🚴6ft Bike Geek • Morvelo Test Team Asia • Team IR Captain • VeloVelo Singapore • The BikeSmith
I'm Kenji Hong, a self professed Bike Geek! I've started riding since I was 11 through my childhood buddy when I exchanged my skateboard for a go at his bicycle. I only returned back to cycling after a hiatus of more than a decade after graduating from secondary school. Suffering from severe tendinitis to my ankles, knees and hips have ruled me out from running or football/rugby for a good 5 years. Cycling and swimming was prescribed as the next best alternatives.
Picked up cycling as I was somewhat persuaded by my friends and never had imagine how much cycling scene has changed throughout the years I was away from it. It was a whole new learning experience. I started off with folding bikes and then Integrated Riding hooked me up with a Boardman AiR 9.8 and all else was history. Started from leisure rides to intense rides to epic rides to participation in local and oversea races.
My current ride is a Boardman SLR 9.8 paired with SRAM Red coupled with Shimano Ultegra components and wheels from my sponsor, The BikeSmith. I represent and race for Team Integrated Riding (IR) and also captain the IR Development Team. I am also the brand ambassador for Morvelo and Velo Velo Singapore. You may or may not have seen me in the Velo Velo Singapore video, these awesome people are the ones who provide me with the most awesome cycling apparel for cyclists, made by cyclists
You can ask me questions like:
Feel free to ask me anything and I'll try to answer!
NOTE from the community manager: This AMA session is scheduled to go live this coming Saturday 19th Sept from 8pm to 10pm! If you have any questions you can post them first and Kenji will answer them once the AMA begins. You can also follow Kenji or Grouphunt on Instagram for more updates. Remember to subscribe to this thread by clicking the button below so you will get updates on answers! It's a community discussion so please be nice! Rude/tasteless/vulgar comments will be moderated/deleted.
EDIT: This AMA has officially ended, a huge thank you to everyone for your support! I believe we've learnt quite abit from Kenji today :) If you have more questions you can still post them and it will get answered over time. Do watch out for more AMAs from Grouphunt in the future!
Hey Kenji! Thanks for taking the time to do this AMA. What's your 5 must have products for cyclists?
Five must have items are:
Thanks for taking time out to host this session! I'll just kickstart it with a few question of mine :)
Thanks! And wish you have a great session this Saturday!
Training regime for competitive cycling; there will be a lot to look at depending on the races one will be participating in. Be it a team event or an individual event, terrain, one's role in the race (sprinter or climber or domestique for the team), nutrition, diet, training plans, bike handling, recovery, etc. Take nutrition for example, you need to know what will works for you and what does not so that you can prepare your fueling right before the race. Terrain, if it's a one day race and it's a race with multiple climbs, then your training plans has to be planed around it. Going all out on flats won't do you much good in prep for the race
In terms of habitual routines, most of us ensure that we eat right and train right most of the time... Knowing a race is in due time, I would work on losing weight to my ideal weight where I would feel great on the bike. That's important as it will increase your power to weight ratio
Instead of one, I would like to highlight two items. iPhone 6 and the HTC Re camera are the stuff that I truly enjoy as I love taking pictures and both are brilliant for my needs. Especially when cycling, the HTC re camera is ideal as there's no viewfinder and all you need to do is just snap with a light touch of your finger
As a matter of fact I have been looking around and will be getting a skateboard soon. Other hobbies would probably include movies, cafe hopping, walking my dogs and traveling (if work permits)
Oh you use the HTC Re Camera? I was considering it for awhile! How does it compare, video quality wise to the GoPro? It looks really cute though, did you know they have a charging stand for it that makes it look like an dinosaur?
What are your top 5 favourite movies, and cafes in Singapore?
It's good! I am absolutely loving it. I was the first to have this in my groups and have influenced so many other to get it too. Practically I only use this for pictures and some short videos for cycling. It's easy to use and that you don't have a viewfinder, all you need to do is just snap away. Using feelings rather than viewing through the viewfinder sometimes is challenging but my pictures have turned out pretty well so far albeit there are some less than desirable shots. Oh I didn't realize they have that cool charging station, maybe I should get one too.
