The Charity Ride

I am really lost for words.  If I were a writer, this would have been a writer’s block.  But I am not a writer per se.  And I am far from being a blogger.  But I do like to write stories… life stories of my own.  Events and happenings that I have had the opportunity to be a part of.

It has been a promising start for me this year.  The tail end of 2013 provided a boost, a momentum in welcoming the new year of 2014.  The duo ride with Zack on the 4th Jan set the right pace, for me at least, for the rest of the year – hopefully 🙂
While there were no (ride) activities for the rest of January weekends, this particular event in February is more than enough to bring excitements and renewed spirit – especially for long distance casual rides.  And in preparation for this three-days-two-nights do, I did something that I’ve not done for a long while: personally servicing my bike!  (translate to – engine oil and filter change only lah :-))
Proven to be not as easy as before… 🙂
The background of this “Charity Ride” (if you need to label it with anything) started from a Facebook entry by Razin Ong asking for “support” on his mission to collect donations for a religious school’s building extension in Betong, Thailand.   I quickly indicated my support.   Few buddies from my previous web-forum was also interested to join this charity ride.
7th February, Friday.   I was already late leaving home that morning as I went to bed after 2:00am the night before.  This has got to do with my DIY on that oil change, of course – sort of last minute thingy.  Well, I have a good reason for it.  Had to prepare the spares (engine oil and filter only 🙂 )…. plus the right tools to get the job done.  And on the R1, it is much more tedious than what I was used to with the fireblade that I owned before.
Anyway, there I was at 0750am just leaving home, when the agreed RV time was at 0800.   Taking the Guthrie Hiway, I arrived Rawang RnR around 0825.  But I could not find the others – Razin, Rik, Idrus and Nox.   Adding to my anxiety that morning, my bike was running jerky, i.e. with engine knocks (three cylinders?) when I was halfway on Guthrie Hiway.  A quick check on my phone revealed Rik’s message that they have left and would stop/meet up with me in Tapah RnR.
There I was, torn between making a u-turn (due to my bike’s condition) or to proceed so as to keep my support for this charity ride.  But we know what decision I took… 🙂
Slightly over an hour later, I arrived Tapah RnR – and the bike was still running with engine knocks and jerks.    But those guys could not be found anywhere.  Not at the service stations nor at the eateries.  They couldn’t have gone ahead? Or could they?I double checked the text message from Rik which was sent at 0824am… just one minute before I arrive Rawang RnR earlier , the RV place.  Or was it (the RV place)?   I quickly checked the FB entry to re-cofirm.  And… hahahahaha…. while Rawang was the original RV point, Razin later changed it to Sungai Buloh RnR!   I was ahead of them!!!
So, I parked my bike and look for breakfast at the stalls lah.  About 15 minutes later, the four guys arrived…. and we were laughing about the misunderstanding  🙂
breakfast @ Tapah RnR.

Breakfast done.   The next thing to do was refuel our bikes.  I had earlier filled up my tank at Bukit Jelutong… and it was quite a shocker for me to see the low fuel indicator lighted up at Tapah RnR.  Reserve-to-full tank capacity is approximately 14litres (about RM30@RM2.10/litre).  The distance covered was only 140km!  Normally I could get around 220km from full tank to reserve…Anyway, we fueled up at Tapah and the plan was to shoot straight and re-fuel again at Grik then enter Betong just in time for our Friday prayers (prayer time is 1:30pm).  However, Razin whom led the convoy made a stopover at Tasik Raban for a cupper.

It really was a hot scorching day.  The pitstop was a welcome move by Razin.  By now, we knew that we would not make it across the border for our Friday prayers.  By the time we stopped again at Grik to re-fuel, it was already around 1:00pm.  And we arrived at the Masjid Air Panas just in time for our obligatory Friday prayers…
Our presence at the masjid attracted some attention – especially with the kids.  I guess not many bikers stop-over at this masjid
With our obligatory ritual done, we headed towards the border.  Razin made a quick stop at the duty-free shop for his siggy supply.  Apparently its cheaper here than on either side of the border.
Photographer:  Idrus

