In the stalwart stadium of MPSP in Bukit Mertajam, hundreds of riders gathered to take on the BM Charity Ride version 4.0 at the crack of dawn.
The stadium is always a popular spot for events in Bukit Mertajam. It’s a popular venue with the regular runners in the area, and there’s an Olympic sized swimming pool around the back. There’s also plenty of parking in the vicinity!
Uh…no, this isn’t the swimming pool.
The actual parking lot of the stadium is always converted into an exhibition and staging zone, with canopies, chairs and food trucks lining the boulevards.
The BM Charity Ride is one of the only cycling events in Malaysia that I know that gives long sleeved bike jerseys with a zippered pocket on the back.
But I digress. The ride itself was well coordinated – the major junctions were well guarded, although the overall police force was still a little thin.
The police worked very closely with the traffic marshalls to keep riders in line. There was a lot of whistling. At least I assumed it was from the marshalls.
There was sufficient signage, pointing out directions for riders as well as a few warning signs of impending doom.
There were a few fun climbs of significant elevation, but fortunately the climbs were short-lived and were mostly rolling hills, providing quick relief to fatigued riders.
The midway water station was very well manned and stocked, with plenty of bananas and bottled water to go round twice!
Riders were well taken care of, not just by the volunteers handing out goodies, but by the overwhelming number of media personnel – there were photographers and videographers and drones coming out our ears!
Pretty sure there were at least three DJI drones hovering at the starting point.
The route was quite pleasant, with a good view of the hills and palm plantations around BM.
It also took us through the old town of BM, ending up with a nice loop of 48 kilometres.
After the ride, there was lots of activities to keep participants occupied. Of course, the ever important food and drink!
It got hot fast today, so a lot of riders left without much ado. However, the ones that stayed got to try out e-bikes and sample tea and ice cream.
Also, there were lots of goodies for all the school children from the many (over 13) schools in the local region that the BM Charity Ride made contributions to. Always heart warming to see such support for our local schools. Or maybe it was just the heat from the scorching tropical morning sun.
Overall, a nicely organised ride with emphasis on safety and being family friendly. The speeches were short, the riders were rambunctious, the weather was wonderful. The downside is the pockets on the jerseys weren’t fully attached to the jerseys, resulting in many droopy pouches popping out people’s backs.
Why are so many people standing around staring blankly? They’re waiting. Waiting for a Guinness Record to be made.
Penang has had no shortage of Malaysian Guinness Book of Record records, but this one actually required some amount of effort! The record was the pull a somewhat heavy SUV a good 51 metres in distance, using only a finger.
The index finger, to be precise.
Yes, this car (Toyota Alphard, in case you were wondering).
The official entry in the Malaysia Book of Records is the “Longest Distance Vehicle Pull with Index Finger” by a Woman.
Organised by Orient Fitness Penang (the one that is no longer at Gurney Paragon), this record setting event was in aid of D’Home Mental Health Association. Isn’t that heart warming? Or I suppose head warming.
Looks rather daunting, doesn’t it?
Well the happy faces clearly indicate that a record was set. And indeed it was – in fact, it was shattered into little pieces! The new distance was over 70 metres!
Behold our champion!
You could say her fingers have been itching for action since her last attempt.
The inaugural Asia Pacific Masters Games has just taken place, right here in Penang, Malaysia! Here are some brief glimpses of the Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games that took place in September of 2018.
Now I bet you’re sitting there like the Thinker, thinking to yourself:
What is the Masters Games?
Well, put simply – Masters refers to veterans, or those who are typically outside the range and considered “past the prime” for competitive sports.
Basically the Masters Games is an all-encompassing international multi-sport event, like the Olympics, but for all ages and abilities!
Anyway, this is the opening ceremony for Penang’s Asia Pacific Masters Games.
It went off with several bangs.
And of course some speeches.
And some snazzy song and dance to keep everyone entertained.
And of course some colourful things to thrill the throngs!
Did I mention there were a lot of bangs?
And here’s the swimming segment of the Masters Games:
And here’s the cycling segment:
Healthy drinks and sporting events are made for each other! Hope he’s ready for some good business!
On the day of Eid al-Adha – the Day of Sacrifice in Malaysia, we did a rowdy ride around Penang Island. We witnessed and endured much, with the rain coming down on us halfway through our ride. There were also some rather gory scenes, with public slaughter of livestock (it isn’t called the Day of Sacrifice for nothing), which I will spare you.
Do you know which is the biggest cycling event in Penang?
The name itself might not be the catchiest, but it’s definitely been one of the largest since its inception back in 2008.
That’s right! It’s been running for 10 years straight, and this year they celebrated their 10th anniversary – with a big ride, of course!
Taking place right in the heart of George Town, at the old field by the sea, this iconic event takes riders over 80 kilometres through bustling city streets (at least not so bustling early on a Sunday morning); Penang’s major highways; up gradual rolling hillsides; past rural kampung areas that people couldn’t imagine existed in modern day Penang; and past picturesque beaches and coastal boulevards.
There’s almost always a hill in the background.
And we pass some intriguing gardens and attractions on our way.
Did I mention Penang is very hilly?
And of course when there’s lots of people, there’s lot of wacky antics.
Welcome to Monkey Beach – a pristine park of Penang’s northern National Park! And yes, there are actually monkeys here! For now.
It starts off with a nice civilised pathway, but wait until you get slightly deeper.
The trail to Monkey Beach is about a 3km hike across semi-forested areas and short stretches of sandy beach.
And there’s actually signage! Huzzah!
Now before you head in, you’ll most likely be accosted by some of the salespeople at the entrance claiming there is a landslide blocking off the passageway to Monkey Beach after the USM campus. This is a bold-faced lie.
They will also insist you need a boat to access the beach, and will insist you pay a deposit to ensure you have a boat ready to take you wherever you need. You do not need a boat.
But it’s still nice to take a boat ride on the way back after you’re exhausted from all that hiking. However, you can easily get a return trip by boat from Monkey Beach itself, or wherever there is a jetty.
Access to this National Park is also entirely free! That’s right – FREE!
All you need to do is list down your personal details in case you run away with the monkeys and they need some names to put in the news.
Watch out for the little critters!
You’re bound to meet plenty of wildlife in here, as long as you keep your eyes peeled and your wits about you. Just make sure the wildlife doesn’t make off with your sunglasses.
You can even go for a swim in the relatively clean (but still murky) salt waters of Monkey Beach!
Just watch out for the watercraft and jetskis and banana boats.
The best part is after you spend the better part of an hour trudging up to the beach, you can easily hail a speedboat back to the starting point. All for the cheap, cheap price of RM50 per boat!
I wouldn’t bother booking them beforehand, which the salespeople are wont to encourage you to do before you step foot into the park.