Saturday, December 24, 2011

Overhead bridges made easier

Our Park Connector Networks (PCN) are often isolated by overhead bridges which make it tough for leisure cyclists from enjoying the full potential of some these lovely PCN stretches.

Well, Adrian Loo blogged about his Park Connector Ride from Bishan to Kallang Waterside Park. He "had a most peaceful experience and importantly safe one, free from danger posed by traffic" on his new foldable bike, a Tern Link P9

Notices the grooves on either side of the steps on some overhead bridges. These make it easier for cyclists to push their bikes up a bridge instead of having to carry them the entire way.

Still, he says, "it will be tough for smaller kids to push their bikes or wheelchairs to cross the roads serviced by such bicycle-friendly overhead bridges."

Read about his PCN ride here. He features the rivers, scenery, maps and most importantly, a prata shop along this ride.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

NTU Bike Rally 2012

NTU Sports Club's round-island Bike Rally is the only annual round island ride in Singapore. Organised principally for undergraduates, the event features multiple rest stops (about seven, I believe) but is open to the public and I have ridden with them since 2003. Registration is open!
Bike Rally 2012

This is an excellent way to tackle your first first round island ride; cycling on the periphery of Singapore on a Sunday with fellow-participants all togged out with the event cycling jersey. Along the way, NTU Sports Club volunteer route marshals are bussed about to keep you on track.

This ride is a good way to discover parts of Singapore you have not yet examined. Amongst the many NTU undergraduates would be first timers renting a bicycle for the occasion and suffering somewhat on their first long-distance ride. You will be inspired by their tenacity, but of course they have youth on their side!

The registration fees are $15 for NTU Student/Staff/ Alumni, and $30 for members of the public. A limited edition jersey costs $35. Online payment is possible. See
NTU Bikerally 2011 route
Last year's route, click for larger image

Monday, December 19, 2011

SSC's Safe Cycling Guide ver ?2011

I dropped in LTA's Responsible Cycling webpage and saw the link to the Singapore Sports Council's Safe Cycling Guide.

I have archived a copy here. This version, which I am guessing was published in 2011, is a more concise version of the 2009 booklet (36 pages versus 48 pages). A comparison of the covers provides an indication of the feel of the booklet - the first, 2009 version used soothing colours and had a more recreational-cyclist feel. The new guide is sporty-looking which might be a deliberate slant for the intended audience.

How necessary is this? I coordinated natural history guided bicycle tour of Pulau Ubin annually for 12 years (Pedal Ubin) and the participants would have been happy to have been pointed to this before the ride. Flip through the guide yourself to see if you would have remembered to advise a novice cyclist about all aspects reflected here before setting out on a bicycle ride; the reminders are always helpful.

I'm glad its out there and that like Taiwoon says in "small wheel big smile", am glad there is a cycling tab LTA's portal. Eventually we'll build towards something like that of the Toronto's Cycling Safety page!

Bicycle security labels in Singapore - get your free label at a nearby NPP

Bicycle theft is a common occurrence in Singapore and vigilance is critical. This is yet another challenge faced by cyclists which needs to be addressed in order to promote cycling in Singapore - safe place to safely park your bicycle, particularly at work and at MRT stations.

Well, for bikes which are stolen but not dismantled, bicycle security labels, like these 3M Security Labels, may be helpful in a case of theft - police will have and can circulate details easily and the physical presence of a label may act as a deterrent to thieves.

In March 2011, the first bicycle security labels system was launched at Tampines Town Council by the National Crime Prevention Council (Singapore) and the Singapore Police Force (see the Today Online news report on this blog and NCPC's photos from the launch).

The NCPC 2011 annual report explains:

"Bearing the NCPC’s and the Singapore Police Force’s logos, each label contains a unique set of numbers for the easy identification of bicycles. The tamper proof labels are specially produced with security features so that they cannot be easily replicated.

It will also be useful as an identity reference for bicycle owners when lodging a report or filing for an independent registry such as the Tampines Town Council BIDS system. The Bicycle Security Labels are given out free of charge at all Neighbourhood Police Centres."
Launch of Bicycle Security Label

Most of us forgot about it because at the time, the labels and the BIDS (Online Bicycle Identification System) system were available only to residents at Tampines Town Council. The report did indicate that the scheme would be rolled out "to other constituencies in phases from May."

