Category Archives: Article

What the Tour of Bintan taught me about trading

A few years ago I foolishly signed up to participate in the Tour of Bintan Gran Fondo with some colleagues, including OANDA’s regional CEO, a seasoned pro. I must confess to some trepidation, but I figured if Singapore is flat, then Bintan must be too. Clearly this was a terrible error on my part, further compounded by the fact that so many of my co-workers were keen cyclists, and several even competed in Ironman competitions for fun.

They had no problem getting out of bed at silly o’clock in the morning to train, but as a Kiwi used to long open roads and a variety of routes to choose from, doing lap after lap of the Red Dot was anathema to me. I have a low boredom threshold and I also like to sleep in on weekends, so this was far from my cup of tea.

I managed a grand total of one training ride in Singapore before traipsing over to Bintan with the group to train on the actual course a couple of weeks before the tour itself. My emotions ran higher than my pulse when I discovered that the earth was not flat on Bintan. Quite the opposite actually.

To cut a long story short, I was left behind by my colleagues halfway through, weakest lion cub peloton style, and as a result I completed the remaining 60km of the course perched on the back of scooter, clutching my precious bike as we sped along.

Photo courtesy of Fatih Muftih / Batam Pos.

With this fantastic preparation, I took my place on the morning of the tour, ready for my 150km “day out” in the tropics. I felt good about the rolling start right up until I reached the first hill. After that, the only cyclists who seemed to be going slower than me were those who had already crashed and lay sprawled on the side of the road. And I do mean literally on the side of the road – I never knew cycling was a blood sport.

I pedalled away, mostly on my own, throughout the day, making the time cut-offs, losing so many fluids that I actually stopped sweating. Going through terrain that resembled a volcanic scoria field in the blazing heat, I was almost delirious and hallucinating about a three-litre party bottle of coca cola. Full fat coca cola. (I never drink coke) Then it started to rain, and I mean really rain, at which point I yelled, “For #%$^@#% sake, could this day get any worse?” At this point a boat full of animals and a bearded man in robes floated past me.

A strange thing happened though. Eventually, I began to find my stride. Maybe my body was so dehydrated, I was osmosing the water through my skin. I started speeding up and by the second checkpoint I was flying, in my mind anyway. I got into a rhythm going up the long hills and coasted down the back, and I even started using the little robot thing on my handlebars to track my pace and speed.

Sure enough, some six hours after I started, I arrived at the finish line on my little Fuji. I say little because I am usually a front row prop in rugby and it sort of looked small on me. The feeling of achievement was really quite indescribable, as was the fear I would never be able to father children. Ever. I also went straight to a local shop and bought an unfeasibly large bottle of coke.

I will admit my training regime was perhaps lacking and maybe I should have put my ego and boredom quotient aside and done those laps of the island, but I did actually learn I had a lot more willpower and drive than I ever realised. I stopped being afraid of those long hills and started looking forward to them as I knew how I would tackle them before, and they stopped hurting quite so much, unlike my behind.

Trading is much the same. If you lose a lot of money, your bum will hurt as much as your ego and your wallet. If you go into it ill prepared and you don’t do the training, you won’t enjoy a good experience either. How you manage your risk and your losses comes down to mental attitude, and I promise you, that as a self-directed trader, you will lose money at some point. The trick lies in your attitude when that happens, managing your risk properly and losing a lot less than those times you make money.

At OANDA we won’t promise you unrealistic riches for little to no effort. We won’t tell you that you can make risk-free returns. Dedication, preparation and attitude can do that for you. Much like preparing for cycle tours. A recurring theme I see amongst you in these blog posts.

What we can promise you is a fantastic platform with some great products to trade. We will teach you to manage your risk and the correct mindset to be a self-directed trader. We WILL NOT allow you to use excessive leverage, and we’ll treat you the same whether you have SGD1k or SGD1mn. (OANDA was founded by two professors on this democratic principle)

At OANDA you will find down to earth, friendly people whose mission is to help you on your trading journey and to treat you with integrity and respect. Always. We look forward to meeting you soon.

Jeffrey Halley, Senior Market Analyst
OANDA Asia Pacific

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On Persistence, Listening and Folklore

3-times-bad-luckBy Colin Robinson

In my experience, Murphy’s Law has a corollary (or at least a close cousin) that means there are times when a number of unrelated things in your life break down in sympathy with each other for no apparent reason, leaving you wondering about fairness, justice and who you have offended recently.

