A year ago, Daniel Koh participated in The Straits Times Ride at the OCBC Cycle and completed the 23km event. Bitten by the cycling bug, the Singapore Institute of Technology undergraduate decided to crank it up a gear, signing up for the 42km Sportive Ride this year.
"Last year was my first time at the OCBC Cycle and I liked how the whole cycling community came together, regardless of whether they are recreational or hardcore cyclists," he said. "I enjoyed myself so much that I want to try the Sportive Ride to challenge myself."
Koh, who was among the first to register for this year's event, was given an Aleoca mountain bike, a smartphone mounting bundle for his two-wheeler and 25 per cent off the $45 early-bird registration fee.
The 11th edition of the OCBC Cycle, Singapore's biggest cycling fiesta, will be held at the Singapore Sports Hub on May 11-12.
The non-competitive events comprise the ST and Sportive Rides. But the OCBC Cycle Speedway Club Championship, which sees club cyclists race 10 1km laps along Stadium Drive, will not be the sole competitive category, as the Corporate Championship will return after a one-year break with teams battling for the orange jerseys.
Samuel Tsien, group chief executive officer of OCBC Bank, said: "The event has become an iconic event on Singapore's annual sporting calendar, thanks to the support of all our participants, our partners and our local authorities. Singapore's well-integrated pathways, our beautiful parks and seamless park connectors, have made it ever easier for people to take up cycling for exercise and recreation.
"Yet OCBC Cycle's allure, the opportunity to ride on closed roads that offer memorable and 'Instagrammable' sights, remains unique."
At last year's event, organisers engaged the help of the Sports Hub to recycle the plastic bottles used by participants and eco start-up Green Nudge helped to collect fruit peels for composting.
The green initiatives will be expanded this year to include planting one tree for every 50 cyclists, stopping the use of single-use plastics in event pack collection, wrapping medals in recycled paper, organising workshops on recycling and upcycling, as well as replacing trophies for the OCBC Cycle Speedway Championships with reusable steel tumblers.
And moving from the green to the evergreen, the event has also attracted veterans like Bernard Lau.
The 60-year-old limousine driver, who enjoys brisk walking and had participated in marathons, said: "I have been doing the ST Ride since it began (in 2015) as it is a very scenic and comfortable route for my heavier mountain bike.
"Besides, there are pre-event health talks and workshops on bike tuning that I'm interesting in attending."
• Registration will open at ocbccycle.com on Monday, with early-bird discounts up to Feb 12.