The Candystore

Officially, Friday is the first day of the OCBC Cycle 2010. And from what I’m seeing, it’s just a mere warming up to the real thing. The big events will commence tomorrow, with the Professional Criterium, Open Criterium, Women’s and Master’s Criterium. The Professional Criterium will be the star event of this year’s OCBC Cycle, with over 80 professional riders from different parts of the world coming to race in Singapore’s first night race.

Nonetheless, there are great things in store for people of all walks.

In the early afternoon, the open-air area seemed empty, with only some tents being set up, but few bikes in sight. Nobody was there to do sales, but everybody was there to get their new showroom bikes out of their vans. Nissan’s cars were hidden behind a plastic veil, and when I went up to ask if the booth was open, I was disappointed to not be able to go in. What’s worse, it rained.

But things were different on the second floor. Initially, I was brought about by the media minder from Spectrum Worldwide, and she brought us to the Media Centre. The Media Centre is situated one small corner of the exhibition hall.

Outside this small corner is where you’d want to be at. It is a place where many manufacturers have their latest and newest bling in store. There are a couple of pretty exclusive new innovative cycling equipment that were first seen in Singapore here in the OCBC Cycle Singapore. Walking around, a few very interesting tools were on show.

First of all, Integrated Riding has brought in one of the most tempting things in the whole hall – the new Boardman bikes. These carbon bikes, equipped with SRAM Red drivetrain, are brought in exclusively to Singapore for the first time. It was a real good feeling to know that while others are getting news about it, we’re seeing the real thing. 6.5kg aerodynamic road bike anyone?

The Realryder is an innovative new stationary bike that is significantly different from a standard stationary bike as it tries to simulate real-riding conditions. It can lean to the left and right, and is supposed to be the ideal tool for getting acquainted with bike set-up, riding positions and pedal strokes.

Jean-Francois Torrelle, the Frenchman brings us certain Taiwanese bikes that aren’t afraid to show their Oriental roots. Handcrafted from either Reynolds’ 853 or stainless steel, these bikes are boutique bikes that can be made-to-order. There’s also titanium too, if you fancy that, but the mainstay material of the bikes echoes the favouritism that steel is real.

There hasn’t been much change to the Brompton range, and that is rather odd. I spoke to Vivian Yuen of Diginexx and she told me that this is the British way of doing things. Much unlike Dahon, Bromptons stick to one frame, and then change their configurations. Of course, the interesting thing is that these Bromptons can be customised in terms of colour. You can choose a two-tone colour scheme from their list of available colours.

There wasn’t much time left nor was there anything else of great interest. This, after all, isn’t a Taiwan Cycle Show. It’s more of a sales opportunity for manufacturers. And there was little time, because there was the more important Press Conference at the Conrad.

Grand entrances, British humour, and admittedly quite good food at the Conrad, the key thrust of the Press Conference is to give the press an overview of the whole OCBC Cycle event. Then there was also the question and answer session with four top international cyclists – Anuar Manan (Terengganu Pro-Asia Cycling Team), Ben Kersten (Fly V Australia), Adi Putera (OCBC Singapore Cycling Team) and Alessandro Bertolini (Androni Giocattoli).

There was a bit of a wait for the professional cyclists to arrive, but it was quite tolerable because of Phil Liggett’s quintessential British humour. At around 3.15pm, all of them arrived in a flurry of glitz and glamour, with grid girls carrying up placards bearing their name and team. It was truly an awesomely gorgeous entrance, without the fireworks.