Night cycling is catching on fast with Singaporeans who prefer to ride in the cool night time breeze, or who are simply too busy during the daylight hours. Veterinarian Simon Quek, founder of cycling enthusiast group Knight Riders shares with us how the group came about and the joys of cycling with like-minded people.
Below: Simon Quek (far left) and his fellow Knight Riders.
How did you come into contact with the sport?
I’ve been cycling since school days for leisure. I took a hiatus from cycling during my university days in Australia. Only in the last 2 years did I decide to restart the hobby. The intention was just to keep fit.
When and how did the group come about?
I started out riding on my own in the late evening, and then I met some old school friends who were also riding. Since most of us live close by, and would usually ride a similar route, we decided to form a group to ride together. Group riding is much safer, and also provides more motivation to keep going. Stronger riders can take turns to pull the group while the weaker ones draft the pack. Something you can’t do that when riding on your own.
We decided to keep it to a small group of friends as a small riding group is more predicable in terms of rider experience. We all know each other and can keep a similar pace. There is a certain understood riding etiquette within the group, which means a lower risk of accidents compared to large groups consisting of riders of differently abilities and experience.
What is it about this sport that appeals to you? What do you think will attract people to the sport?
I find that cycling is less stressful on my knees and you cover more distance making it more scenic and enjoyable. There is a certain camaraderie when riding together and it is especially so when we have breakfast together after a morning ride.
How often do members come together?
We try to ride twice a week if it doesn’t rain. On Tuesday nights and Sunday mornings.
How would you describe the camaraderie of the group?
Most of us were school friends or work colleagues before. There is no more than three degrees of separation between us, so we know each other quite well.
What are some reactions you get when you tell people about this?
The first reaction is usually, “That’s dangerous!” I guess how safe it is really depends on how you ride, and your spatial awareness. As I have mentioned, riding in a group makes it safer because a group is a lot more visible than a lone rider.
Physically and mentally, how demanding is the sport?
The beauty about cycling is that you can decide how demanding you want to make it. Tuesday night rides are usually fast and furious covering only about 40km. Sunday morning rides are slow and leisurely covering 60 to 70km with breakfast afterwards.
How easy/difficult is it to pick up the sport?
It is easy to start cycling. You just need a bike, helmet and shoes and off you go. However if you are planning to get a road bike, it is important to get a bike that fits you. Bike shops would take measurements of your in-seam (the distance from the crotch to the ground) and recommend a bike of correct size. Fitting the bike to your height and riding posture would help make it more comfortable to ride longer distances.
What’s one awesome thing about this sport that other sports can’t match up to?
It is a group sport as well as an individual sport. It is perfectly fine to ride on your own. However, in a group, you will be surprised how much faster and further you can ride.
How big has the group gotten since it started? Are there plans to expand the group or make it more mainstream?
There are only about 15 people in the group. There are no plans to expand the group simply because small is beautiful!
How can interested parties get in touch with the group?
It is by invitation only. [Laughs]