Plotting routes with Bikely: Casuarina Rd prata, NERL, Bishan Park and Mandai forest this Sunday, 18 Mar 2012

Bikey has been around since 2006 and I was using it actively in 2008 but had taken a hiatus these past couple of years. I revisited to publish tomorrow’s route and it is easier to use and there are more details on Google Map so I enjoyed preparing the route shown in the image and on Bikely at

Casuarina Rd prata, NERL, Bishan Park and Mandai forest this Sunday, 18 Mar 2012

I want to visit the North East Riverine Loop to examine the landscape again and the Ang Mo Kio-Bishan Park which was just launched today, in order to examine the landscape, riparian vegetation (or lack of actually) and the ‘natural-like stream’. So I am dragging Zendogs along and offering the ride, hence the plot.

We’ll meet at Holland Village MRT at 6.15am for morning coffee at the weekend-24 hour Starbucks before riding down to Casuarina Road for a prata breakfast probably at 7.15am.

Then we’ll tussle with Yio Chu Kang Road and hit the NERL and by 9.00am should be looping westwards along the northern shore which will keep the early morning glare out of our eyes.

Then it’s down to Bishan Park by way of Yio Chu Kang Road, then using an underpass in Serangoon Gardens to enter Ang Mo Kio – this will keep us out of the wakening traffic. We should reach Bishan Park by 10.30am, sightseeing time included, but it will be difficult to predict our timing.

Afterwards, the northern loop to Mandai Road will beckons. I get to examine the battered Mandai forest which I like to visit every few months afterwhich we’ll roll down the very wide and not too busy Woodlands Road.

Bukit Timah in particular will be a bit hairy – we can’t take the Zhenghua Park Connector on the western edge of Bukit Timah as some of the others are using slicks which wil mot handle the dirt tracks. Clementi Road has multiple lanes and wide roads but is busy; thankfully Sunday mornings are tolerable for the stretch up to Ulu Pandan.

Then we will whiff into the peaceful Ulu Pandan Park Connector in relief and return to Holland Village, hopefully by 1pm latest.

I cut out a Kranji loop as I promised to meet my research students by 4.00pm. I have been drowsiest at that time these days due to odd hours last week but after this ride, I’ll be flat out after lunch! A two-hour catnap ought to restore me in time for that meeting. I know I am already breaking my cycling rule about Sundays but their oral exam is on Thursday. Then I shall abandon them!

Bikely sure was helpful, at least I have a rough idea of timings even though its hard to predict a Zendog ride.

Estimated timings/locations
0630 – leave HV MRT
0715 – Casuarina Road prata breakfast
0800 – head into YCK
0900 – 32km past-midway in NERL
1000 – 42km enter Bishan Park
1030 – heading up Thomson Road
1100 – 55km Mandai forest
1200 – passing by Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
1230 – Holland Village

Where we rode in the end:

18 Mar 2012, 67km – Bt Brown, NERL, Bishan Park, Peak Hour Route: Andy Dinesh, Kevin Lim, Joelle Lai Airani S, Kenneth PInto, Adrian Loo, N. Sivasothi; route on Runkeeper, photos on Flickr:

18 Mar 2012 ride to Bt Brown, NERL and Bishan Park

First ride of 2009

I had been resting after the shingles and when I returned to campus I picked up the flu and a chest cold. I’ve just about recovered and with the 128km NTU Bike Rally (160km because I’ll ride to and fro ECP) only six weeks away, it was time to get back on the saddle.

After pumping tyres at the petrol station, we were late (6.40am), so we sprinted the 10km to 10th mile unction to meet up with a newbie rider. She has cycled all her life but just started riding a racer regularly with her collagues. She’s been clocking 15-18km per week on the average so we were supposed to stretch her legs a little.

For route details, see Bikely
Ride stats: Dst 52.77km, Tms 2:32:29, Avs 20.3km/h, Mxs 42km/h

Well, within minutes I realised from her form and control that she was good for much more than the 20km we had intended for her. So at the Kranji coffeshop stop, we suggested a slightly longer route that would take in the lovely wide stretch of Lim Chu Kang road in western Singapore. It’s great for racers and indeed after Kranji reservoir, she tore away and we struggled to keep up with her on our mountain bikes and knobbly tyres!

Kranji Reservoir – note the difference in posture for a rider of a mountain bike and a racer.
Amongst the tents in the distance on the Kranji shoreline is a police post; ever vigilant.

She found the 30m ride easy so its just a mental block and lack of opportunity that is restricting her. She definitely looks game to try the 128km NTU bike ride which would change her perception of distance, like it did mine. So to prepare for the bike rally, we invited her on a few more rides including the 70km+ Changi ride – preparation means having fun during the actual ride and time spent enjoying the companionship and scenery instead of suffering!

