold for ‘comfor’ driving had been lifted so it was a breeze to be going at say, 140-150km/hour. When I started riding the big bike, then a new world of speeding came to life. However, despite being able to push the limit and cruising comfortably at fairly high speed with the bike, of course, nothing match driving. You can be so relaxed and yet moving faster than anyone around, still able to talk to people around and enjoy a sip of coffee or something, that is simply unbeatable. So to move fast, stop less, and feel utterly comfortable, driving winning choice.

So, we kept breaking record and earning speeding tickets – not good. Therefore we started to be more cautious with the speed cameras, and slowed down. But it remains a challenge, and fun, when you can complete a journey KL-Merlimau Malacca in less than 90 minutes, or KL-Batu Pahat (mother’s house) in less than 120 minutes – I am talking about clear days – or rather night or early morning.

Albeit all that, no, one big no, I do not race on the road. Occasionally tempted to tailgating, or chasing game, it would not last long, knowing the potential hazard. And I definitely slow down when it rains, and no speeding on country road. And most of all I still enjoy comfort driving – driving at the speed limit, which is perhaps, on balance the best way to keep safe on the road20170402_134937

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MyIkram Bikers merentas sempadan lagi, bantu pelancaran BBNGO bikers

Sekitar ride bersama BBNGO program Tautan Kasih Nusantara Malaysia-Thailand 2017

Pada satu masa dulu memang tak pernah terbayang kemungkinan merentas sempadan ke Thai malah bukan sekali, tapi tiga kali dalam setahun! Rupanya ditakdirkan, sedikit pengalaman yang didapati hasil dari ride ke Thailand tersebut kini diperlukan untuk membantu misi BBNGO (Bantuan Bencana NGO Malaysia) menziarahi dan menyampaikan bantuan ke Selatan Thai.
Baharu saja pulang dari Khao Sok ride bersama RATPACK tiba-tiba dihubungi oleh Aziemah dari BBNGO, bertanya bagaimana membentuk bikers group. Begitulah bermula ceritanya. Sebagai organisasi yang berhasrat menyumbang khidmat pada masyarakat MIB tidak keberatan.
Walaupun banyak juga cabarannya. Apa lagi kerana kali ini saya diberi amanah mengendalikan perancangannya, walaupun saya berkeras tidak bertaraf ‘otai’ lagi. Jadi ‘deal’ yang dibuat adalah saya akan memerlukan beberapa otai MIB turut serta dan mereka bakal dijadikan ‘leaders’ semasa ride.

Antara Impian dan cabaran…
Destinasi yang dituju adalah Pattani dan Narathiwat, di mana jaraknya memang tidak begitu jauh dari Kota Bharu. Tetapi buat kami yang bertolak dari KL ia jarak yang cukup jauh dan memerlukan bermalam di KB. Ini kerana hari rombongan bertolak (Jumaat) adalah hari bekerja untuk kami di KL – walaupun ianya hari cuti di KB.
Cabaran utama ialah mengumpulkan para bikers. Setelah berbincang di kalangan ‘Penggerak’ MIB, kami umumnya bersetuju untuk mendokong misi pelancaran BBNGO bikers ini, bergantung kepada bentuk program yang dicadangkan. Bagaimanapun setelah destinasi dikenalpasti dan maklumat terperinci program disebarkan, hanya ada 3 orang sahaja yang menunjukkan minat. Seorang demi seorang mendaftar, dengan kadar yang perlahan. Maklum, ramai otai bikers yang tidak dapat turut serta. Hanya 2 minggu sebelum berlepas setelah menghubungi beberapa bikers secara personal, akhirnya berjaya mengumpul lapan orang bikers (2 orang menarik diri kerana tidak sihat atau tiada cuti).
Inilah wajah 6 bikers tersebut, 3 dari mereka ditemani pasangan masing-masing, berlepas dari BHP Gombak. ZMG, ZY, AMY, AMD, MMJ. Saksikan semuanya berbekalkan jentera hebat yang (touring/adventure bikes) yang mampu membelah ratusan malah ribuan kilometer umpama kuda-kuda yang sedia meredah bukit bukau gunung ganang dan lembah untuk membawa tuannya ke destinasi di tuju.
Route yang dilalui ialah LPT sehingga ke penghujung, menuju Kuala Trengganu/Merang. Perjalanan melalui LPT dan laluan pantai selepasnya lancar, hanya sesekali hujan membasahi kami dan sebaik tiba di penghujung LPT hujan turun lebat menyebabkan ramai yang basah kuyup. Yelah, biarpun memakai jaket kales air, dengan hujan yang lebat tetap basah juga sedikit sebanyak


Kami sempat berhenti di pantai Merang untuk menikmati keropok lekor dan goreng pisang di petang hari sambil menikmati suasana tenang berhampiran pantai.
Tiba di Kubang Krian kami berhenti di hadapan Kecemasan Hospital USM dan bertemu dengan Paramotor (nama timangan biker Kawasaki Voyager dari KB) yang mewakili BBNGO. Seterusnya MAMH muncul dan kami bergerak menuju restoran berdekatan untuk makan malam, bertemu saudara Norzaidi. Saya sempat berbual dengan Pengerusi BBNGO Prof. Din yang telah menyampaikan amanat supaya kami dapat membantu di saat akhir untuk mengumpul dana (masih kekurangan) untuk diagihkan kepada 200 anak-anak tahfiz/yatim di Pattani dan Narathiwat. Baharu saya tersentak, kami ada misi yang lebih besar selain dari memulas throttle menuju destinasi….sudahlah malam menjelang lewat, besar cabarannya.
Mujur di kelilingi sahabat-sahabat yang osem dan kami berada dalam organisasi yang ahli-ahlinya sentiasa bersedia berkorban bila-bila masa. Bukan itu sahaja di kalangan bikers yang turut serta begitu juga masing-masing memang energetik dan dermawan.
Sedang menikmati sajian ala Kelantan, hujan lebat turun mencurah. Kami pandu jentera masing-masing dalam deruan hujan menuju ke Min House Camp, perjalanan diketuai PM. Min House Camp adalah gabungan homestay/chalet yang telah ditempah oleh Aziemah buat kami bermalam. Agak terpencil kem ini dan kami melalui lorong-lorong gelap dan sempit, mujur hujan dah mula reda dan laluan tidak terlalu lecak. Selesai mandi dan solat, kami berbincang singkat rancangan esoknya, dan misi baru untuk mengutip dana, saya mula mengarang rangkap-rangkap yang akan diviralkan untuk meminta sahabat-sahabat MyIkram Bikers dan kawan-kawan terdekat membantu. Rupa-rupanya, biarpun masa yang ada hanya beberapa jam rayuan sumbangan kami mendapat sambutan hangat sehinggalah ke saat akhir sumbangan tak henti masuk. Alhamdulillah dalam masa tak sampai 24 jam kami dapat mengumpulkan lebih RM4000 untuk disampaikan kepada dua pusat tahfiz/anak yatim di destinasi kunjungan nanti.
Lewat tengah malam baharulah dapat masa berehat…jaket yang basah telah hampir kering, cuma boot yang basah lencun…ketiadaan alatan untuk mengeringkannya (selalu saya guna hair dryer, agak efektif…tapi di homestay ini tiada)…dalam keletihan saya berbaring hingga lena.
Mungkin keletihan menunggang sepanjang hari di samping hujan lebat menyebabkan hampir sukar nak terjaga subuh, hingga saya terdengar deruman enjin…hmmm tak syak lagi datangnya dari tiga biji motor BMW…saya bergegas siap, wudu dan kenakan pakaian, walaupun rupanya sahabat semua dah berlepas ke masjid. Maka saya panaskan enjin bike dan terus pandu keluar dalam gelap pagi, mata melilau sana sini kalau-kalau ada ternampak bayangan masjid, rupanya tak begitu jauh, alhamdulillah dapat bersolat jamaah subuh di sini.