Well it turns out that my cycling life is not immune from this effect and, as a bonus, the rule of threes applies (if you don’t count the broken seat post clamp). So in case anyone might derive benefit from my learnings:

shiny new rivetsFirst, I managed to tear the front derailleur mounting plate off my bike frame when the chain jammed. Three bike shops all advised “must send back to factory”, “cannot fix”, “need new bike”, etc.  My own inspection showed that I had sheared two of the three rivets that hold the plate to the frame which did not look that scary but everyone, it seemed, was scared of carbon frames. Enquiring further afield, including of the original retailer in Beijing, produced the answer I wanted – just re-rivet it, the carbon will be fine.  All I needed now was a bike shop that agreed or a bunch of tools that I have at home but not in Singapore. The suggestion of Valley Cycles struck gold and within 24 hours my days of riding sans front derailleur were over! Worthy of note for all who have similar arrangements on their bikes, ‘cos the rivets, it turns out, can and do corrode.

wet garminNext problem: my Garmin which, it transpires, is not equal to the soggy charms of the weather on Taiwanese mountain tops. [OMG don’t get me started on the total #crapgarmin #wetgarmin #nocustomerservicegarmin #poorqualitygarmin #uselessgarmin its for use on a bike folks, it gets wet! Fix your rubbish products Garmin.  Sorry! Ed.]  ……….A couple of days in the aircon had it showing signs of life but still not completely healthy. So my wife gently suggests filing it in a bag of rice for a few days, with the assurance that there was no rice on the menu during that period. It worked. The Garmin came out without fog under the screen and ready to play – in all aspects except talking to satellites that is.  It would happily track rides from home to Rats but after that satellite service was suspended.  What to do lah?ricefixphone

Garmin in Singapore helpfully suggested sending it to Taiwan (the original cause of the problem if you recall). Garmin service desk in the US helpfully suggested deleting and resetting a bunch of files which sounded good, wasn’t difficult and won me an extension of service to about halfway down Orchard Rd. My friend in the US then helpfully concluded it needed repair which cannot be arranged on-line, no other choices given.  Back to the Taiwan option.  At this stage a new 520 is looking good, faster to obtain and not subject to the vagaries of the modern postal system.

Dejected, I dropped a note to my engineering student son who, from his shared house in Melbourne, was obviously in a good position to help. “Dad, why not take it outside, disable the auto-off function and see how long it will talk to satellites while sitting still (or just buy a new one)?”  I didn’t see how that would help but it could be interesting. Lo and behold, the Garmin is as happy as Larry and would talk to satellites all night if I let it! Soooo – is the problem motion, or is it the auto-off function?

I now have a functioning, rice-dried Garmin that only turns on and off when I tell it to!

dollarbillfixWe’re getting there. The third event was a close encounter of the third(!) kind with unidentified road debris on a dark West Coast highway morning resulting in an instantly flat back tyre. No problem there, I know how to deal with that without waylaying the group. One new tube, 500m down the road and bang, another flat tyre.  A dawning thought – maybe the tyre did not come through the initial encounter unscathed. And sure enough, it has a nice hole torn in the sidewall that I’d missed in my first inspection.

Roti-Prata-Braddell-Singapore-7726Now I’ve heard the $2 story a few times and I do carry two tubes and some money – time to put the folklore to the test. And I am very pleased to report that a S$10 note ( turns out my last $2s had been donated to the roti prata man at the foodcourt on Sunday, in another worthy cause) makes a worthy and capable tyre reinforcing pad, although I do admit it would also nearly have got me a taxi home.

I am now a functioning cyclist again who, in retrospect, may have missed out on a new bike, a new Garmin, and a taxi ride home. Fortunately, Fathers’ Day is in the offing.

What’s in your kit

Bike First AidFIRST AID FOR BIKES

It seems that I have developed a bit of a reputation for mechanicals either stand alone or brought on through the rapid and unexpected impact of bike and rider with the ground.  So much so that for last Christmas’party, I received the following nomination “for his inability to complete more than 10km of a club inter country ride without some form of mechanical or incident”.  Now this all started on the trip to Mersing where within 10km of getting off the bum boat, my Di2 started misbehaving causing me to have to disconnect the rear and ride the 180km on 2 gears, a feat I’m actually quite proud of!  However the crash on the way back from Mersing which bent the rear derailleur hangar was not such a proud moment.  Once I’d cleared up the blood, or rather once auntie Neridah had cleared up the blood, I was all up for finishing the ride and since I have for some time packed a spare hangar as part of my away kit, thought this would be relatively straightforward.  Unfortunately, one of the 2 small screws was seized and the hangar would not budge.