Well, many of us forgot all about this, so recently there has been a push to remind us.
This morning, NCPC's facebook page posted "Get your free Bicycle Security Label from your nearest NPC! This label comes with a unique serial number that helps you and the Police to identify your stolen bicycle."

I searched and found this Straits Times article from just a few days ago - "Security labels let you track your bicycle," by Jalelah Abu Baker. The Straits Times, 13 Dec 2011.They can help to deter theft and are available at any police centre
"Cyclist Edwin Low pedalled to a neighbourhood police post in Whampoa on Monday within hours of reading about an anti-theft measure.

He had read a post put up on the police's official Facebook page encouraging bicycle owners to stick a security label on their machines.

It took no more than five minutes, and he left knowing that his $13,000 bicycle would no longer be an easy target for thieves.

The rectangular label, which allows a bicycle to be tracked if stolen, was released in collaboration with the National Crime Prevention Council. It was made available to the public in June but it was only through the Facebook post that many cyclists and groups have now come to learn about it.

The number of bicycle thefts increased by 40 per cent to 454 in the first half this year, from 318 in the same period last year.

The police said owners can go to any neighbourhood police centre with their bicycle to collect the security label. The particulars of the owner and the label's serial number will be recorded.

A spokesman added: 'The label serves as a visual deterrent to thieves and comes with a unique serial number that helps owners and the police to identify their bicycle if it is stolen.'

The white adhesive label - described in the post as weather-resistant - has security features embedded which will allow the machine to be traced even if the label is tampered with.

Mr Low, 22, manager of bicycle shop Elite Custom, said the move would benefit cyclists who commute or pedal for recreation and do not have the luxury of safeguarding their bicycles in their homes.

But keeping it at home is not always foolproof security-wise as another avid cyclist, Mr Shawn Chung, found out on Monday morning.

His modified bicycle, which cost about $1,000, had gone missing from his terrace house in Katong.

He usually keeps it locked in a garage but had left it in the porch as he was tired after returning from an eight-hour cycling trip in Bintan.

However, he feels a security label is not of much use since even if the bicycle is tracked down, it would probably not be intact.

Said Mr Chung, 41, who is between jobs: 'My bike is probably already in pieces and the different parts will be sold separately. This is what generally happens.'

Still, Mr Steven Lim, president of the Safe Cycling Task Force, welcomed the label as a good step towards minimising the number of thefts as the culprits would not get away as easily.

But he noted that nothing beats vigilance on the part of the bicycle owner.

The police advise owners to keep their bicycles at home when they are not using them. They should be locked when left unattended, even if only for a short while.

Cyclists can go for a durable U-lock, which provides better security than cable locks, or a lock with an alarm feature.

Said the chairman of the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), Mr Tan Kian Hoon: 'Bicycle-shop operators can also help by urging their customers to use the labels.

'With the entire community coming together, NCPC is confident that the problem of bicycle thefts in Singapore can be tackled effectively.'"

So, have you got your label yet? I'll go down to my neighbourhood police post (NPP) to get mine later.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The adventures of Robert Tan: the 70-year-old will retrace the Japanese invasion route

Paddled around Singapore Island when he was 13, now wants to cycle down Malaya to end at Reflections at Bukit Chandu. Article says year-end, anyone seen him and his kakis? This POSKOD article from 28 Jul 2011 says he will ride year-end.

"The Adventures of Robert Tan," by Dan Koh. Poskod, 28 Jul 2011.

POSKOD.SG-Robert Tan

Cycling in Malaysia (TNP article, 30 May 2011)

"Cycling for hours without traffic lights," by Diane Louys and Kwan Hui Xian. The New Paper, 30 May 2011.

"MORE Singaporeans are going the distance for cycling. To Malaysia, to be exact.

Some are even helping organise cycling trips for other Singaporeans.

Cycling enthusiast Mark Cheong, 27, observed: "Two years ago at the annual Pedalholic Cycling Club Interstate ride in Malaysia, there were about five Singaporeans. This year, there were about 55."

Mr Cheong, a bicycle shop manager who is based in Kuala Lumpur and who plans to set up a bike shop there, now organises cycling trips in Malaysia for about 15 of his Singaporean friends.

He said he started cycling upcountry in 2004,when his army friend,who cycles there regularly, took him along.

"It's a place where you can get an endless route and cycle for hours without coming across a traffic light. You don't have to stop and start again," said Mr Cheong.

He organises the trips in his personal capacity and does not charge his friends.

