Bragging about going on along distance ride is kind of cliché these days, a lot of Malaysians have actually done it. Its like the must do thing for almost every biker, an epic ride to somewhere.
I’m not saying riding to a distant destination is boring or over done or not cool anymore but it all depends on the reason for the ride. If its to show off then too bad as not many will be impressed with so may world travellers going around. But if its to see the world then go forth and roam the earth.
And that what Hadi Hussein went for, it is was the thrill of seeing the world before its gone forever, before it “ends”. You wont be blamed if you never heard of this rider.
Hes humble about his adventures, usually the quiet one sitting at the end of the table at the mamak listening to bikers telling about their gruelling overlander ride to Melaka.
He’ll grin and he’ll nod but thats about it. Just like you, most bikers don’t know, behind all that humbleness is a nutter who actually rode a cubcai alone from Kuala Lumpur to London in 2010. Yes all alone without any help or support crew on tow.
But this is not a story about his epic ride, which has been told many times in various places by various people. This is a story on what led to the ride and how now Hadi is enriching the local riding scene with his know how after that.
According to Hadi, his passion for travel started when he was young and so was his passion for motorcycles but the two never really come together until a long time after.
After completing his studies here Hadi went for further studies abroad, in Florida, USA in aeronautics. He had big dreams but the 9-11 incident killed that dream and Hadi had to make some changes.
Back in Malaysia he settled as a humanitarian worker, going to disaster zones and helping the needy. At the same time he was testing bikes whenever he could, most sports bike as most of the people his age would do as he explained.
But one day while he was about to purchase a Kawasaki Ninja 600 with trading in his ZXR 250 at Sunny Cycle, Uncle Sunny made him a an offer that made him think.
“He asked me if I was not bored already with Awana or Genting? He then offered me a BMW F650 GS and said he will show me the world if I get that bike. So he showed me pictures of him riding in exotic places on it. WOW!”
But it was out of his budget so Uncle Sunny offered him a Kawasaki Versys instead and he took it. Not for the London trip though as he thought if he made it to London it was mainly tanks to the bike and not him. It was already too common to hom for bikers to do such journey on a big DP.
“My first actual wake up call was when I was in Iran, I realised that iran was such a beautiful country.then I was off to Pakistan, Aceh and then Gaza. Beautiful place but very torn from the war, that was the point when I realised if I don’t go now these places will not be there anymore after this.
I knew I want to travel the world and take all the pictures as I can so that when the end comes and it gets destroyed, I can say I’ve seen and done it.
Told my boss the plan, quit my job and somehow from that point things started to snowball and I got an interview with a newspaper and thats how my mum found out abut my trip.
I went to her place the day before I was flagged off in TV3, and she greeted me by asking where I’m going, I said nowhere but she said she already know. The look on her face was priceless.
Luckily shes not too worried about my survivability as I had been to the worst places imagines, war torn or disaster areas. “
So from there he went off for the ride to London, got there came back in six month, but he still don’t call himself an expert on overland adventure trips with a bike yet.
“I only had two weeks to prepare and I was not really ready until I reached Bangkok where I took some time to rest and reset things according to what I have learned so far.” Though Hadi had gone backpacking before but he never really combined backpacking and biking.
“The bike is your medium, going backpacking you just pick up your bag and go, with a bike you need to take care of your bike.
However you are limited in backpacking in a sense that you are at the mercy of the transportation around you, while as with a bike you can always make that detour if something comes up along the way like a concert or a show that you want to see and somehow its much cheaper.”
The two weeks of prep work Hadi went through was too much of a blur for Hadi to register things and it only hit him with a moment of clarity and the scale of his adventure in Surat Thani, Thailand.
Being a seasoned rider by that time, even to the point of running in his Versys with a ride to Bangkok, he was already accustomed to the comfort, power and speed of that machine. The cubchai was starting to feel too small and too slow.
“So here I am, sitting on my cubchai, about to ride out of Surat Thani, in the rain, and thinking what the freak have I got myself into.”
Luckily all went well, even with the red tapes one had to go through at border crossings. “I did logistics before and I know what needs o be done, who to see and what not at border crossings so that part was easy for me.”
While he went on to a few other adventures after that, currently Hadi is scheming for a way to ride the original Paris Dakkar route. Not in the race but the route, the toughest in the world.
And while waiting for that he, will either be at his bike shop, V Care Centre in Petaling Jaya or giving tour guides for riders or even teaching them in the “art” of exploring the world on two wheels.
So approachable with his knowledge that he will just tell you what he knows, so if you want to learn from a proper adventurer, you know who to disturb.
One of the most common things he preaches is the the five things to consider when choosing a round the world bike, first you have to be able to pick it up if you tip over, able to change the headlight bulb, adjust the chain, service the bike and the most important bit, able to do all of that by yourself.