Cycling for a Dream: Malaysians Pedal 12,000 Kilometres to Makkah in an Epic Journey
BY: Michelle Liew
In a remarkable display of determination, four Malaysians have embarked on an extraordinary cycling mission, covering a staggering 12,000 kilometres from Kuala Lumpur to Makkah. Their ultimate goal? To fulfil the lifelong dream of performing the Hajj. Led by 73-year-old Che Saad Noordin, the team includes the husband-and-wife duo Ahmad Mohd Isa, 35, and Noradilah Mohd Sapie, 36, along with Abdul Halim Talha, 56, a staff member of the Forestry Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM).
Challenges and Financial Hurdles
This ambitious journey, known as the Cycling Mission to Makkah 2024, not only poses physical challenges but also financial hurdles. Participants are required to allocate approximately RM40,000 per person for the costs associated with performing the Hajj. To finance this epic seven-month expedition, the team tapped into personal savings, with each member estimated to spend around RM15,000. However, the financial burden has led them to come up with a creative fundraising idea.
Creative Fundraising: Postcards Inspired by Seven Countries
In a bid to raise funds, the team initiated a unique project—selling postcards inspired by the seven countries they would pass through during their journey. Che Saad emphasized that, in addition to the physical challenges, obtaining visas and collecting the required RM40,000 each presented an even more daunting task. The exclusive postcards, named 'Poskad Kayuhan Haji 2024,' are available for purchase at https://ahmadbmi.my/order/form/poskadkayuhanhaji2024.
Progress and Fund Collection
Ahmad Mohd Isa, speaking on behalf of the team, shared that the funds collected through the sale of these postcards have already reached approximately RM20,000, with contributions pouring in from Thailand. Despite facing challenges like strong winds and heavy rain, the team successfully reached Thailand on January 2. With their sights set on Makkah, the journey is scheduled to cross seven countries—Malaysia, Thailand, India, Pakistan, Iran, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and finally, Saudi Arabia, where they plan to arrive in mid-May 2024.
Journey Details and Obstacles
The daily grind of this epic cycling mission involves eight hours on the road, from 9 am to 6 pm, covering distances ranging from 50 to 80 kilometers. Each participant must bear the
weight of approximately 60 kilograms, including essentials such as a first aid kit, camping equipment, sweaters, cameras, and bike parts. The challenges ahead include cycling through deserts, rugged coastal areas, and facing temperature changes of up to five degrees Celsius.
Comparisons to Previous Journeys
For Ahmad Mohd Isa and Noradilah Mohd Sapie, this cycling journey to Makkah is relatively shorter than their previous adventure in 2016. In that remarkable feat, they covered 14 countries in 15 months, crossing borders from Malaysia to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah.
As these Malaysians pedal towards their dream of performing the Hajj, they not only face physical challenges but also financial hurdles. The sale of exclusive postcards serves as a creative and communal effort to fund their journey. The public's support is crucial, and donations from both government and non-governmental organizations are welcomed to ease the financial burden on each rider. The Cycling Mission to Makkah 2024 stands as a testament to the unwavering spirit of individuals determined to overcome obstacles in pursuit of their dreams.