SINGAPORE - This time last year, Tania Murphy could barely mount a bicycle or cycle even a metre without falling down.
But, after participating in OCBC Cycle's learn-to-ride programme Project Training Wheels (PTW) in March last year, the credit analyst is now an avid cyclist.
The 31-year-old joined a cycling club and cycles up to 90km every weekend. In December, Murphy cycled 100km in four hours, beginning her ride in Raffles Place, passing by Kranji and Mandai before finishing at Gardens by the Bay.
Nominated by her husband Glen for PTW, Murphy said the couple could not do many activities on holiday together because of her inability to cycle.
"The main objective was to find a common sport we can do together," she said.
The couple enjoyed their first overseas ride together in Ireland last April before participating in the OCBC Cycle a month later.
"We celebrated my birthday and cycled in freezing cold weather, so that was memorable," said Murphy, who may sign up again this year if her schedule allows it.
"I really enjoy cycling because it's a very social sport. You can do it with a lot of friends and get fit together.
"To know how to cycle is useful because sometimes you're lazy to walk and Singapore has excellent park connectors that give you a safe base for cycling. It's an inexpensive sport and a good way to get fit."
Describing her experience in the programme, she said: "PTW was excellent and the coaches were excellent. Many people were afraid of falling down, but I wasn't afraid as I knew that it was just part of the experience.
"Once I accepted that I was going to fall at some point, that helped me. After that, I just kept on practising. If you go slowly, you will get better and more confident."
After last year's OCBC Cycle, Murphy set a goal of completing 100km in four hours to improve her riding speed. She was cycling at an average 23kmh while her more experienced friends averaged 30kmh.
"I have very encouraging friends who were willing to go on slow and short rides with me initially but, over time, I created this goal for myself because I thought 25kmh was achievable," she said.
Her training routine includes riding 30-60km every weekend and cycling on a stationary bike at home every weekday morning.
"It was not easy at all. I fell five times in six months. But I'd set this goal so I really need to accomplish it because I'll feel terrible if I don't," she said.
Despite achieving her goal in December, Murphy said she still has plenty to work on as she targets the OCBC Cycle's 42km Sportive Ride next year and a 140km ride around Singapore.
"I've only recently learnt how to drink water while I'm still on the bike, so I still have a lot to learn. I still don't know how to pedal while standing up on my bike and I'm terrible on hilly terrain," she said.