A couple of weeks later whilst No1 bike was still incapacitated, I took the ever trusty cable operated No2 bike to Bintan for a day trip.  Unfortunately half way into this ride the read gear cable snapped again leaving me with a 2 gear ride until the hills got the better of me and I hopped into the van to be official photographer.

This had me thinking about what we should all be carrying around with us when we ride and what I would want to take along on a longer trip whether car supported or not.

Let’t get started then with what you all should be carrying on every ride in a back pocket, attached to the bike, or in a small saddle bag, and by small

I don’t mean one of these…

saddle bag1I mean one of these…

saddle bag2

NIK_6545

So for the basic bare necessities of cycling life you should all be carrying one tube, 2 levers, although some may prefer 3 particularly if you have tightly fitting brand new tyres (that’s tires for the Australians and Americans out there) a pump which can live in your back pocket if you don’t want to disfigure your steed with unnecessary pieces of plastic and a multi-tool which at a minimum should have a 4mm hex for the saddle and handle bar bolts and a cross-head screwdriver to adjust your derailleur screws.  For the time conscious NIK_6547among you, a CO2 cartridge and applicator are handy but given the 50% failure rate of the liveware application of CO2 that’s a purely personal choice.  I won’t put a cost on these as you should all have them, so its a sunk cost already.

That lot should have you sorted for any local rides and of course failing that there is the universal tool kit here in Singapore of $50, a phone with the local taxi company number and a credit card, well,  just in case!

So, why just one tube, what if there is a piece of glass in the tyre (that’s tire for the Australians and Americans out there)?  Well normally we ride in groups and I like to think of tubes as common property so a NIK_6546group of 8 riders = 8 tubes and there is no way the group is getting 8 punctures in one ride.  Remember folks pay it forward, you give a tube today, you get a tube tomorrow.

Right so now we’re starting to stray into the realm of away trip.  There you are cycling in the middle of Japan 50km from Tokyo and civilisation and you rip the sidewall of your tyre (that’s… oh you know where I’m going) you’re royally screwed!  Well not if you have one of these little beauties, a Park Tyre Emergency Boot ($7 for 3).  I know you’re all saying that a $2 note does the same, but believe me it doesn’t, it just doesn’t.  And while you’re ordering these, you might as well get that extra piece of protection and buy the pre-glued patches ($3 for 6) just in case you’re a tri-athlete or you happen to be riding alone and get 2 punctures.

NIK_6548Now, there we were on out theoretical away trip to Japan 50km from Tokyo with a side wall ripped and we’re looking around for who is carrying the spare tyre (that’s… oh never mind I’m never going to win this one in a club called ANZA am I) A quick counting session and we worked out we had somewhere in the region of 18 tubes between us but not one tyre so what should one person in the group be carrying, yes you guessed it, a spare tyre.  Where are you going to put it?  Well with a couple of cable ties they fit very easily under the saddle neatly out of the way, but oh so easily accessible when the inevitable happens.  While you are at it, you might as well carry this little miracle as well ($18), it’s a mini chain tool and will get you out of a sticky situation if you snap your chain.

NIK_6551That has all the cycling certainties out of the way, so let’s move onto the slightly less frequent (you hope) and again, we’re not looking for a complete workshop of tools here, just enough to get you home in most circumstances.  So what do I have here.  Well first there is the brake($1.30) and gear cables($3.30).  If you have them, they take about 2 minutes to fit with your trusty multi-tool.  Don’t worry about the end of the cable, you can coil that up and keep it out of the way.  Next, what if you have 18 tubes all 60mm stems and you have an 80mm wheel, well top left you’ll see a couple of valve extenders ($11 for 2) which will sort you out nicely.  These ones from Fast Forward come with a little tool for tightening the extenders properly.  Middle bottom are a couple of chain links just in case you have to split your chain or can’t trust the tool to put it back together again.  In fact Shimano chains insist on a special link pin, so if you break the chain, you’re going to want one of these babies to sort you out ($4 for a universal chain link or $12 if you want a shiny KMC one)  You’ll see the ubiquitous CR2032 in the middle bottom there.  Not such an essential, but I know some of you out there just cannot ride without your power data and my PowerTap runs on CR2032s.  Top middle you’ll see a pair of brake shoes, just in case one falls out, breaks, you fit it the wrong way around or you’re a timid descender and you simply wear out your blocks.  I also bought a pair of carbon rim blocks.  Again not so essential but you don’t want to get home with a large bill for damaged rims all for the want of a pair of ($6 for 4) carbon pads.  The final item top right is a real gem!  An emergency universal derailleur hangar.  It fits through your quick release skewer at NIK_6552one end and then the derailleur screws into the other end.  It’s not a replacement but it gets you a handful of gear and so will get you home on your bike.  What I like best about this one however is the fact that it doubles as a bottle opener to crack open a couple of cold ones at the end of the adventure! ($32, and worth every cent)

