The Cycling Family


Everyone in the happiest little planet here is riding with the wind now. Cycling is a great, low-impact way to stay fit and is something that I have enjoyed doing a lot ever since I was just a kid and even now, as a busy mom of three. My only grudge is that we do not have dedicated cyclist lane on our local roads and there are more and more parks that ban cycling in favour of running, jogging, picnics, rollerblading and just doing plain nothing. Ok scratch the last one. 🙂 There are also more parks and hills that are being destroyed in town now in the name of development. Bet you have heard of the impending sad fate of Kiara Hill too. So you know, it bothers me that we don’t care much about such good thing that can bond families. Haven’t they heard of the family that cycles together stays together?

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Oh well, if you ever saw this woman with her bright blue helmet cycling on the side of KL’s busy road, please do slow down in support of my newly reconnected favourite past time.

Back when I was just a kid we had only one really old, big grown-up bicycle that my parents got for my brother which he had cycled on for a few years, sometimes carrying me along on the back passenger seat to the nearest sundry shop. Because my older sister is not the adventurous type, I learned from young that sticking to my eldest brother who was a boy scout packed in a whole lot more fun, laughter and mischiefs than my cross-stitching and reading sis.

Like the time we have ventured into a huge monsoon drain near our house with my sis and some childhood friends only to disperse like a flock of silly birds just moments later being chased by some stray dogs!!! Except for my sis who has YET to get over the petty incident, (I know!!! (Smacking my own forehead in utter disbelief) it’s more than 30 years already!) and dramatically sworn off anymore of such dangerous undertaking, the rest of us pretty much laughed it off and talked ever so fondly about that day being our best venture ever in a drain. 🙂

Anyway, Chris is six years older than me and has a pudgy stomach (notice the present tense of “has”) which I would cling onto from the passenger seat as he set us off paddling on top speed down the slope in front of our house. Feeling the wind in my hair, I would giggle my head off as our bike gathered momentum chasing down cars that are cruising along the street at a thrilling pace, as if we could fly!

A few years later, Chris got a spanking new racing bike that was the uber cool thing for teens of that time, and gladly moved his old bicycle into the store room. After some time, I took pity of it and took it out of its cold storage, gave it a thorough wiping and some good pumping and decided that I would learn how to ride a bike now that Chris couldn’t (and wouldn’t) take me on his racing bike down the slope anymore.

In the next one hour or so, I basically just stood there like a stone staring at the old bulky machine that was standing tall above me and figured that the best way I could ride on it was from my usual passenger seat instead, which was from the back. That way, my long legs could reach the pedals and I could keep my feet on the grounds when I needed to come to a halt.

After getting on to my seat, I struggled to keep my feet on the pedals as I discovered that the bike wouldn’t stand straight unless I have both of my feet planted on the ground. But if I did that, the bike just wouldn’t move without me pedaling along like how Chris did. So I mustered enough courage and forced myself to cycle ftom the rear seat keeping my legs stretched straight and pedaled on. Needless to say, minutes into my first attempt to cycle, I fell disgracefully— a whole lot of times. While I didn’t crack any bones, I got bloodied up and sustained scratches and bruises all over my legs and arms for the next few days. (Unlike kids these days who have an overloaded supply of safety gadgets, we didn’t have cycling helmets and knee pads then) And yet. And yet. You simply couldn’t keep me out of sporty fun as such, could you?

About a week later, my mother was doing her gardening and found me STILL trying to learn to cycle rather unsuccessfully. Being a girl-Tarzan of her time growing up in a small kampong in the north, she was up to a lot of mischiefs during her time but also gathered tonnes of wisdom about riding safely. She told me that I would need to turn in the direction of an anticipated fall to prevent a fall. It didn’t make any sense when I was anxiously learning to balance and was headed towards the drain all at once. I crashed again but two days later, I totally got what mom meant and eagerly pushed the bike to an empty park near our house, picked up enough speed and whoosh, riding just came to be in my life.

And now my small sets are cycling like their mama. Just weeks ago, I had a hard time trying to encourage Pumpkin Mei-Mei to get over her fear of a possible fall from cycling on a two-wheeler. The more she was worried about a fall, the more intimidated she felt about cycling. It took several days of hitching a ride on my bike and plenty more of cajoling before she was willing to learn to ride her own bike.

We had to let her pick up the skill at the speed she was most comfortable at but she has finally mastered cycling after just 3 days of going off her training wheels.

There is only Baby B now who is too young to learn to ride but from the squeals I hear every time he feels the wind in his face as I pack him along cycling in the park, I am guessing this one too, is a cyclist in the making. 🙂

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