OCBC Cycle 2021 Virtual Ride Crosses Finish Line With Increased Interest

The OCBC Cycle Virtual Ride 2021 wrapped up on 4 July with more than 6,100 cyclists participating in this year’s event, marking an almost 30% increase in participants from last year’s inaugural event.

All five categories were sold out within two weeks of its launch on 15 May – these include crowd favourites like the Mighty Savers® Kids Virtual Ride (5km) and The Straits Times Virtual Ride (23km), as well as two brand-new categories for more avid cyclists – The 100km Virtual Ride and 200km Virtual Rides.

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 ages – 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.

Zidane and Ziya with their OCBC Cycle 2021 finisher medals

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.

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.

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.

Images: OCBC Cycle

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