Ride Review: OCBC Cycle 2015

The final day of Singapore’s biggest cycling festival – the OCBC Cycle 2015, took place this morning at the Singapore Sports Hub with the two non-competitive mass participation categories. These were the 42km Sportive Ride and the 23km Straits Times Ride,  both of which attracted a total of about 6,800 cyclists.

Sportive Ride participants at the starting line.

Sportive Ride participants at the starting line.

Yesterday, the Mighty Saver Kids Rides and the OCBC Speedway Challenge competition had also taken place.

Gave cyclists a chance to see Singapore in its full glory

Both of these categories gave participating cyclists the chance to see Singapore’s scenery in its full glory, passing through iconic landmarks such as the Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Flyer and East Coast Park as well as cycle along several expressways such as the Benjamin Sheares Bridge and the East Coast Parkway.

Can't wait to begin their ride.

Can’t wait to begin their ride.

Participants also got the chance to explore the West side of Singapore – a first in a local cycling event, through cycling along the West Coast Highway. But the highlight of the event was that the ride ended right inside the iconic dome of Singapore’s National Stadium.

Took part in the Sportive Ride

I took part in the Sportive Ride – and was joined by about 4,600 other participants. This had been flagged off by Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth – at around 5.45am. So I woke up at about 2.30am to have a quick breakfast before heading down to the race site – despite the fact that I had only managed to get to sleep after midnight!

OCBC Cycle Girls.

OCBC Cycle Girls.

Though I was a little groggy, everything went pretty well though and I reached the Sports Hub at around four in the morning. When I got there I already saw a hive of activity on site, with many cyclists lounging around and chilling out whilst waiting for the ride to begin.

At about half past four, the starting pen was opened and we eagerly rode inside. I could not wait to start cycling! However, the actual flag off was unfortunately delayed by half an hour – due to some issues with closing the roads in time for the event. (The flag off time was originally supposed to have been at 5.15am).



Felt good to get my legs pedalling

I was in the second wave. After the long wait till flag off, it definitely felt shiok to be finally able to get my legs pedalling and my heart pumping. The first slope that I encountered was along Nicoll Highway and I quickly sped up this as I was still feeling very fresh. I was feeling very good at this stage of the ride – so I was pushing hard and cycling as fast I could, to try and clock a good timing at the end of the ride.

We're off!!!

We’re off!!!

We were now heading towards Keppel Viaduct, passing through the central part of Singapore. I must admit that as my training rides are usually in the East of Singapore due to the closer proximity to where I stay, so this was the first time that I was cycling through the West Coast, and the change in scenery was certainly very welcoming. It was also a shiok feeling to be cycling up the West Coast Highway and seeing VivoCity looming right below me.

During the wait for participants to cross the finish line...

During the wait for participants to cross the finish line…

This was also roughly where the first hydration station of the ride was located. I thought about stopping for a short while, but because I still had a bottle of water with me and was still feeling okay, I had decided not to.

Earlier exertion started to take its toll

We then headed back towards Gardens by the Bay while passing through East Coast Parkway. At this point, my speed started to slow a little bit, as the earlier exertion, together with the lack of sleep, had started to take its toll.

1st and 2nd cyclists crossing the finishing line for the 42km race

1st and 2nd cyclists crossing the finish line for the 42km Sportive Ride

The upslopes at East Coast Parkway and the Sheares Bridge also did not help my cause, no matter what gear combination I had tried. I cursed myself for cycling so fast at the beginning of the ride! Now, I seemed to have run out of energy.

Though I admitted that I do know about pacing oneself, actually putting it into practice is another story – especially with all of the hype and adrenaline that typically takes place at a major event such as OCBC Cycle 2015.

The hand cyclist is happy to cross the finish line!

The hand cyclist is happy to cross the finish line!

Cyclists found the slopes challenging

And for cyclist Jeffrey Hue, 34, working in water treatment sales, these upslopes along the route, were especially challenging. He said, “I have joined this ride for a few years, but this year was exceptionally challenging. There were a lot of slopes as well as many turning points along the route, compared to usually. You needed a lot of training to be able to complete this.”

A happy cyclist upon completion of his ride

A happy cyclist upon completion of his ride

Lovely scenery took my mind off things

But the beautiful scenery and iconic Singapore landmarks throughout the ride, was very helpful in taking one’s mind off the challenges of the slopes, though.

And fellow rider Farah Irani, 41, a radiologist, loved the scenic backdrop too. She said, “The scenery was very good – I enjoyed it! I cycle at East Coast often, but never over the Sheares Bridge. So that was very nice and it gave me a very different feeling on the bike, compared to driving along it.”

I also stopped at the designated selfie point at the top of Sheares Bridge to take a quick picture. It was getting slightly brighter by then, and so the backdrop was the perfect excuse for me to take a short breather and snap a shot.

Taking a breather!

Taking a breather!

Added Irani, “Stopping there (at Sheares Bridge) was an awesome experience. In the car you cannot even stop, but today I could, and nobody can tell you off.”

Cycling into the heart of the National Stadium

As the ride continued, I could sense the National Stadium drawing near. Anticipation was building up inside me as i had been looking forward to this chance to cycle inside the National Stadium’s iconic dome.