Hey Kenji, excited for this! Here are my questions:
Sadly it's not my profession and as much as I would love to have it, I think it's kinda past my prime. LOL As for my occupation, I'm an Occupational Health and Safety Consultant for an Oil & Gas Major here in Singapore
My favourite cycling route really would be Sentosa and Mount Faber. I love the peaceful and scenic routes there in Sentosa and as I enjoy climbing there's only one place here in Singapore I can go to enjoy the climbs which would be Mount Faber.
As work has been really hectic this year, I have not been able to participate in any races so far and I do hope I get back for races for the next season.
Cycling in Singapore has really evolved, just look at the number of cycling groups we have here in this little red dot. Just so cool! I love the local cycling community, I have forged so many new friendships through cycling and it has been an awesome journey for me. As long as you find a group that you are happy riding with then go for it :)
However what could be improved is the safety of cyclists. Accidents will happen for cycling, it will no matter how much precaution we take (sometimes due to individual cyclist or motorists). All I hope is that our motorists be more patient on the road when they see cyclists and not try to drive them to the edge of the road or even try to run them down. Respect Life and it would definitely be a better place.
Haha! Just have to ask - in your line of work, are there any learning points that can be applied to cycling, and vice versa?
Yes indeed, I could go on and on but here are some points to note.
Pre ride checks, inspecting your bike, tires, helmet, equipment (bottle cages are secured properly, lights are charged, etc) thoroughly
Yourself, ensuring that you are in the right mind before cycling and when you are cycling always stay focused. Being focused is extremely important especially when you are riding in a group, a slight wheel clip when riding in a pack can bring a lot of people down. Don't let your ego rule the ride. Think of the safety of others and yourself. Be socially responsible.
Post ride, clean your bike and maintain it is important.
Hey Kenji, great to see you putting in effort to promote the cycling community in SG :)
It's really cool to be nominated the first Asian to represent Morvelo here in Asia. I have been a friend and a cycling buddy of Jonathan (VeloVelo Singapore) and when Morvelo wanted to start the worldwide test team, Jonathan proposed me to Morvelo. I was accepted and have since been their ambassador.
They are all my favourites (honestly), I have tried so many kits and Morvelo is still by far my favourite. I have to say that their bibs are one of the best in the market and it gets better with every season.
As a new cyclist, I would recommend them to join social cycling group such as Love Cycling SG (LCSG), Punggol Night Riders (PNR) on Facebook. I remembered LCSG conducting sessions at the safety park to get us orientated on signals, braking, bike handling, etc. Getting into the group and joining rides will help new riders make sense of things. Watching Global Cycling Network on YouTube provides a great deal of information too.
Biggest challenge in life is probably getting back on my bicycle after my accidents last year. In less than 6 months, I suffered two bike crashes and a car accident (driver drove head on into my car as he was drunk and was driving against traffic), having suffered 3 fractured ribs, dislocated shoulder, torn ligaments to my shoulder, multiple abrasion wounds to my hips, butt, back, shoulders and arms. It wasn't easy to get back to fitness after that but never give up.
If I was in prison, my last meal would have to be fresh SUSHI set from Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo! It's DA BOMB and I guess Japanese cuisine is my "comfort" food.
That's great - you should be proud!
Was there any specific criteria considered for selection on Morvelo's end? What are some of the responsibilities (and benefits) of being a brand ambassador?
Any brands for female kits you can recommend?
Sounds like a really tough time for you... how did you find the determination to get back into cycling? Was it the passion for the sport, or the encouragement of all your friends?
SUSHI is a top choice, thumbs up
Selection criteria, I guess that someone has to be active in social media (i.e. Instagram, twitter, FB) which I guess I am pretty much so.