We’re nearly there troops.  The chain is a little heavy but if you have support, why not ($20, remember its an emergency kit, I don’t need the lightest or shiniest).  Cleats just in case, there is nothing more annoying than spending a day not being able to clip in because you forgot to change your worn out cleats, and of course the ever useful roll of electrical tape.  Remember I said just coil up the end of the gear or brake cable, well the tape will make sure it doesn’t come undone again mid ride, get stuck in the wheel and catapult you into an altogether worse situation again.NIK_6553

Finally, and yest I really do mean finally, for those of a delicate disposition who really don’t like to get yourselves greasy, The Gentleman Cyclist recommends a pair of these.

Now I’m keen to know if anybody thinks I’ve forgotten anything, so please leave comments if you think I need to add to the kit, but let’s be honest I’m hoping I never have to use any of it again.

Happy trouble free riding!

Method in the (foldie) madness

Contemplating riding with the big boys?
Contemplating riding with the big boys?

By: Steven Wong

Strava – that piece of cycling social media that has turned what used to be a leisurely ride down to the corner shop into an all out race to beat a virtual KOM – has a function called ‘Fitness & Freshness’ which, via some unfathomable algorithm, plots your fitness based on your heart rate and/or power data if you have a power meter.

 

Foldie1
Boom and bust fitness

What you see above is a snapshot of my data going back a couple years.  The most striking thing about it is how many peaks and troughs there are, particularly in the last couple of years.  The explanation of course is that there have been periods when I’ve been off the bike and my fitness has gone to pot.

The last two big slides were caused by a) enforced convalescence after I had the temerity to go of the handlebars during a race – which required a shoulder reconstruction – and, b) a summer holiday where I didn’t go near a bike for three weeks.

In fact, it gets worse…you have to be of the cycling persuasion to understand why the mere sight of a hill gets cyclists excited and the bigger the hill, the bigger the excitement (I realise in writing this that this sentiment is not universally shared amongst all riders, but for the sake of this story, let’s assume it to be the case).  So on that holiday when we chanced upon Punta Veleno (literally, the “Poison Tip) one day, it was a case of, “A bike…a bike…my kingdom for a bike”.  It was great holiday…but for an opportunity missed.

How does 8km with an average of 12.5% and a central 4km section at 16.5% sound?
How does 8km with an average of 12.5% and a central 4km section at 16.5% sound?

I’ve learnt my lesson…flailing myself at the back of a Kranji steadfast ride and being dropped even before getting to Upper Bukit Timah Road after a layoff focuses the mind…no more prolonged absences from the bike.

The dilemma: how does one take a bike on holiday without incurring all those baggage penalties and having to book an HGV instead of a hire car to carry your standard OVERSIZE bike box.

The solution – which came to me (like the unfolding of so many of life’s mysteries) on the steep side of Mt Faber one morning – is to take a folding bike.

A folding bike you say?  Like a Brompton, which has about as much stiffness as bolster purchased from Harvey Norman’s, bedding department or even a Tern, all 11kg of it?

It is indeed a surprising fact that so many local riders are enamoured of folding bikes…not that I’ve ever understood why…could it be that one has to drive to a park connector and thus foldies are easily thrown into the boot?  The benefit of this interest is that there are quite a few bike shops that carry nothing but folding bikes or “mini-velos” and thus it is easy enough to test ride what is available.

To abridge the story, I settled on a Tyrell FX.

