An easier OCBC Cycle with next generation Mobikes

National cyclist Serene Lee shares her top tips on using a three-gear Mobike bicycle to navigate the 23km route at the upcoming OCBC Cycle in May.
Information technology professional Wan Liu Yang on a Mobike. The latest batch of Mobikes - equipped with a three-speed gear system and adjustable seats - will be made available to participants of the OCBC Cycle from May 5-6 for free.
Information technology professional Wan Liu Yang on a Mobike. The latest batch of Mobikes - equipped with a three-speed gear system and adjustable seats - will be made available to participants of the OCBC Cycle from May 5-6 for free.ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

After a long day at work last March, information technology professional Wan Liu Yang unlocked a Mobike at Raffles Place.

The Chinese native got on the saddle and began to pedal - not to the nearest bus stop or mall, but around the island for the next seven hours.

While bike-sharing services are commonly used as a mode of transport over short distances, Wan kicked it up a notch and completed the 108km route on the gearless two-wheeler.

His journey saw him ride through Gardens by the Bay, East Coast Park, Changi, Punggol, Yishun, Sembawang, Kranji, Lim Chu Kang and the West Coast Highway before looping back to Raffles Place in the early hours of the morning.

An avid cyclist, Wan had completed the round-island ride several times on his road bike, but decided to use a Mobike to challenge himself and prove a point.

"I wanted to show people that you don't need a fancy bike to cycle around Singapore," he said.

The ride was unexpectedly tougher due to the lack of gears.

"I struggled a lot when I had to pedal upslope," the 27-year-old said last week. "Gears make all the difference."

He added that the saddle - which was not adjustable - also made the ride less comfortable.

"It was a good challenge but I wouldn't do it again on a bike without gears," he said with a laugh.

But, at the upcoming OCBC Cycle from May 5-6, participants who do not own a bike can now use the latest batch of Mobikes - equipped with a three-speed gear system and adjustable seats - for free on the 23km route at the Sports Hub.

"The first gear should be used when climbing hills as it is the lowest and easiest gear. The second, which offers moderate resistance, can be used when riding on flat roads. The third is ideal on descent to gain momentum," said Wan.

He added that ensuring the brakes are working well is also an essential step before the ride.

National cyclist Serene Lee, 30, advised beginners to feather the breaks - lightly and rapidly releasing the brakes repeatedly - to control the speed of the bike when cycling downslope.

Riders should also slow down ahead of sharp turns and corners.

"It's a ride, not a race, go slow if you're not confident of turning," she said.

Having the saddle at a proper height is also crucial to prevent straining the knees and back.

The saddle height, which can be adjusted with the lever, should be parallel to your hip bone, said Wan.

While the bike basket is convenient for storing valuables, Lee advised participants to keep their belongings in a backpack instead.

"Putting things in the basket will change the centre of gravity and affect the way you turn," she said.

Online registration for the OCBC Cycle is open. For more information, visit www.ocbccycle.com

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 12, 2018, with the headline 'An easier OCBC Cycle with next generation Mobikes'. Print Edition | Subscribe