That 130km bicycle ride with NTU Bike Rally 2011

I rode my 7th NTU Bike Rally yesterday, with a whole bunch of NTU undergrads and members of the public. An undergrad I chatted with under a scorching sun some 80km into the ride, learnt it was not my first rally. She asked me painfully, “why did you come back?”

I felt your pain, sistah!

A quick dump of my Runkeeper graphic (click to see route details) was plotted with an iPhone I carried and left on the entire journey – powered with spare battery chargers. Twitter posts were done via using my text-only handphone, so the tweets were composed old school SMS-style.

sivasothi_s Activities | RunKeeper
Sunday, 27th February 2011

Night before
11:40 PM Feb 26th – Portable charger for the iPhone allows Runkeeper plots of long rides
11:49 PM Feb 26th – NTU Bike Rally 2011 jersey

The joy of the early morning
5:31 AM Feb 27th – Lit up like a Christmas tree and tyres pumped. Off to the F1 pit stop for the NTU Bike Rally. [It was 8+ km from HV to the F1 Pit Stop, which I why I clocked 130km]
6:08 AM – Reached F1 pit, registered. Met @acroamatic Erm legs shaky after ride down!
6:56 AM – About to head off. Met Daryl, Athena and Kai Meng.
{We were chatting so left with the 3rd wave}
7:50 AM – HV to F1 8.8km, avs17.8. 1st stop. West Coast Park 23.37km, avs18.7, 1.14.47.

It begins to heat up
9:11 AM – Reached NTU, 37.73km, avs18.6kmh, 2.01.27. Sun’s up. Knee hurts a bit. They have bananas.
10:27 AM – What a head wind! Kranji Rsvr 53.16km, avs18.3kmh, 2.53.43. Heat and cramps.
10:31 AM – NTU undergrads tackling the ride in shorts, t-shirt and rented bikes, champion!
10:57 AM – Fighting off massive cramps on Mandai Road. Every muscle taking its turn!
11:26 AM – Twisted and turned in saddle, imbibed water, shifted pedaling leg. Fought off cramps, Yaaay!

Trouble begins
11:33 AM – Yishun Stadium, 66.89km, avs18.0kmh, 3.42.55. So when is that rain coming?
11:37 AM – Looks like the virus community gave me the day off. No trouble from them today.
11:49 AM – Hmmm, have they run out of water? Am down to 0.8L so a stop needed.
12:22 PM – Heat takes out a number of cyclists including my kaki. Safe than sorry, a good call.
12:32 PM – Took awhile for cab to come for kaki. The log rest did not shake off cramps. Twist and turn!

We head into Punggol
1:15 PM – Oooh, rural Punggol is quite lovely. Degraded but nice!
1:24 PM – Horizon Primary School, Punggol. 81.60km, avs17.8kmh, 4.33.27. Second wind and clouds.
1:32 PM – Alvin from Punggol spots me from his window!
2:09 PM – Lunch was served from a roadside mobile canteen! [Ladybug and Alvin] NTU safety car checked to see if I was okay!
2:36 PM – The clouds are very nice, but what is it, with these headwinds? C’mon!
2:46 PM – Pasir Ris park car park B. 96.28km, avs17.8kmh, 5.23.51
2:52 PM – Heading to Changi now!
3:59 PM – East Coast Park edge. 113.46km, avs17.6kmh, 6.25.53. Winds blew my front wheel off course!

[missing somewhere here – “now it is all about pain management”]

I am completely drained
4:09 PM – Ladybug having a picnic under a tree at NSRCC. I watch in a stupor. One leg left of about 15km. Yes, I should have used slicks for this ride.
4:12 PM – [earlier] Chatted with undergrads about places we were passing and handed out Salon Pas. Riding with slower cyclists is about the journey.
5:30 PM – At the F1 pit. 130.12km, avs17.6kmh, 7.23.13 A good way to start the year!
5:31 PM – Congratulated the organiser. They did a great job.
5:37 PM – NTU Earthlink was involved hence the recycling msg at all check points today.
8:06 PM – I’m radiating so much heat, Mr Bats the cat curls up next to me purring.

