My earliest memory of riding a bicycle was when I was just five, and my
father and brother were teaching me how to ride. When my Dad finally let go
of the back of the seat on my bicycle, I was
jubilant. I was riding a bicycle ! However, it was only after
several falls and bruises that I finally learnt to ride a bicycle properly.
Then, in my teenage years I got a motorcycle and later when I got employed,
my motorcycle was replaced by a car. The only time I sued my old bike was
when my car was sent for repair and I had to run errands. Recently, though,
my doctor advised me to get some exercise to control my weight. That was how
I got started on bicycle-riding again, after a lapse of several years. I
took out my old bicycle and placed it on my long driveway. I was looking
forward to the bike ride with some trepidation. I could not imagine myself
barreling down the driveway balanced on two spinning tyres any more. I
climbed onto the seat and started.
I had the same feeling I got as a child
when I first learnt to ride a bicycle -- a feeling of accomplishment and a
sense of complete freedom. I felt the wind blowing in my face and caressing
my hair. From then on, cycling became one of my favorite hobbies. I decided
to buy a brand new bicycle. I bought one with black and yellow stripes. I
cycled around my neighborhood for more than a week. Then I decided to take a
longer ride. I asked my friend, Jeff, to join me. Jeff suggested that we
embark on a two-day cycling trip to the countryside. It was my first bike
tour and I was feeling really enthusiastic. I brought a bag of clothes, a
bath towel, a spare tyre, a book to read and some food items.
early in the morning from my house in Ipoh and cycled towards Kuala Kangsar.
We traversed the busy roads of the city
and cycled along the shady paths. The full 360-degree view I got when riding
the bicycle gave me the opportunity to sense the world around me. I could
near, see, smell, and touch things that I never had the opportunity to do
when I was boxed up in my car. with the cool breeze blowing and the morning
sun hidden behind the fluffy clouds, we pedaled hard. On both sides were
The first few hours of our journey were relatively easy. We
prided ourselves on our stamina. With the wind on our side an the shade
provided by the trees, cycling was a breeze. However, it was when we were
ascending a steep hill that we found our stamina put to the test. To our
amazement, the bikes were becoming increasingly more difficult to control.
Packed with gear, the front of our bikes wobbled from side to side as we
struggled to gain control. I realized that I was carrying a lot of stuff
that I did not need. The ride uphill was energy-sapping and we stopped at a
number of places to rest.
I realized that cycling a long distance was not
as easy as I though. If I was younger, I was sure I could have done it. But
when you are in your late twenties and overweight, it is not fun. My
challenge was perhaps made tougher as I had to carry an additional 20 kilo
backpack on my back. I was glad when it was time to rest our weary bodies.
I had a hard time waking up the next morning. When I finally woke up on the
second day of the tour, I felt as if my legs had doubled in size. I had
never experienced pains quite as severe as this. we had to delay our return
trip by a day as we needed time to recuperate from the adventures of our
The next morning was not much easier. But as the day passed,
the leg pains went away. By the time I reached the outskirts of Kuala
Kangsar, I did not feel any pain at all. I was having fun and enjoying the
ride. Our return journey was much easier than I had anticipated. we were
going downhill most of the time and the weather was fine. It was neither too
hot nor too cold. We glanced at our odometers and realized that we had
clocked 50 kilometers -- it was the perfect incentive to continue the rest
of our journey.