Malaysian sets record cycling to China

Cycling advocate Pepper Lim recently set a Malaysian record when he completed a charity fundraising ride to China on an e-bike.

Starting his journey from Kuala Lumpur in December last year, he completed the 3800 km journey in just 39 days, 21 days earlier than expected.

It took two years to plan the ride that was an effort to help the OKU (disabled) community, partnering with the Lions Club of Malaysia.

The 54-year-old Lim had expected the journey to China to take two months, but he completed it sooner than expected.

He said that he just focused on cycling every day and did not deviate with any sightseeing. Other experienced long-distance cyclists advised him to cycle for four or five per days and rest for a day, but he only rested for two days during the entire journey. By doing so, he completed it in just over a month.

The arduous feat was not without problems. The cost of the two-month journey was supposed to be borne by a sponsor. Unfortunately, they pulled out at the last minute and thus, at the prospect of the charity fundraiser being cancelled, Lim decided to self-fund his trip with sponsorship from the Lions Club, RedOne and his friends.

“I am grateful that so many of my friends stepped up to help when I really needed them. They helped to save this cycling-for-charity project,” he said.

Recalling some harrowing experiences, Lim said he was forced off the road several times while cycling from Changlun to the Bukit Kayu Hitam Immigration Centre.

It was raining that day and there was no emergency lane to cycle on. Lorries that did not see him made him veer off to the grass patch beside the road.

Cycling daily meant cycling in all sorts of weather. He was sunbaked, chilled by cold winds, dirtied by dust and mud, and drenched by rain.

Many days, he suffered cramps and body aches. Still, he persisted and cycled on.

Some nights, there was nothing to eat but bananas and biscuits that he had brought with him because all the shops had closed for the day. Speeding lorries and cars were a constant worry too.

“A few times, I arrived at my hotel covered in mud and had to hose myself clean before they allowed me in. Another time, strong mountain winds in Laos blew me into the path of oncoming traffic! I thought I was a goner but somehow, I managed to swerve out of danger.

“In Vietnam, my bicycle gear broke off completely at a small one-street town. As luck would have it, a small bicycle shop had the correct gear for my e-bike. Many times, my clothes did not dry by morning, and I had to wear damp clothes to cycle that day,” he recounted.

Cycling through Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, he saw uncountable beautiful sights. However, he did not stop for sightseeing.

“I felt it was unethical to cycle for charity and also take a holiday at the same time,” explained Lim. “It was achingly difficult to bypass those beautiful countries without stopping to savor them! I will return to some of those beautiful places in the near future.”

To overcome the language difficulties in every country he passed through, he used a translator app. It was helpful in most cases but sometimes produced hilarious results. He once ordered “fire pumpkin” thinking it was fried pumpkin chips. What arrived at the table was stir-fried spinach with chilli.

“I simply picked up the chopsticks and ate it as if it was a normal thing for Malaysians to do. When the waitress walked away, I laughed to myself!” Lim chuckled as he told the story.

He thought of giving up several times but never did. Every day, he cycled between 100-150 km. He pedaled for about 8-10 hours before checking into a hotel where he could park his bicycle safely and charge it. Lim, a tuition teacher and writer, cycled a Malaysian-made pedal-assist e-bike. The e-bike complies with European standards and is not throttle-assist.

“I like the concept of e-bikes. We are not a country well-known for making bicycles but my journey to China has proven that Malaysian-made bicycles are top quality, comparable to Japan and Taiwan. This could be a game changer for our country!” said the father of two. Malaysia is part of COP and is committed to lowering the national carbon footprint.

When he returned home, he submitted his feat to the Malaysian Book of Records. When his journey was verified, they gave him an award for the longest distance cycled on a Malaysian-made e-bike.

When asked to describe his journey, he was at a loss for words and simply said, “It was amazing!” and added, “I hope this will inspire my children, Paprika and Saffron, to go on their own amazing adventures.”

Upon completing the feat, Lim received a congratulatory message from Dorothy Ong, the District Governor of Lions Club: “The Lions International President Brian Sheehan and I are very proud of you. Your achievement is a first in Malaysia’s Lions Club history!”

The Lions Club hopes to raise RM 300,000. Last year, Lim cycled 1100 km round Peninsular Malaysia for charity and raised RM 30,000 which went to help poor children and students in Jinjang.

“The OKU community has asked for help in training to acquire new skills for them to find work as receptionists or accounts clerks. Some would like to start small enterprises and need some capital. Others require medical attention and new wheelchairs. They were badly hit during the pandemic and as the economy slowly recovers, they are looking at expanding their horizons and changing with the times,” explained Lim.

Donations for the OKU are still being accepted till the end of March. Those interested to donate to the charity can do so to The Lions Club of Tropicana Petaling. Public Bank: 3231267936. Follow Lim’s journey on his blog or Youtube:


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