SEPANG: Aside from sightseeing, pedalling about in Malaysia offers cyclists an opportunity to meet up with a diverse cross section of people, said actor and radio personality Patrick Teoh.
“It dispels a lot of the prejudices that urban folk might have about many things Malaysian,” said Teoh who went on a bicycle tour from Selangor to Johor recently.
A household name because of his career in radio, TV, stage and films, spanning more than five decades, he started cycling three years ago after a friend gave him a used tricycle.
He now encourages as many Malaysians as he can to cycle because it “helps you see things from a different perspective”.
“Being closer to everything when you’re on a bicycle, you can see things around you that you might otherwise miss when driving about in a car.
“You get exercise so it’s good for health. Cycling also helps lessen the number of cars on the road and you leave a smaller carbon footprint,” he said.
Teoh was one of the celebrity cyclists present at the Ride for Malaysia launch at Sunsuria City, Sepang, on May 26.
The event, scheduled for July 30, is organised by Star Media Group and property developer Sunsuria Bhd, with encouraging national unity and patriotism as its prime goals.
There’s another reason why Teoh took up cycling – it gives him the added mobility and flexibility that he otherwise would not have due to his weak, polio-afflicted legs and poor balance.
He contracted the disease when he was eight years old but did not let it hinder him.
“The disease deformed my legs and weakened the muscles; as a result I walk with a limp and have very minimal strength in those limbs,” said Teoh, who has hosted radio shows since the 1970s and is still on the airwaves via BFM, a business radio station.
“But I got on with it. And all these years, it has never bothered me. It still doesn’t.”
He cycles at least three times a week, covering between 25km and 40km each time. He also joins in any rides organised by cycling groups for specific purposes.
“I also go on cycling tours once or twice a year,” he said.
He cycles to and from work, as well as around places looking for good Malaysian food, in addition to challenging himself in hill-climbing events.
He said the roads could generally be improved by having wider shoulders.
“And, of course, more bike lanes,” he added.
During his recent cycling tour, Teoh found out just how many people recognise him.
“Surprisingly, a lot of people!” he said, laughing. “Many were shrieking with delight at realising that I was this guy or that guy in this or that movie.”
Ride for Malaysia will flag off at 6.30 am on July 30 at Sunsuria City. There is a Fun Ride of 30km and a Family Ride of 5.5km. For more info and registration see: http://sites.thestar.com.my/rideformalaysia