Putting medals to the pedals, the inaugural Casio Nongsa Cycle 2015 rolled off to a brisk start by attracting close to 200 cyclists from around the region to participate in this cycling event. Held in Batam (Riau, Indonesia), the event caters to both competitive racers as well as leisure cycling enthusiasts and spotlights the island's potential as a destination for long-distance pedalling.
Although my speed on the two-wheeler is about as fast as a sloth on its most active day, I decided to accept the invitation by Casio Singapore to take part in the race. Not to win, hell no, not with my 16km/h crawl compared to the 28km/h average speed of pro racers, but to explore the possibilities of going on weekend cycling vacays in Batam and test drive the Casio EX-FR10 action camera.
|Trying my best to look the part of a pro racer. Pass or not? Heh heh...|
|Getting ready to roll off... this is the only moment I managed to capture the racers behind me because as soon as the starter horn sounded, they zoomed past me and disappeared in the blink of an eye!|
|But not all who took part in Casio Nongsa Cycle are professional racers. There are other leisure cyclists like me who are in it for the exercise and thrill of a self-powered road trip.|
|Taking a shot with Casio EX-FR10 with the detached screen and control panel. Recording the journey is definitely much more flexible with this action cam as I can change between photo mode, video mode or shooting time-lapse easily.|
|After an exhausting 4 hours, I completed my first bike-a-thon challenge! I may be smiling but my ass felt like it was on fire. I guess that's how buns of steel are forged right? LOL.|
A 2D1N Nongsa Cycle early bird package cost about S$350 per pax (twin share) and includes ferry transfers from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal to Nongsa Ferry Terminal, bicycle handling, land transfers, hotel stay, race pack, jersey, medal, and celebratory dinner.
Outside of the Nongsa Cycle event, you can bring your own bikes over from Singapore onboard the ferry to Nongsa for a cycling trip. A bicycle handling fee of S$10 is levied.
The less populated Nongsa district is suitable for an easy cycling weekend getaway to explore the tranquil side of Batam away from the downtown hustle and bustle. But we still got our shopping and massages done after the race by hopping on the free shuttle bus provided by Batam View Resort Hotel (where we stayed) to Batam Center's Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall.
If you are a seasoned cyclist, you can consider arriving at Nongsa, cycle from Nongsa to Batam Center (approx. 28km according to Google map), stay a night and return to Singapore via Batam Center Ferry Terminal. There aren't that many arterial roads on the island so I think way-finding should be pretty straightforward although sign posts may be lacking. Perhaps I'll try this route one day. Or if you've done it, please share the experience and tips with me :)
This being my first attempt at a competitive cycling event, I was more focused on catching up with the pros, which I failed miserably, than taking more shots and videos with Casio EX-FR10. Below is a video shot by my fellow cyclist Danny for a preview of the action camera's performance as well as scenery along the 12km Nongsa cycling route. Hopefully it'll inspire you to bring your wheels overseas with wonderful memories to keep...
This post has been made possible by Casio Singapore.