There were not many people at the checkpoint.  But then again, this border crossing is not as popular as the one in Bukit Kayu Hitam.  Apart from Betong, the next nearest town is quite far out.  Thus for anyone whom wants to visit Haatyai or Krabi, the logical checkpoints would be Bukit Kayu Hitam or Padang Besar.
Queuing to get clearance for our bikes.
It was already after 3.00pm (Malaysian time) when we finally got into Betong town.  Everyone was already quite hungry.  The consolation is, there are plenty of restaurants and stalls operated by muslim here.  So, halal food is no issue.
In fact, there are way too many good makan place in Betong!  The roadside stalls provide not only delicious food, but reasonably priced as well.  Between the five of us, and for the whole trip, we collected RM50 each.  And that was all that we spent on food.  Day 1 lunch and dinner; day 2 breakfast, cendol and dinner (lunch was a different story – more of that below…); day 3 breakfast (heavy) and light lunch.  Not too bad ehhh…  🙂
Kedai Abang Man… a popular stall amongst Malaysians
We spent the afternoon just walking around part of the town and ended up with having drinks at Kedai Abang Man (behind Plaza Betong).  The air tebu (sugar cane juice) and air pegaga (pennywort juice) are just superb!  especially during the hot afternoon.
That night, Razin took us yo another fine roadside stall for dinner where we had duck soup with noodles.  Excellente !!!  That about wrapped things up for the first day in Betong…. for me at least 🙂
Mee Sup Itik – delicious!

Day 2, Saturday:  began with a walkabout around the hotel looking for breakfast.  Nothing fancy.  Coffee or tea, traditional kueh and  fried rice between us.  There was really nothing much to do that morning.  The agenda for the day was to attend a weeding reception at noon in Baling (yes, Baling in Malaysia, across the border); then visit the religious school along just outside Betong along the road to Yala.I must salute Razin for his rapport with the authorities on either side of the border.  Going back into Malaysia to attend the wedding reception (of Razin’s friend) in Baling, there were no hassle at all.  Smooth as silk it was.

Apparently, that wedding was of another biker from KL.  And there were many bikers (the groom’s friend) attended the reception.  Two bikes plus many cars and trucks!  Yes, you got it right.  They actually drove (instead of riding their bikes) to this reception.  And they were to spend the night in Betong afterwards.
The group from “1 Liter Bikers” was also a part of the “convoy” to the religious school.  After about two hours of having “lunch” at the wedding reception, we made our way back into Betong.
Immediately after everyone cleared immigration, we re-joined at a roadside stall (some of us had cendol) for the convoy to the school.  This would be the charity part of the trip  🙂
while waiting for the rest of the group to arrive… cendol time!
The Masjid where this religious school is housed is located about 10km outside of Betong town.  When we arrived at the location, the staff and students were already waiting too greet us.
“Masjid Jamiul Khairi”
The group was treated with lots of local fruits.  But the main attraction was none other than the durian!
Well, it was a simple event.  We got there.  We had fruits and drinks.  The kids put up a nasyid (singing) show – just one song though – and then the highlight of this visit… presenting the donation to the administrator of the religious school.  RM5,320 was collected from this charity drive.  Not that much as they would need a lot more!  The fund is needed for building new classes as the present classed can no longer accommodate the ever increasing number of students.
Hopefully, we can come back with more donations to the school.  I would say they would need more than a hundred thousand Ringgit Malaysia (RM100,000 ++) to realize the project.
Day 3, Sunday:  By 8.30am, we were already checked out from The Modern Thai hotel.  Quite cozy and reasonably priced room rates (RM89 for twin bed, and RM69 for single bed).  I would definitely stay there again as it is located conveniently in town were everything is within walking distance.
After a heavy breakfast just as we left Betong town, we were on our way back to Malaysia.  We stopped at Grik and Simpang Pulai RnR for re-feul.  At around 1.30pm, we stopped for a light lunch at Ulu Bernam RnR, then its the home run for everyone.  Everyone arrived safely home well before 3.00pm that day.
I wish to thank the organizer cum tourist guide Tuan Razin Ong for a most enjoyable charity ride…  lets do this again!  🙂
Too many pictures to paste…. how about a slideshow?  🙂
beareye's charokpeta album on Photobucket

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