A flat 75km ride on the Brompton with ice-cream and the OCBC Cycle Singapore ride

With Kenneth and Kevin zooming up Benjamin Henry Sheares bridge on the OCBC ride, it was a slow flat route for Cheng Piay, Airani and myself to East Coast, Changi and back on Sunday 4th March 2012. Since there were no slopes, I brought out the Brompton for a workout. We merry-ed up with Catherine at the western (Fort Road) end of East Coast Park.

A flat 75km ride on the Brompton with ice-cream

Sun 04 Mar 2012 ride

Sun 04 Mar 2012 ride

As we left Changi Vilage after breakfast, we were quite surprised to see that Changi Village Market and Hawker Centre would be closed for the rest of the year. Singapore foodies woud be rabid about this so I facebooked the picture and friends immediately lamented. Some had plans to visit the following week! 

Sun 04 Mar 2012 ride

Kevin’s video of the OCBC Cycle Singapore 2012 Challenge

ZenDogs conquer OCBC 39km Challenge from brainopera on Vimeo.

Kevin and Kenneth had a good time at the OCBC ride and they rode over and join us after their breakfast at Marina Bay. All this arranged via Twitter which is a really useful way to communicate for a bunch of cyclists on a ride. 

Sun 04 Mar 2012 ride

With the NTU Bike Rally over, a leisurely tone prevailed and we detoured for coffee along Kallan Riverside Park at a place Kevin reccommended, called Loysel’s Toy‎ at the Sam Tat Building there. Lovely coffee so I quaffed down about three cups – hydration!

It was relaxing to sit there and watch other people relax too. I was feeling quite mellow after that, even after the thre cups of coffee. 

Sun 04 Mar 2012 ride

You can see the Brompton in the foreground; I was struggling to find the right pace with that bicycle and was missing my GT terribly, but eventually I found a rhythm. The Brompton does sport a nice new saddle now which is certainly lovely; I decided to buy and insert the Brook’s saddle sooner rather than later since it will last eons! 

Airani pumped two tyres today, her Scott at Mr Bikes after buying a valve off them and then my Brompton at the F1 Pit along Marina Bay after finding the pump which is very nicely nestled in the bike frame. Yes, we made the lady do all the work again but she’s the most restless of the group so we have to keep her occupied. And she is the mechanic.

Sun 04 Mar 2012 ride

Sun 04 Mar 2012 ride

As we rode back along Marina Bay, I notice sea lettuce growing on mats placed on the breakwaters. Nice idea probably to provide green cover to the bank edge without roots digging into crevices and loosening up the breakwater. Hope something comes of it – our reservoir edges would do with some greening.

Sun 04 Mar 2012 ride

The best stop of the day was still ahead of us; Kenneth had left us by then to take on the Kallang Park Connector Obstacle Course and we reached Queen Elizabeth Walk to find a mobile ice cream man. No hesitation, yum-yum! He zoomed off minutes later to waylay tourists off the bus near the Merlion so we were lucky to meet him.

Sun 04 Mar 2012 ride

With the NTU BIke Rally over, we will begin to explore other routes soon. I am actually content to do the Changi Breakfast ride every week but the rest are getting restless!

See also Kenneth Pinto’s “OCBC Cycle Singapore 2012 and Loysel’s Toy“.

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 http://tinyurl.com/zd2-18mar2012

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 Aid supplies on my bike rides and a pinch of alertness!

I carry first aid supplies in my saddle bag as well as my 1.4L Camelpak waist pouch on rides of at least 50km. Everything is rain-proof – first aid supplies in my Camelpak are contained in two water-proof Kathmandu dry bags while the kit in my waterproof saddle bag are wrapped in two ziploc bags. The saddle bag kit ensures I have supplies even during a casual ride for it is always on the mountain bike. 



The green Kathmandu drybag contains my minimum field kit, which is always along on a field trip. The orange drybag has another set of first aid supplies and electrolyte tablets to combat excess loss of ions (prevention better than cures). I essentially keep two first aid kis with me in distinct dry bags in case of multiple casualties – I’d be able to toss one bag to another person who can work independently on other casualties.



The saddle bag’s first aid kit (yes, I know the third kit) is double-wrapped in ziploc and always on my GT Agressor bicycle. The Mary Poppins saddle bag aso contatins a tool kit, tyre repair kit, saddle cover (for my precious Brook’s saddle), a bicycle pump, spare rear light, sunblock and salon pas; there might be a few other helpful items!


Once in awhile, I unpack and spread out the contents of these kits to check on expiry dates, identify items for replenshment, check for leakages and missing items. Here, for example, I appear to be missing a pair of scissors and I could do with antiseptic solution in a wash bottle, like First Defense.