Lone rider dan musibah jalanan
Selain 6 bikers ditambah dengan MAMH yang tinggal di KB, seorang lagi rakan kami KZH terpaksa bertolak lewat kerana urusan kerja. Beliau pada mulanya mendapat ‘teman’ jalanan, terdiri beberapa bikers yang menuju ke Kuala Trengganu kebetulan ada Bike Week di sana. Kebetulan hujan mula turun amat lebat sepanjang jalan membuatkan beliau terpaksa berhenti agak lama di Kuantan…akhirnya menjelang tengah malam beliau hanya setakat sampai di Paka. Oleh itu kami cadangkan beliau berehat di mana-mana tempat berdekatan dan sambung perjalanan esoknya. KZH setuju dan beliau teruskan pemanduan ke KT untuk bermalam di rumah saudara.
Keesokan paginya, sewaktu kami sibuk bersiap nak solat Subuh, KZH menghantar mesej: Bismillah, kata beliau, memberi isyarat beliau memulakan perjalanan jam 4 pagi. Tak lama, selepas Subuh beliau hantar whatsapp lagi memberi update beliau berhenti solat di Masjid Jerteh. Selepas solat Subuh dan ketika berkemas tiba-tiba saya mendapat panggilan dari beliau. Cemas, beliau bersuara: I am down! Innalillah, bisik saya, gugup dan serba salah. Are you alright? tanya saya spontan. Beliau memberitahu masih mampu berdiri dan berjalan dalam keadaan agak sakit. Selepas beberapa ketika, beliau bercerita ringkas, kereta di depan beliau tiba-tiba melanggar seorang penunggang kapchai, motor beliau terseret ke sebelah menyebabkan KZH tak sempat mengelak, dan hampir-hampir melanggar penunggang motor tersebut, motor beliau jatuh dan mengalami kerosakan serius. Menurut beliau ada beberapa orang kampung datang membantu. Saya cuba menenangkan beliau dan berjanji akan berbincang dengan sahabat-sahabat bagaimana dapat membantu.
Saya terus bergegas memberitahu pasukan kami, ZMG menghubungi KZ untuk mendapat gambaran terperinci keadaan beliau dan motosikal, sementara AMD membuat panggilan terhadap anak beliau untuk ‘standby’ dengan kenderaan 4WD dan peralatan untuk menunda motosikal Harley Davidson Dyna milik KZH pulang ke Shah Alam. Sementara itu KZH pergi ke klinik untuk pemeriksaan di mana beliau dinasihatkan terus ke hospital, rupanya ada sedikit retak tulang ibu jari kanan terpaksa di simen. Alhamdulillah kecederaan tidak terlalu serius.

dyna broke
Begitulah, musibah datang tanpa diduga, inipun antara ujian kami yang amat getir, kerana kami memang sentiasa menjaga standard permotoran yang tinggi, keselamatan memang prioriti terutama tetapi tiada seorang dapat menduga insiden sebegini berlaku. Mengetahui KZH yang telah menunggang puluhan tahun, tidak syak beliau memang cekap dan berpengalaman, ini membuktikan tiada siapa yang ‘immune’ sebagai biker tetap terdedah kepada risiko berterusan hanya kita dapat berusaha sebaik mungkin mengurangkan risiko serta bersedia ‘the worst case scenario’.
Begitulah kisah sahabat kami yang kurang bernasib baik, kami hanya mendoakan kebaikan beliau dan dipermudahkan urusannya. Alhamdulillah segala urusan membawa beliau pulang bersama jenteranya selamat atas bantuan Abdullah, anak AMD yang memandu 4WD dari Bangi ke Kota Bharu dan pulang hari yang sama. Maka kami meneruskan rancangan merentas sempadan tanpa kehadiran seorang biker, menjadikan jumlah bikers MIB seramai 7 orang (dan 3 pilion).

Menuju sempadan
Selepas pulih semula dari tragedi yang menimpa sahabat, memulakan pergerakan untuk bertemu rombongan utama yang terdiri dari 3 buah kereta, sebuah 4WD dan bas di tempat yang dijanjikan iaitu berdekatan dengan Kecemasan HUSM. Rupanya mereka telah berlepas, mujur PM cukup arif membawa kami melalui laluan menuju ke Rantau Panjang. Di sini kami berhenti di Masjid Beijing untuk bersarapan sambil menyiapkan segala borang dan dokumen yang perlu. Dari sini kami berpecah kepada 3 kumpulan, dan kumpulan biker ditugaskan bergerak terus menuju ke masjid Kerisik Pattani di mana kami dijadualkan bertemu Tengku Abdullah dan penduduk tempatan di situ. Masjid Kerisik ini cukup popular dengan sejarah yang berlaku pada April 2004 bila jemaah umat Islam yang bersembahyang di masjid ini diserang tentera Thai mengorbankan lebih 100 mangsa, syahid.


Walaupun jarak dari KB menuju ke Pattani hanya sekitar 160km, perjalanan terasa amat lama. Apa lagi kerana kami melalui imegresen, dan banyak ‘checkpoint’ kadangkala dalam jarak yang amat dekat 2-3km. Dalam keadaan yang panas terik, memaksa kami berhenti untuk berehat sebentar sambil mengisi tangki petrol. Kami hanya sampai lewat solat Jumaat, tak mengapa sebab musafir walaupun kempunan juga tak dapat join jamaah. Lalu lepas berehat dan minum kami bergerak pula menuju ke pondok Darul Aman.

Ziarah penduduk Islam Pattani & Narathiwat
Di dua negeri inilah kami menziarahi penduduk Islam tempatan, bertemu anak-anak tahfiz, anak yatim dan berinteraksi dengan mereka. Aktiviti yang dilalui termasuk menziarahi Pondok alQuran Darul Aman Pattani, penduduk Narathiwat serta masjid/tahfiz Darul Falah Narathiwat.
Lokasi Pondok Darul Aman Pattani agak terpencil dan laluan menuju ke sini agak sempit – tiada masalah untuk kami yang bermotor. Pada masa ini, dua dari pilion kami sudah keletihan menunggang dan ambil kesempatan menumpang kereta buat sementara. Kami disambut dengan hangat, di mana anak-anak pelajar telah bersedia dengan marhaban dan berdiri di sepanjang jalan menuju parkir di pondok ini. Di sini, staf dari USM menjalankan program pendidikan kesihatan sementara kami menyampaikan bantuan dari dana yang dikumpul kepada Tuan Guru pondok. Di sinilah turun hujan lebat sehingga banjir sedikit. Kami dijamu dengan makan tengahari hasil hidangan anak-anak ini, makannya lazat sekali memang tak kan dilupakan!


