I FINALLY TOOK THE PLUNGE! I CYCLED TO WORK FOR THE PAST WEEKS...30KMS PER DAY
WRITTEN BY KELVIN TONG, COUNTRY MANAGER AT EURODRUG LABORATORIES
DEC 31, 2019 @ 8.20AM
I finally took the plunge! I cycle to work for the past weeks. About 30kms each day, three times weekly.
Cycling to work= 40 minutes. Driving to work= 40 minutes. Yes, I am surprised too.
The exhilarating morning adrenaline rush, acceleration and deceleration, heighten senses of the surroundings, and weaving through the traffic are very addictive. I have always admired the Dutch for cycling to work, and it’s one of my check list before the year ends. It's not only about mother earth though, but injecting fun into work. Cycling to work in Malaysia is uncommon, as most drive and are wary of the road condition and traffic. Oh yes, the weather too.
I wake up earlier now, take the roads less traveled, sweat a ton, shower and feeling extremely fresh, energetic and ready to take on the day!
In the process, I realised there are seven things which I could correlate with work.
1. Just do it!
Everyone was discouraging me. “It’s about your safety” they said. “It’s too inconvenient” they said. Now that I am doing it, it’s not that hard at all! At times, you need to believe in yourself and just do it.
2. Don’t ruminate.
Closely related to the previous point. I regretted I didn’t cycle to work earlier in the year as I put too much energy thinking and considering what others might say and didn’t actually do it. I now realised they are only excuses masqueraded as ‘thinking thoroughly’.
“What time should I start cycling?”, “What if it rains?”, “Is my bike suited for commuting?”, “Where do I start?”, “Where would I shower?”, “What changes do I need to do to my bicycle?”. The list never ends.
Sometimes, it’s good to consider all the questions and ensure that we leave no stones unturned in our planning and strategies. But it's also critical to start.
The sun's up and sunny...starting my ride.
3. When in doubt, ask.
My only resource was Google Map. There were some routes where cars actually burst their speedometers. It was not ideal. So I reached out to my cyclist friends and voila, there is indeed someone who travels exactly the same route, in the opposite direction.
We exchanged information, he guided me, showed me tips and location of potholes and danger spots.
And he showed me a route which has less cars and safer. I never considered this route, just didn’t. And now I knew it was my ‘blind spot’.
Sometimes, just ask for help. And it’s OK. It makes things so much easier and there are a lot of people out there who are more willing (than we think) to help us along the way in the corporate journey. It’s not about ego, but about learning and humility. Our past experiences could be a blind spot to our future, so it’s good to always exchange information.
4. Start small, review, improve, repeat.
It rained cats and dogs the first day I cycled. I hesitated but continued cycling. Some things were wet in my bag. Lesson learned. Wrap the content in your backpack with a plastic to water proof them.
On the second day, I forgot to charge my lights. Lesson learned. Leave the USB wire in the office to charge it.
We just need to review and reflect where we made mistakes and where we need to improve. Execute it and move forward.
5. Communicate clearly
Cycling alongside tons of moving metals may sound daunting, (95% of the journey is without a motorlane) but communication with them makes you more visible and allow you to maneuver and position yourself more easily and safely.
And so I have my blinker lights (super bright 900 lumens at the front, and super bright tail red light at the rear) to ‘communicate’ my presence. Hand gestures waving to indicate ‘thank you’ or ‘hold!’ allows me to cycle quite fast and garner the respect from others. I too, appreciate drivers who utilise their indication signal lights.
Communication and courtesy is important in the workplace too. Communicate clearly and you garner respect and the actions you want. No or unclear communication and you get all sorts of erratic responds.
6. Be different
Cycling to work in Malaysia is itself different from the norm. Drivers and I may have the same destination, but I utilise different resources to achieve my objective. It’s important to be constantly different and always find the niche to which we could play and position ourselves in the company and market. This is especially true to marketers.
I don’t have the luxury of going back home if I forget to take something. I now spend more time planning my days and customers' appointments. When I need to see customers, I drive. But I try to line all those appointments back to back, so that I can maximize my driving days.
In the heat of battle and our everyday business, we sometimes forget to take time off to plan. This is critical and actually could save us a lot of time when done right.
My pride and joy. There are always more space for more bikes!
While it may be easier said than done, the process of commuting will constantly remind me of the seven points every day. Do I like it? I love it! My next step is to take detours of 28kms, making the daily mileage to about 55kms.
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