I had been feeling rather excited as I approached the Sports Hub’s OCBC Arena – the meeting point for The Sportive Ride (42km) participants who were invited to take a preview of their route for their OCBC Cycle race, taking place on 30 August.
The time was 12noon today and a short while later, we would be on our way. This had also marked the first time that a cycling event in Singapore has organised such a preview for some of their participants.
Ride in a Volvo to see the cycling route
As soon as I reached the meeting point, I saw three Volvo vehicles parked in a single file. This small fleet of Volvos with “OCBC Cycle Singapore 2015” on each, certainly made quite an impressive sight – and I could not help but take a few pictures of them. I quickly realised then, that I would actually be taking a ride in one of these Volvos, to see the cycling route.
The ride begins
The drivers were ready and I stepped into one of the Volvos and we were driven out of the Singapore Sports Hub – to the starting point of the OCBC Cycle – along Nicoll Highway.
The drive continued through the city centre and I saw familiar landmarks such as the NTUC Centre and the Marina Barrage along the way. Then it headed towards the West Coast Highway and we passed by the iconic VivoCity building.
Throughout the ride, we were also given a running commentary on what to expect on race day. For example, key landmarks that we would be seeing during our ride on the event day were pointed out, as well as where the hydration points would be located.
Henderson Exit at West Coast Highway to be the first U-turn point
Upon reaching Henderson Exit on West Coast Highway, we were told that this would not only be the U-turn point, but would also mark the first drink and medical station along the race route. At the same time, a mechanic would also be stationed here. We then headed all the way back towards the East, passing thorough the Sheares Bridge.
At this point, the organiser had pointed out that at key stretches, like the descent at Sheares Bridge where participants tend to reach higher speeds, they had taken ample precautions – by having signages and blinker lights to warn participants ahead of time. As well, there would be marshals and a first-aid team on standby at such areas.
Sheares Avenue to be one of the selfie points along the race route
Sheares Avenue was also to be one of the selfie points along the OCBC Cycle route – where participants could simply stop to catch their breath during their ride, and take pictures of themselves.
We subsequently continued driving to the Laguna Flyover, which was to be the second U-turn point for the 42km ride. And then from there, we headed straight back to the Singapore Sports Hub – where cyclists on race day would be finishing their ride – inside the National Stadium.
Heading back along East Coast Parkway
The second drink station, we were told, would be along the East Coast Parkway expressway. At the same time, there would be another bike mechanic stationed there, in case cyclists have problems like gears slipping or tyre punctures.
As well, there would be another selfie point at the top of East Coast Parkway where cyclists would be able to take scenic photos of themselves with the backdrop of the Singapore Flyer and the Marina Bay Sands.
While this East Coast Park section was similar to last year’s, there is one notable difference – these would be one-way cycling traffic and not two-ways. This means that cyclists would be heading towards Laguna Flyover in one carriageway, and cycling back via the adjacent one. I thought that this would definitely help, to further reduce congestions along the route.
Novel way to give participants a sneak preview of the actual route
As a whole, I thought that the drive was definitely a very novel way to give participants a sneak preview of the route that we would be riding on, come race day. At the same time, it gives a better idea of what to expect during the event, not only in terms of hydration and planning, but also to determine where the slopes are and when to adjust the speed and change gears – without getting a rude shock first.
While most participants simply look at the race map to give themselves an idea of where they would be cycling it, I think that having a first-hand look of what the route is actually like, gives a much better picture than simply looking at it on a map or picture. After all, there is only so much that a map can do, right?