SPOTLIGHT: CYCLE GROUP –
SINGAPORE CYCLING TOURS
ONE GOOD WAY TO PICK UP CYCLING AS A SPORT AND
EXPAND YOUR CYCLING SOCIAL CIRCLE!
New to cycling and looking for some new friends to ride with? Want to explore the different parts of Singapore on 2 wheels with some experts to guide you? We met this cycling group that cater to the needs of different types of cyclists in a very systematic way! Time to get to know them.
THE SOCIAL ASPECT OF CYCLING
As cyclists, we sometimes prefer to ride alone and sometimes we prefer to share the fun with a group of friends. Man is a social creature, afterall. The accessibility of social media had made finding like-minded friends to share a hobby much easier. Often, the bond between such new-found friends grew quickly from the shared common interest. This bond is especially strong amongst those who meet up at least once a week as it forms a pattern in their weekly routine. The cycle group usually shares some similarity – cycling discipline, skills & expertise, preferred riding spots and riding time slots. This largely unspoken entry criteria in informal social cycling groups has also had the effect of filtering off cyclists who may eventually lose interest, or who have not managed to keep up with the energy and intensity of the cycling group they joined. A quick look at some social media groups that are active currently would show that the groups with the most members are those that are "all-inclusive" and cater to new entrants to the sport. But many do not organize group rides on an official level. For newbies, it's still "shape up or ship out!" when they join the rides. There must be a easier and systematic way to learn the finer points of cycling …
SINGAPORE CYCLING TOURS
Wouldn't it be good to have a riding group that caters to the skill and fitness levels of the different members, caters to both road and trail riding, rides at a variety of locations around Singapore, has a proper administrative network to communicate with members and it's all free of charge? Meet the guys from Singapore Cycling Tours.
Started in 2013, it's original objective was to create an avenue for Shangrila Adventure to meet more cyclists. But they eventually became a well-organized cycling group that had been helping to promote cycling in a leisurely and fun way, free of charge. Yes, Singapore Cycling Tours may be sponsored by Shangrila Adventure but the rides in Singapore are free for all to join. (You will only pay when there are cost incurred during the ride, eg transport or entrance fees)
A VERY WELL-ORGANIZED GROUP
The guys at Singapore Cycling Tours has a page at Meetup.com. (Meetup is the world's largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for users to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. More than 9,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities. In a nutshell, Singapore Cycling Tours ride and explore the corners of Singapore, its neighboring locations and islands. Occasionally, there are other ad-hoc local & nearby rides such as Singapore super-PCNs round island, Green Corridor, Dairy Farm MTB circuit, Desaru-Pengerang, St John's Island and Pulau Ubin (Ketam). Overseas cycling tours include destinations like Tibet-Nepal, SiChuan, GuiZhou, YunNan Shangri-la, or Myanmar. (These are not FOC of course!) Sounds like a fun-filled group? There's more!
Singapore Cycling Tours is an all-inclusive cycling group that is suitable for all riders who wants to expand their cycling social circle with a good mix of leisure and intense rides. Working class adults form the majority of the group. On a typical leisure road riding day, there will be a good mix of road, mountain, hybrid, commuter and folding bikes. Trail riding days would be restricted to mountain bikes of course. And for road rides that are catered for faster riders, members would use their road bikes or velos. That about sums up the wide spectrum of rides these guys organize.
To get members started, they group's organizers came up with a simple screening questionaire that would grade the cyclist into 6 grades. (Grade 0: Total Newbie, Grade 1: Able to cycle at 12-16km/hr up to 25km, Grade 2: 14-18km/hr up to 40km, Grade 3: 16-20km/hr up to 60km, Grade 4: 20-25km/hr up to 80km, Grade 5: >25km/hr & >120km). Members would be able to assess whether a certain ride is suitable for them by checking the recommended rider grade for each ride. Meetups are communicated via email and a RSVP system. Each group ride would be guided by local group members that know the way well and limited to a certain group size to ensure safety and proper control during ride.
The established system is convenient for both the organizers and the members. The RSVP kept the participating group size in check, and also holds some information of the riders should it be needed. As different ride starts from different locations, the members have a chance to save some transport time at different meetups on a rotational basis. And notification are done via emails, so those who do not want to join certain meetups simply skip the email, fuss-free.
This system works very well for groups with large membership and groups that has regular influx of new members. As the emails are not intrusive and the members are given clear instructions on meeting time and venue and what to prepare. And as they ride together, things would get more informal and the bonds would be established quickly.
IN GOOD HANDS
Every ride would be led by a few of the regular members who are "Grade 5" cyclists (According to SCT's grading system). These organizing members are seasoned cyclists and knows the ride route very well. With their experience in organizing group rides, safe practices and overall skills, the group are in good hands. Members who gained experienced with the rides could eventually be roped in to help guide the newer members too.
If you had ever thought of going on a round island ride on Singapore's Park Connector Network (PCN) but find it hard to navigate, these folks know the network inside out. If you want to find some mates for a neighboring region day-cycle trip, many of the fellow members would share your interest. All these rides build up the camaraderie for a possibility for more exciting longer duration oversea riding trips! Such is the benefit of being in a big group where there are convenient interest-checks for every type of rides. Join them at: http://www.meetup.com/Singapore-Cycling-Tours and enjoy your cycling lifestyle!
All photos by Singapore Cycling Tours