Kuching International Bike Week 2017: Cowboy Ride to Siniawan.

The Kuching International Bike Week 2017 (KIBW2017) was held from the 13th to 15th October and we were stoked to be invited for the second consecutive event, the first KIBW was held two years ago in 2015. KIBW is a runaway success, the location by itself is good enough to entice bikers from all over the region to be part of the KIBW let alone the interesting activities that revolve around the event.

TMSBK was represented by Jeyathevan and yours truly, this invitation was courtesy of the Kuching Iron Tiger Bikers Club and Trumoto, the organisers of the Kuching International Bike Week. We’d like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the Iron Tiger Bikers Club and Trumoto for extending the invitation and also the wonderful hospitality offered during our stay.

Fly in and ride out.

We were booked on an 8.25am Air Asia flight from KLIA2 on Friday the 13th, unlucky? Not at all. I left Ampang for KLIA2 at 6am and I prayed the night before that it doesn’t rain as I was going to ride my scoot to the airport. Riding is the most cost-effective way of getting to the airport, I usually pack my electronic equipment into the under seat compartment of my Nmax and the lighter stuff into the B32 BOLD GIVI top box. The Nmax only consumes just a little bit more than half a tank of fuel for a return trip to the airport and parking at KLIA 2 is just RM1 per day. So I spend about RM10 to and from the airport. Try it out the next time you are flying somewhere, it’s cheap and fun. And, yes my prayers were answered – no rain that morning.

Jeya arrived at the KLIA 2 on the KLIA express and was treating himself to a Starbucks breakfast, I skipped the airport food as I was looking forward to the airplane food. Yes, Pak Nasser’s Nasi Lemak is my favorite dish listed on Air Asia’s Santan menu. We checked the bigger bags in and hand carried our helmets. We were going to fly in and ride away in Kuching.

The flight arrived at almost 11am and we took a Grab car the Green Pine Hotel located just steps away from City One Megamall, the main venue for KIBW 2017. The Grab fare was just RM5 for the 4km ride, and we got to the hotel in just a few minutes. We checked in and rolled out to check out the happenings at City One Mall.

Trumoto, the event organisers had the party going nice and early with vendors operating merchandise and motorcycles related booths at the foyer area of the mall. The other activities were scheduled for later on the rooftop of the mall. We were greeted by familiar faces whom we got acquainted with two years ago at the inaugural KIBW in 2015. The main man of KIBW, Silas Michael greeted us personally and christened us with an improvised media pass which we lost during the Cowboy Ride later that day. Jeya and I set out to quickly scan the place before hopping out for some lunch before the City Ride which was scheduled roll at 2.00pm from the City One Megamall.

Almost immediately we ran into some familiar faces from KL and the first one was Nicholas Hah who was there promoting Hi-Rev motorcycle lubricants. After a fair bit of industry chatter with Nick we continued probing the foyer area quickly and ended up the Premium Bikes stand which had Triumph motorcycles on display along with two fair maidens promoting Liquimoly products. A short photography session ensued and the time was already half past one. We hopped out as planned earlier and had a burger for lunch. Obviously not a Sarawakian specialty but just a quick fix.

We were told that the official Media wheels were parked outside of the hotel in the form of a BMW GS800. The GS is one of many motorcycles in Trumoto’s stable which are used for riders training and Borneo tours program. To our surprise the both GS we saw earlier was missing from the lobby area. A media friend and his partner had mistakenly taken both units allocated for us, after a few calls to sort out the confusion we took possession of the GS800 complete with off-road tyres. I handled the photography equipment so Jeya took the handlebar. Being tall, dark and almost handsome, both of us stood out like chutney on thosai.

