The series of training clinics hosted by Tribob ended last week and I had a chance to attend the last intermediate clinic which consisted of some route training.
Low Ji Wen, the coach for the clinic, was previously a cross-country runner but a feet problem forced him to switch to another sport. Finding the solution in cycling, Ji Wen was 15 when he started cycling.
He went on to join the national cycling team and has been competing in the sport for the past four years. The 22-year-old is now a full-time coach, after leaving junior college to pursue a career in cycling.
“It’s not difficult to pick up cycling. I was a long-distance runner so I picked up competitive cycling pretty quickly. When I’m not coaching, I help out at a bike shop,” said Ji Wen.
Coaching the Tribob cycling clinics in the lead-up to the OCBC Cycle Singapore 2011, Ji Wen shares some of his insights…
Cheryl Tay: How important is it to pick up the right skills and techniques in order to prepare for the OCBC Cycle Singapore?
Low Ji Wen: Because it is a big event with a lot of cyclists, participants should learn to be aware of their surroundings. They should also have the basic skills before joining the competition, basic skills such as turning and emergency braking.
CT: Are there more males or females who have attended your trainings?
JW: For the intermediate trainings, there are more males. But for the beginner trainings, there are an equal number of females and males, or maybe even more females sometimes.
CT: Is it generally easier to coach males or females or kids?
JW: I wouldn’t say any is easier. Kids tend to have a short attention span and are not familiar with the science behind bicycles and all. However, they are very gutsy and will get up to continue cycling after they fall. Males tend to be egoistic and are always striving to be better, whereas females tend to ride within their own abilities.
CT: What benefits does cycling as a sport bring?
JW: It is a cool form of exercise. People are getting lazier and more inactive, sitting in front of the television and computer all day long. Cycling is quite an exhilarating sport, especially when you go at higher speeds.
CT: What do you think can be done about safety for cyclists on the road in Singapore?
JW: The 1.5M campaign helped. A lot of accidents on the road take place because cars don’t give enough space to cyclists.
CT: How do you think one can improve safety as a cyclist?
JW: Cyclists should have the basic skills before heading on the road.
CT: What are some tips you have for those who did not have the opportunity to attend your training but will be participating in the OCBC Cycle Singapore?
JW: Keep training and I can’t emphasise enough on the need to brush up on basic skills.
Bright and early on a Saturday morning, these participants gathered at East Coast Parkway for the training session which culminated at the F1 pit building. Raring to go, I spoke to two of these participants.. stay tuned for my next post with their interviews!