My watch read 38km… 39km… 40km… the remaining kilometres flew past quickly. I was almost there.

Striking a pose for the camera!

Striking a pose for the camera – at the finish line!

It was not the first time that I have been to the National Stadium. I admit that I have come here on several occasions, such as during the SEA Games and more recently, during the Barclays Asia Trophy tournament. But it was quite a different feeling to be cycling into the stadium, like an elite athlete representing Singapore. If only the crowd had been there to cheer me on, though!

For fellow cyclist Don Koh, 37, a key accounts executive, it was also a great feeling to be heading into the stadium, too. He said, “My favourite part of the whole ride was that I get to go into the stadium. This was my first time actually being inside there – and the reason why I joined this event in the first place!”

Heading to the post-race carnival after their ride.

Heading to the post-race carnival after their ride.

A great and memorable cycling experience

As I dismounted from my bike and headed over to collect my finisher’s medal and a bottle of water, I continued to marvel at the beauty and awe of the National Stadium – one of Singapore’s newest sporting icons.

Overall I felt that OCBC Cycle 2015 had definitely been a good cycling experience, with the nice refreshing cycling route and scenery and the chance to end my ride at this local sporting icon – which cyclists have never had the chance to do so before, in a cycling event.

Cyclists pose for the camera.

Cyclists pose for the camera.

Other cyclists also felt that it had been a good ride. Said Chryston Chua, 18, “This is my first time here. The event was very well planned. My friends and I ride every Friday night along a similar route, so we are very familiar with the roads, but we usually don’t get to cycle on the highway. With the new shirt, medal and new experience, we will definitely be back next year.”

A fun carnival to end the OCBC Cycle 2015 experience

And after ending the ride at the National Stadium, there was more to come. Upon exiting the Stadium, we were greeted by a carnival – including plenty of fun activities such as a rock climbing wall, surfboard simulator and a human-sized pool game.

50-cent old school snacks.

50-cent old-school snacks.

And there were also plenty of old-school snacks, such as popcorn, candy floss and kachang puteh being sold at 50 cents per serving. For everyone, this had really brought back the nostalgic memories of old Singapore.

OCBC is pleased with the event

OCBC Bank’s Head of Group Corporate Communications, Ms Koh Ching Ching, was pleased with the event as a whole. She said, “I have been very encouraged by the good feedback. A lot of people enjoyed the route, and ending the ride at the National Stadium was a key highlight for the participants. All these little things contributed to the team being able to create a very wonderful experience for the cyclists.”

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  • Freddie Siew says:

    You put it nicely….it was a really good ride. For me, it was ‘doubly good’ though it was my first go at OCBC’s Cycle Singapore (I am Malaysian and have joined all the Kuala Lumpur rides). I was part of the Main Contractor and PWD team that built the ECP-B.Sheares Bridge 35 years ago and it felt really nice to at last be able to pedal along it from end to end and back.

    Hmm….I am quite sure I was the only one from that team to be riding in Sundays’ ride. My one regret….I did not take part in the previous rides. Ha, I will be back.

  • Chua Chryston says:

    My name is spelled wrong in every other article :'( hahaha

  • Vhines says:

    Great ride for the 4th time (participated since 2012)! OCBC Cycle SG 2015 is my best ride ever and finishing at the National Stadium is really AWESOME! Good job OCBC Cycle team! 😉

  • Ng says:

    If not for the delay during Flag off, it was indeed a wonderful experience.enjoyed the ride in a very safe riding environment.

  • Sebastian says:

    Nicely written. Was indeed a beautiful ride towards the Wesr then into MCE. Nice to see many just enjoying the ride and not trying to be overly competitive; though there were a few “gungho wannabe” screaming at other cyclists to move to the left.

    2 improvement areas… Medical care has to be real. I had cramps towards the final leg at Benjamin Shreare and was amazed the medics didn’t even know how to open the medical bag. Had nothing else to provide except ice pack. Other is the drink station, first one at ECP was kinda strange that volunteers were handling out drinks while cyclists were cycling by. We’re cycling not running by.

    Anyhow was definitely a wonderful experience ?

    • Priscilla says:

      Glad to hear that you had a good ride.

      Sorry to hear about your cramps and the issues at the drink stations. I didn’t cycle near the drink stations along the route, so I didn’t experience volunteers handing me bottles of drinks… But that is an interesting issue that you brought up.

    • Rockman says:

      Sabestian, if you have stop by the first drink station you will notice it is off the cycling route so as to allow cyclist to rest their legs as well as dismount to collect their drinks.

      However as the 2nd and 3rd drink stations were located along the route, you have a choice to either stop to collect it or extend out your hand to grab it.

      I think you are referring to the ECP service road one which you either detour into the empty carpark to park your bike or you choose to slow down and grab one from volunteers hand.

      This 3rd drink station has never change since my first ride till now.

      So please appreciate the volunteers who has to wake up and report in 29-Aug-2015 past mid-night for duty just for a t-shirt, few meals and transportation money. They have to stand while on duty for more than 3-4 hours to serve us. It is a thankless job you know just to server 6,800 cyclist.

      BTW, I am one of the volunteer on 29-Aug-2015 only cause I am riding for a good cause under Sportive category.

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