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OCBC Cycle 2021's Virutal Ride crosses finish line, sees increased interest from inaugural event in 2020

OCBC Cycle 2021's Virutal Ride crosses finish line, sees increased interest from inaugural event in 2020

  • 05 Jul 2021
  • Overwhelming response gathered for newly introduced 100km and 200km categories, all initial slots snapped up within two hours of release
  • More interest seen across all categories, participation up 30% from inaugural event in 2020

Mr Nizam A Haja participated in this year’s OCBC Cycle Virtual Ride with his two young children

Photo credit: OCBC Cycle

The second edition of the OCBC Cycle Virtual Ride wrapped up yesterday (4 July) with more than 6,100 cyclists participating in this year’s event. This marked an almost 30% increase in participants from last year’s inaugural event.

Following the Cycle’s maiden ride in a virtual format last year, this year’s event continued to attract a large number of participants, with all five[1] categories sold out within two weeks of its launch. Compared to the previous year, this year’s edition saw an increase in the number of sign-ups across all categories, bringing together cyclists of diverse experience levels, and from as young as three to 77 years old.

Ms Koh Ching Ching, Head of Group Corporate Communications at OCBC Bank said: “We want to thank all OCBC Cycle 2021 participants for their support. The new 100km and 200km Virtual Rides were very well-received, which means they are likely to be placed on the event schedule again next year. We found that this year’s participants enjoyed the rides differently from last year when we had to, for the first time, pivot from a physical to a virtual event due to the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak. There were many joyous photos submitted and many heart-warming stories told. To the 11-year-old girl who completed the 200km Virtual Ride; the 67-year-old veteran cyclist who gave his medal to a 7-year-old boy who rode 70km; and simply to all who took the time and the effort to truly enjoy the rides, kudos to you! We are already looking forward to next year’s event. A big wish from us would be to bring the physical event back to the Singapore Sports Hub to complement the virtual rides. See you all next year!”

Based on feedback gathered from last year’s event, OCBC introduced two new categories this year to cater to more avid cyclists - the 100km and 200km rides. The popularity of the two new categories proved undeniable as slots for the 100km category sold out in just two and half hours, and the 200km in thirty minutes. To accommodate this strong show of interest, a second round of slots were opened up the following week. All 700 new slots were snapped up that same day as well.

As part of the virtual format and in keeping with safe management measures, participants clocked their rides at their own time and pace, completing their preferred distance over a maximum of four rides between 15 May and 4 July. With the introduction of the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) period on 16 May 2021, the completion period was extended from 14 June to 4 July to allow participants more time to complete their rides safely and with a greater peace of mind. 

Keeping cycling in the family

OCBC Cycle participants took full advantage of the flexibility and convenience offered by the virtual format to bond with their friends and families.

41-year-old Mr Nizam A Haja is one such cycling enthusiast who inspired not only his friends, but also his son and daughter to join him on two wheels this year. Having participated in OCBC Cycle the last two years with his friends, Mr Nizam was delighted when his two young children asked to join him for this year’s event. Following repeated requests from his children, Mr Nizam registered his 10-year-old son, Feroz Zidane, and three-year-old daughter, Feyona Ziya, for The Straits Times Virtual Ride (23km) and Mighty Savers® Kids Virtual Ride (5km) respectively.

Zidane and Ziya with their OCBC Cycle 2021 finisher medals

Photo credit: OCBC Cycle

When asked about his experience, Mr Nizam said, “Cycling has been a wonderful bonding activity for my friends and I over the last few years, and I’m really glad that my family has joined me in this pastime as well! My kids really surprised me this year by asking to participate, and I’ve been so impressed by their commitment and resilience to do their best. Although my wife did not sign up this year, she joined us on many of the rides as we completed our distances. Next year, all four of us will definitely be signing up together.”

Young cyclists charting the path forward

Building the next generation of cyclists, this year’s OCBC Cycle Virtual Ride has given the opportunity for young cyclists to push their boundaries. Among them was 11-year-old Denise Aguiling, who impressed her parents by clocking a total distance of 219km - the longest distance for participants aged between two and 12. Her parents were amazed by her tenacity and resilience given that the family were never serious cyclists.

