Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bicy-Cling! A new personal blog about cycling

RP alumni and now NSman Chia Yu Jin (Eugene) has been writing about his rides on his Cannondale Trail 6 since March this year. He's exploring various place and writes short notes, often with pictures.

It should encourage some of us to explore parks in Singapore if you haven’t or have not been doing so for a while. Perhaps, to write too! I want to write about the agony of washing my bike in a HDB flat after a muddy ride!

Visit his blog at
Photo from Bicy-Cling!

A field biologist's review of the S$98 Aleoca Esecuzion AB2006-EC11

Ed note - with explosion of foldable bicycles, we were agog to see Aleocas for sale in Fairprice Xtra and Carrefour for just under $100. Would the bike fall apart in challenging terrain? So I asked a field biologist to share his experience.
The new ride. The Aleoca Esecuzion AB2006-EC11

Aleoca Esecuzion AB2006-EC11,
a review by Marcus Chua (submitted 31 Jan 2012).

I was upset after all my four field survey mountain bikes were stolen, including the old Gary Fisher Wahoo I have owned since Primary 5! Admittedly I had outgrown that bicycle and now I looked around for a new, affordable ride for use during my surveys.

Foldies have always appealed to me for their functionality - portability meets mobility! With my infrequent use and relatively short rides, the bicycle's weight was not terribly important, and the most important criteria really was the bike's capability to survive the mild offroad conditions I require their use in.

The Aleoca Esecuzion AB2006-EC11 was available for cheap from NEX FairPrice Xtra at SG$98 (U.P. $148), so I purchased one for a field test on off-road terrain before laying down the dough for the remaining 3 bikes.

For its price, the bike’s specifications are modest. There is a Shimano 6-speed shifter, alloy handle bars and rims, coupled with a steel body on 20” wheels. Design-wise, it’s simple, stylish and functional, but more in a fancy newspaper delivery boy way. Would not be mistaken for an off road adventure monster for sure.

Road and field test

The three minute ride home from NEX back to Bartley Road was fine and the gears helped in battling some slopes. It was comfortable, but did not feel as stable as a mountain bike. However, the real test would be on leopard cat island where the rocks, gravel, sand, mud and grass await.

On my secret off-road test terrain, the Aleoca handled admirably well for a 20-incher, surpassing my expectations. On compacted soil, it performed similarly as on paved road, just slightly twitchy on the uneven bits. Moving onto rougher terrain on full tyres, it (and I) took every bump on stony tracks in stride. It could be the that the twin springs under the seat could have cushioned some of the impact (or the balls of steel). No complaints of the bike over grass either.

I was starting to really like the little thing until sandy tracks came along. The bicycle did fine on normal sandy tracks, however, soft, thick sand on the reclaimed land proved to be a bit of a problem. Perhaps the tyres were a little narrow and the threads too shallow, and as the threads filled with sand, the bike slipped on a few instances. Fortunately, control was not lost and there were no falls or crashes. But with that in mind, I did not dare ride on mud (also partly in fear of dirtying the shiny new frame and chain).

Me riding the new bike with my eyes closed. Credit: Vilma D’Rozario

My ever obliging field help, Vilma and Celine also took the bike for a spin. Vilma was impressed enough to want to get her own for her PCN adventures, while Celine proclaimed, “better than walking!” [at that point, I had made them walk more than 2 km in the morning sun] Three thumbs up!


After all the action, folding it is relatively simple and can be done in a minute. This is achieved by first lowering the headset and seat post via adjustment levers, then folding the bicycle by unlocking hinges on the headtube and crossbar.

The entire construction folds to 84 (L) x 59 (H) x 30 (D, at widest point of wheel bases and excluding pedals) cm, which meets LTA guidelines for carriage in Rapid Transit System and public buses. Due to the design, it does not seem possible to wheel or tow the folded bicycle. However, this design oversight can easily be solved by tilting the bike so that it is resting on the front wheel.


The Aleoca Esecuzion is a pretty, functional bike. But most of all, it held up decently compared to the mountain bikes I am used to during my field surveys. I would miss the stability and ruggedness of the old Gary Fisher, but if the pick up is unavailable, the foldie would be hard to beat in terms of portability and mobility for a two person survey - two bikes can fit nicely in a taxi or car boot with space to spare. And if it holds up, nothing can beat the price!

Monday, June 25, 2012

"LTA seeks feedback on Land Transport Masterplan" (until 30 Sep 2012)

"LTA seeks feedback on Land Transport Masterplan." Channel News Asia, 25 Jun 2012.

