PERSONALITY: THE BIKER ADVOCATE CALVIN CHIN
Mountain Bike Association (Singapore) has been making headway since the (soon-to be-incorporated) society established its executive committee in July 2012. Notably, these guys was successful in their advocacy with the relevant authorities for the use of Butterfly Trail – a 3km trail at Upper Peirce Reservoir area in Singapore. During this time, they had also been active with other trail-use issues like trail etiquettes, hikers vs cyclist usage of mountain biking trails, trail maintenance and other related projects.
It is difficult to talk about MBASG without mentioning its founding President (Pro-tem for now) Calvin Chin. Well-known for being the nice chap around the trails, this guy put in as much saddle time as he has passion for the cycling community. Bikezilla had a light-hearted chat with him and discovered the biker that possesses leadership, responsibility and a great love for mountain biking. Read on for the details.
GETTING TO KNOW "FULL-SUS" CAL!
Name: Calvin Chin
Nickname: FullSus Cal, Clumsy Cal, Careless Cal, Endo King…..too many
Years cycling: 7
Current riding discipline(s): Mountain biking – Cross-country (XC), Trail, and Downhill.
Current bike (please provide photo): Favourite bike for local trails is my Ibis Mojo HDR.
Affiliated Cycle Group: Rock&Rolla
How often do you cycle: Twice to thrice a week. Wednesday night and Saturday morning with friends, and Sunday early mornings alone.
Where do you usually cycle: Central catchment area trails- Bukit Timah and Butterfly Trails as they are only 5 minutes away from where I stay.
TAKE ACTION! DON'T WAIT!
Favourite cycling spots
Butterfly trail – It's a beautiful and scenic 3km loop in the heart of a metropolis with 5.5 million people. I don’t think there are many cities in the world with a 5.5 million population and yet have such a beautiful technical singletrack trail so easily accessible. We may not have many trails, but this stands to be counted as a really good one by any measure. I am most grateful that this trail is now legal to ride, as it hasn’t always been so.
Memorable contributions to the Cycling Community
I do my share of participating in community trail days whenever I can. They have been memorable because I have forged friendships with like-minded people. Building trails give you a sense of ownership in the trails you ride, and make you appreciate the thoughts that go behind a particular berm or ride feature.
I am also grateful to be part of a group of like-minded folks who have come together to form MBASG – Mountain Bike Association (Singapore), to champion trail advocacy with National Parks Board (Nparks). The highlight of the group is that one of the committee members Robin Lim worked relentlessly with Nparks to get the approval necessary for mountain bikers to ride Butterfly trail legally as a shared trail.
What do you think the Cycling Community need most currently
More trails to ride would always be nice?
For now, I’d say Trail Etiquette. There has been much discussion about this on the Discussion & Action for Trails (DAFT) Facebook group, and also a lot of evidence pointing to the lack of trail etiquette amongst local trail riders. I see litter on our trailheads and trails which suggest some guys simply can’t be bothered to even clean up after themselves, much less think about others and the environment when they’re riding. You can have the best trails and best bikes to ride in the world, dressed in your best gear but the experience is not going to be great if the other mountain bikers using the trail make your experience somewhat unpleasant.
And how do you think you can help
MBASG has been advocating trail etiquette- (www.mbasg.org/trail-etiquette.html). It’s a long walk, and we’re taking first steps. As long as we’re better today than we were yesterday, that’s progress (something I learnt from my ex Commanding Officer in my National Service unit).
Any other areas which you wish someone could also help look into, that needed improvements?
None. If something really bothers me, I’d rather take action and do it myself or with others, rather than complain and wait for others to start doing something.
Tell us more about your cycling group
I am part of a larger, diverse group of guys which go by ‘Rock&Rolla (RnR)’, which was started by my good friend Keet back in 2008 when we started riding mountain bikes at Bukit Timah trail. The larger group has about 60 over guys, and meet for one or two big annual rides like the national day rides which see about 30 plus people turning up. We also have a BBQ session twice a year, and there were about 20 of us who participated in the recent Mountain Bike Carnival @ Asrama. I am happy that some of our team mates clinched podium position for the timed Quad team Enduro sections.
As with all groups, there tend to be smaller circles within the group who ride together based on their preferred schedule, and there is a bunch of 10 guys or so whom I ride regularly with on Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings. These guys form the core of my riding wolf pack.
How did the group helped in your objectives for the cycling community
The guys from RnR are a fun and helpful bunch of folks. Many of them have participated regularly in community trail days in Bukit Timah, Kent Ridge, or Butterfly Trails. They have been most generous with their time. And some with their money for trail building materials, tools, etc.
Tell us something about yourself
I am married to an amazing wife who tolerates having 4 bicycles around the house. I hope my 4 boys will know the pleasure of riding a mountain bike someday. Besides mountain biking, I am a martial arts enthusiast and I secretly yearn to cause pain to obnoxious hikers using the Bukit Timah Mountain Bike trail
(Ed: We are sure the normally well-composed Mr Chin is only fantasizing about inflicting pain to anybody – rude hikers or otherwise)
Any adventures or funny stories to share?
The funniest riding experience happened in the trails of Doi Suthep, Chiangmai. I was riding downhill and somehow went over the bars and ended up being stuck in a crevice like an overturned turtle facing the slope, unable to move with all my gear- fullface helmet, neck brace, pressure suit and holding on to my bike. My friends sure had a good time laughing at me. Karma is a bitch, and the guy who laughed the loudest at me ended up falling off that little bridge at Butterfly Trail recently where it crosses a stream, and I had a front seat view riding behind him. It was my turn to have a good laugh. Here’s to good times, Carbonman!
(Trail Day at Bukit Timah Mountain bike Trail)