On a motorcycling trail

1981 November - at Williams Street, Perth, W.A. The Perth Mosque was to the right of the picture.

1981, November – at William Street, Perth, W.A. The Perth Mosque was to the right of the picture

1981, November – This was the first bike I ever owned. A Yamaha RD250. A chain driven, two-stroke, 250 cc machine. Bought used in 1981, it clocked some 14,000 km before I sold it in January 1983.
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I was very thrilled with the bike that I even planned, for one of the Australian summers, a solo trip of 2,770 km from Perth, Western Australia to Adelaide, South Australia, crossing the Nullarbor Plain.
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I had made the crossing earlier in the summer of 1980, in a convoy of old cars, from Perth to Melbourne, which was further away to the east than Adelaide. But the solo bike expedition never materialised 🙂
If it had, I would have driven the bike for an equivalent of 2/3 across the United States mainland.
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A more achievable and arguably safer trip would have been from Perth to Port Hedland, a distance of only 1,646 km. However, I only had reason to go there in the summer of 1984, when I won an industrial training job at the Mount Newman Mining Company. But then by that time I had already sold the bike. Instead, I went there and back by long-distance Greyhound coach.
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One very memorable incident with this bike. It was a Tuesday afternoon in October 1981. I was on my way home to Nedlands from a Fremantle fish market, where I had bought some fresh fish for dinner. On Stirling Highway at North Fremantle, where on my left I could see the Indian Ocean and on my right the Swan River, I was stopped by an RTA (Road Traffic Authority) patrolman, for excessive smoke emission.
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The bike was a two-stroke machine after all, and I had not experienced it enough to know that the machine’s twin exhaust pipe cores needed to be regularly burned to clean them of any excess two stroke oil which could cause blue smokes.I sheepishly showed him my car driving license when asked for a license, but it was obviously no good for a motorcyle, hehe.
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Instead of a mere traffic citation, I was given a court summons. It happened only a couple of weeks before I successfully passed my motorcycle driving test. The good thing was that after giving me the summons, the patrolman allowed me to resume riding the bike home, unescorted.
1981 November - somewhere in Dalkeith, Perth, W.A.

1981, November – somewhere in Dalkeith, Perth, W.A.

1981, November – Trying out my good friend Leman’s (Abdul Rahman) powerful Honda CB750 bike.

It was much more powerful than my RD250.

But the price of power was that the CB750 was tall, or rather I was short, hehe. On the seat, my feet could barely touch the ground.

I was still a few weeks away from my bike driving test.

1982 January - at Serpentine Dam, Jarrahdale, Perth, W.A.

1982, January – Serpentine Dam, Jarrahdale, Perth, W.A.

1982, January – It was my third summer in Australia. On my way back to Perth after  several days’ camping outing with fellow Malaysian students at one of the caravan parks in the seaside town of Mandurah, I took a detour to the Serpentine Dam which was one of the major water supply dams for Perth.

Together with the smaller Pipehead Dam, they were not only precious sources of fresh water for the people of Perth, but also the perfect place for a family day out. Plenty of attractive picnic spots, barbeque facilities and play areas were available at both dams – all of which had spectacular views.
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As can be seen from the “P” plate at the rear of the bike, I had gone on the trip with a newly earned bike driving license. Every newly licensed driver would have to hang the P plate for one year, to alert other road users to be extra careful with the newbie, Probation driver.
1982 June - somewhere in Dalkeith, Perth, W.A.

1982, June – somewhere in Dalkeith, Perth, W.A.

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1982, June – Trying out my good friend Leman’s (Abdul Rahman) exciting brand new bike, Yamaha XJ-750 Seca.
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It had a shaft drive instead of the conventional chain drive.
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It also had LCD meters, which were then very unconventional, instead of the normal needle meters.
1982 June - in the parking area of Murdoch University, W.A.

1982, June – in the parking area of Murdoch University, W.A.

