Cycling as both a sport and a hobby has exploded in recent years and the culmination of that is the upcoming OCBC Cycle 2015 at the Singapore Sports Hub! The event will finally be happening this weekend but before that, check out our interview with Low Ji Wen, one of Team Singapore’s cyclists in this event.
First off, I had to ask him about his opinion on why cycling has really picked up in Singapore, no matter where you go, there are always cyclists on the roads and the pedestrian paths. According to him, “I think cycling has picked up because the speed gives you a thrill and there’s also a social aspect to it. There is also always someone better than you and I feel it spurs people to want to improve.” Unlike many others, he has no problem sharing the road with other cyclists, bandwagon cyclists or not, “my opinion on new cyclists is the more the merrier!”
Cycling is definitely not a sport that pays well or even receives much attention in Singapore so his decision to pursue the sport professionally is understandably curious. Of course, thinking about it, it’s unlikely that Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods would have given up by basketball or golf just because it didn’t pay well and Ji Wen shares a similar sentiment. “I find that cycling pushes you out of your comfort zone in almost every aspect. From traveling and having to deal with unusual food… right down to the physical and mental aspect of pushing yourself even when you think you can go no more. That is what I love about the sport, it always humbles you.” That’s exactly it! OCBC Cycle isn’t simply for cycling enthusiasts or professionals but rather anyone willing to give it a shot, to push yourself and to be humbled.
I’m sure that many of you are curious to the numerous adventurous of a professional cyclists, after all, how many of us actually know a professional cyclist? Here are some of his craziest and most memorable cycling experience, “The most recent one would be a stage of this year’s Tour of Iran. It was uncharacteristically windy, and what would have ordinarily been a 4 hour stage dragged out to 6 hours. When professionals are on-the-rivet going at 13km/h on a flat road and being blown sideways off the road, you know it’s hard! The veteran Iranian’s who have raced the same road for over a decade admitted that never in their lives had they seen such epic conditions.” Wow, to be able to go to Iran and race and in such crazy conditions, what an experience!
While cycling may not enjoy the same prestige or popularity as other sports such as football, basketball or even tennis and golf yet everyone knows Lance Armstrong and his achievements which suggests that there is huge potential in cycling. Yet, given today’s context, it isn’t likely for a Singaporean to attain a similar level of success. While Ji Wen “think[s] Singapore has the potential to be successful in the typically European-dominated cycling world. We are held back by our own red tape and it’s discouraging the younger cyclists especially… If we can get back to that and expand on it, i’m sure we can be successful in cycling.”
Something exciting to look forward to is the OCBC Speedway Challenge which Ji Wen is also taking part in, where teams will be pitted against one another in a relay style sprint format. What I am not exactly sure what the local reaction would be considering it would be all of our first time (unless you’re a professional), Ji Wen believes that “the unique race format will be a hit with the local cycling scene. It is a condensed race and it should see higher speeds and be more spectator friendly. Also because the circuit is small spectators will get to see more cyclists, more often.”
OCBC Cycle Singapore will be having a charity bike ride, Business Times Cycle of Hope Corporate Bike Ride, this year once again to raise money for charities. Sports and charity come hand in hand, just as NBA has its NBA Cares, the reason why athletes should participate in charity events is that it “allows more people to give back to the community in larger ways (than if they were an individual). The use of sports promotes a healthy lifestyle, gives people a platform which they are comfortable with and enjoy, to help others who are more in need.” Your status as an athlete, a role model and a source of inspiration can be used for much good.
After OCBC Cycling Singapore, Ji Wen “will likely be racing the Tour of China 1 & 2 in October. It is a very competitive race with some world-class riders so the OCBC Cycle will serve as a good tune-up for that.”
For the rest of us, find out more details about OCBC Cycle Singapore 2015 here! Follow and Like us on social media to keep updated on our race this coming weekend!