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Nothing beats cycling

RasAngela W / Khmer Times Share:
Regular training to enhance physical endurance is a must in cycling. Photo: Supplied

Someone once asked me: what’s your philosophy for healthy living?

To me, “healthy living” doesn’t take much effort, honestly. For instance, follow the mantra of never “too much” or “too little” in terms of eating or exercising. Doing it excessively in either way brings more harm than good… but then, sometimes if we never try we will never know. Be fearless but conscientious. Nevertheless, having a regular activity which is positive to your mental attitude is a must.

Ever since I was a kid, I loved to cycle but adult life kept me away until July 2016. It was when I was diagnosed with degeneration of my spinal discs due to excessive weight-lifting. That was when I returned to cycling. But before I could truly explore cycling and just after a month I took to the saddle, a serious mishap occurred during a night ride in Malaysia. The accident had even left a permanent scar on my center forehead and fractured a few of my facial bones.

Many people thought I would give up cycling but my decision to stick with it was approved with many blessings.

Physical injury can be healed with time but emotional trauma is an individual effort to overcome and get over with. My cycling journey started in September 2016 when I represented a bicycle brand while sharing my story as an inspiration for newcomers. Cycling does not only get better with physical training but also improves mental resi-lience and enriches one’s emotional state. Besides, cycling is also a mode of transportation which carries us off to wander on any route in an ideal pace.

Cycling is not as easy as it looks to begin with. It requires determination to keep pedaling to go far. Therefore, there’s a saying: “You can rest but never quit”.

In order to live up to that expectation, I have, myself, persevered during days when my physical self was worn out from a relentless long-distance cycling expedition and times when I was stranded in heavy downpour or rolling through pitch black mountains. I never knew I could survive all these challenges until I did it all.

One of the toughest trips I had was the 1,200-kilometer distance in Chiang Rai, Thailand, with a total of 20,000 meters ascending elevation in seven long days. Putting it simply, it was cycling from Phnom Penh to Bangkok and back, and climbing twice the height of Mount Everest! Countless times I wanted to give up but I just endured the pain. But it was the most precious experience I could ever have in life.

I am not a professional cyclist but given the chance, I try to compete in several races around Southeast Asia. I am passionate in both travel and history, too. Therefore, speed is not always the subject in my cycling stories. In this era, gadgets such as smartphones and GPS devices come in handy when you are packing your bike panniers.

In May 2017, I had attempted a self-supported cycling tour with my girlfriend from Phnom Penh to make a return loop across South Vietnam. I must admit the journey was very challenging but nothing beats the courageous boost after each day when we looked back on how far we had pedaled through.

Nonetheless, regular training to prepare your physical endurance is important. Do contact your local cycling community on how you can join them on weekend rides. It’s also a good way to get to know other cyclists. I look forward to sharing with Good Times2 readers some of my most interesting cycling stories in my next column.

RasAngela was Miss Malaysia Asia Pacific 2004. She is now a rising female cycling name in South East Asia and offers great motivations and inspirations through her writings alongside with her intriguing cycling stories. RasAngela also represents many cycling related brands as well as actively promoting sport events in the region. Follow her blog at www.rasangela.com and Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/rasangelawong

In cycling, you can rest but never quit. Photo: Supplied
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