Contrary to what non-cyclists might think, cycling does not always have to be an individual sport. Over the weekend, we spoke to a few participants of OCBC Cycle 2015, a mass cycling event, and got to know more about what makes cycling such an enjoyable social activity.
For recreational cyclist Jonathan Hooper, the OCBC Cycle Speedway Championships was the perfect avenue for him to amass competition experience and, of course, to meet new people.
Noting the lack of competitive cycling events in Singapore, Jonathan said: “It’s good that we’ve got something like this today. Such events are important because they get people outdoors; they get people communicating and meeting new friends. I’ve made a lot of new friends cycling!”
“I’d say that what I enjoy most about cycling would be the social scene, running with your mates every day and stuff like that. It’s pretty cool. It’s another way of socialising; it brings people together, it allows us to compete in a fun way.”
Kathryn and team
Avid triathlete Kathryn Marie Haesner joined the Championships “to get a bit of a break from triathlons, and to have fun with friends”.
Revealing that her team, Arrivo Primo Singapura, was fielding the only all-female line-up for the Speedway race, Kathryn also noted that the best part of the event was competing alongside her teammates.
“What I enjoy most about cycling is the social side of it: Riding with teams, meeting new people, having a laugh, and exploring new places. I’ve made many new friends through the sport,” she expressed.
“I think cycling is a fabulous way to bring people together. You’re keeping fit, and it’s got the social aspect that makes it fun. You can talk when you ride most of the time, so that’s cool!”
Meanwhile, less competitive cyclists opted for the amateur-friendly routes on Sunday’s Sportive Ride and Straits Times Ride. Clement Cheang, who joined the long-distance ride with a team from the National University Hospital (NUH) Sports Centre, professed to have had a healthy and fun morning with his colleagues.
“I decided to join this just as a way to keep fit. It wasn’t very difficult getting people to join the team; the response was quite good! I think this event was useful for us to bond as a group of colleagues. We’re from different departments, you see, so we don’t get to see each other often at work. I’d do this again with them,” he explained.
Jia Shern, Kai Xiang, and Jodel
Proving that sporty community activities were not just for the older crowd was a group of 17-year-olds: Lim Jia Shern, Yap Kai Xiang, and Jodel Chow. The three friends, who had met while in primary school, certainly chose a very meaningful reunion activity!
“This is our first time at the OCBC Cycle, but we’ll most probably be back again next year. The teamwork aspect of cycling is really important. It helps us to work together, and to understand each other better,” remarked Jia Shern, who also added that they regularly encouraged each other to stay fit.
Ken, Steve, Jess, Benedict, and Gen
Likewise, another group of youths had also chosen to spend the early hours of their Sunday morning on their bicycles. Jess Tang, Benedict Chieng, Gen Han, Ken Ang, and Steve Leow - a group of close friends and former schoolmates - were grateful for the opportunity to spend quality time together.
Sharing her experience riding alongside her friends, Jess said: “When people do things together and want to improve together, they tend to get closer. It’s not like just meeting up to have dinner. When we cycled today, we communicated a lot with each other, such as telling each other to switch gears, to speed when going uphill, and things like that. You feel that you’re building something quite meaningful together.”
“One thing I feel is important about participating in a group is that you have your friends to cheer you on, to motivate you to go up the steep inclines and all that. If you do it alone, you tend to just do it at your own pace. With a friend, or a group, you have each other to fall back on and to push each other… All the ups and downs! We’ll definitely do this again,” concurred Benedict.