Retiree, 81, out to tackle 200km ride

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 riding 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 for health reasons.

"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. "Every day 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 him. Said Daryl: "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 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 any more 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 photos 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."

The pair are 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 encourages 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."

Enthusiastic as ever, the pair have already completed a third of the required 200km distance just three days into the month-long event, which ends on June 6.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2022, with the headline Retiree, 81, out to tackle 200km ride. Subscribe