Biking ‘newbies’ ready to embark on first charity ride

Wee Ling Yong doesn't have much bicycling experience, but she has plenty of drive to help others.

From left

From left

Wee Ling Yong doesn’t have much bicycling experience, but she has plenty of drive to help others.

Yong, who was transferred from Microsoft in Singapore to the tech giant’s U.S. headquarters in Redmond 18 months ago, never rode a bike before coming here. But next month, the Redmond resident will lead a team of three other women who will participate in the inaugural Ride Around the Sound, a bicycling benefit event for the American Lung Association.

“We thought it would be fun and it is for a good cause,” said Yong, a 42-year-old who works in the Microsoft finance department. “Hopefully we will all still be friends afterward.”

Joining Yong on team “4 Asians” will be fellow Microsofties Shau Phang, 36, and Yoshimi Kanai, 47, along with Fumiko Okuno, 38, who used to work at Microsoft, but now works at Amazon.

Yong first met Phang when they both worked at Microsoft in Singapore and the two met Kanai and Okuno, who are transplants from Microsoft in Japan, while all working together at Microsoft in Redmond.

All four of them will be participating in their first charity ride and recently got into biking and running “because the environment allows us to do that,” Yong said. “It’s healthier living here.”

In densely populated places like Singapore and Japan there is no infrastructure and space for biking, but here in the Northwest that is a different story, Yong said. Also the hot, humid weather in Asia is not conducive to biking like the temperate weather in the Northwest, Phang added.

Kanai is the most experienced rider on the team as she recently participated in the Seattle to Portland ride in July and has plans of doing the Seattle to Vancouver, British Columbia ride and the Danskin Triathlon next summer. But Yong, Phang and Okuno just recently got new bikes in preparation for the Sept. 15 Ride Around the Sound, which features different routes around the Puget and Kitsap sounds.

They call themselves “newbies” to biking, but all four women are excited about exploring uncharted scenery while helping a good cause.

Both Okuno’s and Kanai’s families have a history of lung cancer so this fundraiser hits home with them. The team members also said the Ride Around the Sound is a good opportunity for learning a new sport like bicycling.

And all of them are learning about the cliche, “no pain, no gain.”

“They are trying to kill me before the event,” Yong said with a smile.

The team members train on the their bikes about two or three times a week, logging about 50 miles per week, according to Phang, who also lives in Redmond. They are still learning the finer details of biking, like riding with cleats and proper gear shifting for hills and inclines.

“We don’t know how to change a flat tire yet,” Phang said. “That’s why we have Yoshimi. I think Yoshimi knows how to do that.”

The 4 Asians team will be traversing a 45-mile route that begins in Tacoma and continues through the scenic Kitsap Peninsula to the Bremerton ferry dock. From there, the team members take a ferry to Seattle and can bike or catch a shuttle to the finish line at South Seattle Community College (SSCC). The route features rest stops along the way with food and music awaiting the riders at the finish-line party at SSCC.

The group’s goal is to raise $500, which Microsoft will match, according to Yong.

4 Asians is one of 15 teams who will participate in the ride. So far, there are more than 150 individual riders signed up and more riders are encouraged to register at www.RideAroundtheSound.org. There are five different routes of varying lengths, including a 12-mile family ride around the Alki Loop in West Seattle and a full 100-mile ride that starts in Seattle and loops around to Bremerton.

“Our team is so excited to be part of Ride Around the Sound,” Yong said. “We wanted to start riding more and this ride seems like a great place to start. What could be more meaningful than to have fun while helping others who are in need? We are looking forward to fantastic ride.”

Yong said her and her teammates plan to do more charity rides in the future — that is if she can finish the Ride Around the Sound.

“As long as I survive the 45 miles, I will do more,” Yong said.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@redmond-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.redmond-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Sports

Photo courtesy of Panthers Youth Rugby
Panthers Youth Rugby rolls into action

Panthers Youth Rugby is encouraging boys and girls in middle school and… Continue reading

t
Redmond coach, grapplers join Ascend Wrestling Academy

Redmond High wrestling coach Lantz Schwabenbauer and several local grapplers are part… Continue reading

A Decatur High School student in Federal Way participates in a conditioning workout in Feb. 2021 as the state eased back in to in-person activities. Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing
State announces mask requirements for student sports, performing arts

Athletes are not required to wear masks when participating in sports of any contact level while outside.

Screenshot of video obtained by Redmond police shows Richard Sherman trying to break into the Redmond home of his in-laws.
Former Seattle Seahawks player Richard Sherman charged with five misdemeanors in King County

Charges were filed following an incident at home of Sherman’s in-laws in Redmond.

Screenshot
Redmond Police arrest former Seattle Seahawk Richard Sherman

Redmond Police allege former Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman crashed into a… Continue reading

Snoqualmie Casino unveiled the first immersive Seahawks-branded table game experience Sept. 18, 2020, in a ribbon cutting dedication with Snoqualmie Tribe Council members and Snoqualmie Casino executives. Courtesy photo
Gambling Commission OKs pacts with tribes for sports betting

Agreements with 15 tribes await approval by the governor and the feds.

Kentwood High football. FILE PHOTO
WIAA Executive Board revises Season 1 sports in response to state guidelines

Practices scheduled to begin Feb. 1 for football, volleyball, soccer and 5 other sports

The Mercer Island boys basketball celebrates their 61-36 victory over Interlake in the 3A KingCo championship game on Feb. 11, 2020, at Sammamish High School. File photo
WIAA pushes back return to play for prep sports

Season 2 now begins Feb. 1 and seasons have been shortened to seven weeks each.

In this file photo from March 2020, the Federal Way High School boys basketball team reacts in the final minutes of the state quarterfinals game against Mt. Si High School. File photo
New guidelines released for return of prep sports in WA

The new plan places counties and sports in three-tier systems. No signs of a quicker return to play.

Redmond football squad is ready to ‘Pound the Rock’
Redmond football squad is ready to ‘Pound the Rock’

Mustangs open season against Squalicum.

Doctor IDs safety measures for youth team sports practices
Doctor IDs safety measures for youth team sports practices

Before practice begins, parents must understand COVID-19 protective protocols

Pictured: A Mercer Island High School swimmer competes in fall 2019. Washington Interscholastic Activities Association recently announced the girls swim and dive season will be moved to “Season 3,” which begins March 1. File photo
WIAA gives schools option to delay start of prep sports until December

An updated plan moves girls swimming to Season 3 and makes fall cross country an alternate season.