SINGAPORE – Things did not kick into gear immediately for paralympian Steve Tee and competitive cyclist Terence Lee when they started their partnership in tandem para-cycling in February.
When the pair first started practising in neighbourhood car parks, Lee had difficulty getting used to cycling with a partner.
Lee, a client engagement executive at non-profit organisation Cycling Without Age Singapore, said: “I faced many challenges because it was the first time I was tandem cycling in my life.
“It is not easy to manoeuvre with two people and a lot of communication is required to make sure we pedal off at the same time and lean towards the same direction.”
The 33-year-old added: “Once, we were disengaging and engaging our cleats at a traffic junction and they got stuck. Car drivers started honking at us and shouted at us.”
But the pair developed strong chemistry and rapport, which Tee, 42, attributed to their common love for cycling.
“We inspire each other in different ways and come from different backgrounds, so the chemistry has been good so far and we gelled together quite fast,” added the training supervisor at the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped.
When Lee came across the para-cyclist’s open call for pilots on his social media platforms, he reached out immediately. Tee had previously partnered national cyclist Ang Kee Meng and the duo competed in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
In 2005, Lee was involved in a near-fatal accident during a cycling outing when he clipped the wheel of the rider in front of him. He was run over by more than 20 bicycles and was in a coma for 11 days and suffered permanent partial hearing loss in his right ear.
Nine years later, he had to stop cycling once again when he fell into a 90cm ditch along the Bukit Timah Mountain Bike Trail. He suffered facial fractures and underwent plastic surgery, during which doctors reconstructed his face by inserting titanium plates.
Due to his injuries, Lee considers himself “partially handicapped”.
He added: “When I meet para-athletes, I feel a sense of belonging. I thought that while I’m still able to see and walk, I can be their pilot and help visually impaired cyclists enjoy cycling.”
The duo took part in their first event, the 78km Nanyang Technological University Bike Rally on March 25 and completed their second, The Straits Times 20km Ride at the 2023 OCBC Cycle on Sunday.
Tandem bicycles were not permitted during Sunday’s event, but organisers made an exception for Tee and Lee, who wanted to help raise awareness about tandem para-cycling.
Source from: The Straits Times