For a cycling novice, it can be quite intimidating riding with enthusiasts armed with the latest carbon-fibre bikes, newfangled GPS watches and helmets sculpted in wind tunnels.
But this was what this reporter experienced when he joined 20 riders comprising the media, bloggers and OCBC staff for a media try-out of the OCBC Cafe Bike Crawl yesterday morning.
The bike crawl is one of the fringe activities ahead of the OCBC Cycle, which will be held on Oct 1 and 2 at the Sports Hub. This year's OCBC Cycle had already attracted close to 3,000 sign-ups.
After arriving at the meeting point of yesterday's bike crawl at Tebing Lane in Punggol, the nerves dissipated.
The OCBC staff assured that it would be an easy and safe 18km scenic route along Punggol Waterway, the Punggol Promenade and the Sungei Serangoon Park Connector that would take about five hours to complete.
Join the next OCBC Cafe Bike Crawls
The OCBC Cafe Bike Crawl will be held on July 9 and Aug 13, and they are part of 13 pre-event workshops. Other activities in the build-up to the OCBC Cycle include a cooking workshop, a fitness boot camp and a family carnival.
Interested participants can sign up for the bike crawl at www.ocbccycle.com/ cafe-bike-crawl
There is a limit of 30 cyclists per session.
The longest continuous stretch was only 8km, which gave a breather to the inexperienced riders whose bottoms were begging to sore. A paramedic, who is also well versed in bike repair, rode with the group and was most helpful in fixing any mechanical niggles.
We had breakfast at Punggol Waterway Point and made another pit stop for ice cream and coffee at Punggol Settlement.
At a stop on Coney Island, although there was no sighting of the famous cow that took up residence, the riders received a treat when the Coast Cycle bike shop brought out a range of bicycles for everyone to test out, with some models costing more than $4,000.
The bike crawl ended with lunch at Soek Seng 1954 Bicycle Cafe, which is located within Seletar Aerospace Park and diners have a full view of the Seletar airstrip.
Seletar is a popular haunt for many local cyclists and the cafe appeals to the two-wheeled crowd with its cycling-themed decor, which has 20 colourful bikes and saddles hung on the walls.