We rode the XJ-750 from Nedlands, up the Kwinana Freeway down south to Murdoch.
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The bike’s four-cylinder engine whined softly, not unlike a small jet engine, and we effortlessly overtook several big-engined cars on the highway.
Some souped-up Holdens tried to play catch up with us, but we were in a different league. We left them sniffing our exhaust fumes, hehe.
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It was late Australian autumn but a winter-like chill bit through my cool weather riding gear of fur-lined leather gloves, double-layer outer jacket, woolen inner jacket and woolen neck scarf.
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1986 August - Taman Seri Semantan, Temerloh, Pahang, Malaysia.

1986, August – Taman Seri Semantan, Temerloh, Pahang, Malaysia.

1986, August – It was slightly over one year after returning to Malaysia from Perth. I was posted by my employers to Temerloh, a town which I thought was in the middle of nowhere. I had no inkling that three years later while I was still in Temerloh, I would meet my future wife, whose father was, and still is, a close friend of one of my office colleagues. That was fate..
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In Temerloh I bought my first car, a first generation Proton Saga 1.3S in Langkawi Blue color, clearly seen in this photo. But the more interesting object in this image was the Suzuki bike, belonging to my Perth friend Hisham, who rode all the way to Temerloh from his parent’s in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur.
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I did not yet have a big bike driving license then, but I took the Suzuki for a drive anyway. My Perth bike driving licence, converted to Malaysian license was only good for up to 250 cc. This Suzuki was at least 750 cc.
1994 July - York, England

1994, July – York, England

1994, July – It was the English summer. I has just successfully completed my post-graduate degree at Essex and had taken my wife and two children on our well-earned holiday trip around England and into Scotland and Wales.
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For our first night out of Essex, we stayed in Bradford at my long-time good friend Ahmad Zahidi’s house. The next day we set out to York to see the castles there, on our way to Scotland.
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In front of the York Castle Museum we came across a strange looking bike, in pink color, parked at a spot on the circular drive. The York Castle was on a hill, the foot of which was visible in this photo.
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I did not know what bike it was but I could not resist taking its photo, with my chidren Aqilah and Hanif posing in front of the funny-looking bike, and with my wife laughing at Hanif’s antics and Aqilah looking at her mum. Little did I know that one year later, the very same bike model would be mine, more than 10,000 km away in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Another fate…
1995 July - Taman Seri Gombak, Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia

1995, July – Taman Sri Gombak, Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia

1995, July – My 7-month old Honda EX-5 100 cc bike. I bought it new, to commute to office in Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur.

After returning from Essex, England in July the year before, I used my car, a second generation Proton Saga MegaValve 1.5S, as my transport to office.
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But I could not endure the KL (Kuala Lumpur) traffic congestion any longer. In January 1995 I bought the bike. It was a very utilitarian bike. Very numerous in Kuala Lumpur and other Malaysian cities. Extreme fuel economy as well. For 1 liter of petrol this little bike could go 45 km. I even recorded many instances of getting more than 50 km per liter. But the bike only lasted seven months and 6,500 km. This photo was taken several days before I sold it (traded it in) for a slightly bigger bike, which had just been locally assembled in Malaysia.
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1995 August - Taman Seri Gombak, Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia

1995, August – Taman Sri Gombak, Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia

1995, August – My 1-month old Yamaha Virago XV535 outside my home in Taman Sri Gombak, Batu Caves, Selangor. It was a four-stroke 535 cc machine, with a shaft drive just like the Yamaha XJ-750 I had test driven in Perth 13 years before in 1982.
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I bought it new, several weeks after it was commercially launched in Malaysia as a locally assembled model.
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The local assembly status made a big difference to the price, which was RM10,000 cheaper compared to a fully imported unit.
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1995 August - Outside Taman Sri Gombak home.

1995, August – Outside Taman Sri Gombak home.

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At the time the picture was taken, I had just succeeded in my “B”-class bike driving test, after a series of eight driving lessons on an aged Suzuki GS-550 bike.
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A B-class Malaysian driving license is a full-class motorcycle license, allowing the holder to ride any kind of bike there is out there.
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1998 May - Oslo, Norway.

1998, May – Oslo, Norway.

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1998, May – I was in Oslo, Norway for a one-week business meeting in a mountain hotel at the outskirts of the city.
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On my sightseeing trip down to the city, I came across a pack of three shiny Yamaha Virago bike models for rent – XV535, XV750 and XV1100.
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In the picture, I was standing behind the XV535.
My Journeys

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