SINGAPORE - In-person cycling will return to the OCBC Cycle after a two-year absence due to the pandemic, during which it went fully virtual.
In an announcement on Monday (March 14) morning, organisers said that two ride categories - the OCBC Cycle Speedway Championships and a new 20km City Ride - will take place on May 7 and 8 at the Singapore Sports Hub.
Up to 2,000 participants will feature in the latter category.
To ensure the safety of all involved in the in-person events, safe management measures include only allowing eligible participants into the event venue over the two days.
Participants must either be fully vaccinated, certified to be medically ineligible for vaccination or have recovered from Covid-19 within the last 180 days from the day of the ride.
Limited slots are available for the in-person cycling events with 28 teams expected to compete in the Speedway Championships across three categories (club, corporate and women), four fewer than the previous 2019 edition.
The OCBC Cycle event will still offer virtual rides, with the riding period being from May 7 to June 6, and retain categories from past editions, namely the 100km, 200km, Mighty Savers Kids 5km virtual ride and The Straits Times virtual ride - which has been lengthened from 23km to 60km.
A new Team Challenge virtual ride category will see teams of four compete to clock the longest combined distance. Each team member can ride up to four times and the top three teams with the highest combined distances will be awarded shopping vouchers worth $800, $600 and $400 respectively.
Riding on the popularity of indoor spin classes, a new indoor rhythmic cycling category, Spin Ride by CRU, has been launched in partnership with homegrown fitness group CRU. Participants of this category will attend three 50-minute-long spin classes at CRU studios.
OCBC head of group brand and communications Koh Ching Ching said it was "delighted" to bring back the event, and added: "The 2,000-participant cap for the in-person 20km City Ride is a good start and we look forward to increasing participation limits in future editions of OCBC Cycle.
"Virtual formats, which had to be introduced during the pandemic, gave us fresh perspectives on how mass sporting events can be held... Hybrid sporting events are here to stay and we will be able to support and energise many more people by organising in-person as well as virtual rides."
The return of a physical mass cycling event was welcomed by many including Na Kok Keong, who set an alarm on his phone to ensure he secured a spot when registration opened on Monday morning. Taking part in the 20km City Ride and the 200km virtual ride, the 46-year-old senior manager at a factory was among the first participants to register.
“I first came across OCBC Cycle two years ago in a news advertisement and it piqued my interest at the time," he said.
“I missed out on registration last year and I regretted it so when my friend sent me a registration link for this year’s edition, I was especially eager. It is something new that I have never experienced and I want to gain some exposure in cycling in a mass event with others.”
After taking part in four different virtual ride events organised by Togoparts and 42Race, the OCBC Cycle 2022 20km City Ride will be the first physical cycling event for Na, who picked up cycling in June 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic.
Online registration for OCBC Cycle can be done here and ends on April 25 or when all slots are taken up. All participants will also receive a complimentary 30-day access to CRU's suite of workout videos which include cycling, boxing, HIIT, yoga and meditation.
Those who sign up for the event between now and April 10 also stand a chance to win a Birdy R20 foldable bicycle worth $4,549.