Early birds catch rewards

Michelle Myat and husband Bryan Phyo with the bikes they received as gifts for being the first two people in the queue to register for the OCBC Cycle event.
Michelle Myat and husband Bryan Phyo with the bikes they received as gifts for being the first two people in the queue to register for the OCBC Cycle event.ST PHOTO: JASMINE CHOONG

Husband and wife arrived at the launch site 22 hours before registration for the OCBC Cycle began at noon yesterday.

Engineers Bryan Phyo and Michelle Myat spent the time wandering around Orchard Gateway throughout Thursday afternoon, after arriving at 2pm.

Phyo, 33, secured the first spot in the official queue when it started at 9pm.

Their wait entailed them taking turns to have dinner and spending yesterday morning snatching 10 to 15 minutes of sleep occasionally on the floor of the mall, as well as playing games with other would-be participants to keep themselves entertained.

They were rewarded for their efforts, with Phyo wheeling away an Aleoca hybrid bike worth $400, as well as a GoPro camera valued at $440 for being the first to sign up for the May 11-12 event.

He was awarded a second gift bag, containing books written by The Straits Times journalists, for being the first to sign up for the 23km The Straits Times Ride, which is part of the OCBC Cycle.

Myat, 35, received an SP Connect bike bundle and an Aleoca mountain bike worth $400 each.

Said Phyo: "I like the ST Ride because you can cycle at your own pace, so you can enjoy the scenery and stop to take selfies.

"I also like cycling on car-free roads, we don't normally get to do that. I always cycle on park connectors, so this is a good change."

Inspired by her husband's first experience in 2017, Myat decided to sign up with him the next year. This will be her second ST Ride.

"He told me about his experience on roads and the different views, so I thought we could do it together as a bonding activity," she said.

"I enjoyed cycling with him last year because we could relax and chit-chat and that also made it easier to complete the 23km."

For first-time ST Ride participant Janice Goh, this is a chance to push her limits.

"The most I've cycled was 12km three years ago. So I wanted to challenge myself to see how far I could go," said the 27-year-old Singapore Institute of Technology student.

Despite having an examination on Monday, the criminology student still joined the queue at 11am yesterday and was rewarded with a 15 per cent discount off the $45 fee.

"I'm looking forward to seeing the different sights of Singapore and I hope this event encourages people to cycle as it's more eco-friendly," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2019, with the headline 'Early birds catch rewards'. Print Edition | Subscribe