This post is dedicated to all my Daddy friends, near or far, in real or virtual space… who had in one way or another supported me through my fatherhood journey. Particularly to Winston, Nick and Andy, who stopped, waited and kept a look-out for me during Sunday’s OCBC Cycle event. You need not have to, but you all did, willingly, cheerfully. Thank you. Here’s to our next ride.
Photo Credit: OCBC Cycle FB
“Are you ok?”
“I’m just enjoying the view. As the Daddy and de-facto driver in the home, I seldom get to enjoy the view when I’m at the wheel, always looking ahead but seldom looking around.”
This was my response to Winston, the Blogfather as he stopped and glanced back to check on me, concerned as I was the slowest among the 4 cycling Daddies, right from the start.
Photo Credit: Nick’s Blog
“I’m ok….I think”
I had opted to join the OCBC Cycle event even in the midst of an extremely stressful period of my life overwhelmed with whirlwind demands and contingencies: work deadlines, searching and settling a new domestic helper, plumbing issues at home, kids’ poor health etc.… all these while ensuring bills are paid on time and meals placed on the table without missing a beat in the family’s daily routines.
So even though there were ‘forces’ telling me that I don’t have the time, the energy and certainly the fitness level to participate in the 23km OCBC Cycle race, I guess for some things, you just have to step out of your comfort zone to create something out of nothing. After all, aren’t Daddies great at that?
“Are you sure? Do you need help?”
In the past few months, work stresses and family contingencies have taken a toll on me. My appetite changed (I eat a lot more when I am stressed) and my temper fluctuated widely. I wake up at ungodly hours (thanks to insomnia) to complete my work, just to meet deadlines. Other little issues that crept up at home would easily tip the scale over.
But my problem is, it’s not in my nature to talk about these. I believe that it’s just a matter of time that things get sorted out. But what happens during that time before things get ‘sorted out?’
Women’s health gets discussed quite frequently. Understandably so, as they go through many more biological and physiological changes in their lifetime. Issues about men’s physical and mental health on the other hand, hardly gets any airtime. To compound the problem, men rarely like to talk about these things. I know – that’s probably me too. I feel that talking about it doesn’t solve anything (so I might as well just grit my teeth and plough on!) since talking about it only adds on to the family’s worries.
In June 2015, The Straits Times shared an article from ‘The Guardian’, reporting that many men have difficulties telling others how we are feeling (or rather we prefer not to).
The report echoed a 2010 study which found that 21 percent of fathers have reported having at least one episode of depression before their child turned 12. It suggests that the burden could stem from pressures of being a modern Dad coupled with the traditional pressures, such as financial responsibility. It therefore advises Dads to share their feelings with someone they trust and make time for themselves by pursuing hobbies, exercise, or social activities.
“I think I need it.”
So, when I heard that some of my fellow Daddy blogger friends have enrolled in the OCBC Cycle 2016 event, I knew this is the chance for me to just get out there, be in touch with the guys and most importantly, and be in touch with myself once again. I’ve always loved cycling, even used to cycle to and from my work place but it’s been months since I last touched with the bicycle. While I’ve participated in two OCBC Cycle previously accompanying my daughter on her races, this time I will be participating in the adult category. Naturally I was concerned about its rigour and my fitness level (or rather lack of).
Are there non-competitive adult categories?
Yes! While I’ve always known that there are the non-competitive rides for families and children, I was happy to know that there are non-competitive events for adult riders. I was even happier to know that my Daddy friends have all signed-up for the 23km, non-competitive Straits Times Ride.
23KM??? Isn’t that a tad too far?
It seemed so at first…but really it’s actually not bad at all. The majority of the route is across flat CBD roads. There were only 2 points where I had to dismount – exiting the short stretch of the MCE into Marina Bay and Sheares Bridge. These are roads with gradient made for cars but the view on top of Sheares Bridge more than made up for it.
Photo Credit: Nick’s Blog
Here’s our view from ‘The Top’:
OCBC Cycle 2016 Route Map:
Video of Route:
As I was cycling through the 23km stretch, a few things stood out for me:
- Cycling ‘through Time’: The landmarks made me reminisce my whole journey as a Daddy thus far. E.g. Sports Hub where I guided Dana through her first OCBC Cycle event; MBS where we would often go for musicals; Marina Bay where we viewed fireworks annually; Marina Bay Cruise Center where we watched the amazing Black Knights fly past at the SG50 NDP celebrations and Sheares Bridge where we would often ogle at the beautiful Singapore Skyline. Those affirmed me as a Daddy who often strives to set aside precious time to create memories with my family. Yes, Daddies need friends and ‘me-time’ too.
