Charmaine Chua counts Orchard Road and Seletar Link as her favourite cycling routes in Singapore. Wave if you see her! By Estelle Low
Charmaine Chua will be joining the 42km Sportive Ride at OCBC Cycle 2016 on October 2, 2016. Photo: Kien Boon Tan
She may not be able to hear the buzz of traffic, or the sound of horns blaring, but 36-year-old Charmaine Chua, who was born deaf, has been cycling on the road for the past four years.
In fact, she’s a regular at competitive events like the yearly OCBC Cycle, happening on October 1 and 2, 2016.
About her love for cycling, Charmaine says: “Cycling expands my horizon of experiences and gives me the freedom to see the world. It also allows me to make friends with people from different cycling groups and countries.”
Also an avid runner and swimmer, Charmaine, who works as a customer service administrator in a logistics and shipping company, takes part in triathlons such as the Ironman 70.3, which involves a 1.9km swim, 90km bike ride, and a 21.1km run.
However, her road to fitness isn’t always smooth. Charmaine has met a fair share of people who don’t emphathise with her.
“When they find out that I’m deaf, they would say things like ‘How can you cycle on the road when you cannot hear anything?’ I choose to ignore these comments. I will not let deafness be an obstacle to anything I want to do.”
Q: How did you get started in cycling?
A: When my running friends joined and completed their first Olympic distance triathlon, I decided to give cycling a go. I got myself an entry-level bike and signed up for the OCBC Cycle, MetaSprint Series duathlon and a mini triathlon thereafter. Being in a race is exhilarating. Plus, it boosts my confidence and ability to ride properly with other cyclists.
Q: What’s your fitness routine like?
A: I cycle between 80km and 120km every Saturday or Sunday. Twice or thrice a week after work, I spend two hours training in the gym. On alternate days, I run. I rest on Monday or Friday.
Q: Which are your favourite cycling routes in Singapore?
A: Orchard Road and Seletar Link.
Q: Ever met with an accident while cycling?
A: Yes, I’ve had about three cases of minor accidents since I started cycling. Every experience has taught me to be a better cyclist.
Q: How do you cycle safely and avoid getting into accidents?
A: I wear my hearing aid and am very cautious when cycling on the road. I also try to ride with my friends so we can look out for one another.
Q: Can you recommend some cycling groups for beginners?
A: Groups like CycleKakis, Team Midpoint, Terai Melayu and TFRiders are perfect for new cyclists who are looking to improve their skills.
Q: How can others show more understanding for deaf cyclists like yourself?
A: I would appreciate it if fellow cyclists not shout at me (pardon my hearing impairment) and give some friendly signals such as waving of hand, so I will know when to stop or slow down and allow them to go pass me, depending on the situation at that point of time.
Q: What’s your fitness goal?
A: To stay fit and strong, and continue to be able to run, swim and bike as I get older. I’d also love to bring my bike to South Korea, and do cycling tours with my friends there.
Charmaine Chua will be joining the 42km Sportive Ride at OCBC Cycle 2016 on October 2, 2016. A shorter 23km category is available. To sign up, visit www.ocbccycle.com. Registration is open till September 11.