Monday, June 17

Solo biker hails ‘awesome’ Borneo Malaysia Ride

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Harprit Singh

A KUALA Lumpur IT specialist has accomplished what many of us could only dream of – a solo motorcycle ride across the country.

After a successful one-man zip across the peninsula on two wheels in early 2018, Harprit Singh decided in mid-May the same year to round off his cross-country biking run in Sarawak and Sabah.

“Many Malaysians have ridden around the globe but if they have not done so across Malaysia, they have missed the beautiful parts of their own country. It’s a great feeling for me to have achieved the solo ride across Malaysia,” the 30-year-old told thesundaypost.

A Malay proverb says “hujan emas di negeri orang, hujan batu di negeri sendiri, lebih baik di negeri sendiri” which means it may rain gold in someone else’s country and be hailing stones in your country, yet it’s still best to be back in your own country.

Harprit said the proverb inspired him to go for his solo motorcycle adventure over 21 days – seven for the peninsula ride and 14 for the Borneo ride.

The scenic route at Kota Belud, Sabah with Mount Kinabalu in the background.

“Yes, it’s best to ride around your own country,” he surmised.

Harprit said the Borneo Malaysia Ride includes scenic routes with beautiful white sand beaches, high waterfalls, and beautiful scenery in an Arcadian setting.

Harprit at Gua Niah, Miri, on one of his pit stops.

He also managed to visit some of the most beautiful caves in Sarawak and meet the locals, whom he described as very friendly.

It’s awesome

“If you were to ask me to describe the Borneo Malaysia Ride in one word, it would be ‘awesome!’ I have ridden 4,245km with no problems from my motorcycle. It has been a great adventure with so many wonderful memories,” said Harprit, known as ‘Rider Chris’ on his blog.

For the Borneo Malaysia Ride, he took the opportunity to visit places off the tourist trail.

“If you were a traveller like me, you would appreciate all the things Borneo has to offer,” he said, adding that getting to know the locals provided a sense of security, especially to one on a solo quest.

Real pain

On biking along the Pan Borneo Highway, Harprit admitted several sections still under construction could prove to be “a real pain”.

However, despite the bumps, he noted most of the route was still passable to vehicles, including his trusty motorcycle.

“Don’t let that put you off as there are many parts of the road in good condition – which you can enjoy cruising at a faster speed.”

Harprit said the 200km Kalabakan Road from Tawau to Nabawan was quite challenging with many potholes and broken sections, adding, “But it was fun, trying out the route for the first time. Rule of thumb – expect the unexpected in Borneo.”

One of the routes he enjoyed biking on the most was the Marak-Parak Road in Sabah, about 89km long with lengthy stretches and tight corners.

No heavy meals

Harprit kept to a “no heavy meals” diet, cutting down on or eliminating rice before and during his long solo ride, saying riding on a full stomach tended to make one sleepy.

“I take chocolates, bananas, bread and drink lots of water – sometimes energy drinks help,” said Harprit, who spent at least seven to 10 hours daily on the road during the crossing.

“Apart from diet, it’s also important to mix long and short rides. Make pit stops to immerse in nature by visiting the beach or go for a short hiking expedition.

“I slept at least six hours a day. Proper planning and having basic repair skills are crucial to enjoy every bit of the ride.”

Harprit said he was frequently asked whether it was possible to traverse Sarawak and Sabah on a motorbike in a shorter time – like 10 instead of 14 days.

“It depends entirely on the rider. If you just wanted to log up the miles, you could do it fewer than 10 days but why would you want to do that? I took a little longer to enjoy nature and the captivating scenery of Borneo.

“The route is an open highway, go out and explore it. It will be your story which lasts forever.”

Harprit added the solo adventure has made him “prouder to be a Malaysian”.

Rider Chris’ travelogue of My Borneo Malaysia Ride

  • Day 1 Route (158km)
  • Kuching, Santubong, Bau, Siniawan, Kuching.
  • Day 2 Route (516km)
  • Kuching, Batang Ai Lake, Lubok Antu, Betong, Sibu.
  • Day 3 Route (220km)
  • Sibu, Tatau, Bintulu.
  • Day 4 Route (260km)
  • Bintulu, Gua Niah, Tusan, Lambir, Miri.
  • Day 5 Route (350km)
  • Miri, Bandar Seri Begawan, Limbang, Lawas, Sipitang.
  • Day 6 Route (302km)
  • Sipitang, Beaufort, Kuala Penyu, Kota Belud (Melangkap).
  • Day 7 Route (277km)
  • Kota Belud (Melangkap), Kundasang, Ranau, Kota Marudu, Kudat.
  • Day 8 Route (430km)
  • Kudat, Pitas, Golong, Pamol, Sandakan.
  • Day 9 Route (571km)
  • Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Felda Sahabat, Kunak, Semporna.
  • Day 10 Route (110km)
  • Semporna, Tawau.
  • Day 11 Route (410km)
  • Tawau, Maliau Basin, Keningau.
  • Day 12 Route (210km)
  • Keningau, Tenom, Papar, Kota Kinabalu.
  • Day 13 Route (112km)
  • Kota Kinabalu, Tambunan.
  • Day 14 Route (90km)
  • Tambunan, Kota Kinabalu.

Mileage: 4,245km (inclusive of sightseeing, off-road excursions).

Fuel: RM430 (Benelli TRK 502)

Accommodation: RM1,600

Sightseeing Ticket/Tour: RM250

Food: RM500

Flight Ticket: RM350

Sea Shipping (Return): RM 2,100

Grand Total: RM5,230