So, what do you pack on a ride?





I have a couple of tubes of Brave Soldier which I was introduced by Lim Ye Chen, when I crashed on gravel in Pulau Ubin in the late 90’s. We were on a “Journey to the East” bicycle ride and I endo-ed when my wheel stuck in a rut, resulting in a road rash on my left forearm. Ye Chen whipped out a vial of Brave Soldier to apply on my forearm. That wound healed quickly and well, making me a fan, and I later bought tubes to issue all my bicycle guides. 

So how many times have I used my kit? Hmm…I recall Chang Chia Yih crashing at the foot of the cemetery slope in Pulau Ubin in the 90’s, and Airani’s shin was punctured by her biycle’s chainring in a freak accident at East Coast Park a couple of years ago. Both injuries were thankfully minor, as was the case in the few instances I have helped out strangers in accidents near me. I hope this records persists! 

Typically, and somewhat ironically, everyone packs a first aid kit hoping never have to use any of its contents. However, accidents will happen and we were presented with a dramatic reminder just yesterday.


Chi, our mountain bike enthusiast was doing fast, training laps near Lorong Asrama, and took his left hand off the handlebar of his bike on a fast downhill stretch with large gravel bits. Why? It was a somewhat involuntary gesture to brush away a bee that had flown into his face. He can suffer a severe allergic reaction if it did sting him but that move was to be costly – his front tyre rebounded off a large piece of gravel, twisted away his wheel which sent him hurtling. His arms were bloody from the fall but he managed to hang on to consciousness and call for help. Friends were training nearby and eventually via other friends, they were alerted by handphone. 

Racing to help him, their first aid kit came in handy to wash and disinfect the bloody wounds on his arms even as an ambulance was on its way. Ultimately it is his hip that took the brunt of the fall, which we were quite concerned about are heartened by the good news that he’ll be back on his feet in a couple of weeks.


We had two minor accidents during Zendogs rides so far this year, but nothing which ranked yanking out the first aid kit – I was thrown off my bike in an inopportune accident with a *drum roll* bollard outside the SAF Ferry Terminal whilst cycling on the PCN – the bollard bears a dent now! I was distracted by my thoughts and flung to the ground quite abruptly. A few weeks on and the aching shoudler is less painful for sure. The pain is frequently renewed when I sleep and inadvertently rest on it! No broken bones though. 

Two weeks later, this was nearly the scene of a bad accident when Airani watched absent-mindedly as Aaron drifted right off the Changi Coastal PCN to assist a cyclist who had crashed (‘endo-ed’) across the road.

Airani followed Aaron’s progress distractedly, and drifted right into the path of an oncoming cyclist who had tried to aviod her. His handle clipped her finger and broke her rear-view mirror. During this confusion, Min Yee nearly crashed into my now dented bollard outside the SAF Ferry Terminal! One slightly bloody finger thankfully, which has recovered. No one was tarvelling too fast, which helps. 

In the past, we have variously suffered inuries to arms and legs, but my ‘best of show’ is a broken right collar bone from an “endo” along the downhill stretch at Loyang Avenue in the early 90’s. That is a very fast stretch (I reached 50km/h there today) but that’s another story!


We have all lived to fight another day. But its helpful to take a moment to pack alertness alongide your first aid kit before pushing off for a ride! The recent incidents have certainly helped me re-focus. My heightened safety awareness extends well beyond the repacking of first aid kits, for sure. 

Here’s to safe rides in 2012, everyone!


Safe and sound after a 75km ride at Holland Village.

The Changi Breakfast Ride – Zendogs at Changi Village and ECP Car Park B1 on Sunday, 05 Feb 2012

03 Feb 2012 – We’ll be converging on Changi Village once again this Sunday, for breakfast at 8am. 

First Group (75km ride)
6.15am – Holland Village MRT entrance outside Starbucks (24 hours on weekends, by the way): Kevin, Siva, possibly Kenneth (joins at Bishan if wakes up too late to train down), to Changi Village via Bishan, Tampines Road (7am) and Pasir Ris.

Second group (40km ride)
7am – East Coast Park, Car Park B1 (near Fort Road): Airani, Catherine, Jaswant and James to Changi Village via Coastal Park Connector. 

Return, 9.00am – all return via Coastal Park Connector, to ECP Car Park B1; the first group returns to Holland Village via Marina Barrage and Pasir Panjang. 


06 Feb 2012 – I did another Sunday 50km with the lads yesterday – Cheng Puay, Kevin and Kenneth left from Holland Village, as usual. Meanwhile Jaswant, James, Jocelyne, Airani and Catherine rode up from ECP Carpark B1. Alvin, who did a 11km run at Changi joined us for breakfast. 

