Riding Hiatus

•15 June, 2008 • 1 Comment

Time and tide waits for no man. Biking and blogging has no patience for the busy mann too. I’ve not taken a ride since I sold my beloved Thundercat Fazer in end-March. Hence, the lack of updates and staid weekends. Swamped with the usual work and life stuff, the biking nomad is no longer the carefree and itineriant biker. Life’s thrown up so many changes, I’ve not even realised it’s been so long.

This weekend the lack of biking has really hit home and I’m finding it increasingly difficult to enjoy my precious weekends. All that quality time riding, exploring new places and routes, feasting on the simple wonders of street food, lusting for another hot new bike and chilling out with like-minded brothers from the biker brethren. I am missing it all! Oh, the heart wrenching ache!

Continue reading ‘Riding Hiatus’

Google Maps – The Twisty Tour

•7 February, 2008 • 1 Comment

Google just keeps coming up with some very amazing applications. Google Earth and Google Maps have been around for some time but they are new to the Biking Nomad. After all, revelling in a nomadic existence does have its benefits and drawbacks. Not having to worry if you’ve got the most trick gadget is a perk; but on the downside it’s news to you when Google comes up with a nifty application.

Here’s Google Maps working it’s wonders. I have traced part of my enchanting ride through the Gerik Highway on Google Maps for a visual of the twists and turns on that road. It’ll probably explain the title of that ride report to you.

(If it doesn’t display here, or for a expanded view, you will need to click on the link)

View Larger Map

Rally Raid De Himalaya – Race To The Top Of The World

•2 February, 2008 • 3 Comments

Those inclined to clocking miles and consuming distances on two wheels all have their favourite roads and destinations. Not all are equal or comparable. One biker’s ecstasy is another biker’s raging madness, deserving of a straitjacket, shackles and life-time commitment to a asylum and the keys thrown away.

One way to get started on a ride is to speak to your biking brethren. Prodding and daring by what the rest of the population terms friends and copious amounts of alcohol are part of the brew for some ill-advised adventures. Justification for such foolishness or bravado demands showmanship, so if it is going to be done, you might as well do it like it has never been done and stake a claim to your pioneering glory or lunatic credentials.

If you’re riding cross country, why not attempt to beat the clock and ride your glorious derrière into the league of the the Iron Butt Association – the world’s toughest riders?

If the pavement’s too flat for you and you like to roll in the sand, why not try the Baja 1000 or Paris-Dakar Rally?

If riding at normal elevations isn’t stretching your lungs or imagination, why not race to the top of the world in the Rally Raid De Himalaya?

Ah! A veritable cocktail for biker psychosis. No unpronounceable pharmaceuticals for us, just unadulterated masochistic adventure, thank you very much.

With this year’s Dakar Rally cancelled for the first time since its inception in 1979, due to fears of terrorist attacks and reprisals, the Raid De Himalaya sounds like a good way not to lay waste participants’ preparations. Medical opinion too strongly advocates it is dangerous for loons to stay off their medication.

The Rally Raid De Himalaya dosage appears suitable. Covering 1366 miles in 7 days and featuring dry, desolate deserts, freezing chills, precipitous plunges, inevitable crashes, and heavily manned military outposts and elevations high enough to send heads spinning, stomachs churning and reversing the journey of imbibed sustenance, the Rally Raid De Himalaya sounds like the Dakar rally redux. Someone else put the two races in perspective: “the Dakar is the equivalent of doing the Raid de Himalaya in a Mumbai cab, backwards and blind folded.”

Read more about the Rally Raid De Himalaya in Bike Magazine’s March 2007 issue. Pages scanned and uploaded for your viewing pleasure/treatment @ Bike Rally Raid De Himalaya Article

Excerpt from Bike, March 2007 by Damon I’Anson:

A seven-day race (with bike and car classes) covering 1366 miles of the world’s most challenging roads and trails. A third of the distance consists of closed-road time trials, the rest time-limited ‘transport’ stages. There is a maximum permitted lateness (MPL) limit: exceed this and disqualification looms. Each year only around one-third of the field completes the super-tough first day.Even if they keep going, competitors may snap under the mental strain of trying to race with a rock face on one side and a 1000-ft plus drop into a raging river on the other, especially 12 hours into the day, after nearly a week’s racing and little sleep.

The course varies in altitude from around 1000m to more than 5000m (which it exceeds six times). This can mean altitude sickness – dizziness, poor decision making, shortness of breath, dehydration, and a tangible loss of physical performance from oxygen-starved muscles. In October, it’s also cold enough to put hypothermia on the menu. There will be river crossings, landslides, ice and possibly snow. Freshly fallen boulders will randomly plonk themselves in the road. In the high-altitude deserts there is sand, in other places mud, bare rock, shale and, just sometimes, tarmac.”

