The Kota Kinabalu International Bike Week brought 3,000 bikers together for a weekend of brotherhood and biking.
by Emily Mary Chin, Carrybeans
Last weekend, Kota Kinabalu International Bike Week (KKIBW) returned for its second year running, this time at Likas Complex’s Event Arcade. Beginning on 28th September and carrying on until the 30th, KKIBW had a variety of family-friendly offerings for bikers and enthusiasts alike. The launch of KKIBW was made official by starting the ignition of a Harley Davidson bike onstage.
The event is the first of its size and magnitude here in Sabah and invites interest from a wide pool of people, with last year’s inaugural KKIBW attracting more than 12,000 visitors throughout the weekend. “I was at the first Bike Week last year at Padang Rugby. It was a great moment for me because it was the first time I’d ever been to this kind of event,” said bike enthusiast and repeat visitor, Andrew Yong.
It’s great, it’s really great. I see more bikes coming, I see more people coming as well. People are enjoying themselves. I know, myself, I really enjoy this kind of event. I hope they’ll do it again next year so I can come.
– Andrew Yong
This year’s Bike Week had bikers riding in from all directions. They came not just from our homebase of Sabah, but also from Indonesia, Philippines, Labuan, Sarawak, with 500 bikers coming from Brunei alone! “Last year, we expected 10,000 visitors. But it [ended up being] more than that. I think this year we’ll surpass that,” said Azmi Aziz, project coordinator of KKIBW.
KKIBW does not just benefit bikers alone but the local community at large as well. Numerous local vendors lined the skirtings of the event. There were vendors for bikes, parts, clothes, merchandise, and food. There was something for everyone—the extreme enthusiast and the casual visitor too.
Azmi hopes that KKIBW can function as a platform to encourage enterprise in our local youths, urging them to use the event as a business opportunity. “You can sell tyres, you can sell t-shirts, anything that is related to biking, from stickers to shoes to name tags to pants. Our Bike Week logo, for example, was designed by a local youth through a logo-making competition.”
[Biking] has already become an industry. It’s no longer just a hobby.
– Azmi Aziz, KKIBW project coordinator
Despite the negative stereotypes that bikers get stuck with, they have become contributing members of our society. Events like KKIBW prove that the biker community is stronger and more impactful than we give it credit for.
President of Darussalam Motorcyclist Association (PEMODA) Pengiran Haji Ridzuan sees events like KKIBW as an opportunity to meet people from all different walks of life: “We get to mix with different types of people, no matter the race, religion, or ethnicity.”
Community is a big part of bike culture. From all the people I talked to that day, one word stood out as the one to truly embody the spirit of biking. And that word is brotherhood.
Being a biker is not just about wearing a leather vest and riding a motorcycle. It’s about brotherhood. And brotherhood [is about three things]: respect, respect and respect.
– Pengiran Haji Ridzuan, President of PEMODA
The culture of biking does not begin and end at face value. It is a bond that transcends into deeper emotional ties as well. It’s about the bonds and friendships you make along the way. As a biker, you’re guaranteed friends pretty much anywhere you go.
When we go to Sarawak, we’ve got friends there. When we go to Indonesia, we’ve got friends in Indonesia. In Philippines, even in Taiwan, we’ve got biker friends there too. Last year, we even had bikers visiting from Australia! We’ve got friends everywhere.”
– Azmi Aziz
KKIBW reminds us to look beneath the smoke and leather to see the true value of bike culture. It is its own living, breathing organism that has grown and evolved together with its community and with modern society at large. While we were busy doing other things, the bike community has been busy growing into its own burgeoning industry, cultivating long-lasting friendships along the way.
Bike culture offers more to us than just its aesthetic. It has a heart and a mind and it’s sharing it with all of us.
Kota Kinabalu International Bike Week is organised by Bikers Garage and supported by Sabah’s Ministry of Youth and Sports.