This was Cheng Puay’s second ride >50km (he made about 80km this time!), Jocelyne’s first 40km ride and Jaswant’s re-introduction ride with the Zendogs was on a newly acquired second-hand bike from a classmate of ours, Amy Choong. Supposed to his wife’s bike but its idle so he brought it out for a spin. Kenneth’s foldable was in the shop so he used Norway-resident’s Hua Qin’s white Norco, which he suffered on, until a seat adjustment at the car park sorted that out. 

I left the group at Fort Road to go for a Lo Hei hence a shortened ride for the second week in a row. Still I noticed the ride to Changi has become faster, as was the leg back to ECP Car Park B1, which we reached by around 10.00am. We didn’t do any accessories shopping, having sorted out most of our gear already and the regular rides are making us faster. Granted, it was a cool day which reduced the ride difficulty. I snoozed after leaving Fort Road, tired from the ride and early morning wake up, while the other three pedaled on and demonstrated that we can do 80km and be back in Holland Village by lunch time.

The NTU Bike Rally is on 26 February 2012 – Kenneth, Kevin an I are riding that day. We’re just hoping it’s as cool as it was yesterday.


Cheng Puay and Jocelyn write about their rides to Changi Village

Lim Cheng Puay writes…

I used to listen to Siva talk about cycling, Zendogs, and his long rides from one end of Singapore to another and joined in the Pedal Ubin rides now and then. The most memorable ride I had was probably that in 2005 where I rode a tandem bicycle to ferry a student while guiding a group in Ubin. 

So between that and reading Lance Armstrong books, I was pretty much content.

Then Siva alerted me to a old GT Vantara to be given away. Here’s the fateful email:


Hi Cheng Puay,

Bike is yours, please arrange with Rob for pickup.

Hi Robert,

Cheng Puay an obvious choice to revive the bike. Glad he’s interested.




This is what the bike looked like before I sent it for servicing:



And after a visit to Mr Tan’s bike shop (Tan Bike Shop. 142 Owen Road S(218941), Tel: 6392-2333), the bicycle was ready to go on the road. Mr Tan is a very nice owner – he fixed up my bike, added only what is necessary, threw in a free bell and lights and even sent the bike over to my place in the west after he closed shop. 

However, I only started riding last week with Siva, Kenneth, Adrian and Kevin. Siva, being one to understate things, said that they will be going slow and it is a simple ride from HV to Changi. Adrian, Kevin and Kenneth will be coming in foldies. So I said yes, thinking then, “How fast can a foldie go?” and thought that this will be a leisurely ride like one I used to do along ECP. 

I was wrong on all counts. Underestimating the time, I rushed down to Holland Village from Clementi and then joined Siva and Adrian and Kenneth there. Briefly remembered the route to be from Farrer Road, to Lornie, turning into Marymount where we waited for Kevin. 

I was glad for the break for my legs were feeling the strain. My lights were not bright enough so Adrian passed me a rear light for my haversack and Siva clipped on a front light for me. Again I underestimated the importance of good gear for safe cycling. Thankfully everyone was kind with their advice and equipment. 

Continued up Tampines where I faced my first slope, Kenneth was tellling me, “There will be 2 slopes, this and the one at Pasir Ris. After that should be a pretty smooth ride”. This was the time where I was shifting through all the possible gear combinations to get the pedals going and trying to keep up. Siva will usually hang around to wait for me. The stretch along Tampines Road was really good, flat road, industrial buildings and sun rise. You do not feel like in you are in Singapore.

So I was pretty much hitting my limit and exhausted when we turned in from Pasir Ris to Changi. But the boys were looking very relaxed and enjoying the ride.


As Kevin wrote:

Woke up late, so I biked to the Holland Village circle line to catch up with the rest at Marymount. Siva, Kenneth, Adrian and our new rider, Cheng Puay, waited patiently for me. We carried on through Bishan, Kovan, Tampines, Pasir Ris, and eventually Changi Village, which was our breakfast pitstop, and little bike shopping place. 

Was really glad that Airani joined us and gave me a lift back from Fort Road. I do not think I can cycle back from Changi!

Thanks Siva and Adrian for the lights and everyone for being so patient with a newbie. 

Lessons learnt:

1. You need good gear for long rides. Every piece of equipment matters and has a function. Good quality comes with a price and it is worth it.

