Reflections On The Sepeda Amal Borneo

By Ernest Balasingam

On 15th July 2023, 20 cyclists together with 6 volunteers gathered in Kuching Sarawak to ride the 1st edition of the Sepeda Amal Borneo (to the uninitiated Sepeda in Bahasa Melayu means ‘bicycle’).

This event is the brainchild of Dr. Timothy Cheng who in 2022 mooted the idea to cycle from Sandakan to Sibu a distance of 1,100km to raise money for cancer awareness.

Dr. Timothy Cheng and Prof. Dr. Woo Yin Ling & the Rose Team


The objective of this year’s ride was to raise  awareness for cervical cancer and its early detection and elimination in women. The monies raised from this ride would go toward the ROSE Foundation, which is spearheading this project for all Malaysian women.

Our lady riders with the founder of ROSE Prof. Woo Yin Ling. 3rd from right, Koh Lee Lee who is a cervical cancer survivor. Extreme right Dr. Shazana Alia, andrenal cancer survivor

The riders were flagged off on Sunday 16th July by non other than the Minister for Women, Family and Social Development Datuk Nancy Shukri.

Many of the riders who participated had previously done multiday tours for charity and also were part of the group that did last year’s tour.

However for several new riders, the thought of cycling 740km over 6 days from Kuching to Bintulu approached the ride with trepidation.

Riders dealing with everything the weather throws at them. Riding an average of 130km perday. It was all about support and helping each other thru the day


Why you might ask?

Among the 20 riders were cervical & adrenal cancer survivors, an above knee amputee and 2 recovering heart patients

The Rose team with ladies of the Long house who have successfully done the screening

Nevertheless after 6 days and 740km later and climbing a total elevation of 4,400 metres all riders arrived safely in Bintulu. Thanks in part to our 6 dedicated volunteers, Polis DiRaja Malaysia and EMS from various hospitals in Sarawak for keeping us hydrated, nourished and safe and when the heat of the day got to some riders, the ambulance offered sanctuary!

Riding in Sarawak is truly an enriching experience. A state which is so proud of its culture and heritage but more importantly a symbol of multiculturalism where all races and religions come together to create one massive melting pot spread over 124,450 square kilometres.

Part of the journey was crossing the longest river in Sarawak the Rejang river, to get to sibu

To the riders it was an eye opening experience to visit towns such as Sarikeh and Saratok and other towns which they had heard about but never seen.


But the highlight for all the riders was the opportunity to experience the warmth of the Iban culture where we stayed 1 night in a Longhouse.

All long houses welcome guest and visitors. Riders took a few minutes to rest and get some reprieve from the heat of the day

As a group of cyclists who do charity tours to raise money for different causes, we rarely have an insight into where our money goes. However on this tour, the riders had a first hand opportunity to see the ROSE Foundation at work.

The team from ROSE followed us along the journey to visit long houses to share the message on the importance of self-screening and at the same time conducted screening for all females who lived at the longhouse.

The Rose team taking the message to the residents of the long house on the importance of screening & testing

Yes, as cyclists we endured 6 days of the heat riding an average of 130km per day over undulating terrain. However we have to acknowledge and take our hats off to the ROSE team for their dedication to all Malaysian women which is 24/7/365.

Uncle Chuah an above knee amputee & Sree a heart patient

To read more about the ROSE Foundation

To the 20 riders, several of whom had completed their first charity ride, we sincerely hope that this would not be your last!

1 pedal stroke at a time to redeem a social condition no matter how small. We started out as friends and finished as family. To read more about the ride

Medical association’s Kuching-Bintulu bike ride raises RM200,000 for cancer foundation

Hope you could donate to the cause as the donations line is still open until 31st August 2023:-

In Malaysia – Bank Name: UOB
Bank Account Name: MMA Foundation Donation – 1
Bank Account Number: 240 305 798 5
Transaction details: SAB2023

Overseas donations: or…/removing-obstacle-for-cervical…

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