Selesai lawatan ke pondok Darul Aman kami menuju Narathiwat, terus ke hotel tempat menginap di hotel Tanyong Narathiwat. Kali ini ketiga-tiga pilion wanita dah tak tahan keletihan di samping hujan lebat, mereka bertiga memutuskan untuk tumpang kereta rombongan. Kami ride dalam keadaan hujan agak lebat juga, di samping waktu malam yang gelap…terasa jauh pula perjalanan walaupun hanya sekitar 120km.
Majlis perasmian BBNGO bikers yang dijadualkan terpaksa ditangguh kerana tetamu yang dijemput (timbalan Gabenor) tidak dapat hadir. Begitu kami dapat bertemu Cikgu Zakaria (ketua penduduk tempatan) dan beberapa penduduk lokal lain. Kami menikmati makan malam dan berehat awal.
Keesokannya kami bersolat di sebuah masjid berhampiran hotel dan selesai solat berjalan di tepi sungai menanti matahari terbit, pemandangan dari ‘water village’ yang hening.
Pagi ini satu lagi majlis penting iaitu bertemu penduduk lokal di Masjid Daril Falah Narathiwat. Kami kenakan Tshirt BBNGO Bikers. Perjalanan diketuai oleh seorang biker lokal dari Narathiwat, bersahaja beliau menunggang tanpa helmet pula! Begitu beliau ketara cekap menunggang dan kenal penduduk dan polis sepanjang jalan yang dilalui. Ramai penduduk yang menanti ketibaan kami, menyambut dengan mesra sekali. Semua ahli rombongan bersiap membuat persediaan majlis sambil berlangsung ceramah dan pemeriksaan kesihatan untuk penduduk tempatan.

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Seterusnya perasmian majlis Tautan Kasih Nusantara Malaysia-Thailand oleh Datuk Bandar atau Chief Executive Narathiwat En Kuseng Yaworhasan, beliau seorang yang peramah dan casual sahaja orangnya. Di sini kami menyampaikan sumbangan untuk anak-anak yatim dan juga sekolah tahfiz Daril Falah. Sempat juga kami berjalan keluar dan singgah di ‘kilang’ serunding ikan, bertemu dengan tuannya dan dapat membeli serunding ikan untuk dibawa pulang. Sekali lagi kami dijamu dengan makan tengahari yang lazat.

Menuju Dannok dan pulang
Selesai majlis perasmian dan makan tengahari kami golek tayar menyusur ke utara menuju arah Dannok. Jarak perjalanan yang tidak terlalu jauh (250km) tetapi sekali lagi terasa amat letih dan lesu, mungkin cuaca yang panas, dan jalan yang banyak halangan ‘checkpoint’menyebabkan masa ride yang lama. Sampai di Dannok dan minum petang di Restoran Mak Jah, kami berbincang dan semua bikers yang bawa pilion memutuskan untuk bermalam, sementara bikers yang lain meneruskan perjalanan pulang ke tanahair. Sebelum berpisah kami berjalan kaki ke pasar Dannok untuk shopping sedikit sebanyak. Yang menariknya di sempadan ini kos tinggal di hotel agak murah, dan hotelnya berkualiti, contoh hotel yang kami singgahi (J-Da hotel) kosnya hanya 650baht.
Keesokan harinya selepas solat subuh kami bersiap check out dan menuju sempadan untuk pulang. Tidak lupa di kastam Thai untuk menyerahkan borang impot kenderaan kastam (salinan didapati semasa masuk), jika gagal akan didenda 1000baht sehari. Sebaik melepasi sempadan kami berhenti mengisi minyak di Petronas Bukit Kayu Hitam dan sarapan di restoran mamak berdekatan.

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Dari sini kami berpecah sebab ZMY dan pilion menuju ke Arau sementara saya dan AMY ride bersama untuk pulang. Perjalanan sejauh 470km kami lalui selama kira-kira 5 jam (termasuk berhenti 2 kali – di R&R Gunung Semanggul dan Tapah).
Alhamdulillah kami selamat sampai ke destinasi masing-masing, selesai misi ziarah selatan Thailand dan pelancaran BBNGO bikers, meninggalkan banyak kenangan manis serta pengalaman paling berharga.
Buat bikers yang telah turut serta, misi kami tak dianggap selesai sebelum dapat bertemu kembali dengan sahabat yang ditimpa musibah, di mana hari berikutnya 9 orang bikers telah menziarahi beliau di Shah Alam.

On the DGR and love affair with Street Twin…

My experience joining the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride KL 2017 with Triumph Street Twin

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The journey from home took less than 20 minutes, it was such a breeze whizzing through early morning traffic and sprinting along the Duke highway with this Triumph Street Twin – thanks to Dato Malique & Fastbike for the loan. It felt odd to be riding past 140km/hr mark with the ‘dapper’ dress on, the suit flinging side to side and cold wind hitting my chest. We passed by one or two classic bikers and one of them rode a Roadking, revved his bike hard catching up so close, then as we came close to the toll gates, suddenly blasted through the toll barriers dedicated for cars – therefore overtaking us by a cheat. Never mind, I am supposed to ride slow and ‘santai’, I cooled myself down.

But the bike was more than energetic, from my very short experience riding it. It can keep up with any midrange sportbike and more importantly, it gives you so much fun and confidence. I like the exhaust note too. The low height helped me feel at ease manouvering from stationary, or trying to enter or exit parking. Amazing for a bike that weighs more than 200kg and yet it felt so light to ride or manouvre. Equipped with the Twin, I enjoyed every minute of the DGR and I has the best all round capability considering its attractive specifications and pricing.

Here we come, ride like a Distinguished gentleman

We were ready from very early morning, though, having to get the kids ready to be left alone at home, and one more thing, the youngest one who celebrated his birthday on the same day, we took a bit of time, and only managed to leave home past 7.30am. Since I no longer have a classic bike, I was looking high and low for one – whether to borrow from friends or rent from bike shop. It turned out to be not very easy – there are bikes rental shop around but not many offering cruisers or classic – most commonly Harley bikes – and most require minimum 3 days – some 2 weeks in advance for booking. I was lucky when Dato Malique gave me a courtesy of one of the classic models at Fastbike – a Street Twin.

I love joining the DGR, though this is only the second time. Indeed it was perhaps one of the ‘soft’ reason to own a classic bike, when I made the decision two years ago. You see, I used to own a Bonneville T100 – a special version named T214. Beautiful bike that never ceased to attract onlookers whenever I parked or ride the bike. The older people know this bike through history – many who either have seen or ride Triumph bikes around the Merdeka era would recall easily. Alas, I had to part with the bike early this year, till now I am still missing my classic bike. To get another, perhaps will not happen very soon due to tight budget.
The DGR KL this year had its gathering venue at the Fastbike PJ. The route was PJ-IOI Puchong and ended at IOI City Mall Putrajaya. It was estimated over 500 bikes participated.


