OCBC Cycle Singapore: Going with the pros

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OCBC Cycle Singapore: Going with the pros
Benson Ang (centre) rides with the OCBC Pro-cycling team, Goh Choon Huat (far left) and Eric Sheppard.

SINGAPORE - Even though I only took up cycling again in January, I am feeling more proficient already. But very far from professional.

Last week, I was given the chance to ride with two members of the OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team - Goh Choon Huat, 23 and Eric Sheppard, 22.

And boy, did I feel like an amateur as I learnt that cycling is not just about pedalling and balance. It is also about knowing how to react to circumstances, and quickly, because your safety can depend on it.

But what these guys can do almost looks incredible to me. Even cycling without hands is something I would not dare to attempt.

They can balance on their bikes while stationary and perform brilliant stunts.

I felt extremely mediocre, so I got some tips from them.

Cycling, said Sheppard, is all about consistency.

It is better to ride a short distance every day instead of taking a long break and suddenly wanting to cycle around the island.

It is also good to cycle with company as the kilometres go by quickly with someone beside you to chat with.

Cycle alone and each pedal stroke can feel like you are riding through quicksand.

We set off from Punggol Waterway Park heading to Yio Chu Kang - a decent 13km.

By car, it would take about 15 minutes. Cycling alone could take me until the next day.

I had not cycled on busy roads before and I was terrified.

Thankfully, Goh and Sheppard rode ahead of me. All I had to do was follow and not lag too far behind.

Even so, it was a challenge. The consistent pedalling needed to keep up was soon tiring.

All my attention was spent on watching the roads and avoiding a collision.

Wingmen

Thankfully, I had two very good - and patient - wingmen.

Goh constantly looked out for me. He directed me with his hand signals and even turned back to check up on me several times.

From Punggol Way along Sengkang East Road and through Jalan Kayu - pretty soon, we were in Yio Chu Kang.

That was where we parted ways, with me heading back to office, and them probably off to get in some proper cycling without me holding them back.

But what an adrenaline rush it was! I was also thankful to have made it in one piece.

I took the nearest park connector and cycled back to the office. It was enough excitement for one day. I need to be in once piece for the big event on March 30.


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