Birdy Rohloff: How Uncle Steven Reignited His Passion For Cycling

The Birdy Rohloff is the King of all performance foldable Birdy bicycles. Featuring a 14-speed internal gear hub, which requires little to no maintenance, it guarantees long working life even under the harshest conditions. It is known for its wide overall gear range and powerful TRP Spyre Road Disc Brakes, allowing cyclists to achieve the best riding performance. The Birdy Rohloff also allows riders to switch gears without pedalling. Capable of speeding and conquering rough terrains and slopes, it is ideal for both short and long distances. Being able to do so much and yet being foldable and compact, the Birdy Rohloff is easy to roll and bring around Singapore and onto public transport and spaces such as malls and trains.  

This is Uncle Steven Lim (right), a cyclist in his 70s and a long-time friend of Mighty Velo’s founders. He has recently purchased a Birdy Rohloff from Mighty Velo, and fell in love with the performance foldable bike. As we conversed with him, he recounted his past, with high hopes for the future. This is his story on how accidents and injuries did not come in the way of his passion for cycling. 

His first bike and why he stopped cycling for 28 years

When Uncle Steven was a young teenage boy back in his secondary school years, travelling by bus to school was quite expensive for his family. His father had then bought him his first bicycle so that he could cycle to school to save the money he would have used to travel to school. 

He was cycling and got hit by a truck around his examination period. This accident caused him to break his right arm due to the impact of the fall. His parents were worried for his safety and he decided to stop cycling. 

After secondary school, Uncle Steven (left) went on into NS, and realised that he liked being in the army. He signed on and stayed in the army for 28 years, until he retired early when he was 45. In those 28 years, he never had the chance to cycle as he was busy in the army back in those days. 

Rekindling his passion for cycling

Uncle Steven had originally fallen in love with diving during his army days, and had eventually become a part-time diving instructor and taught diving for fun. After a while, his diving friends stopped and so did he for safety reasons as many were concerned about him due to his age. However, Uncle Steven wishes to exercise regularly and realised that the other skill he had was cycling, thus he started cycling again. 

His bikes

Uncle Steven has owned many foldable bikes, including three Bromptons, one CarryMe, two Birdys and one tandem bike. Some had been given away to his children and grandchildren, and he is left with three of them. Uncle Steven cycles two to three times a week, either with his friends or family. He cycles with his running watch, and the total distance that he has cycled on his newest bike, the Birdy Rohloff, from March to November 2020 is 2500 kilometers. 

Why foldable bikes?

Uncle Steven urges everyone to buy their bicycles according to their purposes and needs. For himself, he prefers foldable bikes because of these reasons:

  1. He lives in a HDB flat, and has no luxury for the space to park bicycles. With foldable bikes, he can store them easily by folding them down and tucking them in a corner of the house instead of leaving them outside. 
  2. Foldable bikes are easy for commuting as they are compact. He can bring them onto buses and trains with no hassle. And if it rains, he can fold it down and flag down a taxi to go home. With a non-foldable bike, he can only go home drenched in the rain, or wait for the rain to stop. 
  3. Foldable bikes are also easy to travel with because of their portability. Uncle Steven likes to travel to other countries to cycle with his friends. He can just pack his foldable bike in a luggage and pack what is necessary, check his luggage into the plane, fly to his destination and take his foldable bike out for a spin. It is much more difficult to bring a non-foldable bike overseas. 

Why the Birdy Rohloff?

Many of Uncle Steven’s foldable bikes have been taken by his children and grandchildren, including his 24-speed Birdy Touring. When he had an opportunity to ride on a Birdy Rohloff, he fell in love with it after cycling on it for one to two hours. 

“You know when you fall in love with something, there is no reason why you want to get it. It’s just like when you look at one pretty girl, when you fall in love, don’t ask (for) a reason (as to) why you want to marry her.”

His overseas cycling trips

Uncle Steven has been to many countries with his cycling friends in Asia, including Japan, South Korea, China, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. He has shared with us some of his interesting cycling experiences in other countries.

His Seoul to Busan cycling trip in South Korea was an exciting journey for him as he had no plan. He packed his luggage accordingly, and cycled every day, stopping and building a camp whenever the scenery was nice. He also stayed in homestays and Airbnbs occasionally to maintain his bike, wash his clothes and replenish food. In total, he took around twelve days to cycle a whopping 633 kilometers from Seoul to Busan, including eight cycling days. 

Four years ago, he went to Taiwan on a cycling trip with his friends. Unfortunately, they have met with the typhoon season, and their first day of cycling was right after the first typhoon out of three that they have encountered. The bikes that they were using had brake pads. During wet weather, the brakes are less effective as there is less friction between the brake pads and tyre rim. 

When Uncle Steven was going downslope, the ground was slightly flooded and he did not see the pothole in front. His front wheel hit and the whole bike flipped. He was flung off his bike and landed on a tea plantation along with his bike. However, after coming back out to check everything, he did not suffer any injuries, and his bike was perfectly okay. They then proceeded to cycle for another 130 kilometers that day. 

Uncle Steven’s safety advice for new cyclists

Protective gear is very important, especially if one is an unprofessional cyclist. Items such as gloves and helmets are necessities to keep yourself safe while cycling. When you fall, your hand will naturally go down on the ground to protect yourself first. This will cause bruises on your hands and arm as the ground is rough. The importance of gloves is to prevent your hands from getting cut. Helmets are also there to protect our heads in case we make a small mistake, fall and hit our heads. 

To Uncle Steven, safety is very important.  He urges everyone to learn basic traffic rules before cycling so that you know what is right and wrong. Be considerate on the road, and enjoy the ride.

Upcoming plans

Uncle Steven and his cycling friends have already lined up their itineraries for their upcoming overseas cycling trips. Just like all of us, he wishes for this Covid-19 pandemic to end soon, so that he could travel with his foldable bikes again. 

Getting a foldable bike to start your journey

If you are interested in getting a foldable bike and start cycling, check out Mighty Velo. Mighty Velo is the sole distributor of Pacific Cycles’ Bicycles in Southeast Asia. We carry 17 different frame colours for our Birdy Performance Foldable Series and nine popular frame colours for the CarryMe model.

For more information, you can visit www.mightyvelo.com. You can also head down to our experience store at 30 Tai Seng Street, BreadTalk IHQ, #02-14, S534013. We are open from Monday to Saturday, from 10 am to 7 pm, and closed on Sunday and Public Holidays.

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Birdy Rohloff: How Uncle Steven Reignited His Passion For Cycling
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Birdy Rohloff: How Uncle Steven Reignited His Passion For Cycling
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We will be sharing with you about Uncle Steven's cycling experiences, his thrills and how he fell in love with his Birdy Rohloff.
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Mighty Velo
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