Around the island in 17 hours: Father brings 2-year-old daughter on 166km cycling adventure

Victor Phua and his daughter, Michaela, at Bollywood Farms in Kranji.
PHOTO: Facebook/Victor P Wd

Local cycling enthusiasts will know that completing a Round The Island (RTI) trip is no mean feat. 

Add a 2-year-old child to the mix and the task just gets a whole lot more complicated.

However, this didn't seem to deter Victor Phua, who brought his two-year-old daughter, Michaela, on her first RTI on Wednesday (April 28) morning.

The pair began in Yishun at 6.45am and ended at the same location at 11.45pm. The 166km journey took them 17 hours to complete.

Phua, a 38-year-old paramedic, posted this amazing achievement on SG PCN Cyclist Facebook group on Friday and it received over 100 comments.

"Mei mei, where are we now? We're at Sembawang. We just left Yishun. Say hi! Where are we going today?" Phua asked in a video posted on Facebook.

"Singapore," Michaela replied enthusiastically.

The duo at the start of their journey (left) in Sembawang. Michaela posing for a picture under the scorching sun (right).
PHOTO: Facebook/Victor P Wd

Amazingly, going on an RTI with a young one isn't a novel experience for Phua. 

In the Facebook post, he wrote: "In 2021, I set myself a goal to cycle my two children around Singapore on a round the island bicycle trip. But I could only carry one kid at a time.

"So on Nov 13, 2021, five-year-old Matthew and I achieved that goal [and clocked] 164km in 15 hours beginning at Yishun."

About half a year later, it was Michaela's turn to head out for a bike tour with her dad.

In an interview with AsiaOne, Phua said he recently found a passion for cycling and wanted to inculcate "a lifestyle that was exploratory in nature" in his children.

He added: "If you read about something in the books, go forth and find out what it actually looks and feels like. [I] also [wanted] to expose them to the far west of Singapore, much of that area [is] not normally seen by the majority of children."

Phua went on to mention the different 'monuments' Michaela got to see on their adventure, from desalination plants to incinerators.

A screengrab of the RTI trip (left). Michaela taking a quick nap on her father's lap (right).
PHOTO: Facebook/Victor P Wd

Not all was rosy on this 17-hour-long cycling trip as the weather proved to be a major issue for Phua and Michaela. They were exposed to the scorching hot sun and three rounds of heavy rain.

Despite having prepared rain attire, Phua still got wet as the "west side storms can be quite hurricane-like".

He also toyed with the idea of giving up on the RTI when Michaela was having a one-hour nap at Keppel.

However, he told himself that he is "not going to put her through all this danger again". Phua felt that they had a mission and a task to complete.

The duo pushed on and found their way back to their Yishun starting point 15 minutes before midnight. They had done it — a full RTI in 17 hours.

Michaela enjoying the view at Cloud Forest Dome (left). Phua and Michaela stop for a quick photoshoot near Marina Bay Sands (right).
PHOTO: Facebook/Victor P Wd

According to Phua, his daughter enjoyed the experience. But when asked by her parents if she wanted to go again, Michaela gave a resounding no as her response.

However, it didn't seem to dishearten her dad who said he would go on another RTI with his kids when they're better equipped.

Phua said: "When they are older and have proven sufficiently they are competent and present good situational awareness of their surroundings and [have practised] defensive cycling."

ALSO READ: 6 best family biking routes with little ones

amierul@asiaone.com