Foldie3
Note: this is not my bike…it is only a pictorial representation on my bike if it was while and had black wheels instead of mine which is black with silver wheels

My lofty aim was nothing less than to replicate the total 700c-sized bike riding experience but on a bike with 20-inch wheels; that meant building the bike rather than buying one off the shelf.  The most important thing was getting the geometry right.

As luck would have it, someone had an FX frame for sale on ‘togoparts’, the default home page website of serious DIY cycle enthusiasts.  I turned up with a wad of cash at the agreed meeting place and the seller turned up riding the bike and before I could say anything, opened up with, “But I thought you might like to see what the frame looked like with everything attached…” Grrr!!

I usually take a 56cm frame and I found that with a slightly longer stem, 175mm Shimano crank, 3T handlebars and a Selle SMP saddle, I was able to replicate almost exactly, the same measurements as my standard road bike – even if someone later remarked that it looked as if my rear derailleur was dragging on the road.

Finally, the big day came…a road test on the 6.00am City West ride.  For some reason, I thought that I might be able to slip in quietly at the back of the peloton and not be noticed, but in fact, even before I rolled to a stop at Rats, my fellow-peloton-riders-to-be were rolling about in laughter.  Anothe arrived a few seconds after me with a cheeky grin even before dismounting.  I can’t think why.

However, call it the ‘new bike effect’ or a phantom tail wind, but the Tyrell was able to keep it going at 46kmh when we got to Keppel Viaduct.  And that was on a pull, not at the back of the peloton.  Except to say that when we got to SBV, the full 9kg weight of the beast (the aluminium frame and fork alone weigh 3.3kg) slowed the proceedings a bit so no KOM that day.

So how does it ride?  Actually, surprisingly normally, except to say it is somewhat top heavy.   Stiff…is it stiff you ask?  Just look at the frame…not just two but four closed triangles…and that’s only the side view, mind you.

The biggest problem though, is that with such small wheels, even with a 56-tooth crank and an 11-tooth cog, pedaling cadence is about 20% higher at any given speed than on a 700c bike with a 52 x 12 gearing set up.  Rolling resistance is obviously greater too but “running out of gears” is a bigger problem.

The best bit however, is how the Tyrell packs.

Foldie4
For the sake of scale, that’s a 44-cm handlebar and a 56-tooth crank

Prior to assembling the bike, I took the frame down to Mustaffa’s luggage department and tried about a dozen suitcases before I found one, a 29-inch case, which seemed to fit best.

With the aid of some foam, the removal of the handlebar, crank and wheels, the whole thing fits in neatly with space for water bottles, spare tyre, etc.

Foldie5
Have bike will travel…

All in the case with the bike packed into it weighs in at just over 18kg.

So to conclude, I have made my peace with the fact that I may face the slings and arrows of outrageous ridicule on a foldie but in my defence that is easier to bear than being droppedFoldie6 from a Kranji Steadfast because I didn’t take my bike on holiday with me. (As I conclude, I need to apologise in advance to any long-suffering family members who thought I’d left the bike behind…”sorry”).

The Lost Art of The Group Ride

Repost of an article by Peter Wilborn

Group RideWe don’t often post other people’s stuff but this article was suggested by a current member as relevant to all. It’s a great article & well worth a re-read if you’ve seen it before.

Every so often, I’ll ride a recreational group ride. I love the camaraderie of cyclists, the talk, the last minute pumps of air, the clicking in, and the easy drifting out as a peloton. “I miss riding in a group,” I’ll think to myself.

The magic ends by mile 10. The group will surge, gap, and separate, only to regroup at every stop sign. I’ll hear fifteen repeated screams of “HOLE!” for every minor road imperfection. And then no mention of the actual hole. Some guy in front will set a PB for his 30 second pull. Wheels overlap, brakes are tapped, and some guy in the back will go across the yellow line and speed past the peloton for no apparent reason. A breakaway?!

I curse under my breath, remembering why I always ride with only a few friends. Doesn’t anyone else realize how dangerous this ride is? How bad it is for our reputation on the road? There are clear rules of ride etiquette, safety, and common sense. Does anyone here know the rules? Who is in charge?

But no one is in charge, and the chaotic group has no idea of how to ride together. As a bike lawyer, I get the complaints from irritated drivers, concerned police, controversy-seeking journalists, and injured cyclists. It needs to get better, but the obstacles are real:

First, everyone is an expert these days. The internet and a power meter do not replace 50,000 miles of experience, but try telling that to a fit forty year-old, new to cycling, on a $5000 bike. Or, god forbid, a triathlete. No one wants to be told what to do.

