The Dirty Cuts motorcycle club: ‘Not a knitting circle’

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The Dirty Cuts Motorcycle Club organises rides all over Cambodia. SUPPLIED/CHHAY ROTANA

The Dirty Cuts motorcycle club: ‘Not a knitting circle’

The Dirty Cuts Motorcycle Club was founded in 2013 by a group of friends in Siem Reap who shared a passion for “motorcycles, the open road and brotherhood”. They get together to go on recreational rides, swap notes on the best places to find parts and decent mechanics and also get involved in community events. Will Jackson this week got founding member David King to explain a bit more

Your emblem is a skeleton giving the finger with both bony hands, and your club’s name alludes to a fairly obscene word. That’s some pretty hardcore imagery. How does that represent what the club is about?
The name Dirty Cuts comes from a once popular expat social group here in Siem Reap. To be honest, its origins are a bit tongue in cheek and a private joke between the members. The imagery incorporated in the club patch can come across as quite strong and even offensive to some folk. To be clear, we are not an outlaw motorcycle gang or a 1 per center club. We are a community motorcycle club, a local MC who welcome all riders with a shared passion. We ride a mix of cruisers, dirt bikes, tour cross and sports. It’s not the size of your motorcycle, it’s what you do with it that counts. We are always open to bringing ride-a-longs on our runs. With that in mind, we are not a knitting circle either. If the imagery on our patch and the use of colourful language offends, then this might not be the group of guys and girls you want to hang out with.

What is recreational motorcycling like in Cambodia? What are some of the positives and negatives?
Forget everything you think you know about riding a motorcycle and leave your ego at the door – it will get you killed or at the very least seriously injured. The roads in Cambodia are madder than a box of frogs on a hot tin roof, on a good day. This in part, was one of the reasons for founding the club. Riding in Cambodia there is safety in numbers and wisdom in shared experience. The club facilitates both. We strongly enforce safe riding and have on many occasions refused riders for runs who were not fit to ride or did not have the right gear. As a rider, Cambodia is a stunningly diverse country with all the opportunities for great rides.

Can you tell me a little bit about your favourite ride you’ve done as a club?
We recently did a ride to Sen Monorom via the northeastern loop. The access roads up north to Stung Treng are just awesome, some of the best roads we have ridden on in Cambodia. The scenery is stunning, allowing the rider a mixed view of the Cambodian countryside with a wide field of view that allows you to ride with confidence. The ascent to Sen Monorom is a rider’s dream. It’s technical and ballsy at the same time. A mix of steep assents and descents mixed with hairpins and S-bends, add to this a--hole SUV drivers and you have a hell of a ride. All of this framed by the primal rain forest and rolling hills of Mondulkiri.

Has anyone in your group had any accidents?
Fortunately, we have had no major accidents. We have taken out our fair share of chickens and the occasional dog as unavoidable road fodder. We have had many a close call and been humbled more than once when it comes to the reality of riding in Cambodia. The majority of incidents extend to things like flat tires, broken chain links, diesel in the gas tank, that type of thing.

Where’s the best place to fix motorcycles in Siem Reap?
We support local mechanic shops here in Siem Reap. One of the best we have come across is KKO – Khmer for Khmer Organization. This is a vocational training school set up by a talented German mechanic who goes by the name Dirk. The service is honest, professional and fairly priced. Dirk is also a great guy who tours regularly and always has a riding story or two to share if you call down to the shop.

When’s your next ride?
Our next ride will be to Kampong Thom later in the month. We are planning to visit a local water park. Members take turns organising rides and they usually nominate a road captain to lead and take care of safety and make sure all the particulars are in order with members and riders alike. The motivation behind the ride is the water park and getting out on the road, as it has been a month or so since our last run. The route is a straight forward 340km round trip with an overnight at Kampong Thom. If we are feeling adventurous and weather [cooperates], we might head up and explore the Preah Khan temple complex to the north.

Interview has been edited for length.

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