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Riders laud OCBC race, though route is a concern

THEY came - over 10,000 of them - many with fancy bikes and some in fancy dress.

And most gave the fifth edition of the OCBC Cycle Singapore the thumbs-up as the three-day event ended yesterday with the mass participation segment - the 61km (Super Challenge), 42km (Challenge and The Business Times Charity Challenge) and 24km (The Community Ride and Foldies Community Ride). In all, over 11,500 cyclists hit the streets from Friday to yesterday.

Architect Sherwin Lagui, 32, a first-time rider in the 42km category said: "The course is nice, it's organised well, and next year I hope to come back and do the longer distance."

But some felt that the course - which began and ended at the F1 Pit Building - could have been improved.

Alex Ng, 39, who rode 42km on a foldable bike, said: "There are too many sharp turns on the course. Most road bikes need a wider angle and, if people are not aware, there could be accidents."

Added second-time participant Moonis Ahmed, who also competed in the popular 42km race which drew close to 6,000 entrants: "The road coming back from East Coast Park is narrower this year because there were too many riders as the event is growing in size.

"But overall, I had a great time and I'll be back next year."

Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong got his first taste of participating in a cycling event yesterday when he took part in the 24km community ride.

Said Mr Wong, who was accompanied by Singapore Sports Council chief executive Lim Teck Yin, who gamely rode a foldable bike alongside the minister's mountain bike: "Very good weather, very good route. I think cycling is a growing sport and recreation activity in Singapore."

CHAN U-GENE