Company team riding for a good cause

Fifteen years ago, he was unhealthy, often felt lethargic and loathed exercise.

Today, Mr Clement Goh, 42, owns two bicycles worth $30,000, rides about 200km weekly, and has set up a gym in his company so that others can lead a healthy lifestyle.

And next month, he and his colleagues will be cycling 320km in Malaysia to raise money to cover the operating costs of St Luke’s Hospital and St Luke’s ElderCare.

When he was younger, Mr Goh participated regularly in sporting activities like swimming, canoeing and softball.

But when he was in his late 20s, the managing director of Equinix, an IT company, focused on his career at the expense of exercise.

That was when his health deteriorated.

Mr Goh said: “When I was 27, I stopped most sporting activities. I gained weight (as a result) and when I saw photos of my younger self at that time, I started to wonder what had happened.

“When I was 34, my doctor told me that I had mild hypertension. I was on the verge of having high blood pressure.”

It was a sad state of affairs for the former sports enthusiast.

At 35, after considering the doctor’s words for some time, he started working out again.

Mr Goh picked up cycling as his sport of choice after he tried it out and “fell in love with it”.

He said: “I lost about 9kg soon after (taking up cycling). I felt much healthier and gained 2kg, which is probably muscle mass.”

Bitten by the cycling bug, he spent close to $30,000 on two Pinarello full carbon fibre bicycles in recent years – he bought one in 2009 and the other earlier this year.

Cycles 150km on weekends

The father of three girls, one aged 10 and a pair of twins aged six, now cycles 150km every weekend on his own.

His wife works in the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

Every Wednesday night, he also cycles with his staff members from his office premises at Ayer Rajah Crescent to Tuas and back.

Said Mr Goh: “We cycle about 40 to 50km each time. We want to cultivate a healthy and active lifestyle for the staff.”

Next month, they will be taking part in the annual Charity Bike ‘n’ Blade, which specifically seeks to raise money for StLuke’s Hospital and St Luke’s ElderCare to cover their operating costs.

The event is in its seventh year and so far, there are 98 participants for this year’s edition, which will take place in Malaysia from Aug 24 to 26.

Each participant has to raise $1,600 to enter the event, which is 320km long and spans two days. On Aug 25, participants will cycle from Kuantan to Lanjut.

The next day, they will start at Lanjut and end at Kota Tinggi.

St Luke’s ElderCare provides a range of day-care services to help families take care of their elderly loved ones.

St Luke’s Hospital provides outpatient, rehabilitation and care-giving services, and has eight wards with 185 beds to cater to the needs of about 2,000 patients a year, of which about 700 are elderly folk.

Mr Adrian Lim, 46, corporate services manager of StLuke’s Hospital, appreciated the efforts of Mr Goh and his team, and said they hope to raise $350,000 from the event this year.

So far, $275,000 has been raised.

“We are very, very pleased that Equinix has been one of the strong supporters the past few years,” said MrLim.

“Forty per cent of the hospital’s costs are borne by the Government, while the patients pay for about 20 per cent.

“We need the help of supporters and donors to cover the remaining 40 per cent.”

Equinix has been a “platinum” or main sponsor of Charity Bike ‘n’ Blade since 2009 and has so far pledged over $100,000 in donations.

As a platinum sponsor, the organisation also has to provide volunteers to help out at the charity event.

Mr Albert Wan, 33, a facility engineer at Equinix, initially signed up as a volunteer for the event, but decided to take part as a cyclist after some consideration.

“Previously, I hadn’t cycled for the last 15 years,” he said. “I took part last year, but couldn’t finish because I crashed. I really want to cross the finish line this year.”

Mr Wan now cycles with Mr Goh’s group every Wednesday night to prepare himself for the upcoming event.

As its staff became health-conscious, Equinix set up a gym within its office premises last year. Mr Goh explained: “The philosophy is to create a work-life balance. We believe in helping to encourage employees to keep fit, so that they are more alert and can contribute more to the company.”

This article was first published in The New Paper.