Second, the more experienced riders just want to drop the others and not be bothered. It is all about the workout, the ego boost, or riding with a subset of friends. But a group ride is neither a race nor cycling Darwinism. As riders get better, they seek to distinguish themselves by riding faster on more trendy bikes; but as riders get better they need to realize two things:
1) there is always someone faster, and
2) they have obligations as leaders.

Cycling is not a never ending ladder, each step aspiring upwards, casting aspersions down. It is a club, and we should want to expand and improve our membership.

Third, different rides are advertised by average speed, but speed is only one part of the equation. This approach makes speed the sole metric for judging a cyclist, and creates the false impression that a fit rider is a good one. Almost anyone can be somewhat fast on a bike, but few learn to be elegant, graceful cyclists.

Fourth, riding a bike well requires technique training. Good swimmers, for example, constantly work on form and drills; so should cyclists. Anyone remember the C.O.N.I. Manual or Eddie Borysewich’s book? They are out-of-print, but their traditional approach to bike technique should not be lost. More emphasis was given on fluid pedaling and bike handling.

Before the internet, before custom bikes, and before Lance, it was done better. Learning to ride was an apprenticeship. The goal was to become a member of the peloton, not merely a guy who is sort of fast on a bike. Membership was the point, not to be the local Cat. 5 champ. You were invited to go on group ride if you showed a interest and a willingness to learn. You were uninvited if you did not. You learned the skills directly from the leader, who took an interest in riding next to you on your first rides (and not next to his friends, like better riders do today).

Here is some of what you learned:
– To ride for months each year in the small ring.
– To take your cycling shorts off immediately after a ride.
– To start with a humble bike, probably used.
– To pull without surging.
– To run rotating pace line drills and flick others through.
– To form an echelon.
– To ride through the top of a climb.
– To hold your line in a corner.
– To stand up smoothly and not throw your bike back.
– To give the person ahead of you on a climb a little more room to stand up.
– To respect the yellow line rule.
– To point out significant road problems.
– To brake less, especially in a pace line.
– To follow the wheel in front and not overlap.

The ride leader and his lieutenants were serious about their roles, because the safety of the group depended on you, the weakest link. If you did not follow the rules, you were chastised. Harshly. If you did, you became a member of something. The Peleton.

SEA Games cometh

The SEA Games are here. The influx of young people in Laos tracksuit tops in the Havelock area should have brought it home to me last night. The Laotians clearly have the whole Tapering idea mastered as I helpfully directing a few of the team to a local karaoke bar… sea-games-28 Whilst its a great thing for Singapore and good to see some more attention on sports, the SEA Games probably means two things to ANZA Cycling members.

  • Road disruptions during the event
  • The chance to go watch some live road racing thats actually in Singapore

On the disruptions side, expect to see a lot of closures around the National Stadium and East Coast areas this weekend due to the opening ceremony and Triathlon preparation. Next weekend will see the cycling events and that will also have impact – especially on Saturday AM when some of Orchard Road will be closed. Full details of closures can be found here: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/multiple-road-closures/1843890.html

In terms of the Cycling events, we’re blessed with a criterium, a road race and a TT – all taking place on some really nice looking courses. Hopefully some of these can be re-used for future Singapore events so that theres a lasting legacy from the events which benefits the local scene. The road race course in particular is a cracker – including a roll down Orchard Road and then multiple loops of the MCE tunnel and the Sheares Bridge. https://www.seagames2015.com/the-games/sports/cycling The local SG team is looking pretty good and there’s a number of faces in there that will be familiar to anyone that rides in the Sunday Hammer ride, Cat 1 events or has been on the 5.15 Rats ANZA ride. Best of luck to the entire team – and especially ANZA friends Noel Teh (Mavericks – winner of the recent Pasir Gudang race) and Vincent Ang (occasional participant in the 5.15 ride and the King of Singapore Cycling Social Media). sea games team http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/sea-games-8-singaporean/1771920.html The race starts around 8.30am on Orchard next Saturday and should be great viewing with the course. Go along and show your support for the local lads.

Changi Coast Road – behold the future.

