PhD candidate with a penchant for cycling

Melody shares her story with the writers.

By Noor Syahhira Hady & Sarah Hafizah Chandra

KUCHING: Borneo has always been a ‘must go’ spot for nature lovers.

So it comes as no surprise that the ongoing Rainforest World Music Festival 2022, has attracted both music and nature lovers alike – locally and internationally.

Moreover, the hype of the festival attracted nature lover Melody Lynch, who is from Montreal, Canada.

Sharing how going to the festival was actually unplanned, she said she eventually decided to venture out by riding her bicycle from Kuching to Santubong.

According to her, she was not aware that there is actually a hydrogen-powered bus or a shuttle bus service that can be used to go to the festival.

Nevertheless, with her heart set to bike all the way to Santubong, she was stopped by a Samaritan who offered to give her a ride instead.

“Normally, I would not get into a stranger’s car and I was very confident that I could make it.

“But he looked so concerned and advised me otherwise,” she said when met by the New Sarawak Tribune at the fest.

Edward Charles (not his real name) said it was around 7pm when he saw Melody cycling in the Bandar Baru Samariang area.

Melody bought her fixie bike on her second day in Kuching.

“It was pouring cats and dogs earlier in the day so the roads were slippery and it was getting dark.

“I have two daughters, so when I saw her doing this dangerous ‘venture’, I just couldn’t help but feel very concerned.

“The fatherly instinct kicked in so I pulled over and offered to send her to the festival rather than leave her cycling in the dark with no bike lane in sight,” he said.

When asked about her bike, she stated that she owns a basic fixie which she bought at a bicycle shop near the Kuching Waterfront.

Although the bicycle is basic, Melody who is currently pursuing her PhD at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) said this does not hinder her commute from one place to another.

In fact, she has cycled to UNIMAS campus but admitted that it was rather challenging due to the large roundabouts en route to Samarahan.

“I really love to cycle. Back home in Canada, I do not even own a car because I prefer to cycle or use public transport to go to places.

“That is why, when I first arrived in Kuching about a month ago, I bought my bike for RM400 on the second day of being here.

“It was interesting taking my bicycle to go to campus, but I had to stop a few times when it was too hot to get myself some drinks,” she said.

She said that she always uses Google Maps to navigate from one place to another.

“However, it is sad that there is no specific ‘journey option’ for cyclists. So, I always have to estimate the time of arrival whenever I have to cycle somewhere.

“For this journey to Santubong for instance, it will be around 45 minutes from Kuching by car.

“So I believe I was going to be able to reach my destination within 1 hour and 30 minutes,” she added.

On how she ended up in Kuching and being attached at UNIMAS, she said she was recommended by her professor in Canada.

She said the weather in Kuching is similar to Canada during summer and she has enjoyed trying out different local delicacies.

“I love Kuching. There are so many varieties of food, and I especially love the Laksa Sarawak,” she said.

Noting that her boyfriend will be flying out to join her in Kuching soon, she shared they are looking forward to exploring Sarawak.

“For starters, we are planning to visit Mulu and explore the various caves there. We have traveled to many countries and love doing outdoor activities like rock climbing, so we are looking forward to seeing what Sarawak’s nature has to offer.

“After that, we are also planning to go to Sabah and to climb Mount Kinabalu,” she added.

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