WRITER RIDERS: IS 'BIGGER' ALWAYS BETTER?
WHEN IT COMES TO CERTAIN ACTIVITIES … SIZE MATTERS …
We've often heard many defensive statements saying size doesn't matter. But really. Sometimes bigger is better. And in other occasions longer is also better. Of course, I'm talking about the size and distance of these popular Mass Runs that have been gaining a lot of limelight on our sunny island in recent times.
GROUP SIZE AND RIDING DISTANCE
If you do a simple search on 'Race Calendar SG', you will see that there's some kind of mass run going on practically every weekend. There are the every-mother's-son-will-turn-up kind of runs that have the 5km / 10km / 21km /42km / kids categories. It's almost like you're not validated as a 'runner' in Singapore until you've gone for one of these. Not forgetting their Godzilla older brother, the Ultramarathons of too-many-km-to-imagine. Then there are the multi-discipline races that combine swimming, running, cycling, jumping, flying etc… Also, the gimmicky fun runs where people turn up to take hey-I'm-all-healthy-and-fit-and-running photos, and then posting them online to mark attendance (accompanied by an assortment of annoying hashtags).
But yes, the point is – Size and Distance matter in many activities.
(When it comes to smiles, bigger is definitely better too! Just ask Darren!)
HOW ABOUT CYCLING?
With so much hype about mass running, I am wondering why mass riding is not as hot here in Singapore as compared to up north where there is almost a mass ride every day of the weekend!
While we know our neighbors up north enjoy their weekend rides that could span anything between 25 km to 50 km in groups of up to 1000 cyclists, we do not see many of such events in Singapore. So to get a taste of big scale mass rides, here are some options for you:
You can stalk this page for links on when and where these are being held in Malaysia. Plus points are that you get to ride a new place, and perhaps go for a short holiday while you're at it. Also, they are very affordable and if you're lucky, you get a nice goodie pack too. The courses themselves are relatively low in technical difficulty. But. BUT. BUUUUUUT. These are off-road rides of 30km and up, mostly involving a good number of monstrous climbs with ungodly gradients. A real push to your physical and mental capacity, they are a must-try for every avid mountain biker.
A simple search on Google will give you an abundance of options for bike tours. From nearby lands like Indonesia, Thailand and Taiwan, to big Europe trips. Factors to consider would be the difficulty of the course, the nature of bikes available for rent, and the overall feasibility of the destination as a holiday spot. You will be spoilt for choice with the myriad of skill levels, durations, terrain etc… available. The only real possible limitation here would be the cost. And perhaps how many leave-days you can take. And they are not really a mass ride per se. More like a group of friends, riding lots of distances over many days.
ENDURO AND ENDURANCE EVENTS
We are assuming here that enduro and endurance races would be a yearly affair in Singapore because of the success of the inaugural one a while back. It's a good opportunity to meet other like-minded riders in the community and really get to celebrate the gems of trails we have in our motherland. Although there is a race component in these rides, the good thing is riders get to ride along each other and the social component is equally high too.
WHAT IF NONE OF THESE ARE SUITABLE FOR ME?
At this point, you might be fretting about how you're destined for solitary riding since none of the 3 options above seems to suit your interest. Too long. Too tough. Too stressful and competitive.
Or you could be at the other end of the spectrum – not getting enough of mass rides even with those lineups the previous section offers in a year.
For the above 2 groups, we'll say Bikezilla Mass Ride!
WHY MASS RIDE?
You get to learn something from watching other people ride. It could be a technical section which has always baffled you. It could be discovering a new line which you had never thought to take. Many newcomers are often stressed by riding with strangers and cynical in thinking that people will get irritated with having to 'wait' for them in the trail. However, you'll be surprised at how others in the community are actually more than happy to share what they know. In fact, the more veteran they are, the more open they are to teaching.
(For our friend Raymond, cycling with both wheels on the ground is just too mainstream)
On the other hand, you could also be the one graciously benefiting others with your knowledge. Remember in primary school when your teacher told you about 'the joy of giving being the best gift ever'? You will discover that it is actually true – when you watch someone else overcoming a difficult section after receiving some nifty tips from you. A true sense of accomplishment there.
Most of us are used to cycling alone or with our usual clique. Everyone is familiar and comfortable with each other. Mass rides provide an opportunity to expand your social circle, where you can meet more like-minded hobbyists. There is little harm but always something to gain in hearing a fresh perspective on bike setup, new products, and upcoming trends. Who would dislike having more new buddies to commune with over nerdy bike stuff? You can now stop boring your other regular friends.
Mass rides are usually supported by sponsors who are to seeking outreach and raise awareness for their brands. You can look forward to goodwill products (read: freebies) and demo bikes. Sometimes you just don't know what you're been searching for until you've found it.
(The awesome dudes from Polygon!)
It's fun. No frills there. And nobody needs a better reason than this.
(So many happy-looking people – can't be wrong!)
As you can see, whether you're a newbie or a regular visitor to our local trails – mass riding has something for you. The only better than riding your bike – is riding your bike with others who enjoy riding too!
THE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION
So. Yes, the answer is yes. Bigger is better. Keep a lookout for the next Bikezilla Mass Ride, and see you there!
Maomao is a relatively new cyclist, being acquainted with her first real bike about 4 years back and having developed a slight crush on trail cycling only in the last year. In her free time, she enjoys running, swimming and zen-ing it out with yoga. Aspirations include becoming a decent photographer and exotic poledancer.