Thursday, 22 December 2011

Klicks for Grace

There are many reasons why people ride.

Some ride for speed, others ride to smell the roses. Some ride for errands, others ride to keep fit. Some ride to commute, others ride for leisure.

On the 7th Jan 2012, 3 ordinary riders will attempt the extraordinary. Cycling kakis Steven Lim, Zack and GL will embark on a 24hr 400km ride around Singapore in a herculean effort to raise funds for the Yong-en Care Centre.

That's an average of 16km/h, without sleep. Certainly no mean feat and doing what few will disagree as riding for a good cause.

Safety Steven.

We first met Steven at ECP Road Safety Park where he was conducting a Safe Cycling Clinic. A well of experience and always ready to share a story or two.



Zealous Zack.

Regular LCSG rider, safety marshal and sweeper. Full of energy and ever ready to lend a helping hand when required.



Gifted GL.

LCSG Titanium butt. Man of few words. Rides like the wind.



We applaud them for their efforts and wish them all the very best for the coming adventure.

If you will like to contribute (donation, water point, ride alongside etc) to the cause, more information can be found here and here.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Wishing and Hoping and Praying and Cycling

If you had one wish this Christmas, for all cyclists in Singapore, what will it be?

1. Bike Lanes.

The Park Connector Network we have now is pretty extensive, though it's still a far cry from the more established bike lanes we find in countries like Denmark, Holland and Australia.

A first world transport system should include cycling!

2. More Considerate Drivers.

It's important to stay positive and note that for every driver that honks or tailgates you, there are probably 5 others that look out for you on the road.

We're not asking for a lot more, just for the percentage to steadily improve. :)

3. A Bike for Every Household.

We live in a nation where free stuffs excite.

There is no better way to promote cycling than to actually present them with a free bike. If it's too labor intensive, just get them to collect it.

Singaporeans are naturals when it comes to queuing. If we can queue for free jerseys overnight, we will queue over-many-nights for free bikes.

That would certainly go a long way in getting more people to get on their bikes and ride!

4. Fewer bike thefts.

If we could, we would lock up all bike thieves (syndicate or not), chain them up and make them saw their own bones if they want to live on (think SAW style), since they enjoy cutting chains so much.

A common reason that deters people from cycling more often is the fear of losing their bikes. Foldies provide a useful alternative but small wheels are not everybody's thing.

Eliminate bike thefts and you'll almost certainly see more riders during our daily commute.

5. Remove Peak Hour Restrictions on Trains/Buses.

It's wonderful that we allow foldies on trains. It's woeful that we only allow them from 930am - 430pm and after 8pm.

Whoever starts work after 930am? Not many! The only restriction here is preventing riders from incorporating train + bike in their daily commute to work.

Besides, most foldies, when folded, are smaller than prams and if prams are allowed during peak hours...

6. Remove Single Bike Restrictions on Buses.

As of now, only one bike is allowed on a bus at any one time.

So if you're riding with your gf/wife, prepare to say goodbye. You have to take different buses. If you are a family of 4, prepare to part ways. You have to wait for 4 different buses.

C'mon, I'm sure we can do better than that!

7. Successful Bike Share Program.

For the last mile. Bike share programs have been successfully implemented in many countries. Our wish is for one to be well received in Singapore as well.

There are many benefits to a bike share program, more than that of the disadvantages.

Like what they always say, Good things must share!

8. More Love from Security.

Being stopped by security at building entrances as if we are bringing the plague can really be a pain in the arse. Hang on, it's only a bicycle and look...it can be folded! (for foldies)

9. Good Health.

To enjoy life's adventure and keep those feet pedaling on and on and on.

10. More Wealth.

Always a welcomed wish for any occasion. And like they always say, one bike is never enough!

Ok, that was more than 1 wish, though I'll be delighted if any one or more, of the above mentioned comes true.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, my fellow cycling enthusiasts!

Biking Errands

When you're hooked to something, you usually find all sort of reasons to do that thing.

Eh, it's time to pay our bills, let's ride to the AXS machine.

Eh, it's time to buy 4d, let's ride to Singapore Pools.

Eh, it's time to redeem Challenger membership points, let's ride to Funan. And so I did.

15km and 1.5 hours later along the Bishan - Kallang Park Disconnector, I finally got myself to Funan.