Denise Aguiling (far right) covered a total distance of 219km, clocking the longest distance amongst participants aged between two and 12 years old.

Photo credit: OCBC Cycle

Completing their distance during the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) period, the trio faced several unique hurdles. Recalling some of the challenges, Denise’s father, Mr Jodon Aguiling, said, “Our pit stops were particularly challenging, without the option to sit down or dine in. With rides lasting six to eight hours, I had to ensure that I packed more isotonic drinks than usual, just in case! However, my daughter was more than happy to meet all these small and large challenges head on, and she kept her spirits up rain or shine.”

With the conclusion of the second edition of OCBC Cycle Virtual Ride, the virtual ride format offered to participants has been extremely well-received – and continues to gather pace. With further easing-up of restrictions and a gradual improvement of the current pandemic situation, the cycling community can look forward to more opportunities to bond together in a fun and safe manner, as OCBC Cycle continues to bring together individuals of all ages and generations.

More details on OCBC Cycle 2021 can be found on www.ocbccycle.com.

ANNEX A - PARTICIPANT PROFILES AND QUOTES

I. Mr Nizam and Family

  • Mr Nizam A Haja, 41, Manager at Land Transport Authority. Took part in the 200km Virtual Ride.
  • Feroz Zidane, 10. Took part in The Straits Times Virtual Ride (23km)
  • Feyona Ziya, 3. Took part in the Mighty Savers® Kids Virtual Ride (5km)

Mr Nizam first participated in the OCBC Cycle event two years ago. He took part in the Cycle’s virtual rendition, The Straits Times Virtual Ride (23km) last year with his friends.

Mr Nizam and family

Photo Credit: OCBC Cycle

Mr Nizam’s son, 10-year-old Feroz Zidane, began asking to take part together with his father after watching him participate over the last two years. His bubbly three-year-old daughter, Feyona Ziya, urged her parents to sign her up so she could go along for the cycling outings as well. In fact, the children have always asked to be taken along whenever Nizam headed out for cycling trips with his friends.

Mr Nizam and Zidane rode together to complete 23km in a single session

Photo Credit: OCBC Cycle

Happy to get his son and daughter involved in his hobby, and to spend more time being active as a family, Mr Nizam signed Zidane up for this year’s Straits Times Virtual Ride and Ziya up for the Mighty Savers® Kids Virtual Ride (5km).

Doing his dad proud, Zidane completed his 23km ride in one session in 2 hours 50 mins, around Jurong Lake Gardens with Mr Nizam at his side. To adhere to the two-person rule amidst the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) period, little Ziya cycled with mum, 35-year-old Ms Ferdous Nizam. Ms Ferdous, a Senior Architect, cycled with Ziya at Jurong Lake Gardens as well. Together, they completed the 5km distance in one ride in 1 hour 21 mins.

Ms Ferdous and Ziya completed the 5km ride together

Photo Credit: OCBC Cycle

 When asked about the experience, Mr Nizam said, “Cycling has been a wonderful bonding activity for my friends and I over the last few years, and I’m really glad that my family has joined me in this pastime as well! My kids really surprised me this year by asking to participate, and I’ve been so impressed by their commitment and resilience to do their best.

Ziya and Zidane pose with their medals

Photo Credit: OCBC Cycle

The option to participate virtually has been a great opportunity for my entire family to try their hand at a cycling event, as it allows us to complete our rides at our own time and convenience, together with our friends and family - who may not even be participants of OCBC Cycle. My wife did not sign up this year, but joined us on many of the rides as we completed our distances. Next year, all four of us will definitely be signing up together.”

II. Mr Jodon Aguiling and Family

  • Mr Jodon Aguiling, 41, Business Development Manager. Took part in 200km Virtual Ride.
  • Ms Ivy Aguiling, 43, pre-school teacher. Took part in the Sportive Virtual Ride (42km)
  • Denise Aguiling, turning 11 years old this year, East Spring Primary School. Took part in 200km Virtual Ride (longest distance clocked in under-12 y/o category - 219km)

Franco Aguiling, 7-year-old son, did not sign up this year but will participate next year.

