Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Rider profile Brian Ong

Brian Ong and his elder son

Eco friendly "bikecar"
My cycling adventures started during my childhood days. I have some early memories of me riding a tricycle with a rear basket when I was under the age of 5. I was in living in Indonesia then and cycling was confined to the close proximity of the house.

I also fondly remembered riding my hand-me-down chromed bmx bike (which I always kept shiny by polishing it with Autosol) with 2 of my primary school friends around my neighborhood back home in Singapore. It was great fun and I always looked forward to riding my bike. One of my friends had a brand spanking new blue color GT performer and boy, was I envious of him. That was like the crème de la crème of boyhood dreams. J Riding my bmx gave me the freedom to explore the neighborhood.

When I went to secondary school, I dropped cycling altogether only to get reacquainted with the 2 wheel contraptions during my polytechnic days when I met my best pal Shiva who was a bmx nut. I was always ogling at the Bmx Plus! magazine then and dreaming about the radical tricks that the pro riders could achieve.

After Polytechnic, I started working that that was the end of cycling again. I did try riding the mountain bike but gave up halfway through as I did not have any cycling kakis to go riding with. Fast forward 10 years down the road when I was working in Indonesia and boredom made me take a look at riding bicycles again. Well, having a bicycle shop near to my office didn’t help. I started owning too many bicycles over a few short years and had to have a room just to store them. I have not looked back after that day.

My family and I are now back home in Singapore. I have less(er) bikes now as HDB living doesn’t really allow for having too many. But I’m now a complete cycling nut and not a day passes by without me thinking of riding a bicycle. 

Cycling is a way for me to relax my mind. The constant repetitive action of pedaling, the wind blowing at my face and the exploring of far away places that you don’t normally visit in a car is my escape from the stresses of everyday life. I love cycling for the fact that I can find freedom, meet nice people along the way and get my workout at the same time.

I too do love riding my folding bike to run my errands or to meet friends. I would just ride to the MRT station, fold it up and take the train to where I would like to ride. I have found myself on several occasions riding to my favorite watering hole at Brewerkz for a nice ale on a hot afternoon. On one particular occasion, I had even cycled to meet the MP during his weekly meet the people session to tell him how filthy my estate has become over the past few years.    

Sometime this year, I had a group of about 20 cyclist friends whom I had gotten acquainted with while I was working in Indonesia visiting Singapore. A few friends and I hosted them throughout their 3 days cycling adventure in Singapore. That was real fun. I also had the opportunity to ride with these Indonesian friends in Jakarta (of all places) and in Bandung. I am now looking forward to their next visit to Singapore. 
Brian elder son getting the hang of things 
Brian with his friends
I have 2 young sons and I recently taught my elder son who is four years old to ride a bicycle without trainer wheels. Understandably, I’m very proud of him. He is now also very much into cycling (as he is into transformers) and he looks forward to riding with me on my longbike. I have a Surly Dummy, which is essentially a mountain bike with a longer wheel base and a cargo cum seating area behind the rider. I had to think real hard before buying it as storing it would be a challenge. There were no regrets getting the bike as my elder son and I look forward to every ride together along the park connector near our home. Cycling with my son is now possible as he sits behind me on the cargo rack. He loves going fast and having the wind blowing onto his face. This is the best way to bond with your child.

I do hope my short personal story of my cycling life will inspire someone who has never ridden a bike for many years to begin riding again. It’s the simpler things in life that are really fulfilling. Family. Friends. Food. Fun. Fitness. Cycling is what gels these 5 Fs together for me. Cycling is for everyone. Do try it.


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