A cloudy Sunday morning
I woke late this morning and did chores. When it was still really cloudy at 9.30am and the NEA forecast did not suggest rain, I activated Kevin and we agreed not to let the lovely Sunday morning go to waste.
We cycled down Ulu Pandan and after a muddy link to the opposite side of the river, we began the Western PCN – without the benefit of Zendogs like Chi or Ladybug, I was going to rely on my memory of the last ride ( see Wetstward Ho! on the Cycling in Singapore blog).
I really only meant to show Kevin the bridge over the PIE but we kept going further until I lost the PCN somewhere in Choa Chu Kang. We stopped over at a 7-11 shop in a Shell station, I bought a$68 Samsung GT E1390 phone to replace mine which is the third this year (1 lost, 2 destroyed).
By this time we had adjusted Kevin’s seat pole, changed my rear-light batteries, figured out my chain issues and realised my tyres were bald – they had caused my accident in off-road terrain earlier in the year. I later found the new tyres from KMY behind the door and will change them finally. Anyway dealing with these loose ends are good prep for a longer ride in future.
Then we swallowed a can of Milo each and continued.
Wandering the west
I did a dead reckoning along some pleasant roads and suddenly we were back on the best part of the Western PCN. And soon as it got better, Kevin’s camera ran out of batteries or memory. In Zhengua Park, a bunch of hard core mountain bikers well encrusted with mud dovetailed with us and we were such a contrast! At that point Kevin and his foldie on slicks were treated to some off-terrain roads and thankfully he cleared the route without a flat, phew!
By this time, Kevin said he had not been to some of these neighbourhoods and the ride was a touring experience for him. It certainly has a sight-seeing value and the experience up close allows you to recognise the characteristics of each neighbouhood. It is a good way to explore Singapore.
I had kept to the pavement as far as possible for this ride since Kevin has newly resumed cycling. However, in some areas, riding the PCN was essentially cycling the pavement.
I found pavement cycling tough – the many intersections in some portions of the path had us looking out for and giving way to vehicular traffic, certainly a counter-intuitive situation. Pavement cycling may even be less safe than cycling on the road as vehicular traffic is actually more predictable than human traffic.
This is solved largely by slowing to a crawl – you never know when a pedestrian will appear in conflict with your position and speed will reduce reaction time. I always slow down for pedestrians well in advance and never ask them to move aside, so it would not be a fast ride.
Construction sites threw up many obstacles and extremely narrow paths but Kevin’s BMX past surfaced and he easily handled everything we encountered. We did go off the pavement on occasion and traffic in neighbourhood roads on a weekend is not unpleasant. Many areas did have reasonably wide pavements. So riding back with a stopover at Albert Park’s Mc’s was straightforward.
What’s in your neighbourhood?
All of this means the offroad paths in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, along with Chia Chu Kang and Jurong are all part of Kevin’s “backyard”. Weekend explorations of a Singapore is certainly fun and as we rode about, we saw some kids out with their parents exploring these areas on foldies and scooters. Finally a sense of space in the heartland!
Now for some bike maintenance.
Photos and Tweets by Kevin Lim.