Typically DGR invites riders of classic bikes, cruisers, classic scooters and all ‘vintage’ bikes to participate in this annual event for the purpose of raising awareness for prostate cancer. Many of the riders I guess joined for the sheer pleasure of riding their classics. As you can see, to join the ride one must bring his or her classic bike, though an odd few would bring their old sportbike or even modern sportbike like Ducati Monster, MV Augusta Brutale into the scene, in Malaysia at least, I didn’t see them get rejected by organisers…its almost an allcomers event though, 99% of the participants silently understand they should come with their classic bikes or the like. You also must wear smart casual or called Dapper style dress. I have seen some men wearing Baju kurung Melayu, yeah why not. So oddly, on this day, every classic or vintage bike owners come to the open with a less than usual riding gear, and to many, including helmets – since many of them wearing the classic type helmet as opposed to a full faced helmet (generally regarded as the gold standard safety requirement for riding big bikes).
Since we joined last year, we never want to miss this event. Its a great event, perhaps the largest gathering of any bikers group per se, in the country. Taken together with all ten cities all over Malaysia, surely no other motorcycle rides could attract such a large crowd (official figure indicated 1449 registered bikers – many simply joined on the day without registering, hence very likely the number is as many as one and a half or twice).

Arrived at the car park adjacent to Fastbike PJ, we were greeted by the friendly organising personnel who directed us to park at the bottom row along with other vintages. Hundreds of bike were already there, I could imagine those riders must have been there perhaps before the official meeting time at 7am. But knowing the nature of the event, they will not depart sharp with time, though of course we arrived well before. Thus we had enough time to socialise and mingle around with the cheerful crowd.

During this event we met old and new friends, learned more and enjoy looking at classic bikes and cruisers that come in various odd presentations. Even the riders, many look ‘classic’ or vintage! Like those two twin brothers riding the Vespa scooters (they were top winners overall in the KL ride). Uniquely in this gathering you can just greet anyone you met, begin a chat which may never end since there were too many things to speak about, amazing how bikers can relate one another because of their hobby.

We were directed to the Fastbike showroom where Zenith was distributing free gift consisting of hats and arm bands, while Fastbike provided free nasi lemak. Many charming and smiling faces ready to greet you, of course the most friendly and welcoming Fastbike staff were there happily entertaining customers at this odd hours of the morning.

Here I met Dr. Ting, ex colleague, a Cardiologist who owns a Harley Davidson Road King, also accompanied by his wife. Then the briefing began by the organisers, followed by words from Dato Malique as the host, instruction by the Marshall and then prayers.

The ride this time, was much more organised I think, and a good number of Marshall incharged ensuring the smooth flow of bikers heading for the checkpoints. With such attires and huge number of bikes, obviously we kept our pace rather slow, except when coming to the open highway (short part). I must congratulate the organisers for their good crowd control and managing such a huge number of bikers without any major incidents.

Charmed by the Twin
Yup, if the twin brothers have won the KL DGR, the Triumph Street Twin have won my heart that day! A quick glance could give you a mixed feeling, especially when one has been used to the standard Bonneville. From my naive eyes, I could feel the ‘less retro’ looking bike (single odometer, smallish tank, less bare metals exposed) – it rather looks more modern and a close view might giv

e impression of its half sportiness. So in short, its a bike that looks half classic/retro and half street bike – therefore the right name Street Twin.
I have to admit when I first heard about this bike, just like many other bikers who put hp before everything else, I quickly brushed aside the thought of riding this bike. I was wrong, as when I read many on line reviews, the conclusion was, the Street Twin is not a strip down version of the all powerful new classic lines – Bonneville T120 or Thruxton R (both have 1200cc displacement with 79 and 97 bhp each respectively while the Twin a mere 54bhp). Yup, not a strip down version, it is a whole different bike. Most of the review never failed to mention of its brilliant handling and impressive and smooth ride.
Then I also noticed more and more people buy the Twin, including those who own more powerful bikes. Not to forget that the Twin also shares the same base engine and architecture with the Street Cup and Street Scrambler (can you imagine any other classic bike makers that come with 8 differently styled modern vintage bikes apart from Triumph? – another of the line is Bonneville T100 900cc and of course the all singing all dancing Bonneville Bobber).
My impression after riding the Twin for just about 300km – it is fun and capable retro bike with lovely exhaust note and beautiful finish. Since I like sprinting a bit, I was impressed by its ability to speed beyond 170km without feeling too much windblast. Riding on highway, city street or kampung road all could be done painlessly. It soaked corners well. It has got enough grunt to behave like a big bike. The engine is very smooth, with pleasant torque, making it a dream bike that I have mentioned before when I wrote about my old Bonneville T214 – a combination of modern classic bike with a street or sport engine the result which – you can enjoy the fantastic handling with enough juice to transport you anywhere you would like to go.

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I had the chance of riding a bit crazy at 3am in the morning, huh, at first, most unthinkable. I woke up early morning after receiving hospital call for an emergency attendance (emergency angioplasty procedure). Normally, when I had to go out at night or early morning hours I would prefer to drive. Somehow that morning, my thought was ‘why not’…this could be another chance to prove the worthiness of the bike. There, a lunatic early morning rider, donning his black jacket combined with a pair of sandals blasting the wind with his Twin machine. As I expected the bike complied well, I got as much enjoyment and pleasure from my own Street Triple (the diffence being the Twin is a retro bike), it filtered the road smoothly allowing maximum riding comfort with upright position, the 15km distance felt so short, and little that I realised the bike was trying to go beyond 140km/hr at this odd morning hour, that made me a bit scared so I slowed down momentarily. Everything was done precisely and I could squeeze a full throttle on the open road (whenever I had the chance) and the bike responded brilliantly, I felt so confidence with this beast.
Any complaint? I thought the tank was a bit too long and tapered at the rider’s end, I realised that sometimes my bottom was seated on the tank instead of the seat! The seat felt a bit slippery which invites for a third party alternative. The bike, in fairness has a very small profile, though when looked at from certain angle, the ‘bigness’ is there, but I like to hold on to a bigger profile bike, when travelling long distance especially – that explains why my new Tiger XRX was such a great company.
I have no doubt the Street Twin makes for a great first bike for many who wish to ride around the city or short distance, and yet unsure how they would ride (between a crazy naked bike rider vs a cool cafe racer), then the bike gives a perfect answer. It is easy to ride, great at corners, capable to go at high speed, and behaves as a modern performance bike with retro styling. I would not mind trading my Street Triple with this Twin if I could get a good deal.

For video DGR can check this FB link to Triumph Malaysia

Or this youtube link by NST

Kembara Ramadan bersama TM Bikers…paradigma baru dunia permotoran?

Jam telah melewati 11 malam, dan kami masih lagi bertungkus lumus menolak jentera masing-masing sebelum menghidupkan enjin untuk memulakan perjalanan pulang. Di tengah-tengah laluan berliku dari Batu 14 menuju Batu 3 jalan Tapah-Cameron Highland, memang tak pernah terbayang sebelum ini untuk meredah laluan tersebut di lewat malam seperti ini.

Memang kami berdua (aku dan Dr. Hafiz) sudah menempah bilik hotel LF di Tapah, tetapi untuk sampai ke Tapah kami terpaksa melalui laluan berliku tersebut yang menjangkau lebih 20km, dalam kegelapan malam. Sewaktu naik di pagi hari, cuaca hujan dan jalan kelihatan licin, dan ini cukup mencabar di tambah keadaan jalan yang tak rata di sana sini, beralun serta berliku di sebalik kesibukan lalulintas dan kenderaan berat yang agak banyak.

