OCBC Cycle: 81-year-old retiree tackles 200km virtual ride

Lim Beng Kiong, 81, retiree (left), and his son, Daryl Lim, 52. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - He may be 81 but if you saw Lim Beng Kiong ascending the steep slopes of Mount Faber on his Brompton bike at pace, you would be forgiven for mistaking his age. The retiree cycles at least 30km every day, taking it up a notch on weekends with a 70km route from his house in Yishun to Changi and back.

The cycling enthusiast even celebrated his 81st birthday by cycling 81km with his son last August.

"It was a challenge to complete the full route but doing it was a good way for me to celebrate," he said.

Lim's love for cycling began in 2010, two years after his best friend's death motivated him to start cycling to keep a healthy lifestyle.

"For me, I cycle for my health and fitness. It is a good form of exercise," he said. "It also reminds me of my childhood when I had to cycle to school."

His son Daryl was initially worried but he knew he could not stop his father from indulging in his new hobby. "Everyday I pray nothing happens to him but he's been doing it for so long so I trust him. And I can't stop him, he just goes off and my mother will nag at him," he said.

In response, the older Lim said: "I am not bothered by the nagging as cycling is a great way to pass time in the morning but I do know my wife is worried about me cycling at my age."

Lim's dedication to the sport means he clocks about 1,000km a month on two wheels, riding even when the weather is not ideal.

In order to support his father's hobby, Daryl, 52, buys supplements for his father to consume. "He really enjoys it and he feels it improves his stamina."

As the saying goes, if you can't beat them, join them.

And that was what Daryl did, picking up cycling six years ago to join his father on the weekends when he is off work.

"On Sundays, I cycle with him and we have lunch at Changi. Sometimes, we go to East Coast Park and bring snacks along the way to consume. It takes a whole day."

For Daryl, cycling with his father is more than just about keeping fit and exercising.

"It is about the memories we share and being able to bond with him. After I got married, we didn't live together anymore so I don't always get to see him. Cycling with him is really about catching up with each other," Daryl said.

While scrolling through pictures on his mobile phone, Lim recalled: "My most memorable ride with Daryl was when we toured the island finding murals and taking photos with them. I also remember the time when I was able to cycle all the way to the famous Tuas Lamp Post 1."

Mr Lim Beng Kiong (left) even celebrated his 81st birthday by cycling 81km with his son last August. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

The pair will be taking part in the OCBC Cycle's 200km virtual ride where the senior Lim will be the oldest participant in the past seven editions of the event.

He has encouraged others to start cycling regardless of age.

"Start at a slower pace and a shorter distance," said Lim, who is taking part in the OCBC Cycle for the first time. "Distance is not the main aim, rather it is to cultivate an exercise regimen."

The month-long virtual ride ends on June 6.

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