Thanks to Colin Alexander for giving us a heads up on this article.

changi1

Anyone that has ridden a Changi recently might have noticed that the previous beautiful greenery of the tree lined avenue has disappeared. If not, the now ferocious (by Singapore standards) wind blowing in your face will make you wish that the surprisingly large windblock defence of the old treeline would come back. In short, the entire stretch is now effectively one long building site and as barren as a moonscape.

The Straits Times article below gives a good summary of what’s being developed on Changi for the airport Terminal 4 and 5 and changes that we can expect to the road network there over the coming years. Some good news (a new longer, wider Changi Coast Road) but definitely with more traffic and the likelihood of some more complex junction systems to navigate.

It’s well worth a read to see what the future holds.

http://dailynews.straitstimes.com/cgi-bin16/DM/t/nDDLt0hnvDj0BOTZ0ycpA0EL

OCBC Teach a Child to Ride

Duncan Howard

Just a small write up of an activity I very much enjoyed. After signing  my girls up for the kids ride at the upcoming OCBC Cycle I was inundated with mails from OCBC offering all kind of workshops: cooking, photography and rides. But also a workshop where you could help a child learn to cycle.

oc1

The event was held outside Kallang Wave on apptly named OCBC Square. The children there are already enrolled in various charities OCBC supports (Singapore Children’s Society, TRUEfund, Thye Hua Kuan Moral Charities and Yu Neng Primary School).

There were about 30 children ranging in age from 8-12 years old and most of them had little or no experience riding a bike. Bicycles, helmets and knee guards where provided by OCBC (unfortunately as seems the norm in Singapore the bicycles where on the small side).  As you arrived you received a t-shirt and a manual on how you could best help the children. Each volunteer was assigned one child to help. After a group warm up you set of with your kid and could use a course set with some cones to get the kids going. The kids who were mastering the bike already went for a short ride around Kallang Wave. For the last of the three sessions we were welcomed by pouring rain and a thunderstorm.

We started with a tour of the stadium and got to get a look in the OCBC VIP lounge from where we could see the practice for the SEA games opening night (no pictures please!). Then everyone got on the bike and we cycled to the barrage. I was surprised to see how well all the kids did, no major crashes and everyone managed to cycle the whole route (this after only three sessions!).

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The volunteers mainly consisted of OCBC employees and a handful of non-OCBC volunteers. I think we had every kind of cyclist: mountainbikers, triathletes, roadies, foldies, city bikes and even bike-less volunteers.

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It was great to see the amount of time and effort the people at OCBC put into this and the enthusiasm of the kids as they managed to ride their bike. And their bike is a key term here, OCBC is offering people a chance to gift a bike to the children that participated. They will get a brand-new bike and helmet, see the link for more details.

https://reg.ocbccycle.com/ocbccycle15/RegOcbccycle15/pledge_register?_ga=1.31651900.349706975.1420425201

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So I hope that OCBC will have this event again next year, I will definitely join and can recommend you do so too!

Kit Launch Frenzy

Read later Don’s great article on the journey to the kit that many of you will have waiting to be worn tomorrow.  Any of you who jumped the gun and just had to wear it today, get it washed so its ready for the first Saturday outing.

There isn’t much to say about a Kit launch so this is more of a photo blog, but big thanks to all our jersey sponsors who we will be hearing more from in the coming weeks.  Allied World Assurance, Picotin, IFS, The Waggington, Seatronics & Focus Pilates, Steven Burridge Racing and Swift Carbon!

Anticipation builds, but first the important job of pre-hydration
Anticipation builds, but first the important job of pre-hydration
No Rapha did not make the kit for us.
No Rapha did not make the kit for us.
No you don't have to bring your old kit back to exchange it.
No you don’t have to bring your old kit back to exchange it.
Big turnout!
Big turnout!
Big big turnout!
Big big turnout!
The tension mounts in the wings of the catwalk. Well in the toilet anyway
The tension mounts in the wings of the catwalk. Well in the toilet anyway
And it's out our lovely models with club president Megan.
And it’s out our lovely models with club president Megan.
Changing room in the carpark, the body art was on full display.  Nice elephant.
Changing room in the carpark, the body art was on full display. Nice elephant.
After the excitement, time to enjoy the drinks
After the excitement, time to enjoy the drinks
Its hot work, time for a bit of a spray to cool off.
Its hot work, time for a bit of a spray to cool off.
Keeping the masses happy and giving fitting advice
Keeping the masses happy and giving fitting advice

 

 

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