Have foldie, will escape – cabbing the Brompton to the Eastern Coastal Park Connector Network

Cycling evokes a sense of freedom and is a great antidote for stress, something most Singaporeans suffer from. On a saddle, you get to explore Singapore and observe the incessant changes to its landscape, enjoy friendly interactions with people along the way, observe nature and enjoy the company of friends.

I have finally begun using a foldable bicycle, a Brompton I was presented with from The Netherlands in 2010. I have been using a 26″ mountain bicycle for decades, so I didn’t know what to make of this small, fidgety bicycle. So it remained mostly shelved except for a few experimental rides and I stuck to my 12-year old GT.

MCE to Fort Road
MCE to Fort Road

Despite a New Year resolution, I was not cycling by the second half of last yea. The latter half to the year is simply too demanding a period. So now, I in the stage of recovering my cycling fitness before I will think of battling traffic once again! So I dusted off the Brompton for a few rides in the neighbourhood PCN. Soon it was time for more and I folded the bicycle into a car boot and headed to ECP Area A (Fort Road) – certainly a new experience for me!

The air is better in the east and NParks’ well managed Eastern Coastal Park Connector Network (ECPCN) is a really pleasant ride. After some 20km, you find yourself at the mouth of Changi River. Here the view of the straits is nestled by Pulau Ubin and Pulau Tekong, which shields us from the harsh industrial landscape of southern Johor. It’s a great place to soak in the ambience before heading back to Area A, to complete a 43km loop.

Cycling Activity 43.53 km | RunKeeper
ECP Area A Car Park to Changi Point and back

I’m up to cycling 50km a a stretch now, and am next looking forward to riding through the ECPCN to NERL. This PCN ends at Kampung Buangkok from which I can hop on to a bus or train if its after 8.00pm.

The Brompton is a slower bicycle than my mountain bike, so this extends the distance of the PCN and amplifies the experience. I am usually also actively observing fields sites for teaching, research and coastal cleanups, so the slower speeds are helpful.

This Dutch bicycle came equipped with a dynamo to power the regulation front and rear lights – very useful and it adds some resistance training in lieu of hills! Just as well, too, since there is a 15km/h speed limit on PCNs.

Waiting for a cab with the Brompton
Folded and waiting for a cab

I enjoyed the rare weekday ride whilst still on leave on Tuesday. I hopped into a cab at 9.30am to reach ECP Area A and rode to Bedok Jetty, where a friend rode down from Siglap to meet me at. We enjoyed beachside conversations amidst a decent breeze, the sight of soaring eagles, calls of birds and relative solitude of a weekday morning.

Certainly a lovely way to escape the crowd.

The next day though, I cancelled my remaining leave and returned to campus – and began drowning in work straight away. I must survive the semester, so I began planning my escape in a taxi to my next joyful and safe, traffic-free bicycle ride.


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