It’s Great Cross training for running
When I was a wee lass, cycling on the roads in Singapore was a lot hairier than it is today. You had to have nerves of steel as cars ambivalently passed you within inches and you had to have a firm grip on your bicycle so that you weren’t pulled off your bike by the drag of a passing bus or truck.
When I went to the UK, my cuz gave me her bicycle to commute and found drivers there far more considerate. Some years later in a freak touch rugby accident, I broke my leg in 3 places and was in hospital for the next 4 days. During that time my bike was unfortunately stolen. After a year of leg and foot rehabilitation, I’d gotten out of the cycle habit, and was driving around in a Honda Civic my Aunt had gifted to me.
Some 20+ years later, Mujalonga Sul Mar and Geneva Marathon both requested if I could be their sustainability ambassador offering me flights/expenses to their events. I declined their flight offers and declared I would cycle there and back as part of a big bold commitment to waste reduction and reducing pollutants that are accelerating climate change + poisoning our air and water. https://tyrelady.wordpress.com/2019/03/02/low-carbon-zero-waste-journey-my-bicycle-plans/ 2,500 miles later, I had rediscovered the freedom of the bike, discovering places and having time to think and having time to be… my love for cycling returned. I also discovered it was excellent cross training for running. I was a whole lot stronger at the Mujalonga Sul Mar and faster at the Geneva Marathon.
But I digress – jump forward to 2019 and in Singapore to lead the sustainability efforts at the Singapore Marathon. It was time to fix my mother’s foldy bike and discover the opportunities for safe cycle travel in Singapore as I needed to commute to Marina Bay Sands and beyond to visit friends.
Firstly there are many more cyclists that commute to the MRT (train) stations which have plenty of opportunities to park one’s bike as many cycle racks have been installed. However, having a foldy bike also means you can fold it up and jump on any bus or train….. especially if you want to avoid a storm….though if it is just a passing storm the rain is warm and you’ll dry off fast enough when it stops.
Cycling on the road, buses and most vehicles gave me a wide berth. Unfortunately there are still some car drivers who need to return to driving school or become a cyclist as they drove close, refusing to stay behind when the road narrowed….. so you will still need some nerves of steel if you’re going to cycle on the roads in Singapore.
Can You Cycle Safely Around Singapore?
- There are shared pedestrian / cycle paths. This sucks as these are often narrow and is a pain for both cyclist and pedestrians. You have to make sure you are not on a “pedestrian only” pavement as it is illegal for cyclist to be on said pavement. Having said that, there are people who do cycle on any pedestrian pavement regardless as they do lack confidence to cycle on the road. FYI: Where you can cycle
- PCN (Park Connector Networks). These are great as they are generally much wider than the footpaths and the bicycle lane is marked. Pedestrians are more likely to be to one side of the path. But still be prepared to use your bell. These are very much like the “bicycle paths” in Northern Italy, Germany and France.
The PCNs are nicer to commute along and have managed to get across from Clementi to Somerset Road within 30 minutes and from Clementi to Marina Bay Sands within 45 minutes by using a combination of roads and about 80% on PCNs. This is as fast as using the public transportation but as I said way nicer with the freedom of the bike & no smelly car exhausts to contend with.
Dedicated Cycle Paths….
This is in development and the ones in Marina Bay Sands, along Bencoolen Street and in Bedok felt a little like add-ons to the pedestrian pathway. It would be great if LTA (Land Transport Authority) looked at the system built in Belgium and Netherlands. Whilst it’s nice that it is away from the road, the cyclist is treated similar to a pedestrian which means stopping often to cross roads safely and having to ride through a cloud of smokers’ smoke (smokers along Bencoolen Street).
There are 2 kinds of cyclists – the casual cyclist who is happy to amble and the commuter cyclist who needs to get somewhere. As a commuter, stopping and starting for every minor road hinders the journey. Too many cities treat the cyclist as a pedestrian, stopping at each minor road, hence commuting cyclist prefer to cycle on the road to have a better ride. To encourage more cycling commuters, Singapore can reconstruct their cycle paths better.
It was a dream to cycle through Belgium & Netherlands with dedicated cycle pathways and rules that treat cyclist as a vehicle. Cycling commuters in the Netherlands and Belgium do have the best of both the car rules and access to some pedestrian paths. Hence faster commutes to locations. Am sure this would entice more people to cycle to work.
Even now London is changing its cycle highways to create safer cycling and to encourage more commuting cyclist as seen in the image below. It would also be safer for PMDs. Notice the car from the minor road, leading into the major road is required to stop before the cycle lane.
Can LTA change their system to be similar to this?
Singapore has completed 440km of bicycle lanes and is supposed to develop a total of 1000 km network of bicycle lanes by 2030. Have now sent LTA a message to see if they can change their bicycle lanes to be a better highway rather than an add-on to a pedestrian path. Overall cycling in Singapore is OK but would be even better if more people could write to LTA so that the last 560km of bicycle networks is better constructed.
To connect with LTA try:
If you’re thinking to cycle in Singapore, here are the Road Traffic Regulations for cyclist that do not seem to be well known! https://sso.agc.gov.sg/SL/RTA1961-R3 To encourage more cycling commuters, Singapore needs to bring the cycling education to children at school.
For places to get your bicycle fixed in Singapore and other mapped information: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=1d-f3wTmqM3jmT7C1LtTzorsRbGw&ll=1.3569120428774726%2C103.82582224999999&z=11
To rent a bicycle in Singapore: https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g294265-d8012177-Reviews-The_Bicycle_Hut-Singapore.html
So what are you waiting for? Get on your bike because it is good for your physical fitness, it is good for your pocket and it is great for the environment. It might also be great for time as you will find shortcuts that only bicycles can go through as well as be able to continue moving forward despite the traffic on the road. Woo hoo! A mad rant in Milan whilst overtaking cars stuck in traffic.