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From Frail To Fit On Two Wheels

Retiree Ryan Sia, 63, joined NUSS Cycling Section, previously known as the NUSS Cycling Interest Group, to dispel the notion that people who have undergone stent operations should not engage in strenuous exercise.

Why Cycling Among Other Sports?

Cycling can be done at one’s own time and pace or as a planned group activity. It is a platform for like-minded people like myself and my section mates who recognise cycling as a good activity for keeping fit. With the regular group comprising over ten members, among them is Francis, a more experienced cyclist, who has become our de facto team leader who gives new cyclists like me plenty of tips and encouragement. It also creates opportunities for friendship-building among NUSS members from different walks of life. The group, comprising many like-minded members, also organises other cycling related activities like bike maintenance workshops at NUSS which I attended.

Where Has The Group Cycled?

All over Singapore and also to tour de Bintan in 2017 and 2018 where we had a back to nature living at the kelong during the overnight stay. Locally, the longest trip is a round island from Jurong West Stadium to National Stadium to Changi and Loyang to Yishun Stadium and back to Jurong West Stadium which covered 120km and took seven hours.

Other routes that we had taken were a round trip from Bishan to Punggol to Changi Village which was 50km to 60km and took three to four hours. Another was a round trip from Casuarina Road from Upper Thomson to Sembawang to Woodlands to Kranji to NTU to West Coast which spanned 60km to 70km and about four hours.

What Kinds Of Health Benefits Have You Experienced?

I experienced tremendous health benefits personally. Due to a health emergency in mid-2015, I had three stents inserted to save me from a potential fatal heart attack. During the recovery phase, I was seeking a good way to have regular exercise so that I can recover my physical health so I tried cycling.

Initially, I was apprehensive about whether I could make it to 5km and I needed to stop for a rest ever so often. Since then, I am able to do 20km to 30km without a break and complete a number of round-island rides, including completing the Round Island Bike Activity (RIBA) 120km ride.

What Was The Reaction From Your Family?

My family members have seen great improvement in my physical health. My 24-year-old daughter even commented that dad is the fittest in the family now.

What Kinds Of Road Safety Measures Do You And The Group Observe?

We all attended group cycling safety programmes such as by watching YouTube videos on group cycling “dos” and “don’ts”. And we regularly updated on the latest regulatory advisories, safety tips, cycling skills, bicycle accessories, and other cycling related matters on our group social media like Facebook and WhatsApp. Safety is number one priority. Group members watch out for each other and help each other in case of unexpected incidents. Usually there is a lead rider and a rear sweeper to ensure no one is left behind. Riders are riding quite closely, so we can signal the need to stop for a quick water break, when necessary.

As for cycling alone, we have to apply self-discipline on safe riding and be mindful to render assistance to others in case the need arises.

What Are Some Safety Tips You Would Give To Someone Keen To Pick Up Cycling?

You need to understand safe cycling rules, wear proper attire and protective gear like helmet, gloves and shoes, choose a bike that suit your physique – not too big or too small and install alert lighting on the bicycles.

If you need help to choose a bicycle, ask the bicycle seller for advice. Usually, start with an affordable price bike first, and then choose a comfortable one when cycling is an activity that you like to do regularly. Start on Park Connector first to be comfortable with handling cycling – 5km to10 km and progressively move to 15km to 20 km on so on. Start with one or two trusted friends or family members and from the Park Connector, progress onto the road to ride.

Since the Cycling Interest Group was founded in 2017, recreational cyclists and road cyclists have been gathering for regular rides (both separate and joint rides), social gatherings, cycling events. We look forward to more Members coming forward to broaden the group’s offerings to include mountain-biking, charity rides, and more cycling-related events with the formation of the Cycling Section in 2022 and the growing interest in cycling in Singapore. Click here to join.

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