Sarah Tan from KHCycle dishes out some of her tips for aspiring women cyclists and shows us that it’s possible to go far as long as you keep pushing on!
1. How did your interest in sports and cycling start?
I started running just to lose weight in secondary school. Then I got hooked on playing soccer and basketball because the guys in my class were playing to destress and I wanted to join.
Later on, I eventually joined the JC soccer team, followed by the NUS team. In uni, to improve my “value” on the soccer team, I started joining the school cross-country team, which introduced me to competitive running.
Following that, I decided to get out of my comfort zone (& to improve my swim) and joined the aquathlon team.
I only started cycling when I got my bike 3 years ago after starting work. Late 2016, I was selected to join the national training squad for cycling and that was when I picked up competitive cycling.
2. When did your interest in pursuing triathlon started?
I was introduced to triathlon when I was with my aquathlon team because many of my seniors and teammates were into that.
I didn’t have the money to get a bike so I only started after getting my salary.
My seniors helped a lot by teaching me road rules, picking a secondhand bike and other tips.
3. What are some of the major competitions you’ve participated in?
The ASEAN Para-games 2017 Tandem Cycling was my most recent event. I was a pilot for my partner, Emily Lee who is visually handicapped. It feels quite surreal winning a gold medal for this.
It was a relief too because the win did boost our confidence level for the road race and other races further down. I think tandem cycling is a unique sport and hopefully, we can achieve something greater in 2018!
Tandem-cycling at the ASEAN Para-games 2017
Tandem-cycling isn’t easy because it involves 2 person’s effort to coordinate, especially when clipping in while starting.
What makes it more challenging is that my partner is fully visually impaired unlike some others and I have to ensure my communication is very clear for her to catch and understand. We haven’t been training together for a very long time so while we aim high, winning is definitely something to be glad about!
Other than the tandem-cycling event, I also took part in the UCI Tour of Guangxi 2017 under the women national cycling squad; 2015 Dubai International 70.3 triathlon; yearly Trifactor series, and the Metasprint series.
4. How do you juggle cycling/training/work at the same time?
I usually train after work, if I can’t, before work or during lunch. On weekends I try to squeeze in 2 sessions. There’s also quite a bit of commitment involved so you have to be prepared to properly commit to achieving your goals.
5. What are your money-management tips for other female cyclists who want to start racing but don’t have the funds to do so?
I don’t or try not to spend too much on bike and tri stuff as they can be very costly. My first two bikes were secondhand – but, unfortunately, both were involved in accidents.
Only my third bike is brand new and I’m thankful for KHCycle who subsidizes my race fees, attire and bike purchase, and maintenance.
Most things can be bought at a cheaper price on places like togoparts, Carousell, Singapore bike flea market FB group. I definitely saved a lot by only buying when necessary.
6. What are some of the cycling tips you have that can benefit other female cyclists?
Find a ride-buddy. It’s safer if you ride in pairs/group and you’ll feel more motivated too. I usually ride with my university team.
Ladies can also try to learn more about troubleshooting your own bike for e.g. – changing tubes with punctures, washing the bike, adjusting parts etc. There are a few workshops conducted by local bike shops that can help educate them on this.
There’s also plenty of DIY videos online – it can save you a lot of time and is definitely helpful during emergencies.
7. What are your best 5 training tips you follow?
- Look for like-minded people to motivate yourself to train. Training on your own can be boring so if you have friends to accompany you with a common goal, it would help!
- Listen to your body, but have some discernment – there are days which you may be too tired or sick to train and that’s fine but there are days when you just don’t FEEL like training. Sometimes some adrenaline rush would help you feel better after that.
- Short workouts are better than no workouts – short workouts are good to get the heart-pumping, what matters more is quality, not quantity.
- Keep track of your training plan and progress. It will help to keep you motivated and stay goal-oriented.
- Sometimes splurging on attire/accessories may motivate you to train (to make your money’s worth by using your new jersey/helmet/shoes..)
For more ladies’ tips, check these out!:
Shirley Teo’s training tips for women
Differences in training for women cyclists: what you should know
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