Cycling gives bank exec peace of mind

Mr George Lee, OCBC Bank's head of global corporate banking, cycles about 40km to 50km every weekend along a route that includes East Coast Park and Changi Coast Road.
Mr George Lee, OCBC Bank's head of global corporate banking, cycles about 40km to 50km every weekend along a route that includes East Coast Park and Changi Coast Road.PHOTO: DANIEL NEO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Having a deft golf swing was once a necessary criterion for rising through the corporate ranks, but other sports are now growing in popularity. Mr George Lee, OCBC Bank's head of global corporate banking, began cycling as a hobby about six years ago.

"I enjoy the camaraderie, and being out in fresh clean air," said the 62-year-old, who usually cycles on his own but joins a group about once a month.

"You also get to meet new people... There are many people from the financial services industry who cycle, and also a high concentration of other white-collar professionals.

"Many of us are very sedate on weekdays, but become sports warriors on weekends... Cycling also gives us peace of mind and helps us de-stress," added Mr Lee, who supplements cycling with regular gym sessions.

The father-of-one used to cycle every morning before work until a bad accident in 2011, when he fell face down after his bicycle ran over a pebble on a dimly lit road.

He now cycles about 40km to 50km every weekend along a route that includes East Coast Park and Changi Coast Road.

Mr Lee's interest in the sport has also prompted him to invest in good bicycles - his first was purchased for about $2,000 but was stolen.

He now rides an $8,000 model, a farewell gift from colleagues when he changed jobs in 2012.

Interest in the sport has been growing, said Mr Lee. "Even when I cycle alone on weekends, I end up picking up people along the way because it's a popular route." He added: "Anyone at any age can cycle; within our cycling group we have university students and retirees."

Chia Yan Min

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2015, with the headline 'Cycling gives bank exec peace of mind'. Print Edition | Subscribe