Joyce Leong is an avid advocate of active living. The 64-year-old’s favourite activities include exploring the Green Corridor and stretching exercises at the neighbourhood fitness corners — and cycling an average of 120km per week. This is roughly the distance one might cover cycling from Jurong Lake Gardens to Coney Island Park, four times a week.
Joyce is a well-known figure in the sporting world. In addition to winning internationally-held triathlons, the athlete was also a South East Asian games cycling representative.
“Being a foodie, I started running so that I can enjoy my food,” Joyce laughs. “I enjoyed long-distance running and started running marathons before going on to participate in triathlons.” However, a nerve injury meant she had to give up on long-distance running and focus on cycling instead.
A Cycling Club for All Ages
Driven by her passion, Joyce went on to establish Joyriders, a recreational cycling club. Beyond being a great means of keeping active, the sport also allows cyclists to enjoy the sights as they ride through the heartland. One of the club’s cycling loop for instance, starts from Joyce’s neighbourhood in Queenstown. Riders would ride to Alexandra and Tiong Bahru before making a loop back to Queenstown.
With low barriers to entry, Joyce shares how cycling can be enjoyed by many. “We welcome cycling enthusiasts of all ages,” she quips. “You may be surprised, but a good number of riders are in their senior years. We have a 73-year-old member who not only rides regularly with us, but also imparts his cycling knowledge to others. Cycling in a group is also helpful, as riders can help each other improve their skills and exchange tips on road safety.”
Fighting Illness with Fitness
In 2019, Joyce was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer and underwent surgery, then chemotherapy the following year. Despite this, the bubbly senior remained positive. “I’m grateful to have support from my friends and family. The visits from the cycling community definitely helped– they also made me realise how much I miss cycling,” she chuckles.
Determined to resume an active lifestyle, Joyce began to ease herself back onto the bike even as she underwent treatment. In addition to cycling, Joyce shares how leisurely strolls and exercising in the heartland also played an important part during her recovery. “I really enjoyed taking in the sights of greenery and fresh air as I walked around the neighbourhood – they helped lift my spirits. The fitness corners are also great for my daily stretching exercises!”
The battle for health has made Joyce a bigger advocate for active living more than ever. “Health is wealth. Regardless of age, it’s important to keep active. The best part is, you don’t necessarily have to pick up a sport to do so. With easy access to amenities and recreational spaces such as fitness corners and parks in your neighbourhood, leading an active lifestyle is very attainable. When it comes to active living, age is just a number.”