Our 'Ride For Rations 2013' (14 to 15 Sep 2013) may have ended on the high following our recent 'post-ride thank you' dinner get-together at Aranda Country Club. While our adrenalin rush has yet to fade away anytime soon, ambitious plan is already underway for 2014. This is our third consecutive year organised by Bike-Aid Singapore where 'Ride For Rations' remains symbolic and indeed, I am honoured to be part of the organising committee for this year. This fund raising cycling project attracted some 140 participants with more than 100 cyclists and the rest providing vital support along the cycling route. Thanks to many supporters, the event received overwhelming support from many private organisations. Many cyclists who joined in the last two years signed up again and there were even more who joined for the first time when they heard about the event through word-of-mouth and social media platforms. This year recorded the highest number of cyclists and supporters.
All cyclists were required to cycle from Malacca to Singapore with a night stopover in Batu Pahat covering a distance of some 250 km. Cyclists and supporters needed to pay S$250 each to cover 2 nights accommodation (Malacca and Batu Pahat), one way coach transfer to Malacca, meals, isotonic drinks & mineral water and fruits. Above that, each cyclist had to raise a minimum sum of S$500 from friends, relatives and colleagues. All proceeds are meant for Sunlove Home. Following our successes in 2011 & 2012, our organising committee was quiet confident that 2013 should do much better and therefore, gamely upped the ante to S$220,000 in raised funds for Sunlove Home.
Video Montage of Ride For Rations 2014, courtesy of my buddy, Kevin Soh
On 13 Sep, Friday we were ready to set off by coaches for Malacca. There were two pick up venues, two coaches leaving from Pasir Ris near Aranda Country Club at 1000 hrs & one at 1200 hrs and one coach lws by me leaving at West Coast Plaza at 1000 hrs. Support crew and some advance party drove up on own. Our first night in Malacca was spent at Hatten Hotel.
Almost all my regular cycling kakis from GP Riders including my regular run kakis participated and we were joined by other social cycling groups such as Hougang Super Slow Riders and EZY Riders, among others. Shoeb, our Bike-Aid President and organising committee Chairman who had been providing support in the last two years joined as cyclist this time around. I believe he had the permission to ride from his equally spirited and supportive wife, Shireen.
Day one ride from Malacca to Batu Pahat covered a distance of a little over 100 km but everyone had to contend with the hot weather. After a short speech by Shoeb at the entrance of Hatten Hotel, we were flagged off in batches at about 0800 hrs. By 1600 hrs, the last group of cyclists made it to Pine Hotel in Batu Pahat where we were to spend a night. Everyone made it safely and that was key. Dinner was then arranged at the hotel and a surprise birthday celebration was thrown in for those who are born in the month of September.
On day two ride, it was raining quite heavily early in the morning in Batu Pahat followed by some flashes of lightning which somewhat marred our plan to set-off early. Finally, we started more than half an hour late under the rain. Some part of the roads were quickly flooded which made cycling quite a treacherous affair. Second day of ride is always more challenging, given the longer distance of more than 140 km to be covered. The rain was a blessing and it began to fizzle down as we cycled south. The weather was fairly cool throughout. No one suffered from heat exhaustion saved for day one.
As always, the most challenging part was the crossing from Pekan Nanas town to Singapore after our lunch. We had to cycle alongside the heavy traffic which can filter from either side at some points especially in Skudai. Therefore, we had to group the cyclists before despatching them off. I led a group of 21 of cyclists and with my buddy, Chua providing the vehicle support in front, I felt assured. Admittedly, I heaved a big sigh of relief when we finally touched home in Marsiling.
The two days ride ended with everyone safely accounted for, no major hiccups along the way and best of all, we received a total contribution of more than S$225,000 from the combined effort of everyone and contributions continue to pour in to these days.