CHIANG RAI – Cheah Chee Moon a 57-year-old pastor has peddled more than 2,200km from Chiang Rai to Penang on his penny-farthing, the late 19th century-type bicycle with a large front wheel and a small rear wheel, to raise Bt 500,000 and buy a van for his orphanage in Thailand.
Cheah Chee Moon, left Chiang Rai on Aug 2, 2016 and crossed into Malaysia through Bukit Kayu Hitam, Kedah, on Sunday, escorted by 14 cyclists from the Bike on Friday group who rode with him from Gurun to Penang.
He is also hoping to promote cycling on his Australian-made penny-farthing, a gift from a British friend.
â€œI run the Agape Childrenâ€™s Home in Chiang Rai and I hope to raise enough money so that the children need not suffer walking 3.5km to the nearest school, especially on rainy days.
Cheah said riding the unique penny-farthing was challenging.
â€œIt is dangerous at the same time as it has no brakes and everything is controlled by my feet. If I want to slow down, I have to pedal backwards.
â€œI also have to be ready to jump off my bike, which is almost 2m-high, if thereâ€™s an emergency and this has trained me to think fast on my feet,â€ he said.
Cheah added that the weather and the hilly roads could be tough.
â€œThe weather these past days has been quite hot. I have to stop for about three minutes every 10km to 12km to drink some water or Iâ€™ll be dehydrated.
â€œI can cycle up to 140km daily.
â€œLuckily, cycling is part of my life, and I trained constantly for four months to build up my calf muscles before the trip,â€ he said.
Cheah added that he carried two bags weighing about 30kg, one on his back and another tied to the bike.
â€œThey contain a tent, a sleeping bag and other items,â€ he said.
In conjunction with Malaysiaâ€™s National Day, Cheah also installed a Jalur Gemilang in front of his penny-farthing.
He has some 800km left to ride before reaching Singapore. He will ride through Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, Malacca and Johor before reaching the island republic in about nine days.
Cheah will then take the train back to Chiang Rai.