Insights + interviews

Riding For Charity: In Conversation With Peter Sng

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We interview 63-year-old retiree Peter Sng about his passion in long-distance cycling.

As the oldest participant to complete the first Kidney Dialysis Foundation (KDF) Millennium Ride in 2014, Peter is an inspiration to all, combing both his passion and charity in one good cause. Having picked cycling up five years ago, Peter serves as a role model as he proves how a physically demanding activity like cycling is not age-specific. Find out more about Peter’s active lifestyle and what he does to train for his long distance rides.

AA: Firstly Mr Sng, what made you decide to pick cycling up? How did you overcome the age barrier to take up something as physically demanding as long distance cycling?

PS: I only started cycling seriously five years ago and my first long distance ride was the Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) Charity ride at Bintan (Indonesia) in 2013 which was about 90km. Being able to complete that ride was a great achievement for me and that spurred me on to do more long distance rides, mostly coupled with fund-raising purposes. I now ride three times a week with Team Midpoint, covering about 250km in total. I’ll also ride with a buddy if the weather permits and if we have the time to go on the road. I believe that age is only a number. When I decided to pursue cycling seriously, I was determined to not let my age be a barrier to my enjoyment of the activity. I really don’t feel old when I am on my bike. With any physically demanding sports, you need to build up the stamina and the mental strength needed to endure the grueling workout. Best of all, I absolutely enjoy the experience of going long distance. It is a very challenging experience indeed.

AA: What inspired you to cycle such a long distance for charity? What do you feel about being able to cycle for a good cause?

PS: In the first place, it is a blessing to be able to cycle at my age. I was actually spurred on by a scathing remark from a fellow cyclist who said I was crazy to even think of completing the 1,000km ride at my age. I wanted to prove him wrong, so I decided to try and complete the arduous ride.

AA: Before you started cycling, were there any other activities you were already participating in to maintain an active lifestyle?

PS: Before cycling, I was swimming regularly to keep fit and to alleviate my back pain.

AA: What do you do to train for Epic Cyclist’s coming 1000km KDF Millennium Ride? What are some challenges you face when training for such long distance rides and how do you overcome them?

PS: I ride more frequently with adequate rest in between rides. I even ride under hot sunny conditions to increase my ability to adapt to such conditions. I also make sure that I eat well and have lots of fruits and vegetables. I also take supplements and consume more nuts.

AA: How has cycling regularly benefited your health and well being as a whole?

PS: My health has improved tremendously overall. I hardly get sick, I sleep better, and mentally I am more alert and less stressed. The beer belly is also gone and I feel lighter and fitter.

AA: Besides cycling for a good cause, what else do you hope to see yourself achieve in the years to come?

PS: I just hope to continue riding for as long as I possibly can. On one hand I am helping myself to stay active while supporting a good cause. On the other hand, I also want to engage with the community by marrying my passion pursuit with helping the needy.

AA: What are some words of encouragement you would like to share with other seniors who are interested in taking up a new activity that may be physically demanding?

PS: I can only say that it’s important to understand your body and to never give up. If you don’t give it a try or even think about pursuing any demanding sport, the opportunity will be lost forever. Age is never an excuse for not attempting to enjoy the freedom that life as a senior offers. Lastly, it’s all in the mind when you think you can’t do it because you’re too old.




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