IPOH, Sept 5 — Eugene Lee is an architect by training and faces the drawing board on weekdays.
Come weekends and public holidays, he is transformed into a cycling advocate and hopes to encourage the people to cycle more.
Lee said he got bitten by the cycling bug during a visit to Melaka last year.
“I was taking a stroll along the river and a thought hit me that I could cover more areas with bicycles instead of walking,” he said.
Speaking to Malay Mail, Lee said when he returned to Ipoh, he started to cycle around his housing estate of Canning Garden.
“But as time went on, the scenery around my neighbourhood got a tad mundane. That is when I decided to be adventurous and venture outside of Ipoh.” Earlier this year, while accompanied by a friend from Kuala Lumpur and they cycled from Gopeng to Tanjung Tualang.
That cycling trip was an eye opening experience for him where Lee saw for himself from the viewpoint of a cyclist how unfriendly Malaysian roads can be for small transports.
“From then, I decided to only cycle on kampung roads,” he said, adding that he started to cycle in kampungs located along Sungai Perak.
He began from Kuala Kangsar before moving south.
In his most recent trip, Lee explored the kampung roads at Teluk Intan.
“I parked my car at Tapah Road and started to cycle,” he said, adding that he plans to explore Hutan Melintang next.
“Exploring kampung roads can bring immense joy. Besides avoiding traffic, I get to eat delicious traditional food that is sold at a reasonable price,” he said, adding that when cycling at villages, he also comes across beautiful traditional homes that stood the test of time.
Ipoh-based architect Eugene Lee hopes to change the people's mindset about owning a car and turn to cycling instead. — Picture by Farhan Najib
In March, Lee decided to start a Facebook page called the Green Malaysia Movement.
To date, the group has attracted more than 1,500 members.
“The purpose of the group is to promote rural areas in Perak through cycling.” “It is also to raise the awareness that our infrastructures need to be humanised,” added Lee.
To prepare for each trip, Lee takes about a week to go through maps to plan the routes.
“Besides a bicycle, I also bring along water, raincoat, bicycle tube, patch and repair kit.” As the people are conditioned to own a car, Lee admits it would take time to change the people’s mindset about cycling.
“I hope to raise the people’s awareness about the benefits of cycling and politicians will take heed to humanise the country by providing infrastructures that are pedestrian and cyclist friendly.”
Those interested to join Lee’s cycling trips can message him via the Green Malaysia Movement’s Facebook page.