"When friends come by, I help them by sorting out routes, taking them on routes and advising them on accommodation.

"I cycle with the locals here, so from there, I fix an interesting route for my friends. I can alter the route based on their fitness," said Mr Cheong.

And he is not the only Singaporean to organise such trips to Malaysia.

Madam Kathleen Seng, 40, started cycling in Malaysia in 2006.

She said: "We (Team Bandung) started with about five or six girls. Now we have about 120 who go with us, the majority of whom are triathletes."

Madam Seng, a manager, travels with 20 or more people each time she goes up north.

Most go to enjoy the scenery and get away from the city.

Recalling how the team started, Madam Seng said: "We were a group of like-minded triathletes and we wanted a change of environment for training. Malaysia has long stretches of road without any traffic lights, few cars and fresh seafood."

Local cycling groups like Joyriders have also been venturing across the Causeway - from Genting to Cameron Highlands.

The group, which was formed five years ago,makes trips there almost every month.

The coach they hire can accommodate only so many people and their bikes, 20 to 30 Joyriders go at a time. For their next trip to Ipoh in July, the group plans to hire two coaches for 56 people.

When they started out, such trips were made less than five times a year.

Said their founder, Ms Joyce Leong, 55: "At first, people were a bit scared because of the mountains and all.

Support car

"But I arranged for a support car to give people more confidence. People are more gung ho now."

Mr Kartick Thapa, 35, a software engineer, is one of those who have gone cycling in Malaysia.

"Usually,we cycle 150km a day.When we go for weekend trips and we start at 5am, we have two big breaks where we all regroup," he said.

Even teens aren't left out of a Malaysian cycling adventure.

One of the youngest cyclists who rides with Mr Cheong is Jenevieve Woon, a 16-year-old student. She goes with her mother, Ms Anne Chua, 48.

They either fly up north with their bikes or drive, then cycle over 100km in the mornings until about noon.

Said Jenevieve: "I go there mainly because Singapore is only so big and you can do only so much. There are big climbs like the Cameron Highlands, Fraser's Hill and Genting Highlands in Malaysia."

Her mother, Ms Chua, said the trips are a good opportunity for her to bond with her daughter. She said: "We enjoy climbing the routes in Malaysia. We sometimes drive to KL for a few days and go sightseeing.

"My favourite memory was cycling across Penang Bridge on New Year's Day."

Engineer Dennis Goh, 29, was introduced to cycling in Malaysia by a friend.

"The rides in Malaysia take more time and are usually over longer distances. It's only the really hardcore cyclists who will go to Malaysia,"Mr Goh said.

But it's just not the young cycling in Malaysia.

Mr Robert Tan, 70, has been cycling there since he retired some three years ago.

In fact, Mr Tan has plans to re-enact the cycling route Japanese soldiers took during World War II when they invaded Singapore.

"The route is about800km and we plan to do this over 10 days," he said.

Still, Mr Cheong advises newbies to make sure they are up to the rig ours of cycling upcountry before they sign up for such trips.

He said that his first major cycling trip in Kuala Lumpur last year left him battered and badly dehydrated.

"I had cramps everywhere. Myneck, everywhere.

I couldn't even walk up the hill," said Mr Cheong, who cycles an average of three times a week. He underestimated the terrain and did not pace himself enough for the climbs despite training in Singapore.

Mr Goh agrees, and offers some advice to those willing to pedal up north.

"It's definitely better to cycle in groups or with a buddy who can offer help.Obey traffic rules and try to keep to the left of the road."

Mr Goh also says to look out for hazards and to dress for safety and comfort.

"The roads in Malaysia are not as well maintained as the roads in Singapore, so look out for potholes," he said.

"Wear bright coloured clothing, have lights and do pre-ride checks each time."

And like Mr Goh, Mr Cheong says it's mostly the seasoned rider that would enjoy Malaysia for all that it has to offer.

Said Mr Cheong: "You really need to train for it. You can't go out wanting to hammer the ride and think that you can get away with it."

Monday, October 24, 2011

Check out mrbrown's Quick Guide to Bicycle Commuting in Singapore

The inimitable blogger and podcaster, Mr Brown, took a break from his usual satire to bring you his "Quick Guide to Bicycle Commuting in Singapore".

It is from 2008 but I only just noticed it. And I don't think we ever linked to it from here.  

It is excellent. Go check it out.