“Thus, fear of danger is ten thousand times more terrifying than danger itself …”
The above quote is from Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe – a book full of adventure and enthusiasm about life.
It is the story of a man on a deserted island, a story of overcoming adversity and moving on.
I get questioned and advised a lot on the dangers of my passion for motorcycle riding. Initially, I used to get very uptight and irritated, but over time, I realised that people mean well, and are giving their opinions in a good sort of way.
Rather than being rude, abrupt, or confrontational, I now listen, and give my input on how I am making it safe to ride.
I suppose the fear stems from reading, seeing, and hearing about motorbike accidents. Also, there seems to be a lack of knowledge about safe riding protocols.
When compared to a four-wheeler, I agree that the motorcycle carries a higher risk of mortality. But then again, there are risks in whatever we do in life – even the most mundane things, like going up an escalator, getting into an elevator, while on board a plane, the list goes on. Accidents can also happen while doing household chores.
What is important is doing whatever we do with care, safety in mind, and knowledge. My senior ride buddies and I have been riding for many years and have even travelled to exotic places by motorcycle, and by God’s grace, have never met with any mishap.
If you practice your passion with care and responsibility, you will be fine.
Over the years, I am happy to say that I have managed to get more individuals interested in motorbike riding and convince their better halves to allow them to practice their passion.
Last weekend, I practised my passion, riding solo, as other members of our 5am Dhabha Ride Club were unable to join due to prior commitments. It was just ‘Christine’ (that’s what I call my bike) and I.
I left home at 2am and mapped out a route from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Terengganu and back, promising 940km on the tarmac.
I decided I wanted to see the sunrise by the beach with a hot cup of coffee. I filled up my travel flask with some hot, strong black coffee and packed some crackers.
Suited, booted, and with the tank filled, I breezed along the highway, devoid of much traffic. Heading east, I traversed my favourite twisty Kuala Lumpur-Karak, and then, on to the East Coast Highway.
It was pure bliss and a trouble-free ride for the next 192km as I listened to evergreen hits by the famous Indian playback singer, S.P. Balasubramaniam until my stop at a fuel station in Gambang, Pahang.
The stop allowed me to stretch my legs and refill my tank before tackling the second half of the journey – a 266km ride to the iconic Masjid Kristal in Kuala Terengganu.
The highway, on most stretches, was devoid of lights. All I had were just the lights from Christine, and that of the other vehicles that passed by on either side.
The last exit of the highway was at Kampung Gemuroh, Kuala Terengganu. I can’t wait for the highway to continue till Kota Bharu – easing the journey further.
Arriving at the mosque, I was left disappointed as the beautiful architecture was not lit up. As such, there was not much of a photo opportunity. So, I moved on to see Malaysia’s “London Bridge”, aka the Drawbridge of Kuala Terengganu.
I managed to capture a few images. I would have loved to see it in operation.
From there, I rode to Pantai Teluk Ketapang. This took me on the road parallel and around the Sultan Mahmud Airport runway. There were no flights that landed or took off… That would have been a good photo opportunity.
As I reached my destination, I parked Christine by the stone embankment, allowing her to cool down. I sat and enjoyed my cup of coffee in total silence, save for the sound of the waves.
The horizon was sparsely dotted with pinpricks of lights from passing commercial ships, and maybe fishing vessels. Such moments should be enjoyed in solitude or with your loved one by your side.
I hope my better half joins me, one of these days. Something about the sea is always alluring and seductive. It was definitely worth the long ride.
The sun started peeking through the dense clouds, and the dawn of a new day officially commenced.
My homeward journey started at 7.45am, having forgotten that Sunday is a working day in Terengganu. I got caught in the morning traffic and it took some time to reach the highway.
From there, Christine cruised along with her heart pumping strongly. The pit stop was at the same fuel station in Gambang. There, I got the opportunity to talk to a young boy who identified himself as Fariz. He was 12. His dad was filling up at a nearby pump, and this boy came to buy an ice cream.
He said he wanted to buy a bike just like mine and travel the world when he grows up.
I gave him my name and number, and said to call me when he gets his bike, and I will join him for the ride.
As he left in his car, Fariz waved furiously as he passed by. I gave him the ‘V’ sign to acknowledge a future biker.
Hopefully, he will remember to call me, and that health wise, I would be able to join him.
I reached home by 12.05pm. Some may call it madness and dangerous to go for a long ride that starts at 2am, but to me, that’s debatable.
Entering the fifth decade of my life, I need to take care of my own physical and mental wellbeing.
As transformation coach and author Renee Peterson Trudeau wrote: “Nurturing yourself is not selfish, it’s essential to your survival and your wellbeing.”
This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.