Depending on your motivation, there are two ways in which you can participate in The Tiger Ride.
Mad Dog classification is for hardy folks who wish to take up the challenge of cycling all the way between two locations. The Full Tiger Ride otherwise known as the Penang to Phuket Challenge would see you aiming to cycle every inch of land between Penang and Phuket. The ride is led through GPS breadcrumb track, allowing ultimate freedom to take it at your own pace, and stop wherever you like. The support team is always at your fingertips.
Wild Cat Classification is for those who want to have a fantastic overland adventure, but are less concerned with cycling every inch and would prefer to have a more leisurely, while active and adventurous, tour. Wild Cats category covers approximately 30km before lunch and another after lunch. The ride is led by a cycling guide and participants remain in a group. This will involve travelling parts of the overland adventure by vehicle.
Both Mad Dogs and Wild Cats participants cover the same itinerary.
Provided we have the capacity to do so, we will do our best to accommodate your wish!
A night’s accommodation is included on the day before you start riding, as well as for the evening of your final day of cycling. Therefore you should arrive the day before the first day of cycling.
Yes, please see the “Info” section at the bottom of each challenge page, underneath the description of the final day.
Of course not! The Tiger Ride is made up of one, two and three day rides which are stand-alone adventure tours in themselves.
i) Flights are your own responsibility.
ii) Transfers to and from airports are not included. Should you desire advice with this, please ask us.
iii) You may need to buy refreshments and water from shops along the route if the support vehicle is not close to hand this is especially relevant in the Mad Dogs category.
iv) Dinner is not included – there is plenty of scope for exploration of towns and restaurants in the evenings and we don’t want everyone to feel obliged to all go to the same place. In general, people will want to join the group in which case each person will pay his or her own share.
v) Sometimes we stop at a local restaurant for lunch. In this case, drinking water will be provided but soft drinks are not included.
vi) Insurance – you will need comprehensive insurance which covers this type of activity as a condition of joining and you will need to provide policy details.
vii)You need to bring sufficient spares for your bicycle, especially if you have unusual fittings. We do bring some basic spares – you must pay for any spare parts which you consume.
viii) You will need to buy visas if you require them.
ix) If something is not explicitly included, it is unlikely to be included, please enquire concerning specific items that you are unsure about ahead of booking.
xi) Tipping for mechanics, drivers and local guides is not compulsory however if you feel you have received good service, a modest tip is always gratefully received.
xii)You must bring all items on the Mandatory Kit List.
xiii) Luggage porter services – please carry your own bag unless hotel staff are there to assist.
Yes, absolutely. Please contact us to enquire about and to arrange this. There will be an extra charge for any transfers provided which you will need to pay in advance. This will be arranged via our partners, Jebsen Holidays.
Wild Cat Participants there will be a cycling guide to lead you.
For Mad Dogs participants, we provide GPX files which are loaded onto your GPS unit and will provide a track to follow. You must have a GPS but if you don’t have one and can’t borrow one from a friend, you can rent one from Mad Dogs for HK$100 per day.
You will also receive a Critical Information Sheet (“CIS”) pdf which will tell you any other information which will help you find the way.
You must use a GPS unit. Mad Dogs is now able to rent out GPS units which are pre-loaded with the route which you can follow, for HK$100 per day.
For those with their own GPS units, you will be given GPX files which you will be able to use on your unit. These will be provided before the start of the challenge.
If you get lost (which generally does not happen in these days of GPS), just give us a call. We think it is generally a good idea to cycle at least in pairs, but this is up to you.
It should be noted that a major difference between a Mad Dogs category adventure ride and a traditional cycling tour is that it is your responsibility to actively work to follow the prescribed route. If you become lost and require assistance, you must call the support team immediately. As a back-up, most smart phones will also double as GPS units (however they should not be considered replacements).
Wild Cats category will cycle approximately 30km before lunch, and another 30km after lunch.
Mad Dogs category will cycle between approx. 150 and 175 kilometres.
You would be surprised how far you can get when you dedicate an entire day or even several hours to adventure cycling. If you can’t make it all the way, no sweat, that’s why we have support vehicles – just call us up and relax!
NO it is NOT a race. The challenge element is in the “personal challenge” sense. The rules and regulations specifically forbid racing.
You are challenging yourself, “Can I cycle from X to X?”
There are no winners and losers – although everyone who completes the ride earns special distinction. We encourage you to cycle at a pace that is most comfortable to you.
On cycling days, a hearty breakfast will be given to you first thing (when you can also take some snacks for the road) and “fuelling” snacks and refreshments will be provided at lunch later during the day. This is usually at a local restaurant.
The vehicle is often on hand to provide further water and snacks during the day between checkpoints.
On non-cycling days, such as the day after the final day of cycling, meals (including breakfast) are not included.
