As we continue to profile a number of our riders taking part in 'London 2 Paris: Inspiring the Revolution' this June, today it’s the turn of Andrew Barker from Singapore, who has kindly shared his story with us...
I have never written a blog before. This could be because I am about to turn sixty, which, according to my 9 year old daughter “Daddy what did the dinosaurs look like?” is because I am getting old – but refuse to acknowledge it!
So, I am going to cycle from London to Paris in denial! My youngest cousin also lost their son to Leukaemia some years ago so it was wonderful to find an event that coincided with my sixtieth where I could also encourage donations to such a worthwhile cause. Now, before everyone panics about this geriatric they are riding with, I do cycle. I used to run until I was around 40, took up yoga to offset business lunches at 48 and started cycling to unleash the Benjamin Button effect at 55.
It’s not working….
Singapore, for anyone who has read Neil Humphreys’ book “Notes From an Even Smaller Island” is, well, small but, what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in spirit and character. We have a significant cycling community here with group rides pretty well every day of the week and so many cycling shops now that I have lost count!
The largest group I belong to is Joyriders (don’t be fooled by the name – there are some pretty hardcore cyclists here!) with, I guess, something over 2,000 members (We have our own App now!) but there are also many more groups. I also ride with a very local group of keen cyclists (Team evoLV) who are also keen photographers. The main group rides of the week are Saturday and Sunday mornings but because of the mix of abilities (Racing Club to Newbies), size of groups and similar routes we tend to set off at different times starting with a group of insomniacs at 4.40am for the Joyriders Secret Society. The rest leave at various more respectable intervals in groups of around 20 (ish) between 5.20am and 6.20am for routes varying from around 60+km to round the island 120+km.
It rains in Singapore. It generally lasts a very short while but when it rains, it rains!
The good news is that it is always warm. Typically, the weather here is 30 degrees all year round – which is one of the reasons I live here!
From a cycling point of view, we don’t have many hills but the groups often cycle out into Malaysia and the surrounding islands of Bintan, Battam and further afield for events in Bali, Java, Thailand and our very own categorized race The Tour of Langkawi in Malaysia. It has one Cat 3 climb which led one unkind TV commentator to describe it as “a sprint with a bump in it”!
Although I live in Singapore, I manage a business in India so my training is frequently interrupted by travel but I do my best to get in the “table scraps” as they are known. My longest events to date have been 172.5km Johor Masters last November and a few 160km including the Tour de Bintan (which does have more than a few hills!!) but I have never ridden back-to-back 125km+ legs for four days… I rode 100km on consecutive days last weekend with 62km the day before and I am planning my first long, back-to-back rides starting tomorrow (9th May).
"Je te dis merde!" “Bon Courage”
You can donate to Andrew Barker's JustGiving here - www.justgiving.com/Andrew-Barker8/
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