Why everyone is jumping on the cycling bandwagon

By Ahmed Wafi

Bicycles are taking over the streets! Maybe it’s time for you to get one?

Cycling has been part and parcel of everyone’s lives ever since they were invented over 200 years ago. Remember when you got your first bike? It was fun cycling around the neighbourhood until it got dark (coming home late to find your mother waiting with a rotan was not).

Apart from the obvious health benefits (cycling is gentler on the joints compared to running), there are a host of reasons why you should take up the sport... but what many would consider to be the main reason is simple: It’s fun!

Wind in your face, going at speeds you never thought you could reach, getting flashy clothes, the satisfying feeling of completing a gruesome climb... it’s no wonder more and more people are jumping on the bandwagon.

For Riad Asmat, CEO of AirAsia Malaysia and avid cyclist of over 30 years, he’s happy to see more bicycles on the road because “people used to look at cyclists funny because there would only be a handful of people dressed in weird tights but now there are thousands!” he jokes while speaking exclusively to GRADUAN. To him, cycling is a form of escapism from the stresses that come with managing a multiple million-dollar airline company, what more, in the middle of a global pandemic.

From riding around his neighbourhood with friends to cycling through the roads of London where he was pursuing his career. The young-at-heart 49-year-old has seen just about everything there is to see in the cycling world. He even raced in several high-profile cycling events including a 210km ride that took a gruelling 11 hours! “The last 10km of the ride felt like three weeks,” Riad says.

The mental strength built from the sport helps him in his daily work life, as well as discipline and attention to detail. “Before every ride, I’ll check my bike to see if everything is in place but in order to do that, I’ll need to know what needs to be in place and what to look out for. Similarly, before going into a meeting – be it with external parties or an internal meeting – I ensure my team and I are ready and I expect the other parties involved in the meeting to come prepared too,” he says.

To Riad, his approach in work is similar to his cycling. Identify the problem, find the solution, and if he can’t fix it on his own, get the necessary team to get it done. Immediately.

So why pick up cycling? Riad shares the same sentiment as other cyclists: It’s fun. “It’s also a great way to build camaraderie. I’ve met so many different people from all walks of life through cycling and it’s one of the best things about cycling – it brings people together,” he says.

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