Support vehicles will be on hand should you need assistance and there will be a bike mechanic if you need help with something bike-related.
Don’t worry! There is a support vehicle to scoop you up if you have run out of steam.
A bike mechanic will be on hand in the support vehicle to help with any issues that you cannot resolve yourself. Small, easy issues such as fixing a puncture will often be quicker to do yourself. You need to ensure you have the relevant spares and that they are in the mechanic’s vehicle. The mechanic will bring some spares too. If you use his spares, this will be a matter between you and the mechanic and you will need to pay him for this.
We hope accidents will not happen however cycling on open roads does carry inherent risks. You will be required to sign a waiver acknowledging and accepting your own responsibility for these risks. In taking part in an event you also accept these risks.
Don’t worry, should you take a slip, our support vehicles will be on hand at the other end of the phone to assist you. Our staff are first-aid trained. We believe it is safest to cycle at least in pairs if possible, which means that you will have someone to look out for you immediately if you do fall.
Yes, it is a condition of registration that you obtain insurance that will cover you for medical expenses whilst cycle touring in the areas you will be cycling. “Free with credit card” insurance is not sufficient.
All riders need to take full responsibility for their own safety and this includes wearing a helmet. It only takes one unfortunate landing to cause serious injury.
While most reasonably active adults can compete the Wild Cat distances of 30km before and after lunch, the Mad Dog category is a serious challenge; we make no apologies for this and a good level of fitness is very preferable or else you run the risk of non-completion.
No worthwhile achievement is ever easy. There is no need to have been a serious cyclist in the past but it is best if you put in some training for both fitness and getting your body used to riding a bike. Those with less fitness will need to be gritty-minded. You should be able to maintain 25kph on the flat.
We will have local language interpreters in the support vehicles who will be on the end of the phone should you need to communicate with someone. Just give them a call, explain what you want to do and hand the phone over. Thailand and Malaysia you will find that many people understand English. Aside from this, one of the joys of travelling is improvising with hand signals!
You will be booked into comfortable hotels for the entire trip with en suite bathrooms, unless indicated otherwise. These are not 5* luxury, but they will be very pleasant indeed. In the out-of-the-way places such as Tasoh Lake and Yan Ta Khao, we use the best accommodation available. Unless you indicate that you really want a room to yourself (a supplement will apply), you will be paired with (an)other rider(s) of the same gender. On rare occasions you may be in a triple although this would never be for every night.
The website has a fully comprehensive mandatory kit list. Please find download it >here
YES – this will be crucial for contacting the support team when you need us. You must download WhatsApp which is the main tool we use for communication. It will be sufficient simply to roam with your phone from home although you can easily buy a local sim card to avoid extra charges.We use Google maps in in our directions, meaning that with an ordinary smart phone’s GPS function you can easily match the screen to the directions, pinpoint your location and avoid getting lost!
Flying with a bicycle is as simple as flying with a suitcase!
You can pack it into a bicycle box / bag (widely available) or a cardboard box which you can obtain from any bicycle shop.
You usually need to remove the pedals (easy), the handlebars (easy) and the wheels (easy). If you’re worried about doing this you can get a local bike shop to assist, but it’s really not difficult.
Depending on how much other luggage you carry, you may have to pay excess luggage, however on some airlines “sporting equipment” such as bikes are carried at no extra charge. If you pack light, and carry on your other luggage, there shouldn’t be excess charges.
Boxed bikes will fit into the boot of an HK taxi (with bungees that the taxi drivers nearly always have) and inside a Singapore maxi cab.
It’s possible to pay a supplement in order to guarantee your own room. If, like most people, you choose not to pay this supplement, you will be allocated a room-mate or two of the same gender. On some nights, you may be sharing with two others. Most people find that sharing with a “roomie” is a great part of the overall experience!
Sometimes, if there are odd-numbers, you will be allocated your own room. If this happens, you got lucky – there’s no extra charge! If this happens and you would actually have preferred to share with someone, we should have no problem in switching this round.
You must bring your luggage in the form of a rucksack. This will make it easy for you to transport both your bike and your luggage at times when you have to carry all your kit in person (such as border crossings or going onto a ferry).
You will not however need to carry your luggage on your bicycle during the challenge – it will travel in a support vehicle between hotels. There are vehicle space constraints, so please do limit your backpack size to carry-on airline size which is approx 56x36x23cm.
Since you will probably be flying home with your bike, you will want to limit the weight of your luggage. It is safest to contact us in advance if you have special baggage requirements.
You are recommended to bring the type of bicycle bag which has a hard shell, but soft sides, which can be fully collapsed. We have extremely limited space for the fully hard, briefcase-style bike boxes. If you’re bringing one of these, please do contact us in advance.
Please note that if you are crossing a border you need to carry all your possessions, including bike box, over the border. Certainly, if you’re using a bike box, a soft one with a shoulder strap will make this operation easier. In any case, it’s not a terrible experience if you have a little patience.
