Ride Review: SAFRA Runway Cycling/Skating

Organised by SAFRA and held at Paya Lebar Air Base. It is the world’s first and I believe the only event in the world that a runway and it’s surrounding taxiways are open to the public to ride and skate on.It consists of a leisure 6km route or a “competitive” 15km route. Participants who signed up for the  45km (3 x 15 km loop) challenge will get their timing taken and as well as other goodie bag and stuff. Besides the cycling event, most of the base is open to the public for exhibitions and as well as other family-oriented events.

Considered more as a leisure event, I best describe it as a “mass orgy” of skaters and as well as amateur cyclists a potential “fuck fest” as the faster road bikers will attempt to rush through the mountain bikers and foldables. Mix in children and skaters means one must ride with eyes wide open.

Route map is here. Starting point is around the middle part of the runway. Cycle till the end of the runway and U turn into a taxiway travel all the way down and U turn into a small road before following the road all the way back to the runway. Lack of trees and a relatively flat profile also means that crosswinds if it is very strong would be obvious. The small road is only 2 lanes wide and following a u turn from a taxiway, it is like progressing from a highway into a 1 lane street, very dangerous! Runway to taxiway progression was a breeze since it was designed for large aircraft to go through.

Reached the starting point with about 15 minutes remaining due to the large number of people going through a compulsory security screening. Was amazed by the large number of people already at the starting point. When the ride started with a flag off,my friends and I was attempting to bash through the thick bunch of people riding slower. When it was cleared at around 700m, we accelerated back up to normal riding speeds. First 15km was a breeze given that there are very few people in front. Also, the winds were favorable.

Come the second and third round it was a complete fiasco. The cross winds have come and it was very strong! Turning into the side road was also dangerous as since it is not a race, people was not keeping left and was just strewn all over the place. Going through them was like playing a game of Frogger, except that people will react unexpectedly when passed.

Overall position not given but came in with a time of 1:22:19 at an average speed of 32kph. Not too shabby given the amount of momentum and time I lost while trying to bash through the crowd. Definitely not race speed !

Parting words
Definitely not a race for a die hard cyclist unless one finds thrill in speeding past groups of amateur and weekend warriors. However, the way SAFRA packages the event as a family-oriented event is a big success with activities for dads and kids to participate in a carnival-like atmosphere. The water points are very well equipped with ice cold isotonic drinks. It is also heart-warming to see family coming down to bring their kids down for some light exercise as well as some fun. Though I witnessed some accidents, some in the heat of moment may think its a race and might not be aware of their surroundings. For those who want to race STAY FAR AWAY from this event!

About sadisticnoob

A poor guy attempting to skim on bike parts
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