The Wandering Wasp, aka Juvena, ditched the label as the Vespa traveller to join the BMW Motorrad Rideaway to Kuantan for a weekend jaunt. The most direct route is not necessarily the best way to go and BMW Motorrad was able to provide an alternative ride experience. Juvena has never felt more pampered in any of her long-distance rides.
When Performance Motor Limited (PML) dangled the invitation to ride on a Beemer, I simply could not refuse. With all the requests and anticipation from customers to stay in the Hyatt Regency Kuantan Resort after their 3 years renovation hiatus, the destination was set for the largest city of East Coastal Malaysia.
Since homecoming from a 44,000km 2 years long solo riding trip, I have never set my sights further than bite-size doses of adventure from to time to time. Micro-adventure is how Nat Geo Adventurer of the Year, Alastair Humphreys coins it. It does not have to be visiting far flung places which exhaust much time and money. It could simply be doing stuff that you normally don’t do or in this case, doing a ride differently.
Shaking up the ride experience would mean minimising highway riding, and taking on the curvier B-roads. (You know how monotonous and boring the highway can be.) Instead of the direct 350km route to Kuantan, the gripping 500+km route was the result of planning by PML staff over 5 recce trips.
Aimed to be held quarterly, PML’s Rideaways are categorised into ‘Open’ and ‘Adventure’. The ‘Open’ routes are suitable for all BMW riders while the ‘Adventure’ routes have prerequisites due to the challenging nature of the ride.
The BMW Motorrad Showroom was closed for 2 days to lend full staff support for the contingent of 52 riders, pillions and 3 support cars. This is how serious and committed they are to their Rideaways. The convoy was split into 5 different groups catering to different riding speeds and preferences. The assortment of Beemers ranged from the G310 series to the most sellable 1200GS.
The stresses of backend preparation for accommodation, travel insurance and route planning were all handled by the appointed travel agency. Rest assured, the participants’ main focus is just to show up and enjoy the ride.
Shortly after dawn on 16th November 2018, the fleet pushed off from Gelang Patah for a 100km stretch of highway riding to the breakfast point. What followed after was the beckoning of twisty trunk roads to tease your gears and throttle. There was always the contingency plan of hopping back to the highway should there be a need to catch up for lost time.
Refuel stops were swift as ride leaders settled payment on one pump. At every meal stop, the staff arrived ahead time to receive us and showered their attention to our needs. The first riding day ended with a sumptuous buffet feast at Hyatt Resort. Never have I been more spoiled in all my long rides; I did not even touch my Ringgit until day two.
The next day, despite trees being uprooted by the torrential monsoon rain back in Singapore, Kuantan was very blessed to be basking in the sun. The day was free and easy for all. Some chose to unwind at the amenities in the newly renovated resort, while others preferred clocking more saddle time. For me, the latter was the more compelling option. I will let the photos below do the talking.
The escapade did not end with the ride back home. On the last day, we hugged along the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, whizzing past rustic kampong beach houses. Just 20km south of Kuantan, the intrepid few pulled into the beaches of Pantai Sepat and trudged their machines on the sand along the water edge.
The BMW Motorrad Rideaway provided a worry-free, secure and comfortable riding experience in a well-supported group – a stark contrast to my solo venture. This is a good stepping stone for fledglings to try their hands on adventure biking. BMW Motorrad not just sells their iconic adventure motorcycles but also completes their products with the ride experience.
So often do we emphasise on the destination so much that we miss out on enjoying the journey. True to their motto “Make Life a Ride”, the BMW Motorrad Rideaway embodies that in the surprises it brought because life is in the journey itself.