All the registered participants of KIBW 2017 dubbed as Very Important Bikers (VIBs) gathered at the main entrance of the City One Mega Mall for the flag-off by a VIP at 2.00pm but there was a sweet surprise just before we took-off. American XDL competitor and world-renowned stunt rider Aaron Twite (pronounced as Twight) took center-stage and whipped up some adrenaline pumping maneuvers. Aaron mesmerised the VIBs and event visitors with gravity-defying stunts on board his self-modified Kawasaki ZX-6R stunt motorcycle. The stunt area was a tiny squeeze but Aaron skillfully whipped up wheelies, stoppies and powerslides and a series of other stunts he choreographed as the opening act for the Cowboy Ride.

Aaron’s performance came to end with a pop, stop, stand down and hop off finale and the crowd exploded into an appreciative cheer. Hearts racing, it was time for the VIBs to saddle up for the ride,  traffic police personnel took charge up front while civil defense and fire brigade motorcycle units followed in formation at the tail-end. Over two hundred motorcycles and riders in all shapes and sizes made-up the convoy which poured out onto the main road to the awe of Kuchingites, perhaps some were annoyed by the disruption of traffic flow but I’d like to assume that the majority loved it.

The convoy trailed long the major city routes and exited onto a B road stretch in less than 10 minutes, lush greenery on both sides of the road were girded by village houses and old wooden shoplots. Kuching folks stood by the roads armed with their phone to capture the thunderous roar of hundreds of motorcycles parading proudly. After about 20 minutes, the convoy came to a stretch of road which was under construction. The loose gravel path was something very usual for the Borneo riders and most participants were from Sarawak, Sabah, Indonesia and Brunei. We swept past the fairly easy off-road sector into some long sweeping corners with a mountain range as the foreground, we were running for the hills. The view was a lovely treat especially for urbanites like Jeya and I living amidst a dense concrete jungle.

We rumbled into Siniawan in 30 minutes, a regular ride or drive was said to take around 45 minutes but thanks to the skilled traffic management expertise of our police brothers we shaved valuable time causing as little hassle as possible to other road users. The convoy made a turn into a single lane village road and rolled right into the heart of Siniawan old town. Rows of old wooden buildings at the main street embraced our presence, a symbolic warm welcome indeed. The parade came to halt and this was our destination, all our motorcycles were parked on the main street of Siniawan stretching to almost half a kilometer from the Siniawan police station to the end of the main street. Siniawan folks rushed out to the streets with wide smiles to greet the VIBs and seized photo opportunities amidst all the shiny machines which were still crackling from the heat.

Siniawan is a quaint town located about 42 kilometers from Kuching town and the main street which houses traditional style restaurants and homestays have been an attraction for both locals and tourists. There’s an interesting selection of eats in Siniawan, a foodie playground so to say. Meatball soup, laksa, bakso, roasted meat, satay, sweet savories and local beverages and made up the mouthwatering option. There is a river running along the main street and most restaurants have neat and cosy seating areas, both outdoor and indoors. There’s even a Wild West themed pub named The Post.

The VIBs picked out their spot amidst the many restaurants and enjoyed the local delicacies and live entertainment by a band at The Post. This time KIBW took the pleasure of presenting stunt sensation Aaron Twite to the people of Siniawan. Aaron put up another showcase for the Siniawan folks as well as the VIBs. The Siniawan folks were awestruck by Aaron and took turns taking photographs with Aaron after his performance.

Suddenly, the bright afternoon sun disappeared and dark clouds hovered over, a slight drizzle escalated into an afternoon shower but it was just a quick pour and the skies cleared quickly. The bikers were unfazed by the weather as they continued to soak up the ambience, kicked back and enjoyed Siniawan. We spent almost two hours before the ‘on the bike’ holler was given. It was time to roll out and Siniawan has made it into the list of places that I must revisit. It’s a great place to escape the busy city with family or a group of friends.

 

Shortly before departure, we gathered for what will turn out to be one of the best group photos of the entire KIBW2017, a lovely evening golden sun showered the moment that we captured in high definition.

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We rolled out of Siniawan stomachs full and hearts content to continue with the festivities at City One and rest up for the City Ride the next morning.

Keep it right here for more on the KIBW2017 as we paint you the picture in bite-size installments.

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