Aku dah sampai ke Cameron dengan motor dua kali, yang terbaru bersama Harapan Baru Bikers. Kedua-dua kalinya kami naik samada melalui Sungai Koyan atau Simpang Pulai. Kedua-dua laluan memang berliku juga tapi jalan lebih elok dan besar. Lain pula halnya melalui Tapah. Bila aku mengumumkan hasrat nak join ride ni dalam group MIB, ada ahli yang kata – nak meredah laluan yang kona patah belaka memang kurang sesuai dengan jentera kami apalagi di malam gelap gelita (waktu pulang). Ini menyebabkan aku rasa cuak juga. Tambahan pula Dr. Hafiz yang beliau kata dah lama tak ride, kali ni beliau pasrah join selepas aku pujuk dan atas alasan nak support program Ikram Putrajaya. Takpe, jawabku, nanti kita ride santai je, apa-apa kita ride sekali. Akhirnya kami kuatkan tekad. Alhamdulillah pagi tersebut semasa ‘RV’ di Rawang, di sebalik kehadiran melempah ahli-ahli TM Bikers, muncullah Zul9 & Dr. Al-Amin, lega sedikit, walaupun Al-Amin tak dapat join, hanya datang menjenguk. KZH yang komit dari awal, tak muncul, jadi kami bertiga dari MIB, yang selebihnya 60 bikers lagi dari TM bikers.

Memang meriah bila ride bersama TM Bikers ni, ahli-ahlinya peramah dan mudah didekati, ramai yang berpengalaman dah berjalan jauh, walaupun ada 50% dari yang join kali ini kapchai – LC135, Y15Z & FZ150, tapi tak jadi hal sangat sebab ride tak berapa jauh, dan untuk mendaki ke Cameron kapchai lagi senang. Sebab ringan dan mudah koner.

Menghampiri Tapah, hujan mula turun, mulanya renyai terus semakin lebat. Seluar jeanku dah terasa basah, tapi Dr. Hafiz terus jalan, takkan aku nak berhenti pulak, so redah ja harapnya lepas ni panas terik seluar cepat kering. Kami berhenti di RnR Tapah, refuel dan terus ke Masjid Batu 3. Di RnR Tapah hujan turun lagi, membasahi helmet yang aku tinggal terdedah sebab melayan diri di tandas. Waktu ni dah ada masa sarung seluar hujan dan sediakan diri. Kami berhenti di masjid untuk solat dhuha dan ada yang punggah barang. Di sini jumpa Kamal, pengarah program dan sahabat baik kami yang juga ahli MIB & Ikram Putrajaya.

Sementara TM Bikers masih menyediakan diri, kami bertiga sepakat untuk ride terus ke Batu 14 Perkampungan orang asli tersebut. Hanya perlu ikut map yang dah diberi, aku set Googlemaps dan lead. Hujan mula turun dan jalan Tapah-Cameron kelihatan basah, tak rata dan memang berliku-liku. Mulalah rasa gayat. Aku lihat side mirror, terpandang Hafiz di belakang. Tak lama, bertembung deretan kereta dan lori, bas, aku potong satu persatu, rupanya banyak lagi di sepanjang jalan. Ya jalan licin, boleh terasa hampir skid setiap kali nak lap, ini yang makin cuak ni. Rupanya bertembung dengan beberapa kapchai, mungkin orang local, semuanya bawa slow saja, aku potong. Akhirnya dah tak nampak kelibat Hafiz & Zul (Zul paling belakang kira escort kami berdua ni). Tiba-tiba Googlemaps down, blank saja. Aku cuma berpandu pada jarak, lama sedikit lepas tak nampak lagi kedua bikers, walaupun selepas slow down – mungkin sangkut dengan deretan kereta dan bas di belakang, akhirnya aku berhenti di sebuah perhentian bas. Rupanya dah terlalu hampir dengan lokasi. Tak lama muncullah Hafiz & Zul9, ok kami pun set masuk ke simpang ke arah kampung Batu 14. Lagi gayat bila jalan menuju kampung curam dan berliku, memang merangkak saja tak biar tayar bergolek perlahan. Berbagai fikiran bergolak, hmmm macamana perjalanan balik nanti, di kegelapan malam…

Alhamdulillah syukur program Kembara Ramadan ke Cameron Highland ni berlangsung dengan jaya. Congrats kepada Kamal pengarahnya, dan TM Bikers, Presiden En Roslan, kepada ikhwah MIB yang turut serta, eh tak ramai tapi bermakna. Zul9 yang terpaksa korbankan program Ikram Batu beliau semata-mata nak meraikan program ride ni & memang kehadiran beliau amat membantu aura MIB. Dr. Hafiz, yang mulanya tak konfiden je (sorry Hafiz hehe), sebab dah lama tak ride kata beliau, malahan aku sendiri pun, bila ada orang sebut route ke batu 14 tu yang amat mencabar, gementar juga, rupanya kehadiran Dr. Hafiz membantu gak, konsepnya ride slow2 santai pun dah ok, waktu ni kita nak sampai dengan selamat dan program berjaya, lain waktu nak memecut ke hujung dunia tu lain hal haha.

Secara ringkasnya lebih 60 bikers yang join, separuh adalah ‘small bikes’ dia orang sebut bike comey – kapchai – LC135, Y15Z atau FZ150. Ada yg datang dari Trengganu, Johor, Utara dll. Yang ride bike comey adalah anak2 muda 100% sementara yang ride big bikes bercampur, separuhnya dah berumur dalam 35-40han. Ini dari TM Bikers lah. Dari MIB ada tiga orang sebagaimana yang anda tahu.

Ride ke Cameron, Batu 14 ni simple saja sebenarnya, memang tak banyak ride, lebih banyak program masyarakatnya. Ride dari Rawang ke Tapah – Batu 3 lebih kurang sejam. Dari Batu 3 naik ke Batu 14 tak sampai setengah jam, tu saja. Total distance, dari Ampang rumah aku, 160km hmm memang singkat walaupuan acara program ni tamat hampir tengah malam.

Programnya – Angkat barang, turun barang – di surau Batu 14. Lepas tu rehat. Ada program treasure hunt dan & pertandingan melukis untuk anak-anak. Lepas tu penyampaian hadiah (semua anak-anak) dan duit raya juga penyampaian sumbangan pada orang asli. Then sempat bawa anak-anak ni short ride big bikes kami, pergi dekat2 saja. Sewaktu rehat ada pilihan untuk naik ke Cameron atau mandi di Lata Iskandar, kami tak pergi, sebab ada interview dengan TV Jakim. Ya, media crew ni interview ramai orang, of course Kamal sebagai penganjur, TM bikers, penduduk dan mereka beri peluang, kami sebagai bikers Ikram –dalam interview aku sebut MyIkram Bikers lah, bagi orang kenal.

Berbuka bersama orang asli, dapatlah ruang bersosial dengan mereka – untuk lelaki kebanyakannya orang tua atuk2 atau anak2 kecil – selebihnya bikers dan petugas2 lantikan Jakim atau wakil JKOA, dan crew Ikram Putrajaya & Ikram Perak (Batang Padang).

