Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Rider Profile - Alvin Wong

On boat to Pengerang in LCSG ride on 4 Dec 11

Good day Dudes and Dudettes! I’m Alvin and am very happy to share my riding profile with fellow riders in LCSG. I am a civil servant working in MINDEF. An Aeronautical Engineer by training but my job now involves managing and running projects for the SAF. I am married to Poh Choo and we have three lovely kids, Avril (13 yrs), Andres (12 yrs) and Aric (8 yrs). I am a bit of a movie buff, with a sizeable collection of movies in DVD and Blu-Ray formats. I enjoy watching them with my kids during our weekend meals when at home. Otherwise, am just like any other daddies in the weekends playing the role of a chauffeur for the family. Other hobbies and sports I indulge myself in are photography, console gaming (PS3), running and occasionally swimming. For some unknown reason, I suck big time in all games that involves a spherical object. (Taiwoon: no you dont:) 
National Day ride to Changi Village
When I started cycling
I first started cycling was when I was around 6 years old while staying with my grandparents in Block 110 Jalan Bukit Merah. I recalled riding on my olive green steel framed tricycle along the common corridor of my grandparent's HDB apartment . It was fun riding and speeding down the corridor with the other kids of my neighbours. I started to learn how to ride on two wheels only when I was around 10 years old. I recalled then that I took the leap of faith in learning how to balance the bike by rolling down a slope near my cousin's place on his Chopper. It was scary, but the thrill and the 'wind on your face and hair' feeling was unforgettable. After that, cycling took place only with my school friends along East Coast Park (ECP) with rented bicycles when we have our class gatherings for BBQs.

It was only recently in Sep 11 that I became active in cycling again. This was in part because long distance running is no longer a joy for me due to the condition of the slipped disc in my back. I find cycling is a good form of exercise (especially for my kids) and a very good way to spend time and bond with the family.

How I came to get to know LCSG
I first came across LCSG when I googled for a local cycling group to join after my wife and I acquired our first bicycles. Tai Woon's blog came up and it then led me to the infamous LCSG Face Book page where the people are friendly and helpful to noobies like me. Our first ride with LCSG was in Oct/Nov 11 where we explored the areas around Balestier. That was also when I found out that my primary and secondary school pal Darren Siow was in LCSG too. It was an excellent ride experience for my wife and I. We knew we joined the right cycling group because the people were very friendly. The ride was very well organised and people were safety conscious and helpful in looking after the weaker riders like us.
Friends found friends after a loooong time. Go SJI! 
My rides
Yellow Swissbike XT MTB. My wife and I bought one each in Sep 11 as our first bicycles to start our riding routine along ECP PCN in the weekends. The folding feature of the bike is what attracted us as we could dump the bikes into our car boot. We sold one later to fund a Brompton for my wife to bike to work.

Turkish Green/Cobalt Blue M6R Brompton. We bought this in Oct 11 as my wife's bike to work vehicle. From then, we were attracted to the compact folding bike.

Yellow M6R Brompton. Well, my daughter started to join us in our weekend rides along ECP and we decided to get our 2nd Brompton for Avril. I can also now ride with my wife on the Bromptons on weekends too.

RAW M8R Brompton. We thought we had enough bicycles but we were wrong. My elder son wants to join us too. I bought the RAW M6R during a leisure trip to Hong Kong  with my wife in Feb 12 and modified this to 8-speed. It was meant to be my personal bike but my son practically stakes this bike as his now since he liked the twistgrip shifting of the bike.

Aleoca Single Speed Kids Bike. Since most of the family member has one bike each, Aric complaint that he was left out. So we decided to get him a kid’s bike from Giant Hypermart to try as he just picked up cycling. He loved it but the bike looks like it is breaking up soon. We are now shopping for a Dahon Dove (6-speed) for him and we hope to get this by Christmas as a present for him.

Midnight Blue Pashley Moulton TSR. This is to be my personal bike and is also by far my favourite bike among all. I wanted something lighter and faster than the Swissbike for long distance rides. There were many candidates I was looking at including the Tyrell but I was sold on the idea by Encik George Lim. I acquired a modified frame through an overseas vendor and then fitted the bike with components to my preference. One word to describe the bike, awesome! It runs and climbs really well!

My cycle kakis and routes
The Westies Warriors!
I seldom have to the chance to join the LCSG Sunday rides due to my kids' programme on Sundays. Sunday rides for me are only possible during school holidays or when special visa is approved by my dear wife. Whenever possible, I will cycle with my family along the ECP PCN on Saturday mornings. On weekday nights, I ride with my fellow Westie Warriors. They are a bunch fun loving, bike crazed guys who love to ride, eat, and shop in Taobao very hard. Our usual routes include the flats along Jalan Buroh/Tuas and the many slopes in the Southern and Western regions. Some of our Warriors are specialists in finding slopes to climb! Most of the time, we will end our ride with a makan session to fill our empty fuel tank, sore leg muscles from the climbs and sore cheek muscles from laughter. Riding with them has improved my fitness very much. Learnt a lot from my fellow warriors but my bike handling skills still sucks big time.

Tips to share with fellow riders

Safety. Always ride with a safety conscious mind-set. Zero accident is possible if you put your heart and mind in it. This includes your personal and equipment (bike) safety while on the road. For personal safety, make sure you are well or fit before the ride, and always observe road traffic rules. Constantly check your blind-spots especially when nearing road junctions, filter lanes and when you are just about to move off. For equipment, make sure your attire and bike are fit for the road and bring your spare tubes, tools, repair and medical kits. Your riding buddies may not have the same spares for your bike.

Other things to share. “If not now, when?”. Learnt this quote from some literature while on course. A good quote to follow in deciding what you want to do in your life. This includes when you want to ride, what you want to eat after the ride, and lastly but most importantly, when to buy the new bike you have been eyeing for a long time.

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