LEVELING UP WITH THE "RIDE" COACH
Bikezilla is always on the lookout for individuals that inspire or contribute to the cycling community. These individual could be riders, coaches, product owners, event organizers, campaign advocates, trend setters or simply community peer group leaders. One thing these folks have in common is – what they did have positive impacts on cycling community. We spoke to Jessen Lee of Ride School on cycling and the cycling community-at-large. This is what Jessen has to say …
THE CHIEF COACH
Name: Jessen Lee
Where are you from: Kuala Lumpur
Where do you stay currently: Kuala Lumpur
Occupation: Cycling Coach / Triathlon Coach / Fitness trainer
What bike discipline do you specialize in: Mountain Bike & Road Cycling
Sponsors : Ngee Cycles Pedalspot, Jakroo Max Bikes Trading
Team: Peloton 2K
Years riding: 20 yrs, 15 yrs of racing.
Current Bike: Willier Rubino rosso
Riding Achievements: 8th at XTERRA MALAYSIA (Group Category)
Favourite Riding Spots/Trails: Bukit Kiara Trails, Putrajaya Challenge Park, Genting Sempah to Gohtong Jaya, Genting. Hulu Langat.
VIEWS OF A BIKER
Why do you choose to teach cycling as a profession?
I realized that there is a demand for coaching in cycling. I wanted to contribute to the growth of cycling in Malaysia after all the years of enjoyment cycling has given me. And I also believe a cyclist can achieve better progress through good coaching, just like all other sports.
What do you think a beginner rider most need to learn about?
Safety, balance, and bike control.
What are the few main techniques that a beginner should learn? And followed by what intermediate techniques?
Beginners should learn to balance a bike proficiently and maybe single-hand riding. For intermediate riders, they should focus more on technical drills and good reaction skills. As a rider progresses, they would probably ride faster and that would require faster reaction.
Many people think that starting to learn to cycle through Street Riding would give a good foundation to all kinds of riding when a rider eventually switch to other disciplines. What are your views?
I would say yes, street riding would give a good foundation. But it also depends on how far street riding can help push that rider's limit. The motivation might push him/her to ride Trial, BMX or Downhill which in turn pushes him/her to acquire more skills and techniques.
Can a beginner excel by riding and learning on his own?
Not as fast as getting a coach. As a coach we also act as a mirror. We can spot errors in the riding compared to trial-and-error which could result is crashing when riding on our own. Practice is vital so that the rider can get comfortable and could learn more about how the bike behaves. It's all about object manipulation.
What kind of riders benefit from biking school lessons the most?
Mostly beginners and intermediate riders. We do coach on some technical trail riding for the more advanced members. It's very important to get the basics and foundations right before heading off to anything more advanced.
What are your views and outlook about cycling as (1) a sport, (2) leisure pastime for Singapore? And what about for Asia?
Cycling is nothing new to the world. I believe that it can make a bigger impact on our lives as more people realize that humans can travel more on bikes than on cars. This is especially so for Singapore where train systems are quite efficient. As affluence increase, the population became more concerned with staying fit and healthy and that open more doors for cycling to be supported by the governments. Like many developed countries which already have many talent programs, Asia should focus on some form of Research & Development on cycling as a sport. Especially in terms of physiological and the managerial side of it. I believe Asia has a lot to offer. We just need the right support for growing talents.
What are your views on the facilities and infrastructures of cycling in Singapore?
I think Singapore has a couple of great trails, and riding parks. As I'm not from Singapore. I may have missed some details, but my impression is that – the Government does take some initiatives in providing the necessary template for Singaporeans. The next level would be on the education of rider safety, especially for road riders.
What do you think can be improved ? Is there any country we should role-model after when it comes to building a cycle friendly country?
Many western countries are more rider-friendly, especially in Europe. Copenhagen, for instance, is a good role model where majority of the population ride bikes to commute or for leisure. I really think that educating the public on the relationship between large vehicles and bicycles is vital. I noticed in many developing nations, the infrastructures are already in place but it always seem like there are insufficient enforcement and education. It's like buying a machine but not knowing how to operate it. So education and enforcement is vital.
Advise for the (1) Beginner rider (2) intermediate rider?
For beginners, learn how to control the bike and balance it well. No Helmet, No Ride!
For intermediate riders, make sure your foundation skills are solid before heading into anything more extreme. And remember No Helmet, No Ride.
Lastly, training videos and articles cannot replace a coach. Get a coach and head out, you'll be amazed what you'll discover about yourself.
THE RIDE SCHOOL
Since June 2013, Ride School has been conducting cycling coaching that are safe, fun and professional. They are currently the only cycling coach school in Singapore that coaches mountain biking, road cycling and triathlon. Besides the theory and practical aspects of cycling, Ride School also strive to enrich their students' cycling experience by helping them with technical and purchase advice, sometimes to the point of bringing them to the bike shop to acquire their very own bikes.
Ride School's coaches are carefully selected and follow a structured teaching plan which allows students to enjoy the lessons fully while learning valuable tricks and tips that will allow them to continue to enjoy and explore the sport fully. Till date, Ride School had coached hundred of students of varying skill levels and the school is happy to see a steady growth in the mountain bike community.
Currently, the school is still running at a comfortable population of average 5 – 10 new students and 20-25 existing students still on course with the school per month. But they are happy with as the coaches are currently filling up their teaching time slots. They maintain a small class maximum size of 1 coach to 3 students during each session. This ensures adequate attention for each student during coaching. There is no such thing as a shy or incapable cyclist to them as their forte is meeting people new to biking.
Most of the lessons would be conducted by Jessen Lee unless specified. Jessen has 20 years of cycling experience and 15 years of racing with state and national-level riders.
Follow bike school at: facebook.com/rideschool
Contact: +6012 225 2924