The Aguiling family were never serious cyclists, but in just a short span of six months, 10-year-old Denise Aguiling [NB: She completed the distance before turning 11] amazed her parents by clocking the longest distance for any participant aged between two and 12 years at this year’s OCBC Cycle Virtual Ride. The animated primary school student completed a distance of 219km in 17 hours, together with her father, Mr Jodon Aguiling. Denise’s mum, Ms Ivy Aguiling, joined Denise for her final leg and the duo ended up cycling beyond the planned 50km, hitting 60km instead.

Denise and her 200km finisher’s medal

Photo Credit: OCBC Cycle

Mr Aguiling purchased bicycles for the family in January this year, after deciding that the Covid-19 situation has resulted in too much inactivity. “Having to stay home for extended periods last year resulted in too much playing of video games, and I felt that it was time for my family to put the devices away, and get healthy and active together. So I made the decision to buy bicycles for the family - which my entire family took to with great excitement.”

The family completed their distance within the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) period and thus faced various unique hurdles. “Our pit stops were particularly challenging, without the option to sit down or dine in. With rides lasting six to eight hours, we had to look for benches to rest and refuel. I had to ensure that I packed more isotonic drinks than usual, just in case! However, my daughter was more than happy to meet all these small and large challenges head on, and she kept her spirits up rain or shine.”

Although she only received her first-ever bike this year, Denise took quickly to cycling

Photo Credit: OCBC Cycle

While enjoying the wonderful opportunity to explore Singapore, Mr Aguiling and Denise mixed up their cycling routes. From road cycling at Tanah Merah Coastal Road under the watchful eye of her dad, to riding along park connectors at East Coast Park, Clarke Quay and Marina Bay, Mr Aguiling said, “My daughter motivated my wife and I as we completed our individual ride distances. Denise’s main motivation, aside from the challenge of completing such a long distance and pushing her parents along the way, was a six-piece nugget meal with large fries, and her favourite iced tea!”

The Aguiling family took the opportunity to visit various sights around the country

Photo Credit: Mr Jodon Aguiling and Family

Although the Aguiling’s youngest, seven-year-old Franco, did not sign up for the event this year, Mr Aguiling is sure that the entire family will sign up for next year’s event.

III. Mr Ramanan and Family (Childhood friend of Nizam, profile number 1)

  • Mr Ramanan Raghuraman, 41, IT Solutions Architect. Took part in 200km Virtual Ride
  • Mr Raghuraman, 68, Retiree. Took part in 100km Virtual Ride.
  • Rashana Ramanan, 6. Took part in The Straits Times Virtual Ride (23km)
  • Rakshath Ramanan, 3. Took part in the Mighty Savers® Kids Virtual Ride (5km)

For 41-year-old Ramanan Raghuraman, cycling is truly a huge part of his life, and is an activity he enjoys with his childhood friends, two young children and even his 68-year-old father. Mr Ramanan’s next goal is to teach his wife to cycle and sign the entire family up for next year’s OCBC Cycle.

Having participated in last year’s inaugural OCBC Cycle Virtual Ride, Mr Ramanan’s three-year-old son Rakshath and six-year-old daughter Rashana stepped up their distances this year as they continue to grow in their cycling ambitions. This year, Rakshath took part in the Mighty Savers® Kids Virtual Ride (5km) and Rashana participated in the 23km category.

Already OCBC Cycle veterans, Rashana and Rakshath proudly display

their 2020 and 2021 finisher’s medals

Photo Credit: Ramanan Raghuraman

Crediting his childhood friend and fellow OCBC Cycle 2021 participant Mr Nizam A Haja for getting him started on his cycling journey, Mr Ramanan now cycles regularly to stay active and keep strong ties with his friends and family. This year, Mr Ramanan’s 68-year-old father Mr Raghuraman also put his cycling shoes back on and signed up for the 100km category. The pair cycle together regularly to catch up and keep fit.

Mr Raghuraman and Mr Ramanan now catch up over their cycling trips

Photo Credit: OCBC Cycle

“Cycling is an activity that has benefited all of us in more ways than one. Aside from keeping fit amidst the current Covid-19 situation, it helps us all maintain strong friendships that help us get through this uncertain period. While I initially picked up cycling from Nizam as a way to keep in touch with old friends, it has become a wonderful hobby for my children as well.”