This route is Sunday/public holiday morning ride. Even on a Sunday morning, we start early and end by 10am. Bukit Timah can get dangerously busy and usually features a couple of impatient drivers, Sungei Tengah is a very narrow road with road dividers that buses have to squeeze through and you’d best stop or sprint to get out that situation. it gets extremely busy when servicemen are reporting/leaving the base. Meanwhile, Kranji is rife with heavy vehicles even on Saturdays.

So this route may be safe on a Sunday/public holiday morning, but I’d have to start two hours earlier to enjoy a similar sort of peace on a weekday or Saturday – I am not heroic enough to wake up and ride at 4am so I’ll use other routes.

A relatively peaceful Sungei Tengah early on the first day of Chinese New Year

My ride time was decent with no aches or strains (my mildly sprained ankle held out) – I am usually happy with a trip average speed of about 20km/h but gentle climbs peppered this route, so 19.0km/h would have sufficed. Climbs reduce the average speed mercilessly as I struggle up slopes which also means I’m traveling at lower speeds for a longer time! Then it takes forever to nudge that reading back up. So when I saw “avs 20.5km/h” on the speedometer outside the Hume Avenue ERP gantry (and amusedly thought of DM’s tomorrow-ed post), I huffed and puffed to protect that reading and was happy with the final 20.3km/h reading.

I was aided by the very cool morning and overcast sky – so much so the solar eclipse later might be a washout. I only needed about 300ml of water – if the sun was out it’d be a completely different story. Still, after the long lay off, it was good to be back and not to have completely lost it.

In other news, Lekowala, who will be riding with us during the NTU Bike Rally 2009, has a new racer! Fierce or not?

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Sunday’s ride

I forgot all about Old Upper Thomson Road so when we spun down there for a look see at the potential morning route, it was a pleasant surprise.

The ride’s down to just below 40km after shaving 2km off the Bt Batok detour. Bad spots would be lower part of Thomson Road and Bukit Timah. Looking forward to trying it out in the morning, one of these days when I sleep early!

Replacement route for Marina South ride?

I am looking for candidates to replace my 6am, 32km Marina South ride that had us meeting at the Kent Ridge marker stone at 5.45am and hitting campus by 7.30am. So I plotted the Inner Central Route which turned out to be 42.4km, after avoiding Bukit Timah and entering the Ulu Pandam Park Connector for the last bit.

It’s 10km (i.e. half hour) longer than the Marina South ride. Estimated intersection with traffic/roads are:

  • 6.30am – Upper Thomson Road near AMK Ave 1
  • 7.00am – Mandai Road (after Seletar E’way)
  • 7.30am – Bukit Batok Road
  • 7.45am – Boon Lay Way
  • 7.50am – enter park connector

Its obvious that for this route to be safe, I’d have to leave at 5am instead. Sheeesh. I’ll look some more.

Postscript – Not that the old route was wonderfully safe, but its good to consider when planning at least!

7.30am along West Coast Road

Pandan mangroves


Photos from the recce which was for my ecology and marine biology classes, the International Coastal Cleanup (lots of trash nestled in the forest) and the mudskipper survey. Catching and identifying mudskippers and crabs for me were Theresa, Marcus, Paul and Daniel.


It was a safe 30 minute ride from Holland Village. Would have loved to have had my totobobo mask with me as I rode at 9am and the air needed filtering! My replacement’s in the mail though – I just gave Chu Wa my address and he popped it in the mail. Can;t wait to try it out again!


Alternative route to Loyang Avenue

We always enjoy huffing and puffing up the Pasir Ris Drive 3 slop along the safe park connector and then whizzing down Loyang Avenue especially when the lights are in our favour! Still, I am curious about this alternative. Part of the joy of a leisure ride is in exploring alternative routes, enjoying the scenery and examining the activity in the area.

Here, it appears possible to get to Loyang Avenue via the industrial estate, emerging at Loyang Lane. It might not be faster or more scenic but does avoid the noisy and dusty Loyang Avenue intersection and the Loyang Lane intersection which is less than safe. I have seen paths in the area so the foot traffic already uses the route. It’s a busy footpath so it’s have to be wide enough to prevent interference with the pedestrians before I’d want to use it.

Grabbed image with Skitch.

Why I have not been using Google Maps for bike routes

There is a reason why I have not been using Google Maps directions for bike routes, heh-heh. Sure got into a mess with this!

Update – this came about because I was editing the reccomended route that Google Maps had provided. It is actually excellent to use with car routes but trying to adjust it for the intricasies of a cycling oute is silly. I got into more and more trouble and became all tangled up! For cycling routes, just use bikely.