- Companionship: On paper, the route seemed long. After all, it’s not everyday that I traverse 23km on a bike but no route is unconquerable when you have trusty companions at your side. My Daddy friends rode ahead to lead, then they rode alongside to cheer me on and they rode behind to help me should I fall from fatigue. I’m referring to my Daddy friends who rode with me that day – Winston, Andy and Nick. In many ways, these Dads and others have been an invaluable source of motivation, strength and inspiration to me in their own ways. It’s really not conquering the distance or earning the medal that made this race memorable; it’s the hand of friendship that really touched me.
- Comfort Zone: As a parent, we always want the best for our kids and want them to be ‘better’ than us. Like many things in parenting, it must come through role-modeling. In order for my kids to overcome their fears and inhibitions, I have to let them know how I overcame mine. I can’t lead them to where I have not been to.
Here’s why I do it….LIVE from site:
What if I’m not the sporty kind?
Cycling is a low-impact sport that is relatively easy to pick up. I love it because it is not only a form of exercise but at the same time, it gets me to places and as a Dad, it gives me bonding time with my family. If you are struggling to pick up cycling yourself or with your children, check out our post here for tips on getting your kids to cycle easily. I even listed out how you can carry the bicycle on a bike rack.
What other things can I do at OCBC Cycle?
Lots. It’s not only the event itself but the event provides opportunities to bond and exercise with your family and friends long before the races start.
On the day itself, there are games and activities for the entire family as shops and stalls that specialize in cycling gear. It’s that annual event where you can get updated on your cycling gears to support a sporting lifestyle. For us, we soaked in the fun. We tried very hard to look for the OCBC mascot for photos to show the kids back home but it was nowhere to be found! We ended up with these instead:
After the event, we adjourned to a nearby coffee shop to indulge in a well-deserved local breakfast, bonding over prata and hot teh-tarik. Jokes and laughter flowed freely even though we were obviously flat-out from cycling 23km. Our bodies may be aching but our spirits are rejuvenated!
“I’m ok….really. Let’s ride on”.
Dads are often seen as the one who protect and provide for the family. But who protects and provide for Dads?
Indeed for a Dad, we need to remember we also need good companions that will ride with us in our parenting journey. Life as a Dad and parent is not just about the journey but it’s about the friends we can count on in this journey to help us complete it well.
OCBC Cycle – The Experience in a Nutshell:
This is one family event we look forward to each year because it is safe and it provides a good opportunity for the kids to see others sharing their interest in cycling.
Registration is easy. Online, a few minutes and you’re done. A confirmation email and SMS will be sent to you. All the race-related info are given in their website. This includes race route and videos of the route itself! Few weeks before getting the T-shirt and the race pack, another email and SMS will be sent out as a reminder.
On the race day, signages were clear around the Sports Hub. Parking is available near the Sports Hub or you can park at nearby estates and…cycle in.
Safety is paramount and the marshals ensure of that – there were many stations before flag off where safety is checked (i.e. helmets are worn correctly and that everyone looked well and healthy). Before the start, a last safety and health briefing is given.
During the ride, there were road marshals with their whistle telling cyclists to slow down ahead of tight corners. Marshals on motorbikes and electric scooters ply the route looking for those who are unwell or injured. If an accident has occurred, safety cars and ambulances were nearby. There’s a watering point mid-way which we were thankful for! To ‘suit’ fun-riders’ needs, there were even designated ‘selfie points’ where we can stop safely to shoot and send. Cool huh? Other places along the routes would be barred for selfies for safety reasons.
At the end, it was exhilarating to be able to ride into the National Stadium and seeing the motivators encouraging us. The collective roar as we rode in was a great way to end such a momentous event.
For more info go to: https://ocbccycle.com
To read fellow Daddies’ exciting recounts of OCBC Cycle 2016, please visit:
If you’re a Daddy and would like to join us for OCBC 2017, leave me a message! We are all from #DaddyMatters ?