2. You need good riding buddies for long rides. 


Jocelyn Sze writes…


Photo by Siva

The Intern blogged about her ride:

We started off at 7.30am, and I was keeping up with Siva, who was leading the pack. He commented that my bike frame was too large for me and I was stretched out. And true enough, halfway through the ride, I started feeling an ache in my lower back. By the time we reached the long stretch of road along the airport runway, I couldn’t wait to reach the destination (Changi village) and relieve my butt ache, on top of everything else!

Read the rest of her post.

Zendogs converge on Changi Village (Sun 29 jan 2012)

Today was lovely – I set off for Fort Road from Holland Village at 6.15am only to see Kevin Lim arriving on the Surly Big Dummy which he’s trying out. While I took off towards Orchard Road, he took a bite while Kenneth Pinto tweeted that he had woken up too late to train down via Circle Line. So Kevin took off for Bishan after his waffle to merry up with Kenneth there and they were taking the usual route through Tampines.

Meanwhile, I put my Brompton through its paces at Nicoll Highway and then Fort Road which I reached just before 7.00am. “The Intern” Jocelyne Sze turned up promptly on a somewhat ill-fitting but inherited bike. We chatted and the Zendogs gradually appeared – Yap Chi Wei, Aaron Chia, Catherine Chew and Airani S.

Last night a few of us had cajoled and finally ordered Kok Min Yee to turn up this morning. After a detour to the lorry park nearby, a large blob of orange appeared in the distance! 

It was Min Yee and we mounted up to head off for Changi at 7.24am. 

The runners Adrian Loo and Alvin Wong, both woke late, so tweeted to warn of their absence. Adrian eventually opted for a run with his wife, clocking 13.05km By 8.30am the rest of us had merried up and were tucking in to breakfast at Changi, where we saw Maximillian Mager at Changi and his posse of mountain bikers. Changi Village in the morning is lovely and more so amidst breakfast with a large group of bikers!

Jocelyne had put up a good ride down for her first ride with us, and the lovely morning was made even better when her dad was summoned and agreed to rescue her. Meanwhile, Chi had adjusted her seat positioning and height, and recommended that she shorten the stem for a more comfortable ride in future, with much less punishment. She can feel the difference just cycling in a small circle, already!

Later Kenneth did some trials with the Big Dummy, transporting Kevin and we all decided we were not likely to go camping with that hevy-duty tank! We headed back south with Yi Ling, Kevin’s old classmate, who had come by and found her friend Chia Yi on her way up to Changi. We said goodbye to Max and company who headed to Pulau Ubin and the trails and Airani chatted briefly with Cheng Puay who had made the Fort Road-Changi run with some colleagues too. 

At the head of the pack along Chngi Beach Park, Yi Ling and I were chatting and missed the condiderable excitement outside SAF Ferry Terminal – a lady on a racer apparently crashed (endo-ed) on the road heading towards Changi Vilage outside the PCN. Catherine exclaimed, but turning round I saw that everyone looked fine on their bikes and carried on.

Apparently what happened next was that Min Yee nearly crashed into the same pylon I did crash into two weeks ago! And as Aaron detoured to check on the lady lying on the road, a distracted Airani drifted right, and a halpless mountain biker was unable to avoid her – she hit his handle, then tossed her bike to escape with just a bloody forefinger and bruise on her inner thigh. The mountain biker was not struck and turned out to be a very nice lad who was only concerned about her condition –  but she was okay and ex-medic Kenneth had her confirm all her hand functions were intact. Phew!

With everyone safe, they rode on and evetually met Yi Ling and myself who had been waiting, and beginning to wonder. We clustered at the far bend of the Changi Coastal PCN just before the turn to the Tanah Merah shore =- and there the arriving party reglaed us with much excitement! We realised then, that amongst the lot of us, we had a doc, a medic, at least three first aid kits, a bike mechanic, an ambulance (Kevin’s trial Surly Big Dummy) and papparazzi. 

We were glad everyone was safe and rode on back to Fort Road and home. I did fine on the Brompton today but at the NTU BIke Rally with its more hilly terrain, I will stick to my ten-year old GT, which is in the shop right now. Still, the Brompton is certainly an elegant bike and it was a lovely ride! Meanwhile, Kevin did 118km that day, on the Big Dummy and was pretty much exhausted. He will return the bike but has our respect for the mileage he put in with it today, and some of that with the brake being applied on the rear wheel too, just like Airani on her Norco Charger last week!

Airani and I did a spot of  Chinese New Year visiting in Tampines where we dropped off Aaron Chia who set out in the hot sun to Sengkang. We made ourway to the home of former Pedal Ubin guides, Ivan and Tammy. We showered and took turns to nap on their comfortable sofa, where I chewed Kyser’s ear briefly, in between telling some cycling stories!

Oh that every Sunday should be this lovely!

Use arrows to navigate through the gallery below.