CYCLING may be just a hobby to some but in Ipoh, several cycling enthusiasts have assimilated it into their lifestyle.
For Khairul Izzat Jamaluddin, 30, cycling has given him the opportunity to meet fellow cyclists who share the same passion.
“In 2014, together with some friends, I founded Versussika_fxd, a group of cyclists in Ipoh.
“Occasionally, we organised cycling events during weekend nights.
“It started with just local cyclists but we now have expatriates joining us as well, ” he said.
Khairul Izzat said when the movement control order (MCO) was implemented, the group had to turn to other activities.
“While some of the cyclists we know still cycled during the earlier part of the MCO, eventually everyone just stayed home.
“The MCO did not stop us from cycling.
“We used an equipment called a roller that allowed us to continue cycling without moving, ” he said.
“We also did several challenges on social media such as the ‘track stand’ challenge just to see how many tricks one can do using a bicycle.
“As we are all now allowed to have cycling activities, I feel there are more people who have taken it up, ” he added.
Khairul Izzat believes that most people take up cycling as a form of exercise and to lead a healthier lifestyle.
“We can even see some celebrities who have started cycling, influencing their fans.
“I also notice more cycling-based events being held, ” he said.
“Recently in August, a swap-meet among cyclists in Malaysia was held by Pedal Malaya, a well-known cycling group in the country, ” he added.
With a growing number of cyclists in town, Khairul Izzat said he hoped that the state government would allocate more cycling-friendly facilities.
“We have seen videos of cyclists riding on busy roads.
“Maybe this is the chance for our state government to consider widening the road or adding more bicycle lanes.
“There are bicycle lanes in Ipoh but only in certain areas.
“With more of such lanes, more people can start this healthy activity and reduce carbon footprint, ” he said.
Khairul Izzat said he hoped that cyclists would also prioritise their safety.
“Cycling should be fun and also safe.
“I have seen many cyclists buying expensive bikes but not wearing any safety gear, ” he noted.
“And since we are still in the recovery MCO period, we still need to follow the Covid-19 standard operating procedures.
“Therefore, for those who are just starting or wish to try cycling, I advise them to do research and meet with cycling groups to know more about safety, ” he added.
Former state cyclist Nurul Afiqah Uzma Marah Affendi shares the same sentiment on the need to be safe.
“They should have the basic equipment like a helmet, gloves and special cycling shoes.
“Once we follow the rules and put our safety first, there should be no problem, ” said the 20-year-old.
Nurul Afiqah said she understood a lot of people were eager to take up cycling but were unsure of the safety rules.
“It will be great if there is a place in the city for cyclists, especially the new ones to gather and cycle, ” she said.
She occasionally joins cycling events.
For a 37-year-old tuition teacher, who only wished to be known as Kee, cycling has helped him lose weight.
“I have never cycled before and took it up as a hobby during the MCO.
“I bought myself a bicycle and a roller online so I could cycle at home, ” he said.
“During the MCO, I would cycle between one and two hours daily and have lost a few kilogrammes, ” he added.
Kee said cycling had also helped him make more friends and build his confidence.
“Before this, I was not too keen on doing any exercises but when the MCO took place, I could not tutor and got bored.
“I saw some social media posts by my friends about cycling and it got me interested.
“I have been cycling a lot since then and my plan is to try and join an inter-state cycling event in the future.
“I think this activity is suitable for everyone regardless of their age, ” he added.