By Alicia Tan
With social distancing measures in place, CCMC members are finding creative ways to continue fellowship. Loaves+Fishes chats with Chan See Chin (CSC), Eddie Chau (EC) and Edward Ong (EO) on a growing group of CCMC cycling enthusiasts and their fellowship on wheels.
L+F: When and how did the cycling fellowship start?
CSC: 31 July 2020. Thanks to Ming Ying’s “Virtual Concourse” on Sundays. I made an off-chance remark as to who might be interested in cycling to an “audience” of about 25. Without this Zoom meeting, word would not have gotten around. There were three affirmative responses initially!
L+F: When did you join the cycling fellowship and what drew you to it?
EC: On 26 July in our regular virtual concourse gathering, See Chin and Roger Heng shared that we should cycle together. A few days later, three of us met at Hup Choon coffee shop along Binjai Park at 7am. We had coffee, said a prayer and started our maiden cycling trip around the area covering 20km. We went back to Hup Choon to have breakfast and we all enjoyed the fellowship and sharing.
EO: I was invited by See Chin and he added me into the CCMC Cycling Chat Group on 27 August. But my first ride with the group was on 12 September. I’ve always had a liking for bicycling and used to do 4-5 hour-long rides with my neighbours when I was a young boy. So this feels reminiscent of my childhood.
L+F: How many people are there in the group currently?
CSC: The group has grown to about 10 people.
"Corny as it may sound, the most important benefit (of cycling together) is to “love each other”… the second part of Jesus’s greatest commandment."
L+F: Describe a typical session.
CSC: We usually meet at 7.00 am on a weekday in Bukit Timah. We take turns to lead on a route determined by the leader (left unsaid is the desire to be led to a great breakfast after exploring paths less travelled!). Distance is about 20 to 30 km over 3 to 4 hours of slow cycling and breakfast.
The group leaders have introduced quite a bit of variations to typical sessions eg. Bike-Boat-BBQ, Pulau Ubin, evening ride with gourmet dinner, mountain bike trails and hill climbs.
L+F: Any interesting rides or perspectives to share?
EC: On 30 September 2020, five of us met in my house at 6.45am to practise our thigh muscle and to prepare for one tough trip cycling up Mount Faber Peak at 100m high. We cycled up the Bin Tong Park and Oei Tiong Ham area, and went to Farrer Road market for Ah Wing kwon lo mee.
Then the next part started. Four of us (one member needed to attend a conference call and couldn't continue with us) cycled to the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club at West Coast. We left our bikes there and boarded a boat. We sailed through the busy Singapore water, passed by Pulau Hantu, St John's Island then anchored near Lazarus Island. We swam to the shore. Ben Cheung was the superman and pulled the floated and important container to the shore. What was in that container? Ribeye, sausage and a portable barbecue set! The four of us simply enjoyed the food and beautiful scenery around while we were under the trees. About an hour later, we sailed back to the yacht club, took our bikes and cycled back home. This is an interesting trip for us. We called it BBB (Bike, Boat and Barbecue). The whole cycling journey was around 32km and we arrived home at around 2pm.
EO: The bracing air of dawn, cool upon the skin, rouses me from my groggy state into alertness as I pedal to my rendezvous. In the nick of time. Shaloms and a prayer for journey mercies and off we go, watching the nascent rays of the rising sun wash away the monochrome. On a funny side, we were riding along the seafront at Labrador Park and bumped into Choon Hoong, who was jogging. “Jogging is for wimps,” we said. He’s since joined the group. Although we suspect he’s still secretly jogging.
L+F: What do you think are the most important benefits of cycling together?
CSC: Corny as it may sound, the most important benefit is to “love each other”… the second part of Jesus’s greatest commandment. Bonding weekly over a common passionate interest develops very quickly a strong connection and attachment to each other… as I have experienced first in the running group and now cycling group. Indeed, even the 34-week, year-long Disciple Bible Study course would have done the same! Building up a healthy body, relaxed mind and joyful fellowship are no-brainers!
EC: Apart from exercise and strengthening our thighs which is important to protect our knees, it’s the bonding amongst the CCMC cycling group. We also have an active chat group now.
EO: Fraternity. Security. Yet having long moments of solitude. On every ride, when I behold God’s great creation in nature, I always wonder what are the faith-foundations of an atheist? It baffles me while I stand in awe.
L+F: What are the challenges or concerns, if any?
CSC: None really; except that we ride safe. Falls happen but so far, nothing serious... just some bruises and scratches. Spills go with thrills... each man rides accordingly and is responsible for his own safety.
EC: Safety is the highest priority amongst all things. We always cycle together, to look out for each other. We won't leave anyone behind.
EO: The challenges are its concerns. It is to keep the group united, strong and stronger, and durable.
"When you are engaged in a passionate pursuit with a core group of encouraging friends regularly and continuously, the closeness to each other is so naturally easy to come by."
L+F: How does this fellowship help you and your fellow cyclists come closer together as a group and with God?
EC: We pray and commit to the Lord before each journey. We share amongst ourselves many things from work, retirement, health to faith, our church to name a few.
EO: Fellowship is a great gift of God. Jesus’ very existence on earth was about that. It cost God dearly to restore that relationship which Adam lost. What love! His Church was and continues to be built by disciples of His on the basis of relational experiences with the risen Christ. What power! So fellowship among the like-minded in faith has much potential to add to Kingdom building efforts here on earth. Now, won’t that draw one closer to God?
CSC: When you are engaged in a passionate pursuit with a core group of encouraging friends regularly and continuously, the closeness to each other is so naturally easy to come by. Personally, I am amazed at the speed in which a core group jelled with such enthusiasm… I feel, with gratitude, that this is God’s blessing, not a work of man. We always start our ride with a prayer, acknowledging and giving thanks to God, from whom all blessings flow.
When it is possible, I hope to be able to start another fellowship group for those interested in singing + tea-time. Golden oldies for those in their 50’s to 70’s. I have guitar and song sheets. God willing, we will have another avenue to “love each other”.