Responsibilities are to just ride, snap and give reviews to Morvelo and they will do the rest. Benefits are that I do get a minimum of 1 full kit (top and bottom) with every new launches (that's so cool eh!)
Female kits, definitely Machine For Freedom (MFF) even though I am the ambassador for Morvelo I have to admit that the MFF kits are so gorgeous that I myself would like to own but sadly the men don't get it.... MFF kits are designed by women for women, very specific and the materials used are so plush... ...
Determination is outweighed by my passion for cycling and the need to return back on my bike to be with my buddies :)
Noticed you started off with folding bikes - I'm super interested in getting one myself. What's are some of the things to look out for when purchasing foldable? Are there any brands that you can recommend?
What are some of the most important qualities for a cyclist?
What's the best race/route, overseas or local that you've ever been on?
Do you listen to music when you are riding? Any tracks/playlists you can recommend?
Just for trivia's sake - Which secondary school were you from? What CCAs were you involved in?
Qualities, hmm that's a good one. The most important quality is just to be real, be yourself.
Best route so far for me personally would have been Batam 6 bridges race previously organized by Cycosports. But I'm sure the Niseko Challenge (Japan) which I was supposed to participate in would be the best if I had not crashed last year.
I do listen if I'm riding alone to work which I do on weekends. I have the Jabra wireless earphones and I only have one of the buds in my ear. That's so I can still pay attention to the cars and other cyclists. Hahaha my playlists are really really random, from 80s rock to modern rock, Christian songs, indie, trance, R&B, pop songs, etc. Wide range of music but just enjoy it :)
I was from MHSS and during my time there I was involved in Rugby, football and volleyball.
Yes indeed, I started off with folding bikes. You have to ask yourself these questions, what dp you want to achieve (recreational, family bonding, easy peasy rides, losing weight, etc.) secondly how will you be transporting the bike around (train, mrt, how it fits in your car) and parking the bike at home (hanging on a rack, folded and stored away and most importantly how much will you be willing to spend on a bike. Most people will usually get an entry level bike and then either upgrade the components or eventually sell and get a better bike. So it really depends on your needs and wants. I emphasize the wants though.
Brand that I would recommend, Brompton, Bike Friday of Tern, they fold very well and are very compact. Brompton and Bike Friday may not be the cheapest but they are stylish and really comfortable. Moreover the fold is what you should really consider.
No regrets :) My biggest motivation would be God, to do all things good under God I'm thankful for all that he has given me, my family and my friends
Something surprising... ... I am quite vain, have a lot of skincare products, pluck my brows and instead of shaving like most cyclists I epilate...
Some questions for you:
Is there a particular bike, past or present, that you’d love to own? If so, why?
Do you have any admirations for any top-professional cyclist in the cycling scene and why?
What is it about cycling that you like so much?
Oh yes! There are so many bikes I would love to own but would it do me any good having so many bikes... Hmm... Just kidding. If there's one bike I want, it would be a frame from Dario Pegoretti. All frame builders are artists, but Pegoretti frames and paintwork are exquisite and it's a sight to behold.
If any specific individual, it would probably be Peter Sagan but that's too mainstream ain't it. But I would prefer to talk about the team rather than an individual. For the Pro cycling teams, the team I support and truly enjoy is MTN Qhubeka. They are a month-profit organization who provides bicycles to children in Africa, believes in sustainable transportation and uses the pro team to help create awareness and fund raising efforts! Highly commendable and truly appreciative for what they are doing for society.
Cycling has helped me forge new friendships and widen up my social network. It has improved my health greatly, I suffered from injuries and all previously and being unable to run and all made it worst so I suffered from pre-hypertension at the age of 28. Cycling and eating right has since kept me in the pink of health with normal systolic and diastolic readings, resting heart rate of less than 60bpm, good cholesterol and sugar levels. The camaraderie, the Sun, the routine for all of us to get up early to ride together, the pain and suffering from the climbs and the hard efforts (which we all enjoy) that we all go through as a group or as a team is just amazing. So what's not to love about cycling :)