Six countries, 12,968 kms — that’s what these bikers from Malaysia have covered in 38 days. A part of a biking club called Shadowfax Malaysia, these riders started their ride from Malaysia on August 8 and finished it in Chennai on September 16. Though they have been all born and brought up in Malaysia and are citizens of that country now, they have their ancestral roots in Chennai. “That’s why we wanted to finish the ride in Chennai,” starts Dato Anand, the founder of the club and one of the riders.
The club members have been riding in different parts of the world, but this one, they say, took five years to finally happen. “A lot of planning had to go into this. Also, there was a lot of paperwork and financial planning that had to be sorted,” says S Ramesh, another member of the club, who helped the riders with all the paperwork required in each place.
Though their love for adventure and bikes bring them together, they also ensure that their rides fulfill social causes. As part of this ride, they visited cancer centres in different places and donated money to each of them. “We are die-hard admirers of Harley Davidson and that brings us together. But rather than just undertaking a ride, we also feel the need to do something for social causes. On Sunday, we visited Adyar Cancer Institute. We spent time there and also donated some amount, like we did in other similar places all along our ride,” says Anand. Adding to that Ramesh says, “From there a local ride was flagged off by Dr. V Shanta, chairperson of Adyar Cancer Institute. The ride was aimed at creating road safety awareness. We went along East Coast Road all the way up to Mahabalipuram and came back.”
The six-country ride was quite strenuous, they say, and the toughest roads were mostly in Myanmar and Nepal. “Even in India, we found it really tough to ride through places like Imphal and Nagaland. Continuous rain and subsequent landslides only added to the trouble in these hilly areas. In Myanmar alone, we crossed around 200 wooden bridges.
Considering the weight of the bike, crossing those slippery wooden bridges were quite a task,” recalls Anand. However for these men, such rides are regular. “We ride to Thailand, our neighbouring country, every month. Also, we ensure that we do regular training to keep ourselves fit and we follow a proper diet. During these rides, we get to sleep only for three or four hours. So, we need to mentally prepare ourselves for all that. Another important thing is having a good knowledge of the bike that you ride. When you are out there on the road, if your bike breaks down or needs to be repaired, you will have to fix it yourself,” says Anand as he sums up about their ride through Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal , and India.