SINGAPORE - Sports masseuse Tan Geok Mei could barely find her balance on a bicycle a month ago. But on Sunday morning (May 6), the 35-year-old was one of 6,500 riders who took part in OCBC Cycle's community rides at the Singapore Sports Hub.
Waving one hand in the air as she crossed the finish line of The Straits Times Ride (23km), Tan later said: "It feels great to finally accomplish this, the ride was excellent and the distance wasn't as bad as I thought."
She had picked up cycling through Project Training Wheels, the OCBC Cycle's learn-to-ride programme in March and April.
"I was nervous, but I knew that worrying doesn't change the end result so I told myself to just do my best," added Tan. "It's all about having the right mindset."
Participants of both The ST Ride and The Sportive Ride (40.8km) cycled past iconic landmarks such as the Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay before completing both routes at the National Stadium.
Radiation physicist Roger Soh was impressed with improvements to this year's route for The ST Ride. He last participated in it in 2015.
"The roads are wider and there is less congestion. The scenery is great, you don't really get to cycle past all these iconic places on a normal day," said the 29-year-old, who completed The ST Ride.
Insurance agent James Chua had stopped at one of the two designated selfie points on Sheares Bridge to snap a photo with the Singapore Flyer in the backdrop.
"It's a very exciting and scenic ride, it gives you something to look forward to every year," said the 61-year-old. This was his fifth time cycling in The Sportive Ride.
A partnership between bike-sharing firm Mobike and OCBC Cycle also saw 2,000 bikes being rented out to participants this year.
The initiative was well-received by riders.
Soh, who was joined by several of his friends on Sunday, all using a Mobike, said: "It's so much more convenient for me, it really saves the hassle of bringing a bike here."
Among the other new additions to the event were the OCBC Cycle Weekend Market, which featured more than 20 vendors selling a wide variety of bike accessories and cycling gear and the the inaugural OCBC Cycle Corporate Chase.
The latter drew 23 corporate teams and was won by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) team.
"We've been training extensively for this ride for some time," said SCDF's Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team section commander Ridhwan Dahlan. "To complete the 42km course, we had to rely a lot on teamwork and we are very happy with how the ride went."
There was plenty of drama as well on Saturday, the first day of the OCBC Cycle.
Myanmar emerged as surprise champions of the Speedway South-east Asia Championship after favourites Malaysia crashed out while Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines incurred time penalties and finished behind Myanmar.