To care for his young children while participating in his own 200km Virtual Ride, Mr Ramanan cycled with his friends, and separately with his two children at West Coast Park. About his three-year-old son’s participation, Mr Ramanan said, “I was so proud of Rakshath for being able to complete his 5km distance at one go. We told him that the medal was like a reward for his hard work, and he was so excited to hold onto it and show it to his relatives.”

Mr Ramanan and his family in their matching jerseys

Photo Credit: Ramanan Raghuraman

Expressing gratitude to his wife, Ms Shalina, for her support throughout the family’s participation in the OCBC Virtual Ride, Mr Ramanan even had matching jerseys made for his family. “Next year, Shalina will be a part of our family’s OCBC Cycle adventure,” he promises. 

IV. Ms Joan Sam and Family

  • Ms Joan Sam, 45, Executive. Took part in 100km Virtual Ride.
  • Mr Lead Tan, 47, Graphic Designer. Took part in 100km Virtual Ride.
  • Timothy Tan, 8 years old, Nan Chiau Primary School. Took part in 100km Virtual Ride.

Ms Joan Sam and her husband, Mr Lead Tan, had not cycled for a number of years before signing up for this year’s OCBC Cycle Virtual Ride with their eight-year-old son, Timothy. Ms Sam and her husband used to go out for couple cycling trips regularly, but eventually fell out of the habit as they grew busier over the years.

Photo Credit: Ms Joan Sam and family

It was not till the Covid-19 pandemic hit last year that the couple put their cycling cleats back on again, this time together with their energetic son Timothy. The family bought three foldable bikes to embark on this journey, with all three signing up for their first ever OCBC Cycle in the 100km VR category.

For the family, it was an opportunity to enjoy an activity that presented not only new experiences but also memorable bonding moments. Ms Sam felt tremendously proud of her young son, who completed the distance in just two rides of 50km each. “He never complained once about being tired, even though he rode a single speed bike with just 16-inch wheels, and had to push harder than us to go up slopes. For us, it was unique chance to cycle the footpaths of our country and see the sights from a different perspective.”

Cycling all across the island, the family traversed routes from Seng Kang to the Marina Bay area, to Gardens by the Bay and Jewel’s Jurassic Mile. Through these journeys, the family found many picture-perfect moments to capture along their OCBC Cycle experience.

Laughing as she recalled their cycling trips, Ms Sam shared, “Timothy never complained about the distance or how tired he felt, and I’m so proud of him. But of course, his one minor complaint would be that he was hungry - especially mid-way and after the rides!”

Photo Credit: Ms Joan Sam and family

Photo Credit: Ms Joan Sam and family

Looking forward to signing up for next year’s OCBC Cycle Virtual Ride again, Ms Sam anticipates that her son will soon out-cycle his parents in the years to come.

[1] ANNEX B: EVENT DETAILS

I. Virtual Ride Categories

 

Categories

Completion Period

1

Mighty Savers® Kids Virtual Ride (5km) (Up to 12 years old)

15 May – 4 July

 

(End date extended from 14 June)

2

The Straits Times Virtual Ride (23km)

3

The Sportive Virtual Ride (42km)

4

(New) The 100km Virtual Ride

5

(New) The 200km Virtual Ride

II. Event Format

  • Participants were to cycle the distance required over a maximum of four rides, anywhere (indoor/ outdoor) from 15 May to 4 July 2021 (extended from 14 June due to the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) measures).
  • To log their rides, participants were required to take pictures of the following:
    1. Their ride details – date, distance, and duration – recorded by a fitness tracker / workout app used during the ride(s).
    2. A picture of themselves and their bicycles from one of their rides
  • Participants then submitted these pictures via www.ocbccycle.com by 4 July to indicate that they had completed their virtual ride.
  • The event entitlements will be delivered to each participant by Monday, 26 July 2021.

III. Chinese translations

  • OCBC Cycle - 华侨银行“骑车乐”
  • Ms Koh Ching Ching, Head of Group Corporate Communications at OCBC Bank - 高菁菁,集团品牌与传播部总监, 华侨银行

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Lim Zi Hao

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