Sunday 25 June 2017 08:00:36 am
Cycle World Malaysia
Spotlight

ON THE RECORD: Seasoned Tourers

Wahid Ooi Abdullah April 25,2016
Touring takes some commitment and the ability to keep going despite the challenging circumstances that may crop up at times. But it’s these trials that beckon us to hit the road time and again. Let’s hear it from these veterans who share the same passion. There’s a lot to learn here!

AMIR ABU BAKAR

HEAD OF VICTORY AND INDIAN MOTORCYCLES MALAYSIA

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Amir is one of the most amicable guys and a veteran in the motorcycle industry. It was through the hard work of Vinesh Nair, Amir, Leong, and a great team that has brought about the resurgence of Aprilia in Malaysia. He has just been transferred to head Victory and Indian Motorcycles Malaysia as a result of his diligence.

Cycle World Malaysia (CWM): Where have you travelled to?

Amir Abu Bakar (AAB): I’ve travelled to most parts of Malaysia. I’ve ridden to Phuket and Krabi in Thailand too.

CWM: What was your favourite destination?

AAB: I don’t have one favourite destination because each had its own beauty and experience. Never forget that the journey also generates thousands of stories about enjoyment.

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CWM: What’s the appeal of touring to you?

AAB: Many things! Friendship, togetherness, new experiences, new knowledge and total satisfaction.

CWM: What are your tips for touring?

AAB: 1) Discipline. Your ride will turn into a mess, or even become dangerous without discipline.

2) Fitness. Being fit means you could enjoy riding further without getting tired and sleepy.

3) Preparation. The destination, route, where to stop, contingencies, and budget.

4) Safety. Safety gear for yourself and make sure your buddies and participants are well-equipped too. Safety also covers overlooking the group from doing dangerous things, so it ties back to discipline.




JOSEPH PERUCCA

OVERSEAS OPERATIONAL DIRECTOR OF GIVI GROUPS

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Joseph’s work schedule has taken him all over the globe and he’s seen more than most people’s lifetime experiences combined. Joseph can really ride(!) and every GIVI product is tested by him, among others, out there in the real world before they are launched, which explains GIVI’s unrivaled quality.

Cycle World Malaysia (CWM): Where have you travelled to?

Joseph Perucca (JP): I’ve rode pretty much everywhere except for a few countries, like Japan. I’ve rode extensively in South America, parts of China and of course all of Europe.

Contrary to popular belief, riding a motorcycle doesn’t matter in which country you do it, or which language you do it, the principle remains the same: The freedom of expression, moving about and of course, the freedom to respect the local laws and ride with preventive measures.

CWM: What was your favourite destination?

JP: I have more than one favourite place.

Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most amazing trip I ever did was in Patagonia. The quality of the riding, the solitude of the riding, means you could ride for 4 to 5 to 6 hours without encountering anything else besides horses and animals. It was quite unique. Patagonia gave the opportunity to ride different types of terrains and it was one of the most spectacular natural environment.

Another country which I really enjoyed and was a great experience, which I found was a gross misconception of the people and had motorcycle-friendly drivers was South Africa. People moved out of the way when you approached, they respected the bikes, they respected bikers. There were different sceneries to see everyday. Extremely beautiful and extremely educating.

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CWM: What’s the appeal of touring to you?

JP: I think motorcycles provide an educating way to travel. By nature and passion, I’m a car driver. I came from car industry. I love fast cars, I have raced them when I was young. But my ex-wife and current wife complained that I’m the most boring person in a car because driving commands my full attention. On a bike, the level of attention is no less, but you’re not restricted.

CWM: What are your tips for touring?

JP: It goes without saying that you need to wear the right gear and apparel. You have to also practice preventive riding techniques to anticipate what other road users may be up to. Also, always check and recheck your bike before riding.




PRAVIN MENON

MARKETING EVENT MANAGER, KTM MALAYSIA

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Pravin not only loves to ride, but the adventure is the most important aspect. Although he had just joined KTM Malaysia, Pravin had been a KTM owner and fan for almost 2 decades. If you want a ride buddy for the rough and tough stuff, he’s the right guy.

Cycle World Malaysia (CWM): Where have you travelled to?

Pravin Menon (PM): I’ve ridden in Spain, Austria, Bali, Philippines, China, and Thailand.

CWM: Where was your favourite destination?

PM: Austria was simple amazing with jaw-dropping scenery and great weather. I didn’t mind the cold so it’s great. Basically, European roads are just great but narrow. You really have to stick to your lines. I rode the KTM 390 Duke around Salzburg and the 1190 Adventure from Matighoffen to Graz.

CWM: What’s the appeal of touring to you?
PM: Seeing new places and riding affords you the flexibility of not being fixed to a tour schedule. I’ll always rent a bike in any country I go to when I couldn’t ship my bike over.

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CWM: What are your tips for touring?

PM: Don’t over-plan. Just make sure you take care of the core essentials like arrival/departure days, bring the right gear in regards to weather forecasts and climate of the country you’re going to. Bring basic tools, tyre patch kits, rain gear, etc. Part of the allure of riding is going off the beaten path even when you reach your destination. You can see so much on two wheels compared to in a tour bus, cab or rented car. Respect the locals too, in regards to their customs and laws.

CWM: How do you prepare for a tour?
PM: I normally read up on the country or countries that I’ll be riding through. Stuff like where petrol stations are, border crossing paperwork. I will also check a contoured map to get a feel of the areas the ride will place. Sometimes knowing what is after the first can save you valuable time by not getting lot. A GPS can only do so much.




