It’s been nearly a decade since the local Land Transport Authority (LTA) launched the National Cycling Plan. The aspirational scheme passed its midpoint recently with more than half the bicycle paths built of the intended 700km. Despite the progress, national cycling culture seems almost paralysed by inertia, and not just because of the weather either. Let’s take a closer look at why, and at what we can do to give cycling in Singapore the boost it needs.
Not a cycling haven just yet?
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Singapore should be the cyclist’s dream, and yet that Danish dream lives only in our imagination. Why? Commuters often cite insufficient showering facilities at work and incomplete bike paths as reasons for reluctance. Fear of theft deters some from parking their bikes at designated spaces, while the absence of appropriate parking facilities makes bicycle commuting difficult for others.
With this much inconvenience associated with alternative modes of transport, it’s no wonder most choose public or private transportation instead. Even so, many reasons remain for optimism. The ever expanding local cycling infrastructure means Singapore is now more connected than ever, and there’s a lot that you can do, as a cyclist, for a smoother ride. Here’s how you can make urban cycling, a walk in the park.
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Plan your trip
Singapore is traversed with an intricate circulatory system of paths and roads. Getting to any destination on bicycle, the possibilities are endless but you can make for a smoother ride by planning your route beforehand. While cycling on footpaths and roads are circumstantially permissible, cycle on bicycle paths as much as possible for your safety and that of pedestrians.
The mobile application, B.iCycle, available across all mobile devices, functions as a GPS cycling computer to provide directions to your destination, including off-road bike trails for the more adventurous. The application also calculates speed, distance, altitude and calories burnt – all motivating statistics for anyone on the move.
If you’re cycling to work or school, scope out shower facilities to freshen up after your ride. If your destination does not offer bicycle parking, look for bicycle parking spaces around the area. But should parking your bike in full danger of theft debilitate you beyond focus, then…
Get a foldable bike
Foldable bikes look nothing like they used to. With the bicycle commute gaining popularity across the world, this handy carry-on is now a subject of envy – everyone knows someone who owns a Brompton.
Riding a foldable bike will change your life. Now, your means of transport stows comfortably under your desk at work, and the worrisome prospect of theft dissipates to make way for better focus. A foldable bike furthermore simplifies your commute by giving you the option of a hybrid journey. Just ride to any MRT station or bus stop, fold your bike and join the throng.
For leisure cyclists
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For leisure cyclists, it’s not so much about getting there as how. Depending on your riding preferences and also the terrain you intend to pass through, the type of bicycle you choose matters. Here’s how to decide.
This is perhaps the sort of bicycle you are most accustomed to seeing. These powerful bikes have wider tires and occasionally better suspension, making them great options for trail cycling and other types of all-terrain exploration. Built with challenging environments in mind, mountain bikes manoeuvre the smooth streets are effortlessly. Unsurprisingly, they tend to be heavier than most other builds.
The comfort bike is otherwise known as the hybrid and is most distinguishable by its slim tires, though not as thin as the road bike (discussed below). Comfort bikes keep the rider in a more natural upright posture, relieving strain on the elbows and wrists. This makes for a more, well, comfortable long ride, whether a commute or a leisurely roll through park connectors. Designed for optimal functionality in urban environments, some comfort bikes also feature a light-weight frame.
Road bikes are more informally known as racing bikes. While not as aerodynamic as the time trial bike, road bikes are more comfortable to ride because they offer the options of bent or upright postures. This flexibility, coupled with the lightness of the frame, makes for easy long-distance rides on smooth terrain.
How to make cycling more enjoyable in Singapore?
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Now that you’re all set to make cycling a bigger part of your routine, why not make it fun? Try the national trails, including the famous Makan Trail featuring rest stops to enjoy local delicacies across the country, and the Coast-to-Coast Trail, bookended with picturesque seaside routes.
While you’re at it, take your friends with you. By night, the normal bustle of the central business district fades to a whisper, and the clear roads make for an amazing night ride. Consider beginning at East Coast Park for a scenic ride toward the Marina Bay area, where you can admire the Singapore skyline in peace. By encouraging more of your friends to join you on your cycling adventures, you are doing your part to grow the local cycling culture too. And your health will thank you later.
A safe bike ride is an enjoyable one. over all your bases even before you raise your foot to the pedal! ePROTECT personal mobility insurance plans by Etiqa will cover damage to your bicycle in the event of accident, any third-party liability as well as injuries you sustain while cycling. On busy Singaporean paths, no amount of alertness can rule accidents out completely, but having adequate protection can go a long way. Find out more about ePROTECT personal mobility here!
I cycle, therefore I am
So much effort has been put into improving Singapore’s cycling culture, and it’d be a shame to let the work go to waste. While you make your New Year resolutions to live healthier or more consciously for the environment, add cycling to your routine. We promise you won’t regret it.
Information is accurate as at 28 November 2019. This policy is underwritten by Etiqa Insurance Pte. Ltd. (Company Reg. No. 201331905K). Protected up to specified limits by SDIC.
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