Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Rider profile Tom Webster

Hello I am Tom and here's my cycling writeup. 
1) What are your first memories of cycling. 
I grew up in UK and started cycling as a hobby with school friends when I was 14. This involved a combination of cross country riding and dirt jumping. It involved quite a lot of attempting crazy stunts, breaking something on the bike, not being able to afford the bike shop repair fee and then learning to fix it myself. Little evidence exists from this pre-digital camera age, but here are couple of photos taken from a disposable film camera! 



When I was studying at University I took my cycling quite seriously and got quite fit, although I wasn’t organised enough to do any racing. When I started working I did continue cycling every once in a while but was generally less active and my fitness suffered, I do wish I kept a better work-life balance.  In the last 10 years I’ve changed to doing more road based cycling, although I have done a bit of MTB in Singapore - here is a picture of me attempting the Singapore MTB championship in 2016 on a 19 years old bike!

2) How did you come to Singapore and what do you do?. 
I met my now wife at University who is Singaporean, we lived together for a number of years in London but she was longing to return home so I came over here with her. I’m working at NTU doing Autonomous Vehicle related R&D work, my project involves working with Singapore’s authorities to develop the standards, testing and enabling framework to support the adoption of AV’s in Singapore. A key reason why Singapore is promoting AV’s is because they support public transport and shared car use which helps meet transport demands in less space and with fewer numbers of vehicles.   

Add by Taiwoon: I met Tom at the Carfreesunday event (LCSG booth) and he brought a freaking bike stand to help do some basic service (Free) for anyone. Its amazing! 

I fall off my chair when I saw how he brought it... 

Good man
3) Tell me about your cycle to work
Most of my cycling nowadays is commuting. I live with in-laws on the east side of the island and work west side at NTU so it is fair trip of about 31km each way.
Rarely do I cycle every day from Monday to Friday though, three times a week is a normal good week for me. When I first started commuting I tried to incorporate PCN into the route, however over time the route has evolved as I’ve found quicker options with less stoppages and places requiring riding at a slow pace.  My latest route is below doesn’t have any PCN and gets me to work quite a bit faster than the first route I did.

 
4) What are your workplace cycling facilities and how do you sort out your clothes etc.
I’m very lucky to have shower facilities and secure bike parking at work which is a great help. Clothes is a bit trickier but I leave those hanging on my bicycle, fortunately nobody appears interested in stealing my sweaty clothes :) 
Thank you NTU! 



5) What advice would u give folks wanting to try out cycle commute.  
Just like starting any other physical activity don’t expect immediate miracles or be disheartened if you find it difficult at first.
Give yourself plenty of time to recover between rides ease yourself in and it will get easier.
Plan the route and test it out beforehand. At first pick a route on quieter roads until you are more confident. Meet up with more experienced cyclists to learn from them, it takes experience and technique to cycle safely on larger busier roads.
Some logistics planning also helps, leave shoes and clothes at work so you don’t have to carry them.
Always carry a multi tool, spare tube pump, puncture repair kit and know how to repair a puncture.
Particularly if it is a longer journey some bits of equipment really help.
You must have lights if cycling before 7am or after 7pm. Decent USB rechargeable front and rear lights are handy and even during the day advisable for cycling on road.
A bike that fits you (including saddle) and cycling shorts / gloves help with comfort.
Bike mounted bags are a great alternative to a backpack which are uncomfortable in hot & humid weather.
A well maintained bike is safer and less effort to cycle. Learn how to adjust your brakes and keep the chain in good condition.

6) What other cycling stuff do you do 
I enter into a few races every year too. Although I don’t have much success I like to push myself physically and see what I am capable of, having a race coming up gives me some training goals to motivate and work towards. With me doing the commuting to work I found it difficult to find the time and energy to do proper training with a cycling club. However recently I’ve found I can usually make it back from work in time to join a 60km training ride round Tanah Merah Coastal Road with the Integrated Riders club. I have to work hard to keep up with them and it is really helping to improve my fitness. I’ve also done a round Island ride at the weekend with them a few times, they’re a very friendly and helpful group.

I also like the engineering side of cycling, I assemble and maintain all my bikes myself including building the wheels. I sometimes help out other people fix their bike problems. I am also known to sometimes do more ambitious crazy projects such as making my own bike lights. You can contact me directly to learn more. 

Happy cycling! 

3 comments:

  1. Great to see you here Tom. Thanks for your help during the CarFree Day. The way your carry the bike stand is shocking :D

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    Replies
    1. yes, I was took shocked and amazed. Keep on riding Tom!

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