In the ‘ESCAPIMS’ series, we speak to different riders about how they ‘escape’ on two wheels. Here we have Sheikh Fadzil, 35, from Sungai Petani, Kedah. Sheikh first learned how to ride a motorbike at the tender age of 9, but it wasn’t until 25 when he bought his first scrambler. At one point he owned a café racer due to the popularity of the culture in Malaysia but had since swapped it for a Ducati scrambler last year.
CA: Hi Sheikh! Let us start by asking if you ride your bike every day?
“No, during the week I drive to run errands. Things like going to the market for groceries. I only ride during weekends.
CA: I see. Can you tell us what you like most about riding?
“It might sound cliché, but riding is very therapeutic for me. When I’m driving, I think a lot about what I’m going to do next once I’m at my destination. But it’s different when I’m on a bike, I don’t think too much. All I do is focus on the road and follow where it takes me, I think that is what makes riding so therapeutic.”
“Another point is driving is too sterile. You’re in a controlled environment with the AC on, most likely stuck in a jam and the journey is mundane. There’s no stimulus, nothing to trigger your senses. Riding, on the contrary, lets me feel the heat and the rain, there’re so many different sights, sound, and even smell. All of these excite my senses, I feel excited when I’m cruising around with my bike.”
A recent discovery for Sheikh is the route from Seremban to Kuala Pilah; He claims the local Chinatown as his favourite and the Hainan breakfast is to die for.
Sheikh is a geologist who spends alternate months working offshore and being home in Malaysia. When he’s back, riding with his buddies during the weekend is that one thing he looks most forward to.
CA: Can you tell us what a typical weekend ride looks like?
“Well I wake up around 6:30 am to get ready, then leave from my place in Shah Alam to meet my buddies at the Petronas along MRR2. Once everyone’s there, usually 8 to 10 of us, we will shoot off from Karak and begin our journey to Janda Baik. The route is hilly and cool, and the weather is absolutely great most of the time!”
According to Sheikh, it will take the troupe a good 40 minutes of riding, before they arrive at the scenic Janda Baik and is rewarded with a hearty plate of nasi lemak.
“After that we might head to Bukit Tinggi or Lentang waterfall for a dip before heading back around 2pm.”
Sheikh and his riding buddies enjoying nasi lemak at Janda Baik.
Photo by Norlizam Bahro
When asked how he met his riding companions, Sheikh laughed and said if there’s one thing that unites bikers, it is the bike itself.
“You just need to show up at one of the popular riding spots and people will strike up a conversation. They might say they like your bike or say they have the same bike, that’s how people start chatting. And if you click with them, you can ask them to join you for a ride and vice versa.”
The coastal route from Kuantan to Terengganu is another favourite of Sheikh’s. At 6 – 7 pm is when the sun sets on the beach and everything is painted a rosy glow.
CA: Do you think your life would be significantly different without riding?
“Most definitely. I’m an outdoor person but was never into hiking. It was only after getting a scrambler that I got to explore the jungle and do motor crossing. The jungle is beautiful, it’s a whole new world and a completely new thing for me.”
“It is also through riding that I met both people who were completely from a different background, as well as those who share the same passion and hobby as me. For example, I have my coffee kakis and we would go cafe-hopping together, there’s also those who are really into the art scene.”
“If not for biking, my world wouldn’t have expanded that way, my circle of friends would also be limited.”
CA: Last but not least, how would you describe riding as a lifestyle?
“Riding is soulful. If you like outdoors, nature, and making friends, then I’ll say riding is the perfect gateway to all those things.”
Sheikh says that one of his best rides was the one he took in 2019 at Himalaya.