Cable ties – to the rescue of my pedal cage during NTU Bike Rally 2012

One thing I have NEVER checked all these years have been the screws on my pedal cage. On the ride just before the NTU Bike Rally 2012, my pedal cage fell off, but I tucked the parts away and rode home with minor inconvenience.

Amidst the hectic week that followed, I forgot about it until the night before the NTU Bike Rally. Failing to change my pedals when I could not find my wrench, it was down to cable ties: itsy-bitsy cable ties which I could thread through the pedal cage and pedal! 


And it worked, for all 169km of the ride I did that day. I carried spares but never had to use them. Pretty neat. I’ll check my pedals during bike maintenance from now on.


First aid administrations during NTU Bike Rally 2012

In the early morning of the NTU Round Island Bike Rally 2012 along Lim Chu Kang Road, I saw a bunch of cyclists gathered around a girl sitting on the road. She bore a mild road rash on her knee and was surrounded by an attentive friend, an apologetic fellow cyclist (who might have contributed to her fall) and some helpful riders who had stopped to ensure she was okay.

I was just picking up my pace to catch up with my kakis Kenneth and Kevin who were ahead of me on that long stretch. Then I realised I had not seen a first aid kit amongst them. So I turned around and provided the necessary with Brave Soldier antiseptic wash, Brave Soldier antiseptic ointment, some gauze and a light bandage.

As we chatted, Cheryl, the plucky injured girl, remarked that the Opsite bandage I was applying on her knee looked like parafilm. She had to be a life sciences student and soon learnt she was one of my students from LSM1103 Biodiversity last semester!

I left Cheryl and friends after the dressing was done and stepped up the pace to catch up with the other Zendogs. Along Neo Tiew Road, I passed an ambulance and a crowd of organisers. I hoped the injured rider was okay and rode on to Turf Club, the next rest stop where Kenneth and Kevin were waiting for me. They said I had only been about ten minutes out.

At the water point I met the Neo Tiew Road accident victim – a roadie who had fallen on his side while still clipped on to his pedals! So he had smashed the aide of his face – ouch! After receiving first aid, he had refused the ambulance and rode on to the Turf Club stop where he told me he was dropping out as the sweat into the bandages was not going to allow him to ride safely.

I looked at his injuries in fascination while he spoke and just thought “OUCH!”

As the hills levelled out, a Brompton last cyclist crashed on her right after a junction, scraping knee, arms and leg, and twisting her ankle. We found out that Angela was tired out by the Kranji stretch but had persisted and then wobbled over an uneven patch of road and fell. We were glad no vehicle was behind her at the time. She fell was just after an intersection shaded by an expressway.


So nice again I pulled out antiseptic lotion, ointment, gauze and bandages to attend to the scrapes while she took photos and posted them to Facebook! Yes, Angela was quite unfazed by the fall, just like Cheryl earlier. I guess anyone who attempts the 128km ride is not faint-hearted!

While Kevin waved traffic from our rear away, Kenneth, who had been a medic in the army, attended to her sprained ankle, eventually bandaging it up. The Bike Rally organisers meanwhile had drawn a truck up to recover her bike and that protected us from passing traffic. We were done and left as the medic arrived.



In previous years, I only had to hand out 100+ and Deep Heat to weary and cramped cyclists, so this year was certainly  eventful. Thankfully no more than these scrapes and I hope Cheryl, Angela and the roadie are all feeling better now.

I was sure glad I had packed my well stocked first aid kit for the ride and had Zendogs Kenneth and Kevin with me.


My century ride at the NTU Bike Rally 2012


Kenneth, Kevin and I rode the NTU Bike Rally 2012 yesterday and we made the first cut-off for the extended ride, looping into Tuas to Raffles Marina. We did not make the second cut and so clocked 148km+ during the Bike Rally this year, which we are pretty pleased about!

At my first NTU Bike Rally in 2003, the ride began and ended at NTU itself. By cycling there and back, I clocked more than 100 miles (160km). The idea of a century ride had been suggested by Mark Chan, one of my Zendogs kakis who had ridden with me on my first round island ride in 2002. Anyway, if I have the energy and am alert, I’d rather cycle than dismantle my bicycle.

Well that distance as a target intrigued me but you can’t achieve a century on a round island loop alone, as the length would usually be in the region of 128km. Riding to the start point and back did add enough distance but the Bike Rally start point was moved from NTU to the south. 

As a result of that, the last time I did a century since the Bike Rally restarted in 2007 was 2008. In 2009 and 2010, I reached ECP and packed it in at about 135km. Last year I was struggling with severe cramps for about half the ride and was really happy I had managed 134km.  

So it was with great pleasure yesterday when I realised we had made the Tuas loop cutoff. Coupled with my ride to and from the F1 Pit, I had finally clocked a century again.  


Kenneth Pinto and Kevin, my NTU Bike Rally 2012 kakis at the start point!

NTU Bike Rally, 26 Feb 2012 – registration open

I’m already signed up; registration was open on 6th Dec 2011. You can register at

Bike Rally 2012

The ride is 128km (or 168km if you met the cut off timings for the longer loop). Cycling a round island has been an annual ritual for me since 2002. You can see my previous years’ posts to figure out why I’m enthusiastic.

The 2011 route

If you are trying this out for the first time, see my recipe for along ride.

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

NTU Bike Rally 2011 jersey

We took a gamble of $35 for a bicycle jersey design we had not seen before. But I trusted that the students would be more picky than I was and it turned out very nicely indeed. In about five hours, we’ll find out how this jersey performs in the heat and rain we should expect over the 120km+.

This year I hope to last at least half the ride and to remember to take it really easy so as not to strain myself. So to Kranji at least, then I can alert the ladybug ambulance for recovery if I feel as awful as I have felt the past few days. Alternatively, I hope the fresh morning air revives me.

Well, we’ll see.