ROB ARMSTRONG

FREELANCE JOURNALIST AND PHOTOGRAPHER, OFFROAD INSTRUCTOR

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We first met Rob during GIVI’s Let’s Get Dirty Ride following the 2014 Malaysian MotoGP, where he was the instructor. Among the 12 participants, only 2 have ever ridden offroad but due to Rob’s patient tutelage, no one got hurt and it was an adventure to remember.

Rob’s a mechanical engineer and worked in underground coal mining before. He calls himself a jack of trades, master of none now, dabbling in photography, journalism, freelance engineering projects and most recently, offroad motorcycle training.

Cycle World Malaysia (CWM): Where have you travelled to?

Rob Armstrong (RA): So far, only most of the eastern half of Australia, Timor-Leste, almost all the major islands of Indonesia, Brunei, East and West Malaysia, and Thailand so there’s still a lot more to see and experience.

CWM: Where was your favourite destination?

RA: That’s always tough to answer but I would have to say Indonesia, particularly Java. There’s so much going on there and so much living history and culture that all you need to do is walk out onto the street to see something new and interesting.

CWM: What’s the appeal of touring to you?
RA: The best part about touring is getting the opportunity to learn about other cultures, see individuals and nations for what they really are, instead of how they are depicted in mass media and online. If you really try to open your eyes and mind, there is so much more to learn about the world than what we are exposed to from the comfort of our homes.

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CWM: What are your tips for touring?

RA: My number one tip would have to be to travel as slowly as your time commitments and money will allow you to. Blasting trough a destination at warp speed might make for a cool story about how you rode from Point A to Point B in the fastest time, but people taking the plane still do it faster and can probably learn more about the area by reading a book on the way. If you don’t slow down and interact with the locals, you’re just needlessly putting kilometres on your bike while missing the most important part about motorcycle touring. Also remember that everywhere you go, even in your own country, if you’re only there for a short time, you’re a guest, so act like it. A little humility will go a long way.

CWM: How do you prepare for a tour?

RA: I’m not really the best person to ask about this as I’m pretty disorganized. I usually do a little research so I have a few things in mind that I want to see along the way, then throw everything I think I’ll need into a big pile the night before, and spend the rest of the night trying to pack it all away.

Once I’m on the bike the morning, everything is in the hands of the gods and I just try to adapt as best as I can to whatever the road throws at me.




SATHIYA S. SELVAM

HEAD OF SALES FOR BMW MOTORRAD IPOH


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Sathiya is an automotive enthusiast through- and-through. Check out his daily Facebook postings on bikes, cars, even airplanes. He absolutely loves the BMW brand (both cars and bikes), besides being a walking encyclopedia for classic sports cars and of course, classic bikes. Most memorable to him were tours in 2011 and 2012, on a 1973 Vespa!

Cycle World Malaysia (CWM): Where have you travelled to?

Sathiya S. Selvam (SSS): Morocco for R 1200 GS LC K50 launch, and training plus offroad riding. I’ve also ridden my classic Vespa 1973 Sprint Veloce all over Thailand: Ipoh to Koh Samui and Koh Phanggan in 2011. Ipoh to Mae Hong Son 1864 curves and Golden Triangle (Mae Sai) in 2012.

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CWM: Where was your favourite destination?

SSS: My favorite was Ride to Mae Hong Son (MHS1864) as it’s a big achievement to test my vintage 2-stroke machine and also myself. The journey took 12 days in total, we covered almost 6050 km thru and fro from Ipoh. Getting the certificate for completing the 1,864 curves of MHS felt better than getting my Bachelor’s degree :)

CWM: What’s the appeal of touring to you?

SSS: Touring is fun, exciting and we got to know new people during the tour, getting to know and see new places especially on a vintage bike. Most riders go on high-powered bikes or modern bikes, but why I chose to go on a Vespa was because it has a spare tyre/wheel. It’s also 100% mechanical so it’s almost bullet proof in terms of reliability, and even if something happened, I can fix it by myself.

We did Ipoh to Ayutthaya in 2 days and that's approx. 2000km from Ipoh and we were riding like up to 14 hours a day, while maintaining an approximate speed of 110km/h. We no hiccups from our old-school Vespas during the 12-day journey.

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CWM: What are your tips for touring?

SSS: 1. Keep your eyes on the road and other road users (alertness is the Golden Rule).
2. Get enough of rest after the ride.
3. Stay away from alcohol, drugs.
4. Bike condition must be tip-top. At the end of each day, we inspected our bikes to make sure they’re fit for tomorrow’s ride.
5. For us, we carried spare-parts we suspected will cause issues e.g. contact points, condenser, clutch plates, brake shoe, clutch and brake lever, brake and clutch cables, extra 4T and 2T, piston rings, epoxy, nuts and bolts, grease, tools, bulbs, spare tube (tyre), spare ignition coils, etc.
6. Stop every 1 hour of riding for 5 to 10 minutes break. Do some stretching, that makes us alert and fresh, also to rest our engines.
7. Drink lots of water.
8. Wear proper riding gear, jacket/pants helmet , gloves.

CWM: How do you prepare for a tour?

SSS: Nothing much, I just plan my final destination and ride. Anything comes our way is a blessing. We don't think about the destination, instead we enjoy every kilometre that we ride. We use our GPS and bring along a map in case the GPS goes haywire. GPS is a must for every bike especially when we go to unknown places. In the event a group member got lost, we can get in touch with our roaming line and get to the agreed coordinates.

It’s also important to carry first aid kit and some necessary medication.

Trust in God and achieve our ride goal and return home in one piece.




Interviews by Wahid Ooi Abdullah, pictures by respective individuals

 

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