Last weekend, roughly 100 bikers rode from Bangkok to Phnom Penh and then onto Sihanoukville in what was touted as the Kindom’s first regional bike fest.
Photo Supplied/Phnom Penh Post
Bikers take a smoke break during the first regional Bike Fest last weekend.
The drive was organised to raise funds for Head Start Cambodia, a joint initiative between the Motorcycle Riders Club of Cambodia and the Don Bosco Technical School in Phnom Penh.
Saraboth Ea, co-founder of the MRCC, said the money would go toward helping young mechanics at the tech school.
“The idea is to help them get the necessary skills, so they can go out and start their own garage or shop after they finish the program. We eventually want to work with the manufacturers and train students to repair big motorbikes. But that’s the next step. Right now, we just support them, to help them to learn how to repair regular size bikes.”
The MRCC started in 2008 as a “ritual after-work gathering” of bike fans at the Independence Monument. But the club has expanded in the ensuing years and now exists for the twin purposes of bike jaunts and charity fundraisers.
Saraboth Ea said that lending a hand to the Don Bosco school helps bikers as well as young techies.
“The benefit to us is that we will have qualified mechanics. People are not going to ride these big bikes if they can’t repair them or get the necessary spare parts. We need qualified mechanics, so we can order more motorbikes to Cambodia,” he said.
At the age of two, Saraboth Ea was forced to flee his home for a refugee camp in Thailand. He settled in the US in 1975, but returned to Cambodia in 2004, where he discovered a love for the motorcycle. Now he hopes to make the ride an annual trip.
“We will do it every year. We want to grow to two hundred or three hundred riders next year. In Thailand, they can get a thousand riders involved. As long as keep doing things like this, we can get sponsors, we can get good mechanics trained up, and we can get spare parts coming in. Then we grow the market and bring in more big bikes,” he said.
The bike fest was sponsored by Ford, Mobitel, Total SA, Cambrew Limited and the Cambodiana Hotel.