Cycling: Where there's a wheel, there's a way

Ms Christine Lim, 40, learnt how to cycle just last month through OCBC Cycle's Project Training Wheels, the event's learn-to-ride programme. Now, the novice cyclist is so comfortable on her bicycle that she feels like she is flying.
Cycling coach Michael Lyons looking on approvingly as Christine Lim goes round a corner. She had a phobia of cycling two months ago.
Cycling coach Michael Lyons looking on approvingly as Christine Lim goes round a corner. She had a phobia of cycling two months ago.ST PHOTO: AILEEN TEO

Novice cyclist survives twists and turns to earn a spot in ST Ride, as do 8 others in programme

Just two months ago, Christine Lim had a phobia of cycling, having previously fallen off a bicycle, fracturing her right leg.

But the 40-year-old is now proficient on a two-wheeler, able to ride long distances, tackle inclines and negotiate sharp turns after completing all three sessions of OCBC Cycle's Project Training Wheels, the event's learn-to-ride programme.

Nine participants, including Lim, attended yesterday's third and final session at East Coast Park and all impressed the coaches sufficiently to be awarded complimentary slots in OCBC Cycle's The Straits Times Ride category.

The 23km route, which starts and ends at the Singapore Sports Hub, will see cyclists climb the Benjamin Sheares Bridge and pass nearby landmarks like the Singapore Flyer, Gardens by the Bay and Marina Bay Sands.

The ninth edition of the event will be held on Nov 18 and 19.

At the end of yesterday afternoon's session, Lim, who was nominated by her husband Wallace Tan to join Project Training Wheels, said: "At the beginning, I was a bit worried and stressed that I would be unable to handle the bike as I am big in size. My mindset was that I am unable to accomplish the ride.

"But the first lesson got me hooked and I managed to cycle quite a distance. At the second lesson, I was unable to turn but my husband and I went back to the National Stadium to practise on our own. Now, I can go up slopes while enjoying the breeze coming down."

Apart from the Training Wheels Programme, OCBC also organised a talk on injury management at the National University Hospital Sports Centre last month.

There, Lim and her husband learnt muscle strengthening exercises as well as massage techniques to alleviate pain that afflicts her lower back and right knee.

As Tan joked, he is his wife's personal masseur. The couple, who have been together for four years, will wed on Dec 31.

The 38-year-old engineer added: "I feel very proud that my wife has fulfilled my dream of seeing her cycle. I am looking forward to having her alongside as we explore rustic areas around Singapore and enjoy the scenery.

"Taking part in this programme is not about competition, it's all about spending quality moments as a couple."

Lim and her husband also attended a bike-fitting session and a fitness boot camp as part of OCBC Cycle's activities building up to next month's main event.

Although Darius Ng was not proficient enough to participate in OCBC Cycle after the Training Wheels programme last year, he returned this year to polish his skills and eventually, got the nod from the coaches to compete.

The 16-year-old Maris Stella High School student said: "I went from needing to be helped to making sharp turns thanks to this programme.

"I wasn't ready last year but I continued practising and even biked 40km on my own. I had a lot of encouragement from the instructors last year and I thought it would be nice to come back and extend my encouragement to fellow participants this year."

Cycling coach Michael Lyons added: "We have done all we can to prepare them physically and mentally for their own journey.

"I think they are ready and prepared to go out and have their own adventures."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 01, 2017, with the headline 'Where there's a wheel, there's a way'. Print Edition | Subscribe