Last week I done the NTU bike rally, finishing it in a little over 4 hours. Initially, I was abit skeptical about going for the event due to the last minute changes happening in as little as 3 weeks before the event happened. Given the huge logistical changes and a rather large number of participants, I was surprised that it was still rather as well organized as before even with the changes.
Starting point this year is different from previous year where it was usually either at East Coast Park or the F1 Pit Building. This year, it was held at the NTU Chinese Heritage Center (looks kind of like a temple). I stayed overnight at NTU as commuting a 40km journey there at 3am is not a good start for the event. Woke up at 6am feeling fresh and started to ride like down which is around 5 minutes from where my sleeping place is. I thought that the change in starting point and the date would affect the turnout for the event but surprisingly at flag off, there was still a pretty large number of people at the starting point.
Started off at the 2nd pack as I came in slightly late for registration. Was advised not to overtake the lead car but I still did it as it did a sudden brake in the lane. Quickly chased up with the first pack and went with them all the way.
One rule of this bike rally was to NOT overtake the lead car but the car was conspicuously absent at one of the route from Pasir Ris to East Coast Park. Suddenly, the peleton was awakened, instead of traveling at 30kph, the speed was rev up to 40kph and I kind of enjoyed that speed as there is less free wheeling and generally being less of a traffic hazard to the rest of the road users. The car was also absent on the last leg of the journey, but by then legs was tired and could hardly hit 35kph.
The route is a mixture of the popular cycling routes in Singapore, but its the company that I enjoyed the most. Kudos to the prison team for setting a nice pace all the way and witnessed many people just having fun and enjoying each others company.The route while not difficult for many seasoned bike riders proved to be difficult for the occasional cyclists. A good mixture of undulating terrain and flat land means it is challenging but yet not to challenging for those who wish to complete the challenge.
Ride data is here for those who wish to view it.
In conclusion, despite the minor hiccups that occurred weeks before the event started, I am still very impressed at the amount of support and encouragement the undergraduates of NTU gave to the participants. Also of note, is that the students are all volunteers and that even the safety cyclists are all volunteers. I would still participate next year, even as a paying participant.
How about the effort required to ride it ? If you are riding super fast, the effort can be best described as running a full marathon but running only 10km each time and have a rest of 30 mins between each ride. While this has sapped the endurance of those who cycle regularly and would rather prefer to ride the full distance without any stops; the occasional cyclists would find the breaks well timed and a chance to take a breather. The lack of any competition and timing also means that crashes was few and friendly people. For those cyclists itching for a race, this event is not suited for you.