ED NOTE: THE IDEAS OF RIDING ON ROAD LESS TRAVELED
Posted 2 months ago
ED NOTE: THE IDEAS OF RIDING ON ROAD LESS TRAVELED
A TALE OF RIDING OCBC CYCLE 2019 WITH A STREET BIKE AND SOME HOPEFUL IDEAS
OCBC Cycle always give the feeling of a festival. Especially for cyclists - what ever their cycling disciplines are. And this year is no exception. With the event pushing activities at Singapore Expo as well as Sports Hub Singapore, the hype is indeed BIG. Bikezilla editor, Nick took up the challenge of riding his Haro new-retro street cruiser at the Straits Times 23 km ride. He came back with smiles, ideas and lots of selfies.
MASS RIDE 2019
The mood was festive as we approach the "race village" during the wee hours of morning. There was no opened convenience store in sight but luckily, the event officials were handing out water and 100Plus, so we had some basic intake before the ride.
OCBC Cycle is an annual event in Singapore that features both competitive road races as well as leisure mass rides. It had garnered lots of media attention over the years for being the biggest annual cycling event in Singapore on closed public roads. The non-competitive mass rides catered to cyclists of all skill levels. Regardless of age, gender, skill level or even whether you own a bike, there is always a suitable category to ride at OCBC Cycle.
For an event to be suitable for cyclists of all skill levels, cyclists' safety is naturally the top priority for the organisers. And that emphasis could be felt as we rode on the designated route. There were proper signs to indicate the direction to proceed. The closed sections of the public roads were very well condoned off from motor traffic. There were ushers cum safety personnel on electric unicycles throughout the ride route to ensure ... safety. Last but not least, there were ample drink stops for riders to replenish their energy should they require.
Coupled with the gradual increase in popularity of cycling over the last 10 years, it is small wonder that OCBC Cycle is now enjoying a participation rate in excess of 10,000. In addition to the fanfare at Singapore Sports Hub's start and end points there was also another round of activities at the Singapore Expo. This serve as a lead-up and pre-ride event to showcase the sponsors' products and services, at the same time giving the general cycling-loving public a chance to grab some great bargains.
This has been repeated to death but we still wanna say it! It's not everyday you get to ride on this bridge!
WHAT IS IN IT FOR MOUNTAIN BIKERS THEN?
The ride was enjoyable. We rode through places that we would usually drive on, which includes the Benjamin Sheares Bridge, the MCE Tunnel and some small roads around the Marina Bay area. I don't know about others, but for me, when the riding mood is good, I tend to think and imagine lots of happy stuff. My mind wandered how it would be like if there were more street and mountain bikes joining this big time community ride ...
Or better still ... wouldn't it be good to have a bonus ride loop for mountain bikers? A mini obstacle course?
Dartmoor 24 Player chillin' out with a Haro FST Cruiser inside MCE Tunnel!
Shortly after the day-dreaming, I also came to terms with some probable reasons ...
We were well-aware that OCBC Cycle is an event focused on the use of closed public roads around the downtown region of Singapore. It would be logical to expect the rides to spotlight on road races and urban community rides. While the cycling population is growing, a niche discipline - mountain biking - is also on a gradual rise. Understandably, due to the comparatively lower accessibility of mountain biking trails as opposed to roads for cycling, mountain bike is growing at a slower pace than road biking or other commuter-style cycling disciplines. (Ed: For simplicity, let's just merge the very very small groups of street and dirt riding mountain bikers into this one single category and simply call them "mountain bikers".)
With the above said, we should expect the organizers to reply:
- The group of mountain bikers joining is far too small compared to road and commuting cyclists
- There is nothing much we can do for trail riders as our events' main attractions are the closed public roads
- Adding mountain biking features for a small group requires a lot more manpower and resources that does not promise good return-on-investments
- Many other smaller objections but let's keep to these big ones.
We totally understand these concerns and that is why, this is NOT a demand session. We are simply suggesting.
Riding this single-speed cruiser over 23km is awesomely fun and stress-free. The ride route doesn't have any gnarly climbs nor unpredictability. There were folks riding rented or shared bikes and they seem to have as much fun as those who were on multi-speed weight-weenied machines. Too easy? No kick? That's why we are suggesting the optional obstacle course loop. Maybe a timed session at the obstacle course?
THE FUN OF OCBC CYCLES
To be truly a Cycling Event for ALL Cyclists, we really hope OCBC would consider allocating just a teensy weensy bit more of the planning budget for mountain bike segment. This extra features would also be good attractions for non-cycling visitors, kids and potential OCBC participants of the near future. In other words, such attractive activities draws a different crowd. With a great event location, the possibilities seem endless.
All said, we had a great time at OCBC Cycle 2019. From the smooth registration process, to the urshering, to all safety and hydration points, the finish line finale and the finsiher medal. It is all good. OCBC, you guys ticked all the boxes. Full marks for that :D
And what do we usually tell a full-mark student?
"Now that you score straight A's, go out and have some fun!"
Which is what we wish OCBC Cycle would do for mountain bikers. Go out, build some ramps, and have some (mountain biking) fun.
See you next year OCBC Cycle!
Photos by Bikezilla and OCBC Cycle
Big Thanks to OCBC Cycle 2019 for giving us the opportunity to be part of this awesome cycling festival OCBC Cycle 2019
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