Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ride of Silence Singapore - Chi Wei's impressions

Before midnight, Yap Chi Wei wrote to Zendogs (our cycling group) to recount the events of the night. I reproduce it here with his permission:

"I estimate that just over 400 riders turned up for this ride. Everyone gathered pretty much on time and the first group of 12 riders were flagged off at 7.20pm. With so many riders, the organiser(s) ran out of outriders/volunteer ride leaders after about 20 groups. So the rest (groups 21 onwards) had to wait for the lead pack to return to recycle the ride leader! This was accepted with mild groans here and there.

Catherine and I did a Zendog [our cycling group legendary for taking food beaks] and adjourned to the nearby Coffee Bean for some pasta and puffs. With our hunger assuaged, we rejoined the remaining mass of bikers and got flagged off well after 8pm.

Our ride grouping started out well but soon fell apart although the volunteer guide tried to keep things together. Inevitably, some of the group split into smaller groups without ride leaders. Some, who had not studied the route, got separated. But we continued on, sometimes joining groups that we caught up with and at other times, falling back due to traffic lights.

Along Holland Rd near the Botanics, a group of young riders on heavy jump bikes started to stand and sprint up the hill with little regard for traffic on their right. This caused a Volvo XC90 SUV to mount a center divider trying to avoid them! I don't think these kids even knew why they were there. It was more like a fun ride for them, yelling and screaming. So much for silence.

There were also unicycles in another group, which should not have been there as they had to struggle to keep up, did not have appropriate lighting, and it was harder for them to handle the evening rush hour traffic.

Ride of silence almost became a ride of attrition.

The good thing that the majority were well behaved. Motorists seemed to be quite tolerant of the large groups of riders on the road and there were very few horns directed our way.

We peeled off somewhere near High Street to head back to her office to pack her bike into her car. I rode back on the road. Total distance for me was 43kms.

The ride leaders from Joyriders were volunteers and roped in at the last moment to assist. They did the best they could, with some riding two loops of the route. Kudos to them.

Going to bed now..."

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