Having a ride of his life
There is no stopping Anthony Tang from pursuing the things that are close to his heart.
BY: Daniel Tan
Retiree Anthony Tang (left) is 71-years-old and has diabetes and heart problems, but this has never stopped him from pursuing an active and adventurous life here in Singapore. For the past 51 years, Tang has always kept his passion for adventure motorcycling (motorcycling long-distances) alive, and can be spotted zipping around town on his Honda Africa Twin 750cc motorcycle. This father to three daughters and proud grandfather to two grand-daughters (with one grandson on the way), also takes time to conduct talks and seminars to promote safety riding among our younger motorcyclists out there.
What were you working as before you retired?
I held the group general manager position for a regional automotive company for many years, overseeing its portfolio of companies across Asia, America and New Zealand, but I chose to retire from this job at the age of 55 to pursue my interests and hobbies.
When did you start riding adventure motorcycles? How young were you then?
I started riding at the age of 16 when I got my driving licence.
Why did you decide to go on a motorcycle rather than hop on a plane, as wouldn’t that be faster?
Sure getting on a plane is faster and probably cheaper too! But, going on a motorcycle allows me to smell the flowers and see the amazing landscapes along the way at my own pace, which is definitely something you can’t do inside a plane! There is also the flexibility of waking up at a time of my choice and making as many stops as I like along the journey to take photos or enjoy the local food. As they all say, the journey is the reward not the destination.
What motorcycle(s) do you own for your rides?
I am fortunate to have owned and ridden 38 motorcycles in my 51 years of riding, and these bikes came in all sizes and brands, including Harley-Davidson, Honda Gold Wing, BMW, Suzuki, Triumph and Yamaha. Presently, I am riding a Honda Africa Twin which is a 750cc adventure motorcycle.
Where have you gone on your motorcycle? Are you usually with company or alone?
I ride my motorcycle very often across the border to Malaysia and Thailand. In fact, I have completed more than 20 riding trips to Hat Yai in the past 51 years. Most of my longer riding trips are with a group of fellow bikers, while I also do shorter weekend day trips with my wife (riding along as pillion) to nearby towns in Malaysia.
These days, I make two to three overseas riding trips with a group of fellow bikers to Thailand. Usually my wife will tag along.
Any memorable rides you have done and why?
As boring as it may sound, all motorcycle rides are memorable! I always enjoy the companionship of my wife and fellow like-minded bikers during the journey. Unfortunately, I have also witnessed fatal road accidents, which are mostly avoidable. These experiences have taught me to be more careful and alert whenever I am on my motorcycle.
What are some precautions you take on your rides?
I practise defensive riding and constantly look out for less considerate and reckless drivers on the road. I also ride at moderate speeds these days to compensate for my slower reflexes. Of course, protective gear like a good riding suit, gloves, riding boots and a good full-face helmet is a must.
Do you belong to a motorcycle retirees’ group? Are there many like you who do this?
There isn’t a motorcycle group for retirees per se. But I have been an active member of a motorcycle club called Storm Riders for more than nine years. Storm Riders is the first registered motorcycle club in Singapore and has riders across all ages. There are more than a handful of senior riders in this club as well. But I’m pretty sure there are many more senior riders out there!
For other seniors who would like to do this, what advice would you give them?
My advice to newbies is to join a registered motorcycle club like Storm Riders as such clubs conduct safety talks, riding classes and organised group rides to help the less experienced riders. Club members also provide community support, which is excellent for maintaining social and emotional wellness.
Why is keeping active important to you?
It is important to me because being physically active helps keep me healthy and psychologically sound. Otherwise, my mind and body will degenerate very quickly.
What is on your bucket list or rather things you would like to do?
I have always led a very active life and done incredible things like getting my taekwondo black belt and training till 2010, that many of my peers have not done. I am proud to say that I have managed to achieve most of the items on my bucket list, and will have no regrets if I die tomorrow.
(WRITER’S NOTE: Tang had a bad computer crash and sadly lost his whole photo collection.)