Dr Terence Kee from the Department of Renal Medicine at Singapore General Hospital sets an example for his patients with his favourite form of exercise - cyling.
A cycling enthusiast, Dr Terence Kee doesn’t claim to be the fastest. Or even the one clocking in the longest distances. What’s amazing is his drive to share his passion and use it for worthwhile causes through the cycling club he created – the SingHealth Freewheelers.
Dr Kee has always loved cycling. As a teenager, well before becoming a kidney transplant specialist, he already enjoyed riding his bike to school. “Now, as an adult, I find cycling gives you the freedom to cover larger distances than you could ever walk or run. By car, you don’t have time to appreciate the scenery. And we do have lots of beautiful scenery in Singapore.”
For him, cycling is also like a second childhood, one in which he can treat himself to really nice toys. “They keep improving cycling technology, with new bike materials, gears and electronics. It’s great!”
Most importantly, there’s comradeship in cycling. “For example, we take turns leading the peloton, to reduce wind resistance for others. We watch out for each other,” he says.
In 2011, he created the SingHealth Freewheelers, a club for SingHealth riders. Originally, the goal was to form a cycling club to allow staff to socialise and use cycling to promote health education and awareness. But the same year, he led a team of 11 cyclists from Malacca to Singapore - 300km over 2 days - for the 2011 Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) Charity Ride of Hope. “It was hot and dusty. I hadn’t trained properly. It was quite an experience” he smiles looking back.
Since then, he’s participated in at least 8 other fundraising cycling events. Earlier this year, his team raised the most funds in the Berocca Challenge (indoor cycling) and clocked the third fastest timing. In September, he’ll be leading a team of 45 riders in cycling around the island to raise awareness about kidney diseases as part of the 2014 NKF Wheels of Love event.
“Beyond fundraising, I want to set an example for my transplant patients. A lot of them put on weight after their operation,” he notes. “When they ask me how I keep fit, I can tell them about my favourite form of exercise.”
He hopes to also set an example for fellow doctors. “We are all very busy, but when you exercise, you feel better, you have more energy and you don’t get sick so often. Ideally, we should all be health role models for our patients,” he says.
| Fact Sheet on Dr Terence Kee|
|Personal data :||Age 44, married, 2 children (aged 7 and 2)|
|Occupation :||Asst Professor & Senior Consultant with interest in renal transplantation, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), Dept of Renal Medicine|
|Pets :||14-year old Beagle|
|Little-known fact :||Was a member of a breakdancing crew in the 1980s|
What are your best 3 tips for people who wish to emulate you as a cycling role model?
- Share the road politely and legally
A lot of riders give cyclists a bad name. It’s important to obey the Highway Code and to not hog the road. Say hi or give help to your fellow cyclists when you pass them, and give thanks to motorists who give way to you.
- Wake up early to ride when the roads are relatively empty.
I don’t own a car. I aim to cycle to work three times a week, especially when I don’t have evening meetings and don’t need to carry my laptop. It’s actually faster for me to cycle. When I take the bus, it can take me one hour to cover the 12-km distance.
However, I can only recommend skilled and experienced cyclists try and cycle on the road by themselves (vs in a peloton). Otherwise, it may be too dangerous, especially when motorists are also rushing to work on weekdays. There are many safety precautions to follow, such as always looking behind you, wearing a helmet, using a backlight and keeping a distance from heavy vehicles.
- Use cycling as a means to do good.
When I created the SingHealth Freewheelers, I was hoping to rally colleagues and promote cycling. But quickly, I saw the benefits of using this club to raise funds and awareness about larger health issues. Currently, our goal is to continue to participate in at least one fundraising event per year.
Dr Kee’s final take-away, “If you’re a cyclist, do behave yourself on the road. If you’re a motorist, please be patient. That cyclist who’s sharing the road could be someone’s parent. My own motivation to cycle comes from my children. I want to keep fit and healthy so I can live long and see them contribute to society and our nation.”