Wow! When can I go?

One World, Two Wheels

•25 January, 2008 • 5 Comments

‘One world, two wheels’, says the treasure-trove horizonsunlimted.com – the motorcycle travel site run by the adventurous and well-travelled couple Grant and Susan Johnson. This is not just an adage for this energetic and adventurous couple. They lived the dream, circumnavigating the world from 1987 to 1998. Now, they help other dreamers achieve this.

The less driven dreamers like me have to content our biker hearts with journeying vicariously with the Round-The-World (RTW) by bike community, but not Goh Mia Chuan and his wife Pan Ling Hong.

The plucky couple from Singapore are 23 days into their 18-month trip that will take them through 48 countries. They almost did not get on the road. Their fully prepped Africa Twin with all the bells and whistles one needs for a undertaking like this and the SGD $24,000 that went into it vanished in minutes during a stop for a test-ride in Malaysia in October 2007.

Now, how in the world does one circumnavigate the one world without the two wheels?A ceaseless spirit and a never-say-die fortitude saw them through that ordeal. Not that it was their first. Nor will it be their last in a journey as this. As another one of my RTW heroes, Glen Heggstad aka Striking Viking epitomises, “the adventure begins when things stop going to plan.”

Resolute about not giving up on his trip, Goh bought another Africa Twin, ploughed more cash into it to get it adventure-worthy and christened her Hope Too. The unexpected expenses have almost wiped out his budget. Worst, Hope Too has been acting up and her road-worthiness has only been through the tame roads of Malaysia and Thailand.

Currently, crating and waiting to fly from Bangkok to Nepal for the next leg of his journey, Goh is relying on a merry-band of biker brothers in Singapore to help him with raising funds. Ever the entrepreneur, he is now sending home stickers and keep-sakes and auctioning these to readers of his blog to fuel the next and the subsequent day of his amazing journey.

Surf on to his blog @ http://singaporedream-rtw.blogspot.com and join him in his once in a life time journey. If you have any way of rendering assistance, encouragement or thanking him for the vicarious pleasure please drop him a line. I look forward to sharing more of his journey.

In time to come, I will endeavour to write about some of my other RTW heroes and my almost lunatic fascination and obsession with bike travel.

Note:

I do not know Goh Mia Chuan or Pan Ling Hong personally but I am moved and encouraged by their indomitable spirit and I would like to do the least for a fellow Singaporean, ardent biker, and kindred travelling soul. As an aspiring biking nomad, I am absolutely hanging on to his every word and picture.

The Twisty Tour – Ride to Gerik

•29 December, 2007 • 3 Comments

9 Aug 2007 to 12 Aug 2007

Route Map

Route
  • Day 1 – Singapore to Kuala Terengganu via Route 3 – 544 KM
  • Day 2 – Kuala Terengganu to KL via Gerik Highway (Route 4) & N-S Highway – 730 KM
  • Day 3 – Kuala Lumpur to Singapore via N-S Highway- 320 KM
  • Estimated total mileage – 1600 KM

A plan to ride the coastal route 3 and the Gerik Highway had been brewing since I got my Fazer in January. Unfortunately, a good opportunity never presented itself until the National Day weekend. Very unpatriotically, we decided to escape these stifling shores to ride the roads and hills of Malaysia, the country my biker’s heart keeps returning to.

Continue reading ‘The Twisty Tour – Ride to Gerik’

In The Begining…

•28 December, 2007 • 1 Comment

This blog is written by the Biking Nomad to share the trills and spills he enjoys on two wheels. I will endeavour to chronicle my biking trips and other biking extravaganza. You are welcome to read, comment, buy me a beer or even ask me for a ride. (Ride is applicable only for dark-haired beauties with smouldering eyes. Helmet provided but bring your own air-bags.)

Donations, sponsorship, offers of beer and invitations to “lim kopi” will be accpeted with utmost gratitude. Pointers, tips and suggestions on bikes, gear, destianations will be mucho appreciated.

Most importantly, this venture is in preparation for the time when I can ride the dream. Ride the world (RTW), say hello to the people of the world, experience their culture, cuisine and beverage and all in all not have to work a regular job. Someday, somehow I will ride this dream. For now, I content myself with riding and writting and believing that truly, the best is yet to be!

Ripped off lines from a Robert Frost poem on the long and winding road to Darjeeling - courtesy popagandhi.com
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
– Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

(photo from popagandhi.com)