Saturday, October 13, 2012

Rider Profile - Darren Siow

Darren @ KODH 2011 , Kent ridge slope!
Darren with his friends doing a round island - 1989
2012... LCSG round island with friends!

Rider Profile- Q& A
* Tell me about yourself
I’m Darren Siow and my day job as a User Experience Consultant keeps me pretty busy. My job requires me to design things that will be easily used by our customers; it involves some user interface design as well as physical ergonomics considerations. Ok, enough of the boring stuff…let’s get down to business. I, of course, enjoy cycling, and apart from that I spend my time either running, fooling around with my camera and mashing up photos and videos. My current goal is to complete The North Face 15km offroad run within the 2.5-hour cutoff time. Let’s see if I can do it.

* How you started cycling
My first memory of riding a bicycle was between kindergarten to lower primary school. My family visited my great-grandfather’s kampong house on Sundays and we’d spend a lot of time riding around the compound. It wasn’t until Primary 3 that I learnt cycling on two wheels. I remember my dad running behind and holding my bike along East Coast Park while he was teaching me to ride. Much later on in life, while teaching my niece to ride, I learnt how difficult and exhausting it is to run behind a learner cyclist! Thanks, Pa. J Eventually, during the E.T. and BMX craze, I got my first BMX bike in Primary 5. We couldn’t fit the bike into my father’s car, so he decided to let me cycle home from the bike shop! The distance between Clementi and Dover Crescent is fairly short but till this day, I’m surprised that my father let me, an 11-year-old, cycle on the main road! Alone. He drove behind me whilst I pedaled my heart out. Upon reaching home, his first sentence was “How was it? Fun? Ok, something to remember next time…when you change lanes, you have to turn around and check if got car behind you ok? Just now you just changed lane, never see hor? Lucky no car. Remember ah? Now we practice how to ride straight and turn your head to look behind you. Let’s go.” I’ve remembered to check back ever since.

* Why do you like cycling
Honestly I’ve never thought about why I like cycling. As far back as I remember, I’ve always had a bicycle. I guess it’s just become a part of my life. When I was in the polytechnic, I rode quite frequently, and that was when I did many ‘firsts’; first night round island cycling, first round island walking, first mountain climb, first trek up waterfalls, first Singapore river raft race, first swim around Pulau Ubin…I guess I was/am someone who likes the active life and cycling fits right in it.

Now as I am older, cycling is a good form of exercise (until/unless you get killed on the road; sad but true fact of life). And now with the plethora of brands, models and wonderful technologies, there are so many types of bicycles in the market, one for every occasion; it’s really very interesting to find out more about each type of bicycle. Now, I enjoy cycling as one of my methods for transportation to and from the office; there’s no traffic jam to handle, and it is faster than taking the LRT+MRT+walk mode of transport. When I’m not commuting, I enjoy the company of the people whom I ride with. With a knee severely injured during my National Service days, I am glad I can still cycle as a form of exercise.

* When u met LCSG - how was it like and how u meet us
I first heard of LCSG, or rather, I first heard of Tai Woon through an ex-colleague. That was probably in 2010. It wasn’t until I joined the same company as Tai Woon that I took part in an LCSG ride. Then I hadn’t been cycling much so I took a cab down to Fort Road to join a ride organized by Francis. We rode to Changi Village and the ride ended with makan at the hawker center there. It was a very relaxed ride and I enjoyed the friendliness of all the riders.

* Your steel horses- names and more details.
1982 BMX which, like many of our bikes, got stolen.
1985, cheap steel road bike which I rode 2 night round islands with (as some of you might have seen the photo) Subsequently being tired of the black, I manually sprayed green and yellow. After some years, unfortunately, I trashed it when I rear-ended a taxi. I walked home with the bike rolling on the rear wheel; the front fork was bent in and my front wheel was touching the chain ring. Hahaha!
1998 Hybrid bike when I was studying in Perth West Australia. I would strap my school bag to the rear rack and ride to Uni. I didn’t cycle as much I would have liked; it was either too searing hot or too wet and cold. Sold off when I returned to Singapore
2004 Scott Comp Mountain Bike. Rode in Bt Timah trails a few times before resigning myself to the fate that my fearlessness, balance and stamina sucked. Converted it to slick tyres and started commuting to work between Bishan and Alexandra. Sold it off lock, stock and barrel a friend of a friend. Incidentally, it was with my MTB that I started riding with clipless pedals. I’m still of the mind that it is safer to ride WITH clipless pedals than without. However, it might not be the most convenient or versatile due to the need for special shoes.
2005 Cervelo Soloist Team. A brief stint in triathlons led me to this beauty of a bike. I don’t ride it much anymore because my back isn’t strong/flexible enough, but I will be doing something about it!
2011 Flamingo London. Nice and functional little bike with which I did 2 round island rides. The grip shifter is a better shift mechanism than the Brompton’s. Sold off to an LCSGean after I found a good deal on a Brompton.
2011 Brompton S6R Raw Lac. Nice and handsome little bike to take onboard the MRT and to do simple rides around. My engine isn’t strong enough to use this for vroom-vroom rides.
2011 Ventura Speed Touring. Love the 3x9 gears! Takes everything in its stride, from the slow Sunday rides to the fast To-Tuas-And-Back vroom-vroom rides.

* Your favorite cycling kakis
On weekday nights, I enjoy rides with the Westie Warriors. We usually ride either on Wednesday or Thursday nights. We mix and match our rides, sometimes hard and fast, some makan rides, some slope training…but whatever ride we do, we will always end with makan! All are Ka Chia Siao, so there are lots to learn from everyone in the group.
On Sundays, there’s a bunch of us who will hang around after the LCSG Sunday ride. Usually we will go visit the bike shops that are open on Sundays or just sit somewhere to chit chat. Lots of poisoning, taunting and teasing occur during those few hours, and I really enjoy the company of that bunch too.

* Your favorite cycling route and LCSG ride
No favourite cycling route. However, I enjoy the ‘special rides’ like the Round Island and the King Of Da Hill (KODH). Personally, the KODH ride has a special place in my heart because Tai Woon and I sat down one day and mapped out the entire route in less than an hour, and the ride was on! For all those who complain that KODH is siong, just be glad we didn’t carry out the original plan of “THTPTM” or “The Hills, The Plains and The Mountains”. We could tell you what that route is, but then you’ll have to complete it. ;-)

* Your role at LCSG
Ha, this is a good question. I don’t know what role I play in LCSG. I just enjoy the company, and then I contribute whenever I can.

* Your feelings after and during organising LCSG rides
I always enjoy LCSG rides, from the simple PCN ones to the elaborate Round Island or KODH rides. The curious thing about LCSG is how smoothly and how enjoyable the rides are despite no formal (read: salaried) organizing committee; it’s all voluntary. The last time I experienced such a close-knit community was when I was in the polytechnic adventure club. Same secret formula: passion, selflessness, community-mindedness, willingness to learn and teach, care and concern for self and others, and last but not least, a spirit of adventure!

* Tips to share with fellow riders

Ride. Ride wherever whenever. Ride just because. It doesn’t matter what bike you ride. It doesn’t matter where you ride or how fast or slow you ride. Ride because you can.

* Other things to share.. Life motto etcWah, so philosophical ah? Life motto? No life motto lah, but I will share a few borrowed quotations that I like.
Your mind is like a parachute. It only works if it is open.
When you pick up one end of the stick, you pick up the other as well.
There are always two sides to a story. Always.
Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right!

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