He said he was looking for a group of cyclists and was on a look-out for his friend. He could not find his friend and asked Zaba whether he could join our ride. BJCC (Bkt Jelutong Cycling Club) is a friendly club. We welcome anyone who wish to join us. I overheard Zaba calling him "uncle". I too approached this "uncle" and introduced myself. He introduced himself as Ng.
This Sunday ride was planned for a U-turn stop at Mok Su Nasi Dagang. We rode off with Uncle Ng in tow. On group rides, I usually stationed myself at the rear, especially when a new cyclist is in the group. I therefore took it upon myself to ride at the rear with Uncle Ng, on a LSD mode. No, I don't do drug. LSD stands for Long Steady Distance, quite similar to FM Radio's Light & Easy!
I noticed Uncle Ng loves to spin, i.e. cycling on light gears. I would correctly guess his cadence to be in excess of 100 revolutions per minute at those times when he was spinning fast. That's pretty fast for a new cycling Uncle. I could hear his heavy breathing at times when I cycled by his side. I was a little concern that he could be trying to catch up with the group in front.
The front group waited for both of us at the exit to Paya Jaras and we stopped for a breather. Continuing on, we headed for Nasi Dagang Mok Su, 7 kms away in Kuang. Again I stationed myself together with Uncle Ng at the rear. A surprise came my way. 3 kms before our stop, a small lorry passed us and Uncle Ng bolted behind the lorry and kept pace with the lorry. In cycling term, he was "drafting" behind the lorry. He overtook everyone and I was concerned that he may overshoot the traffic-light junction to Mok Su. We caught up with him at the traffic light and proceeded for our breakfast.
On the return journey, we both remained at the rear and I chatted him up. In bits and pieces, he was narrating his past. As his story unfold kilometre by kilometre, I realized that I was cycling with an Olympiad!
His full name is NG JOO PONG, older by 1 year to Ng Joo Ngan, the Malaysian cyclist of yesteryears. Somehow, Joo Pong did not ring a bell to me.
At 17 years of age in 1964, he represented Malaya in cycling at the Tokyo Olympic! I did a quick arithmetic. In 1964, I was 14 and Joo Pong was 17. How could I call him Uncle?? He was only 3 years my senior. He is therefore 62 now. And he was a top cyclist. And here I was, chaperoning "abang" Ng!
In 1968, he was again representing the country at the Mexico Olympic.
So, Mr Ng Joo Pong, that was why your spinning was very fast. That was why you drafted behing a lorry.
It was therefore my pleasure cycling alongside a legend.
None of the BJCC cyclists knew who they had in their cycling group last Sunday.