We strongly recommend against cycling with a backpack. The joy of cycling is feeling free and a backpack would only be annoying and uncomfortable. Don’t forget you will be doing serious exercise for many hours each day. If your bike has a rear rack, you could secure a small bag with a bungee or you could consider fitting a handlebar bag (we love the large Ortlieb or Altura bar bags – waterproof and with a map holder on the top) or a saddle bag to your bike to carry the small essentials for the day.
Cycling overland is an incredible accomplishment and it is a great opportunity to raise some money for charity. Let us know about your plans and we will feature you in our social media channels, which should help your fundraising!
There will be a particular restaurant of focus where our staff will go and most cyclists will want to come along too. It’s usually a cheap local place where we just split the bill. Evening meals are not included in the price and there will be no compulsion to join. We want you to feel free and if you just want to eat quietly and have some “down time,” this is perfectly OK. There are usually massage or bath facilities nearby (if not in the hotel itself) which can be extremely pleasant after a hard, long day in the saddle.
There are no major issues in crossing the border with the bicycle in terms of customs, however you will need to carry all your kit, including your bike which can be a little awkward. A rucksack makes this easy.
As a rule of thumb we will be departing 30 minutes after first light each morning. The early start takes advantage of cooler mornings and ensures that there will be sufficient time at the end of the day for a little relaxation and perhaps a massage.
After-dark cycling is not part of Mad Dogs of Wild Cats. If you have not finished cycling by a specified “cut off” time each day (usually one hour before sunset), you are required to call the support team.
For Wild Cats it does generally depend on the speed of the group – as a rule of thub you can expect 2-3 hours before and after lunch.
For Mad Dogs distance, some people are fast and depending on the distance will finish in the mid-afternoon while others will push on until near dusk.
In general you can expect the following:
• 7.30am breakfast
• 8.30 am start cycling / transfer to cycling start.
• 12.00 lunch
• 13.00 cycling or transfer to cycling start.
•16.00 arrive hotel.
• 06.00 check out of hotel rooms
• 06.05 hearty breakfast
• 06.45 into the saddle
• Approx 11.30-13.30 (depending on your speed) a checkpoint with food and refreshments
• Approx 16.00-17.30 finish cycling
• 19.00 briefing for next day / group dinner if you want to join.
Wild Cats participants will cycle in a group with a cycling guide.
In the Mad Dogs event, while in practice most people do end up cycling in groups of at least two (and this is encouraged), there is no requirement in for participants to stick together. If you are registering as an individual, whether you cycle with other participants or by yourself will be decided by whether you cycle at a similar speed as the others and whether they wish to cycle with you. No guarantee can be made that if you enter as an individual, you will definitely have a group with whom you will cycle.
If you haven’t been to Thailand or Malaysia before, you’re in for a treat! We think this is some of the best food in the world.
This really depends on your habits, but in general you can expect to spend US$5 on general things each day, and US$10 on dinner (although this does vary).
If there are at least 10 people on a category, there will be two support vehicles. If there are fewer than 10 participants on a challenge, there may be one vehicle.
If you have completed the ride for which you have entered, you will receive a Completion Certificate. If you have participated but have not cycled all the way, you will still get a Participation Certificate, stating what you have achieved. Everyone who crosses the finish line will receive a final victory photograph.
After our founder’s epic cycle ride from London to Hong Kong in 2009, Humphrey Wilson wanted others to experience the freedom, adventure and satisfaction of covering swathes of the world by bicycle.
In the event of a Typhoon, severe rainstorms or other extreme weather (or equivalent dangerous conditions), the Challenge will be suspended for all affected days. A degree of uncertainty is a part of adventure and we regret that we won’t be able to make refunds for this. The challenge will continue as soon as possible, from the point at which it was scheduled on that day. Participants will receive transport to the point at which the challenge will continue and they will still be eligible for completion certificates. You are advised to take out cancellation insurance.
If you want to bring your bike into your hotel room, you will need to put it in a bag which entirely covers it. This is on the mandatory kit list. This inexpensive plastic bike bag does the trick: http://www.wiggle.com/ctc-cycling-uk-plastic-bike-bag/ If you don’t have one you won’t be able to bring your bike into your room. In such a case, it will need to be locked in another place which, depending on the hotel, may be the the car park, lobby, left luggage room. Very occasionally you may be allowed to bring your bike into the room uncovered, but it’s not your god given right. Bring the bag.
Over the years, Mad Dogs has organised adventure cycling challenges in every corner of Asia. We have however come to the conclusion that nowhere else quite has the “magic dust” of Northern Malaysia and Southern Thailand, therefore we came to concentrate our energies on The Tiger Ride from Penang to Phuket. It has all the ingredients of an exotic Asian adventure, plus a good measure of “holiday spirit.”