"SINGAPORE: The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is seeking public feedback on its existing and future Land Transport Masterplan.

The plan maps out strategies that will go into formulating the country's transport policies.

The last plan, launched in 2008, saw initiatives such as expanded rail and road networks as well as improved barrier free access to bus and rail stations.

As part of its update, the LTA will gather public views on how the various programmes under the 2008 masterplan can be refined as well as identify new initiatives.

To give feedback, go to this website.

The portal will host online discussion forums and surveys that the public can participate in.

Detailed information on the scope of the consultation process and the 2008 Masterplan is also available.

Alternatively, members of the public can email the LTA at

The LTA said those who participate stand to win an EZ-Link card worth S$10.

Feedback channels will open till 30 September.

As part of the consultation process, LTA will also carry out a series of focus group discussions, after which views will be consolidated and released with the updated masterplan, which is targeted for 2013."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

What your first ride with Love Cycling SG could be like

Evon’s first LCSG Ride | Love cycling in Singapore
Group photos are taken on all LCSG rides!

Newbie Evon rushed to join Love Cycling Singapore (LCSG) at Kranji MRT for the Kranji Countryside tour. She had bought a second hand single-speed bicycle and is not a seasoned cyclist - yet.

But she went alone to join a group of strangers, and was welcomed, encouraged and looked after as she tok to the road for the first time, braved some slopes and visited the war memorial, took in the sights of the Johor Straits at Kranji Reservoir and had breakfast at a countryside vegetable farm.

She returned to Kranji MRT to fold up and walk away. Her first ride accomplished, she us ready for more. Read the engaging post about her adventure at the LCSG blog, "Evon’s first LCSG Ride".

Join LCSG as they explore Singapore on relaxed, safe rides around the island.

"Rise of the Foldies" - a talk at blinkBL_NK

Kevin Lim: Blink Blank 20 Jun 2012
Photo by Kevin Lim

The Rise of the Foldies, How Singaporeans are re-discovering the freedom of cycling

“Cycling was a liberating experience of our childhood, made possible by a safe environment available to young and unsupervised riders. Through scraped knees and elbows, our skills developed organically with time.
Urbanization has since robbed our streets of their nurturing role in communities. Increasingly crowded roads with fast and large vehicles saw cyclists fade with loss of safe spaces even as we became more sheltered.

But in the past few years, there has been a dramatic change, brought about by the rise of foldies and the extension of the PCNs. Thousands have returned to the saddle and we now ask “how ready is our city to embrace this evolution?”"

This was a 20-minute talk last night given for the blinkBL_NK #22 audience, who saturated the Q&A with questions non-stop, as the organiser had indicated they would.

The talk is in its infancy but even this version 1 was helpful for raising awareness. It can do with revisions and be extended but should certainly be done more frequently. A faster way to gain an appreciation about issues before reading this blog!

You can get some idea of the talk from the slides here.

Video available here.

PUB's updates (in May) about Lorong Halus Wetland - water cooler and directions

6th May 2012 - I was cycling past the newly officially opened Lorong Halus Wetlands from Changi with my cycling kakis, Zendogs. I encountered a friend whose visitor was suffering from heat exhaustion. She was unable to direct a cab in as the operator kept thinking about Sungei Buloh once they heard the word "wetlands"; which is great for that park but not for this situation!

And I realised the only water point was in the toilet.

ZenDogs assisting heat-succumbed folks walking along Halus Wetlands #zd2
Hidayah and Sivasothi chatting while we waited for the taxi company to call us back
Photo by Kevin Lim

So we helped out, with some intense googling using both Google Maps and OneMap, then a forceful conversation with the confused taxi company's phone operator and eventually I directed a very patient taxi driver over the phone - he eventually had to do a U-turn in the farmway roads nearby before finally rescuing the heat-exhausted individual.

I wrote to PUB the following week to suggest a water point be instated outside the toilets. Although I happily filled up my water bottles from the sink there, some might hesitate!

I also suggested they provide a name for the shelter to direct taxi operators to, as well as relevant road signs and even a road name.

