KUALA LUMPUR: Cycling is a tie that binds Leon Jackson and his wife Alicia Teoh, and the couple believes it can also build a stronger nation.
“It has allowed me to form meaningful friendships and join communities that I would otherwise have nothing in common with,” said Jackson, group chief innovation officer at IT multinational Strateq Group.
They formed the W3 Cycling Club with their friends, and have gone on many riding expeditions.
“Cycling has taken me places I would never have gone otherwise – quaint villages, scenic hillsides and dense rainforest trails that led to pristine streams and waterfalls.
“I have explored small towns and made new friends from all walks of life,” said Teoh, who works in an NGO.
They cycle every weekend in areas like Bukit Cerakah, Ijok, Hulu Langat and even Fraser’s Hill.
Jackson and Teoh, both 39, began cycling in 2012.
“I am 173cm tall and weighed 98kg then, so I was considered obese.
“I wanted to lose weight and tried running and other forms of exercise, but none of it lasted,” Jackson said.
“Alicia was always trying various activities, and one day she brought home a mountain bike.”
Teoh’s new hobby rekindled Jackson’s childhood love for cycling, and one day he came home with a new bike – and soon the couple had a new shared pastime.
They started out exploring the jungle trails in their Setia Alam neighbourhood, then joined neighbourhood rides, bike races, and club or hash rides.
“I lost weight, dropping from 98kg to 67kg within 15 to 18 months.
“With mountain biking, I learned to enjoy the outdoors and to be a tougher person, surviving scrapes and crashes and enduring climbs up difficult hills.
“Road biking taught me mental strength, to endure in races between 160km and 180km,” added Jackson.
Their 12-year-old son has also started showing an interest in cycling.
Ride for Malaysia is an event jointly organised by the Star Media Group and property developer Sunsuria Bhd to inspire national unity and patriotism in the run-up to National Day.
The event flags off at 6.30am on July 30 at Sunsuria City.
It will be a great opportunity for people of all ages and cultural backgrounds to come together, enjoy the outdoors and explore Putrajaya South.
For more information and to register, go to sites.thestar.com.my/rideformalaysia/.
For group bookings, please call The Star at 03-7967 1388 and ask for Events.