 

Of course, Kamal sebagai Pengarah program ini menerajui program dengan jayanya. Beliau berjaya menghubungkan Ikram Putrajaya dalam ‘big picture’. Malah semasa berbual dan interview dengan media JAKIM, mereka tanya seolah-olah Ikram ni berpusat di Putrajaya, begitu juga MIB….tak mengapalah yang penting Ikram dikenali melalui usaha sahabat kita. Dan beliau menunjukkkan leadership yang baik dalam TM Bikers, sebagai pengarah program. So, pada aku beliau patut diberikan kredit atas usaha ini & insyallah mungkin bentuk JV seperti ini merupakan ruang yang amat baik MIB dapat melibatkan belia bikers, nak buat secara MIB sendiri-sendiri mungkin tidak dapat mencapai skala yang seperti ini!

Aku sempat berkenalan dengan Presiden TMB Sdr Roslan dan brief sedikit mengenai pertubuhan Ikram dan kumpulan kami MyIkram Bikers. Beliau kelihatan cool, berkarisma dan mudah bermesra. Dalam ucapannya beliau sebut kerjasama dengan MIB – ini program ketiga ada kerjasama dengan MIB – sebut beliau.

Setiap ahli MIB memainkan peranan baik – Zul buka agenda semasa sampai – ini buka ruang untuk taaruf dengan kebanyakan yang terlibat di lapangan (masa tu TMB tak sampai lagi) – termasuk petugas JAKIM, wakil orang asli, ahli2 Ikram (Putrajaya & Batang Padang) dan crew media JAKIM) melalui ini kami banyak dapat peluang networking yang baik, serta kenal lebih dekat masyarakat orang asli dan keperluan mereka di sini.

Aku nak sebut juga, mengenai bikers sebab ini bread & butter kita MIB. Kami ada sebut dulu nak buka kapchai chapter tapi tak pernah bergerak. Aku rasa model TMB ini model yang amat baik, macamana kapchai riders boleh join program just like the rest of the big group, ride jauh. Dan mereka memang mendapat tempat yang ‘equal’ dalam progam ni. Kebanyakan kapchai riders ni atau semua adalah anak muda, belia. Semasa ride, mereka ikut kumpulan sendiri, sebab riding pace tak sama…tetapi tetap tak ketinggalan, Marshall sentiasa pesan supaya riders jangan ride seorang-seorang, walaupun riding at own’s pace, sekurang2nya berdua, lebih baik untuk keselamatan. Bila diambil kira bermacam background bikers dan bike yang ada, jadi kumpulan kapchai ini membentuk geng yang ada ‘equal footing’ dengan big bikes. Perlulah disebut, dalam konteks ni, setakat yang join adalah LC135 ke atas (termasuk LC yang tak berklas (clutch). Aku rasa the ‘key’ untuk menyerap group kapchai ni ialah adanya kumpulan yang agak besar (contoh dalam satu2 ride ada sepuluh atau) dan anak2 muda yang ada background yang sama – contoh di sini profession…konsep ini bolehlah diadaptasi yang penting supaya kapchai yang join the big group tak terasa kecil atau terasing. Juga beri ruang kapchai ini menyesuaikan diri dalam the big group, contoh dari segi refuel stop, dekat sedikit jaraknya dari biasa. Sebab dalam ride macam program orang asli ni, fokus sebenarnya adalah program, ride tu sebagai wasilah program. Daripada 14-16 jam program – ride hanya mengambil tak sampai 40% dari keseluruhan program, jadi kalau buat ride konvoi yang melibatkan kapchai mungkin dalam bentuk seumpama ini…tetapi tak mesti, macam-macam bentuk kreativiti boleh dicipta insyallah bila dah ada big group kapchai tu pandai-pandailah mereka.

Last sekali pasal kecekapan dan keselamatan. Dulu aku selalu concern bila nak naik bukit dan koner ni.  Memanglah dan dari segi keselamatan memang kita perlu hati-hati. Tetapi untuk bikers, selalunya ‘cabaran’ untuk melayan koner dan bukit ni ialah dan mengenakan stail dan ride laju, sedangkan memang ada ketika, tak perlu pun pada semua tu. Bayangkan sewaktu turun dari Batu 14, di malam hari, walaupun aku ‘terpaksa’ sabar di belakang Hafiz mengemudi jentera bumblebee beliau yang sentiasa mengaum minta dilenjan habis, tapi Hafiz tetap cool menyusur laluan tak terburu-buru. Betul juga, apa nak dikejar, di waktu kegelapan malam dan jalan penuh berliku yang tak rata ni, yang penting ialah selamat sampai. Kalau laju pun, adalah beberapa minit awal sampai, tapi kalau silap lenjan, lain pula boleh jadinya, apa lagi bertembung dengan kenderaaan berat yang bila-bila masa saja boleh overshoot. Jadinya biarlah ada balance sedikit, memang jentera osem kita untuk dipandu macam kuda hebat (macam apa yang Ustaz Hasanuddin sebut dulu) tapi kita kena mengenali kemampuan diri, kemampuan jentera, juga keadaan jalan, cuaca, lalu lintas dan banyak faktor lagi.

 

 

Video link perlepasan, ride ke Cameron

Memenuhi hak sahabat yang sakit…

Cuaca pagi hujan renyai, dan sesekali menjadi lebat. Rancangan awal untuk keluar ‘TTS sarapan’ bersama isteri terpaksa dilupakan saja, isteri pun rasa tak selesa disebabkan cuaca yang malap di sana sini. Kami bersarapan di Am Bistro. Lepas mengenakan roti telur bawang dan kopi O aku permisi. Sempat juga sebut pada isteri, cuaca dah elok ni jom, abang ingat nak ke Rawang…tapi isteri dah set untuk masuk kerja.

Dalam keadaan yang masih gerimis sedikit dan jalan yang lembab dan berlopak di sana sini aku kuatkan hati untuk terus menuju ke KPJ Rawang. Kira-kira 30 minit untuk sampai, mungkin kurang dari itu dengan bermotor. Jentera Triumph Tiger XRX meluncur lancar di celah-celah kenderaan pelbagai, menyusur laluan yang ditunjukkkan oleh Waze. Melepasi pusingan Jalan Ipoh, exit ke Rawang dan tak lama kemudian melalui jalan berliku menuju Rawang. Tak sampai setengah jam aku menghentikan motosikal di lampu isyarat dan terpandang hospital yang dituju.

Pagi memang bukan waktu melawat, tapi di hospital private mungkin tak berapa strict. Kalau ada halangan pandai-pandailah cari alasan, yang biasa sebut ‘saya ni doktor’, dapatlah pengecualian walaupun sebentar. ‘Assalamu álaikum tuan. Saya nak cari seorang pesakit NHM’. Tercengang receptionist, ‘err, saya kawan dia…’ jawabku meyakinkan. ‘Sekarang bukan waktu melawat Encik..’ ‘Eh, saya tengok kejap je boleh?’ dengan nada redha beliau membuat panggilan ke atas. Macam tiada saja nama tu…baru kusedar tersasul sebut nama beliau, nampak sangat tak kenal sahabat betul-betul.

