Cycling: More corporates ditching suit and tie for bike run at OCBC Cycle

Above: The first OCBC Cycle Road Race in March, part of a four-race series to give riders more regular competitive action.
Above: The first OCBC Cycle Road Race in March, part of a four-race series to give riders more regular competitive action. PHOTO: BECTON DICKINSON
Above: For non-competitive riders, there is the Corporate Bike Run, with sign-ups increasing this year for both the 42km Sportive Ride and the 23km Straits Times Ride. Fifteen Becton Dickinson employees took part last year and there will be 32 of them for
Above: For non-competitive riders, there is the Corporate Bike Run, with sign-ups increasing this year for both the 42km Sportive Ride and the 23km Straits Times Ride. Fifteen Becton Dickinson employees took part last year and there will be 32 of them for this weekend's event. PHOTO: BECTON DICKINSON

When Jon Wong learnt that last year's OCBC Cycle would feature a corporate category for the first time, the avid cyclist thought it would be a good way to ease interested colleagues into the sport.

So, the network engineer got 14 other Becton Dickinson staff to join him at the event as part of the global medical technology company's employee engagement efforts.

It was so enjoyable that most of them will be returning for the Corporate Bike Run this weekend, with more in tow - 32 in all.

Said Wong, 39: "The most important part (when one first starts cycling) is to find a group whom you are comfortable with. From there, you pick up skills and confidence."

"There aren't many rides locally; there are more events being organised, but those are more for racing.

"Through the OCBC Cycle, we have an avenue for people interested in cycling to join a local event."

The Corporate Bike Run has proven to be a hit in both its categories - the 42km Sportive Ride (803 sign-ups this year, up from 664) and the 23km Straits Times Ride (462, up from 408 last year).

Among the newcomers for this non-competitive category this year is Mapei Far East. The chemical building production company is sending a team of 17, which includes Marcel Smit, its regional director for Asia-Pacific.

The Dutchman, who has lived in Singapore for 22 years, said: "In Singapore there's been a push for more cycling and more sports.

"It's a good plan. We want to encourage our employees to stay fit through cycling and sports."

The 60-year-old hopes Mapei's presence at the event will grow.

"I hope our team enjoys the event and learns more about cycling," he said. "A few people will be entering a cycling meet for the first time, so I hope they enjoy it and pass it on to their friends and partners so more people will join next year."

OCBC Bank's head of group corporate communications, Koh Ching Ching, said the corporate ride was introduced to the OCBC Cycle event to encourage employee bonding and team-building.

She said: "The companies simply get their employees to sign up and have the rest of their staff cheer their colleagues on. Some companies even involve the families.

"What is great is that companies can plan preparation and training sessions leading up to the OCBC Cycle, helping to deepen the employee engagement."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2016, with the headline 'More ditching suit and tie for bike run at OCBC Cycle'. Print Edition | Subscribe