Today, we speak to Eugene, whom is affectionally known to the Wheelians as "POS" or "ThatGotway"
[TWT] So can you tell your audience what is your age and occupation
[Eugene] I am at a ripe age of 39 years old, and I work in IT.
[TWT] How did you start on the EU, how long you've been wheeling?
[Eugene] A friend posted in Facebook his success in learning to wheel, and I thought how cool it looked! Coincidentally, I was searching for a last-mile solution at the time. I tried cycling and kick scooting to work but I felt that it was too hot in our climate. E-scoots were too big for my taste. But the wheelie ... NOW that looked compact & fun!
I still remember meeting the Wheelies founder (Thomas Hoon) to try one out before finally deciding to order my first wheelie! Thomas Hoon and Ong delivered it to me a week later, and boy was I excited when I managed to learn it that weekend! I've been wheeling for almost two years now, and boy do I love my wheelies and my friends in the group!
[TWT] How did you find out about Wheelies?
[Eugene] I learnt about it from my friend whom I mentioned above.
[TWT] Why do you like Wheeling?
[Eugene] I don't like wheeling. I love it!
My wheelie lets me finish my marketing chores quickly, and easily commute to distant places ... oh who am I kidding?! I’d take any excuse to wheel, even if it was to a nearby mama shop. It's THAT fun!
And what’s there not to love? The wheelie is reasonably quick, highly maneuverable, fun and challenging to ride, and it is compact enough that it takes little additional space on any path or public transport. If the weather was fair, well I can wheel the entire way, eschewing expensive taxis and crowded trains and buses. And when I need to relieve work-related stress, or just to have a good time, riding my wheelie is always an excellent option.
And I absolutely love the long outings with the Wheelies, even joining in some of their excursions to Malaysia, and it certainly proved great in improving my skills on my wheelie and getting to know the people better. Through them, I’d been able to meet with many interesting and exciting people, and explored many interesting places in Singapore that I either wouldn’t have bothered about otherwise, or that I didn’t know existed.
In every instance, wheeling saves me the financial cost, aggravation, and stress of having to deal with our crowded roads and public transport (which will continue to break down every now and then).
And the last and biggest reason why I love wheeling is that it makes me feel like a bird, floating and weaving above the ground. I guess that’s why birds must love to fly too.
[TWT] What is the most difficult trick you have done?
[Eugene] I’d already learnt a number of tricks – one-leg wheeling (normal stance and in arabesque pose), idling on the spot (i.e. wheel goes back and forth), jumping over obstacles, twisting my wheel on the spot (aka 180 degree turn), reverse wheeling, and (my latest achievement) spinning tight circles with one-leg.
Reversing was probably the most difficult for me because it was like learning to wheel all over again since the muscle memory is different (well it is “reverse”).
[TWT] Challenges for Wheelers in Singapore
[Eugene] While many people are simply amazed at how Wheelers are able to ride the wheelie, a like number also view us with fear. The latter fear us because they do not understand how we can control our wheelie so well, and because they falsely assume that because it has a motor, it must be dangerous.
Do I blame them? No, because that is the way that humans react. We fear what we do not understand.
Another challenge for Wheelers is the close-minded mentality of some pedestrians, who view the footpaths as their sole domain that must not be shared with us, cyclists and other non-pedestrians. Certainly the origin of the word “footpath” from an outdated era cannot be a good excuse!
Our government was successful in the past in re-engineering public behavior (e.g. littering) for the longer-term good. The recent set of recommendations from the Active Mobility Panel has given me hope. Perhaps it might be the beginning of new things for Wheelers in Singapore and elsewhere?
Let’s hope and see.
[TWT] Last words for your readers?
[Eugene] Learning to wheel is similar to learning to cycle and skate. It's healthy, useful, it can save you time and money, and most importantly, it's so much more cool than anything out there now. Do meet up with us, and try it out for yourselves!