Sahabatku ini telah disahkan mengidap kanser buah pinggang. Memang dah lama berniat menziarahi, tapi isteri minta pergi bersama, sedangkan beliau sebelum ini dirawat di hospital yang agak jauh iaitu Serdang. Sebenarnya aku dalam ‘panel’ pakar yang ditugaskan membincang dan memberi maklumat terkini beliau pada ahli-ahli organisasi kami, di samping memberikan khidmat perunding mana yang sesuai. Agak mengewakan ya, kerana berbulan beliau telah terlantar sakit, keluar masuk wad, sekali pun belum berhasil melawat. Ku akui memang kami saling mengenal, dalam organisasi beliau memegang beberapa jawatan kempimpinan di samping terlibat dalam peringkat nasional pelbagai organisasi lain. Aku orang biasa saja, adalah terlibat di sini sana, tapi tak pernah menonjol. Jadi, kami memang tak kenal rapat tetapi ikatan ukhuwah tetap ada. Mungkin alasannya, tidak berapa rapat, jadi nak roger beliau sebelum ziarah pun tak berapa pasti. Tetapi pada hari ini aku nekad, dan mengetahui beliau di sana, terus aku putuskan untuk ziarah juga biarpun pagi ini urusan pembedahan di makmal kardiologi invasif dah menanti. Takpe, co-pilot ada boleh beri beliau peluang lebih sedikit untuk jadi ‘independent operator’.

Memang kami tak rapat. Tetapi beliau seorang yang prihatin masyarakat dan menjaga hak persahabatan. Untuk pengetahuan anda, beliau, dalam keadaan sakit begitu, adalah salah seorang sahabat FB yang menghantar ucapan hari lahirku bulan lepas. Ini menyebabkan aku rasa lebih terkilan atas alasan yang berbagai tidak kesempatan melawat beliau. Jentera hebat dah menjejak Thailand, Langkawi dan berbagai destinasi ber TTS sana sini, hai, nak menjejak sahabat sendiri yang sakit pun tak kesampaian, ini menyebabkan aku amat malu pada Tuhan kerana gagal memenuhi hak sahabat. Sebab itulah, hari ini, apa jadi pun aku bertekad untuk menziarahi beliau.

Senyap sunyi saja wad di waktu pagi ini. Beberapa orang jururawat di meja bertugas macam tak hirau atau tak terkesan langsung bila aku melangkah masuk. Eh misi, tak alert ke mana tau saya ni pelawat ke perompak datang nak kacau pesakit….mungkin jururawat di sini, macam di hospital-hospital lain ada ilmu firasat tinggi, boleh rasa pelawat yang datang tu baik ke jahat, tanpa melihat pun dah tahu…

Ku selak kubikal, terpandang wajah seorang lelaki sedang lena…jelas dari penampilan beliau seorang yang sedang sakit. Nyenyak dan tengan tidur beliau…tapi nampak tidak seperti seorang biasa tidur. Aku mengambil masa lebih seminit untuk menyedarkan beliau. ‘Akh, assalamu alaikum…’ perlahan-lahan beliau buka mata, dan menyapa dengan senyuman. Biarpun beliau nampak lemah tak bermaya, senyuman sentiasa terukir dan beliau bercakap dengan bertenaga dan mesra. Walaupun aku tahu sejarah sakit beliau, aku tetap tekun mendengarnya semula, dan beliau memberi update keadaan semasa serta sebab-sebab kemasukan ke hospital kali ini. Dalam masa 15 minit tersebut sempat kami mengimbas kembali di awal waktu beliau mula disahkan mendapat kanser.

Aku sentiasa memberi perhatian serius hal ini. Beliau memang dah lama mengadu sakit perut. Tetapi hanya berjumpa doktor untuk mendapat rawatan hujung tahun lepas. Pada asalnya, doktor merawat beliau sebagai pesakit ‘gastrik’. Hanya kemudiannya kanser tersebut disyaki setelah ujian CT scan dilakukan. Kesimpulannya, jangan ambil ringan simtom sakit anda terutamanya kalau ia berterusan lama. Malahan kalau doktor kata ok pun, pastikan siasatan yang secukupnya telah dibuat, dan ada review yang berkala.

Apa pun sahabat kami seorang yang cukup pasrah, terserlah kekuatan beliau yang disaluti dengan keyakinan pada Allah. Alhamdulillah beliau berjaya menjalani pembedahan biarpun ianya berbentuk paliatif, paling kurang dapat melegakan simtom yang dihidapi.

Aku doakan beliau dirahmati Allah dan dimudahkan dari bebanan kesakitan, lebih-lebih lagi dengan amal dan khidmat serta perjuangan beliau dalam masyarakat selama ini

A birthday mishap? Taming the twisties or being tamed by the twisties….

It was a long ride. After completing the KL-Klawang route (we called it Klawang International Circuit), we decided to follow Klawang-Kuala Pilah-Bentong-Karak to get us to the destination, Bukit Tinggi. The wife who followed by car would be driving back to KL to send a friend’s children home from the camping, then join us at Bukit Tinggi. So two of us headed towards Karak via the inner road above.

 

Klawang was as usual a ‘disappointment’for an old and hopeless rider like me. This is the second time I took my son, last time he followed me behind, I was riding the Bonneville. This time, it was obvious that he was far able to tackle the twisty roads better than me, so I waved to him to lead, and in no time he had disappeared. I kept my usual pace, there were a few speeding bikes overtaking me including this one Yamaha FZ rider who elegantly sprinted along the routes past us then he came back and I was still struggling to complete the lap. The son was good, almost matching that man’s speed except that he would stop at every few minutes, giving me chance to catch up.

 

At some point I began to feel desperate. That’s it, I am definitely no good at cornering. Even after going through the same route not less than 4 times, I am still about the same, shaky and uncertain at times, could not improve the pace. The only difference perhaps, this time I had more confidence and able to keep the bike on the road without overshooting. There was still a lot of difficulty leaning the bikes ‘correctly’ especially at some of those acute bends…and in this case I sometimes simply chose to go real slow. I had, since that near-fall incident in Thailand, adopted the 30-60-90 technique when cornering, the number referring to speed in km/h. 30 at the worst and most acute corners, 60 mid-way and 90 at ‘high speed corners’, the speed refers to the braking speed before reaching apex. I have been working on ‘body position’ which the trick by applying merely ‘level 1’ body positioning had helped me cope better with those acute bends. Nevertheless I have not been able to dramatically increase the speed and this is the embarassing part when compared to those young bloods the like of my son who merely started big bike riding in years later than me!

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It is worth noting while we were busy manouvering the bends towards Klawang, suddenly my son who was in front signaled to me to slow down, there were a couple of police officers and a crowd gathered on the other side of the road. Then I saw it, an accident involving a yellow Porsche and a Yamaha MT (9 maybe). The front headlight of the MT seemed badly damaged while the passenger side headlight of the Porsche smashed. We proceeded to the destination.

 

After having a late lunch in Klawang the two of us headed off Klawang-Simpang Pertang towards Simpang Durian then followed the Kuala Pilah-Karak road. It was along this approx 60km stretch of road, passing small towns and plentiful of twisty roads putting our cornering skill on test. Since this was a long stretch of road I ushered my son to lead as before.