PUB's Lau Ying Shan wrote back quite soon after with some updates which I thanked him for:

  • The name for the visitor structure is the ‘Educational Kiosk’, or ‘Edu-kiosk’ for short.
  • There will be a water cooler at the Edukiosk very soon.
  • They will look into the suggestion about a taxi information panel or its equivalent.
  • They will investigate clearer road signs (it will be helpful for unfamiliar drivers).
  • The address of Lorong Halus Wetland is 326 Lorong Halus, Singapore 536587. This can be found on SLA One Map [the building icon is numbered in OneMap but I probably missed that on the small screen of my iPhone], and also on [which provides a unique entry for the EduKiosk as Lor Halus Kiosk]
536587 - Google Maps

Next time I'm there, I'll drop in for a look and provide feedback as required. It's helpful when the public does this as our user-experience can provide managers with helpful suggestions.

This post is late as it was in a forced hibernation in my drafts folder while I forgot about it, whoops!

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Cyclists renew calls for greater rights on the road (Straits Times)

"Cyclists renew calls for greater rights on the road," by Janice Heng. The Sunday Times, 03 Jun 2012.

Caption: Although bike lanes could help protect cyclists from motorised vehicles, LTA says land constraints here rule them out. - ST Photo: Lim Wui Liang
"Last Monday, some 140 cyclists embarked on a Ride of Silence ending at Changi Coast Road to honour the memory of a fellow rider who died there a few days earlier.

Mr Jude Alphonsus Tan, 25, was cycling with a group of friends when he was knocked down by a lorry on May 26. He died instantly.

Two days after Mr Tan's accident, another cyclist was hit and killed by a van in Senoko South Road.

The two deaths have reignited calls for greater rights and protection on the road for cyclists.

With more and more Singaporeans choosing to cycle as a means of transport or recreation, cyclists say there should be tougher laws to penalise errant drivers, and dedicated bike lanes on roads to keep drivers at a distance.

Cyclists, they say, have every right to be on the road.
Said Mr Steven Lim, president of the Safe Cycling Task Force: 'That's been established long ago, in the Road Traffic Act. Now it's up to road users to recognise and respect that.'

In online forums, cyclists have been blamed unfairly for road accidents involving them, some cyclists said.

Mr Albert Yeo, 46, said that many drivers feel cyclists should stay off the road.
Such views encourage reckless driving, he said.
'Motorists think that I shouldn't be there, so they cut in front of me.'

At least 10 cyclists have been killed in road accidents this year so far. Since 2009, about 16 cyclists have died a year.
There were 16 cyclist deaths in London last year - a city with 7.8 million people to Singapore's 5.2 million. London has bike lanes in some parts of the city.

Cyclists here said that tougher laws may reduce the number of cycling-related deaths. They cited a recent case, where a doctor who killed a cyclist and injured another two years ago was sentenced to four weeks' jail and a five-year driving ban.
He could have been jailed up to two years and fined up to $10,000.

'Drivers have the power to kill,' said Mr Woon Tai Woon, 38, who heads the social group LoveCyclingSG.
'A light sentence gives drivers the perception that they can get away with it.'

Another way may be to introduce dedicated bicycle lanes on roads - though the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said land constraints here rule them out.

What about road markings, the cyclists asked. A reminder for drivers to keep a distance of 1.5m would help protect them, they said.

But LTA said such markings could give cyclists a 'false sense of security'. Traffic Police said a 1.5m gap is a guide which drivers might not always be able to keep to.

For now, there is only patience, and public awareness.

MP Teo Ser Luck, who chairs the Cycling Facilitation Committee set up in 2009 to engage stakeholders on cycling issues, said that Singapore's road culture must shed its tendency towards 'speeding, impatience, and not giving way'.

Cyclists, too, know they must play their part.
Said Mr Woon: 'Even if you have the right of way, you have to cycle safely. When you're up against a car, you can't win.'


Background Story

  • DRIVERS SAY: Cyclists hog the left-most lane by not keeping close enough to the kerb.

    Cyclists should leave themselves enough space from the kerb to manoeuvre, says Mr Bernard Tay, chairman of the Singapore Road Safety Council. Keeping too close to the kerb can be dangerous to cyclists, because of drainage holes and debris. Cyclist groups recommend riding just to the right of the double yellow line.

  • DRIVERS SAY: When two cyclists ride side-by-side, they take up too much space on the road.

    Under the Road Traffic (Bicycles) Rules, cyclists are allowed to ride two abreast. Cyclists say this can be safer as clumping together makes them more visible to drivers. It also makes for shorter lines than cycling in single file when in large groups; cars that want to turn left will not have to wait as long for the group to pass.

  • DRIVERS ALSO SAY: Some cyclists, especially sports cyclists, run red lights, fail to give hand signals when turning and ride in the middle of the lane.

    In these cases, drivers have every right to object. By law, cyclists are not allowed to do any of the above.