The day after
~9.30 AM Feb 26th – After yesterday’s 130km ride, I declare: a well-maintained bicycle is a joy to ride and Brook’s saddle = no butt pain!

Photo by Alvin Wong


Previous NTU Bike Rally rides

  1. 2010 – photos
  2. 2009 – pre-ride blog post
  3. 2008 – blog post
  4. 2007 – blog post
  5. 2004 – photos
  6. 2003 – annotated photos

8 thoughts on “That 130km bicycle ride with NTU Bike Rally 2011

  1. You can head to to see the so called 168km ride (it’s actually around 148-150km). The first two checkpoints was pure adrenalin driven. NTU checkpoint however, was horrible, refreshments inside a cramped road made me miss the support car after I had my banana. It was a rush all the way to Kranji before I caught up with it and with about a seconds rest, we go off again to the Admiralty Marina. After that I do everything slowly as it was an energy draining ride when I tried to not miss the support car at Kranji.

    Anyway, I’m glad I got the 168KM finisher tee 😉 Without counting any stops I got there at 5:24, which I’m rather proud of, else it’s near 8 hours, as rest stops are quite long at Raffles Country Club, Admiralty, and at Yishun. And yes, I’ll do it again next year. Got to try improve my times.

  2. BTW, the iPhone 4 could probably last the whole journey, but I started putting in my battery charger at the East Coast checkpoint just in case. With cyclemeter, it recorded The reason I used cyclemeter is so that I can get the track updated live every 5 minutes, and I get to listen to the comments made on Dailymile and Facebook while I am doing the Bike Rally, you can see such motivational comments at it’s amazing to hear people support you while you suffer 🙂

  3. Wow. what a detailed coverage you have and congrates on finishing. You have done 6 yrs, any difference this yr as compared to past years?

  4. Thought I could meet-up with you again during the rally… Must be the crowd – 900+ riders…
    I agree with you on the head-wind, we seemed to be facing a headwind everywhere we go.
    I started with the earlier wave… and there was some confusion for the riders doing the 168km and 128km. Apparently for riders doing the 168km, there were two “detours” – one to Raffles Marina – just before NTU and the other to Woodlands – after Kranji. I have to “probe” the road marshals at critical junction to ensure that I stayed on the 128km route.
    I rode with a lot of roadies, and some of them really took it as a day when they can occupy the entire left lane. Even when a bus is following them closely from behind, they refuse to keep left or ride single file. I personally think the 1.5meters applies both ways.
    The allocation of buns (and energy drinks) was not that consistent… I guess they were planning for the bigger waves that arrive latter… I couldn’t find food after Yishun Stadium when I need it the most… maybe that was what kept me going – “food at next checkpoint”.
    Overall the organization of the race was as excellent as before. This is my fourth NTU Bike Rally and I will be back for more.
    Hope to see you next year…

  5. Hi Wari! Congrats on your ride and thanks for the tip, will explore the other mapping apps

    Hi Matt, liked your post. This year’s event was once again well organised and had better marshalling for sure and clearer signs. The event tees are once again very clear indicators for them to manage safety. It’s a very tough job and I think we are all very grateful to them for organising the event. There were of course some ares to improve (some already raised) – some confusion about 128/168km routes and food and water running low at Yishun Stadium (seems to happen every year). I’ll post more later and feedback directly to the organisers as well.

    Hi Choo, yeah missed you this year. I left with 3rd wave, hit by bad cramps so slowed, at Yishun waited for my mildly heatstroked-friend to pack up and cab home. That far back (reached F1 pit 5.30pm), I was able to observe safety ops at the back – boy were they busy!

    I was happy to complete this year, nursing remnants of a flu and a sore knee. Was careful not to overstrain and back in the field with little effect, so happy.

    Yeah, I agree 1.5 metres works both ways. Each cyclists is am ambassador to all of us being welcome and kept safe on the roads. I also feel a rear-view mirror should be mandatory when sharing roads with traffic!

    Next year then!

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