 

On and off, there were a fair bit of que caused by vehicles slowing down due to the windy road. I thought I was generally more fluid at filtering the traffic, on a few occassions I overtook and stayed in front. Then we reached this area of Kampung Safie, my son leading in front. There were a number of cars ahead of me and I saw a tight bend ahead, however there was ample space so I overtook and got clear till I reached the bend, yes it was a very tight bend, forming an extreme curve making a half round-about shape, I slowed down and steadily worked my way through. Suddenly my eyes caught side of a boy lying on the ground, and on the other side, the middle of the road, a blue bike knocked down. It took a fraction of seconds to compute what’s going on then, oh, no! its my son! I nearly froze, then composed myself, brought the bike to a halt, waved to the vehicles behind to stop…then I got off the bike. By this time, the boy was sitting up, shaking his hands. I shouted ‘Are you alright?’. He took of the helmet quickly, I asked him to stand up gently, which he did. He seemed shocked but was able to move all his limbs fine, though very slowly. He was crying, oh dear. A few people rushed towards the scene, a man came close to the bike and lifted it up, which I quickly got hold of, and we started pushing the bike. It was on gear, the boy stomped the now crumpled foot gear trying to neutral it to no avail. I simply pull the clutch and we began pushing the bike to the roadside. Then I got on my bike and rode it to park beside the Triumph Street Triple.

 

We are ok, I declared to the friendly crowd of people, and in short time they all dispersed. All the clogged up vehicles now slowly began moving and the road/roundabout where the incident happened is now back in order.

 

I gave my son a hug. He was apparently shocked and distressed, more than feeling hurt. I repeated asked him if he sustained any injury which he denied. I am sorry, ayah, he said. No, I said, I am sorry, son I am really sorry. I was merely expressing my regret for letting this young man ahead of me. Of course he was good, but the guilt feeling came when realising that I should have taken the lead, and hence have control of his speed rather letting him in front at his own pace. When things settled a bit, he took of his trousers and revealed a few laceration wound on his left knee. Thankfully, thanks God, that he was otherwise ok. That itself gave me a big sigh of relief. Forget about the bike, when an accident happened, the first thing that matter is the human not the machine.

 

It was blazing hot afternoon, around 2pm. We could hardly find a good shelter. Tired, thirsty and now in desperation trying to sort out our fate. At least my boy is safe, thanks God, all praise to him. It was a definitely harrowing experience to witness you own son down.

 

I examined the bike, found the engin oil leak, broken gear pedal, broken panel and seat, cracked rear rim causing the tyre to deflate, and two lost indicator lights. This could be another major repair. I dialed our insurance helpline, Allianz and called for a towtruck. Now we sat down on the grass, looking at the ‘roundabout’ and string of vehicles passing it from both direction. It became obvious how acute and rounded the bend, worse still, it was a downhill descent, a litle bit uneven surface, there was a patch of mud on the left roadside, and it was a positive camber turn. Then we saw frightening view of cars and bikes overshooting to the opposite lane, almost like one in ten of them, each time, any vehicle that approached the turn at a high speed, will inevitabley overshoot. What made them lucky coz there was nothing coming the opposite direction, or most of them managed to brake while doing the turn – mostly, though their speed was a little ‘higher’ still it was at a relatively low speed. So, in short, all vehicles that got to the turn (including a number of superbike and cruisers) will slow down, my guess to between 30 to 40km/h anything more than this will lead to overshooting or extreme braking which could be dangerous.

 

Then we began to see peculiar things, like a motorbike with adult pillion at the back, and additional pillion, a kid, trudging along the curve smoothly. Or a kapchai carrying a dog or large bucket of box, calmly cruising the turn as if the rider was not bothered by the dangerous bend. And a few other motorcycle, including superbikes in solo or carrying pillion, successfully cruised along the curve comfortably (at a fairly low speed). Some slowed down to check what’s happening, we just waved away and they left. Yes, they safely exited the corner, because they exercised extreme caution there, speed and manouver wise. Sitting there gave us a good practical lesson of what cornering is all about.

 

When we were more settled I asked my son to share his traumatic moments. He was approaching the corner practising the technic he had successfully applied up to this point, when he suddenly realised that he was going at a far higher speed than he could manage. This created some panic, added with the sudden appearance of a car coming from the opposite direction, therefore eliminating a chance of widening his approach angle. So he was left with the choice of leaning the bike aggressively, which he did. However, there was little attempt at hanging off or shifting body position adequately to counterbalance the extreme leaning of the bike. Next, he scrapped the peg violently, lost traction of the rear tyre and the bike dropped to the ground, he swiftly ejected himself out a meter and a half away from the bike.

 

This was a bitter and costly experience, however I am so much thankful to God for keeping my son (and myself) safe. The fall had taught me (or both of us, me certainly) a lot of lessons, not only in cornering. But for me, it did enhance my belief and commitment to ‘slow down’ further, certainly at corners. Afterall that little excitement gained from passing the curve at a crazy speed, comes with an unacceptably high risk not worth taking.

Ride to Cameron Highlands…concurring the fear, building the confidence…

It was my son’s wish initially, and I thought it may not be a bad idea at all, furthermore the Mrs had also whispered to me the previous week, ‘feels like we could go for another ride…’. So I jokingly said we should go for Phuket (bike’s week, our good friend AH is going there), but that would be well beyond our own reach in view of time constraint and all that.

So I casually mentioned our intention in the whatsapp group, hoping that one of those adventerous riders like AKZ or NT will respond. On the day we set out for the RV at Karak BHP there were four of us, plus my Mrs as a pillion. So three Triumph riders and another KZ9 Kawa V600.

AKZ who led the convoy suggested we took the Karak-Sg Koyan route going and coming back via Simpang Pulai. We stopped at Bentong for a laidback breakfast at famous Toki Lemang. Toki is located just along our route to Cameron anyway.

As expected, the two young men sprinted away in no time charging along the twisty terrain of  Karak Highway with style, and subsequently a long series of bends along the inner road leading to Sg Koyan. I stayed behind a bit, and later decided to be the last, letting KZ9 who is a steady and experienced rider to be in front.

Recalling the near-fall experience from the Thailand ride I have since been a freak at corners. Added with the responsibility of keeping the pillion safe, I just employed a ‘safe mode’ whenever tackling corners, slow down as much, and merely do a ‘stage 1’ body positioning! which in a number of instances would not be sufficient without enough motorbike lean, but leaning had caused scare too, since I encountered a few peg-scrapping episodes.

Nonetheless, the Cameron ride turned out to be a thrilling ride experience that had rejuvenated my confidence in handling corners, thanks to the three guys (that, include my son then hehe)….due to the nature of a rather relaxing journey, no pressure to catch up with the big group, each one of us was able to enjoy at our own pace, and by that I meant it wasn’t slow of course, knowing those two enthusiastic young riders. There were ample time to ‘experiment’ with varying style of approaching or exiting corners and hence feel the bike’s reaction to it (I should rather be careful here coz road riding is in no way a time to experiment! what I mean was within the scope of applying a more or less ‘correct’ style, just the extent by which it was applied could differ a bit at different time point…).

The onward journey was a much more lively experience, since the road was clear most of the time and I admitted it was a well maintained road. This in contrast to return journey via Simpang Pulai, though the road was supposed to be better than that of Tapah’s, we were stuck in a long string of traffic congestion, ended up almost two and half hours of 100km ride out to Tapah R&R. That was a bit tiring, though once we were out of the congestion, we started to enjoy the twisty roads again, albeit it started raining a bit.

We had a short high tea session at Boh Tea outlet, and a late lunch/pre-dinner at Tapah R&R.

Once we exited the highway, I sprinted fast ahead of everyone and we arrived home just before 7pm. That’s a 11 hours of outing (we started 8am) thank God, everything went well and what a fabulous ride memory.