I have just spent the weekend in Singapore to see the Tour de France Singapore Criterium and use it as a great opportunity to catchup with friends on and off the road.
Singapore hosted the inaugural TdF Criterium which showcased some of the world’s greatest cyclists amidst two days of festivities, community rides and amateur races around the iconic Singapore marina.
The professional crit race was taken out by Jonas Vingegaard against a group including Froome, Cavendish, Nibali, Clarke, Matthews, Ewan, Getschke, Kuss, to name a few of the 32 riders in total. There was a good early showing by Team Singapore out front getting all of the early publicity, which was a great stage for the local team.
But the real winner was cycling.
The opportunity for people to get up close with the cycling greats and spend two days riding events, and participating in activities, in the heart of Singapore was great to see and the perfect stimulant to keep the increasingly popular sport rolling.
Cycling in Singapore is far more visible and popular than when I was here last in January 2020. The impact of the pandemic has certainly brought cycling alive. Cycling the bike paths goes on into the late night, and many people now cycle to work to avoid the train, or use a combination of bike and train.
I have never seen so many Brompton's in one place. And that is more than in London! A small city with not much storage at home, or on the train, makes a Brompton the perfect travel accessory. The Criterium had a Brompton expo, dedicated race (which came with inappropriate hot weather dress sense to suit the Brompton style), and competitions for the fastest fold, and the longest Brompton track stand. This is not just a Brompton fad here in Singapore.
Road riding over the weekend was a delight. When compared to roads in Sydney after months of rain, it was a delight to not see a pothole and enjoy silky smooth roads. In true Singaporean efficiency, there is a dedicated app for reporting potholes and service-levels to ensure they are fixed within a certain period of time.
Vinngegaard got the win at the Crit, but the real winner was the promotion of cycling and local cycling culture. The more touch points like this, and the upcoming Tour de France L’Etape in Indonesia in 2023, there will be a growing set of cycling fans in Asia to complement the practicalities of cycling transport.