Participating in the Ride for Rations initiative was an easy decision for Markus Schuster, Managing Director at Audi Singapore. He is an avid cyclist and many of the people at Audi Singapore cycle as well. “It’s a great way to combine a hobby with giving back to the community,” he shared.
Aside from giving the staff an opportunity to be outdoors and to get some saddle time, it also brings the very active and occasional cyclists in the company together for a great cause. In fact, it was a colleague who told him about Ride for Rations and proposed that the company take part in it. They joined the initiative in 2020 and have since pledged to partner with Ride for Rations for its future editions.
“As a company, Audi is keen to give back and support those in need, and the Audi staff are always happy to contribute however they can,” he said. Last year, 16 Audi staff clocked a total of around 7,200 km and raised over S$20,000 for the cause. It was a company-wide effort as well, with staff lending a hand in different aspects — cycling, donating, and sharing information about the campaign with their friends and families. At time of print, Audi Singapore has already raised S$13,175 for Ride for Rations 2022, which will run until 30 September.
For Markus, who has been calling Singapore home since mid-2019, taking part in this initiative has broadened his perspective of the country, especially in terms of community causes. He shared that on top of the yearly fundraising, Audi Singapore has also helped out in Ride for Ration’s monthly food distribution efforts.
“Throughout the whole campaign, I’ve gotten the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life and actively give back to the community. It’s heartening and humbling to get the chance to meet the people who benefit from it, as well as the volunteers who put in their time and effort to support those in need,” he said.
Outside of the campaign, Markus makes an effort to cycle two to three times a week, covering anywhere from 30 to 60 km on weekdays and 75 to 140 km on weekends. He enjoys exploring new routes and found it surprising that despite Singapore’s small size, he is still discovering new places to go.
He shares more about his passion for cycling.
I’ve been cycling ever since I was a little kid with my dad who was a very active cyclist in his younger days. Even today, at 74 years old, he still hits the roads now and then for a ride. As little kids, we were always out and about in the neighbourhood with our bikes. But it was really in high school when I fell in love with this sport, later getting a bit more serious about road cycling and mountain biking. I rediscovered this passion here in Singapore during the circuit breaker.
I’ve always loved the outdoors. While I’m unable to go mountaineering or skiing as often as I’d like living in Singapore, cycling has been a great way to get some exercise, spend a day out in nature, see the whole island and go to places I would not normally go to. Another big reason I enjoy cycling is that it’s something you can enjoy together with friends. It’s a great way to relax and clear your mind — either at dawn, to prepare you for a busy work day or after a long day.
I don’t have many pet peeves, but the heat in Singapore after 10 am still gets to me. And cycling in the Singapore traffic certainly requires a lot of concentration.
The longest distance I’ve covered in a single journey is 200 km, and this was for a round the island ride around Singapore which included the Mandai loop. That also happened to be one of my toughest rides to date because of the scorching midday sun, and I also had some very cold drinks before the last 50 km which my stomach did not appreciate too much. Recently, I participated in my first amateur bike race with some friends, the L’Étape Malaysia 2022 in Desaru, which was great fun but pretty challenging. The race atmosphere really gets you going but it also pushes you to your limits.
In Singapore, my favourite routes include the Southern Ridges with Mt Faber, South Buena Vista Road and Kent Ridge. It offers some several nice hill climbs, and lots of nature which is a nice change from the hustle and bustle of the city. And for a quick morning ride, Sentosa is always a treat.
Outside of Singapore, I love the Valpolicella in Italy. I lived in Verona for five years and this wine-producing region is right at its doorstep. This means you can cycle in a fantastic scenery and close the day with a great glass of Amarone wine! One of my bucket list routes is Cameron Highlands in Malaysia because of the beautiful landscape and some challenging hill climbs. With it being so close to Singapore, I’m hoping to get the chance to do it soon.
Compared to Europe where more people commute using bicycles, cycling in Singapore is more of a recreational activity and I’ve been fortunate to have met some amazing people here through cycling. Still being a very young sport in Singapore, cycling is booming right now. The social aspect of riding here seems even bigger than in Europe. In Singapore, groups of 20 to 30 riders are a common sight.
The infrastructure and bike-friendliness of the city are still lacking behind some European cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam. But the development in the last few years has been very encouraging and with the Green Plan 2030 there is a clear commitment by the Government to turn the island into a real bike-city.