Monitoring your heart rate while cycling is a practice advocated by avid cyclist Dr Alfred Goh Yong Soon.
The Sitiawan, Perak-based obstetrician and gynaecologist says: “I see a lot of sportsmen who just collapse and die during sports.
“Sometimes, cyclists or other sportsmen have a very competitive mind – they want to win at all costs, and they don’t bother about their heart rate. So now, we are into monitoring our heart rate.”
Dr Goh, 47, who initially started cycling with just his wife, Dr Diong Mee Nee, a 47-year-old general practitioner, now has a cycling group of around 50 people.
They cycle for about two hours every weekday morning before work along a set route of about 30km, and most have a fitness tracking device to monitor their heart rates.
On the weekends, they like to explore the areas around Sitiawan, like Pantai Remis, Pasir Panjang and Beruas, typically averaging about 50km-60km.
Both Dr Goh and Dr Diong have also joined cycling competitions, with Dr Goh achieving his goal of completing a century ride (100 miles or 160.9km) in 2015 and Dr Diong going even further with a 300km ride.
Dr Goh shares that he started cycling in 2012, about three years after he was diagnosed with a prolapsed intervertebral disc, which caused nerves in his back to be compressed.
The then-active badminton player had to switch to a non-weight-bearing sport after his diagnosis, and preferred cycling to swimming.
It also helped that his 70-year-old father-in-law is into cycling, averaging about 20km-30km every day.
One of the things Dr Goh enjoys best about cycling is the fact that he has lost about 20kg since he started cycling regularly.
“It is a good exercise to lose weight,” he says.
Dr Goh said that he also enjoys the scenery when they cycle.
“If you cycle at home, the ‘scenery’ is your room. If you cycle outside, you won’t get bored – that is what motivates you,” he says, adding that he and his group typically cycle past padi fields, the beach and sea, as well as rubber and palm oil plantations.
He notes that the Ride for Malaysia event is an excellent way to help promote cycling.
“Cycling is among the best sports activities. A lot of people avoid cycling because they say there is a lot of traffic and it’s dangerous.
“But as cyclists, we know how to anticipate traffic and take care of ourselves – it’s about how you anticipate danger and manage it,” he says.