The Bishan Kallang PCN is not the quickest way to get to town from Bishan, and I lost count of the number of times I had to dismount and carry my bike up a bridge or down a flight of stairs. I must have done it at least 6 times.

Nevertheless, while it may have been a longer ride, it was definitely a safer one compared to the quicker route down Thomson > Balestier Road.

The skies were clear and the weather was cool. It was a nice night for riding. :)

Today, I realized that Challenger @ Funan DigitalMall is open 24hrs and they have no issues with a Brommie on their premise.

Errands done, Buck and I leave as satisfied customers.
Gwyn was out at Dempsey for a business dinner. I took the opportunity to maintain tonight's PCN streak, connecting from Clarke Quay to Alexandra PCN before hitting Tanglin Road and then Dempsey to meet her.

When was the last time you conjured yourself a reason to go riding?

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

DoggyRide

Here's a confession. Ever since we got our bikes, our doggies have been out less often. We may have spent more time riding our bikes than bringing our dogs out to the beach.

Fortunately, it didn't take too long for guilt to overcome us.

Our redemption? DoggyRide Mini.

The package arrived merely a week after our purchase. That's pretty quick considering it was shipped from the US and the expected delivery timeframe was 2-3 weeks.

We had the DoggyRide custom adjusted to fit our 16" Brompton wheels, all done with no additional fee.

Anxious with the fit, it turned out really really well. Fixing it was a breeze, though with the Brompton you'll need a spanner.

Introducing the Dogfather, thrilling trailer for our mini dachies.

We left it in the living room for the dogs to grow accustom to their new ride.

They wasted little time. Miss Reina getting comfy in her throne, thinks it's pawsome.

With the DoggyRide, our dogs can now join us for rides!

For their first ride, we took them out to Bishan Park. Riding the dog trailer on the road was quite an experience. As with most trailers, it takes a bit of getting used to, with the added dimensions calling for a re-estimation of turning radiuses. The ride proved rigid and solid. Riding and lugging the trailer, despite the additional weight actually proved to be quite enjoyable.

DoggyRide Mini gets the thumbs up from us!

The doggies made their LCSG debut during the Bishan Park Potong Pasir ride earlier this month, to much celebrated reception, especially with the kids.

We're just glad that both of them can now share the simple joy that comes along with riding!

The Orchard Road Christmas Light Up Ride

Gwyn and I rode down Orchard Road last friday night, admiring the Christmas Light Up along Orchard Road.

In previous years, we've done it via car or walking. This was actually our first time witnessing the light up on our bikes. I must say that it was quite an experience!

Orchard Road on a Friday night was not the most conducive time for riding.

At quarter to 11, it was still noticeably crowded. Even at that hour, the streets were filled with streams of shoppers.

We had to go slow, real slow and it was at times almost like a bike handling course,manoevring past the busy streets.

We started off the night at the Singapore Botanic Gardens where the Christmas mood was evident near the Visitor Centre.

There was this huge violin playing grasshopper, next to a Christmas tree.

All was well worth the effort though as we embraced the festive spirit along Orchard Road. This stunning tree outside ION, the shopping mall caught our attention. Beautiful gold lights.

There were a few smaller spherical exhibits outside ION. They've certainly got one of the more elaborate decorations this year.

The night was beautiful with the cool weather and clear skies. Orchard Road itself was too short a ride to do the night justice.

We rolled down towards the Marina Bay Sands area where the night view rarely disappoints.

Here's the Merlion in it's full night glory.

A beautiful shot of Marina Bay Sands with the moon in the backdrop.

Wider night view of the Marina landscape with the flyer in the background as well.

Many may be up in arms against the idea of the casino, but few will deny its architectural brilliance. It's no doubt an iconic postcard representation of modern day Singapore around the world.

The
Elephant Parade is currently on in Singapore. Creates awareness and contributes to the conservation of elephants in Asia.

There are tons of artistically decorated elephants deployed all around the Marina area.

This was another spot for a group shot, along the Shoppes@ Marina Bay Sands

This is the season to be jolly! Now, get on your bikes and ride!


beautiful shots credited to Steven Tang and Roland.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Gardens by the Bay East Rides

Cycling's one of the best ways to de-stress from the pressures/ridiculous situations we find ourselves bogged down at work everyday. Last weekend was another fanatic one for riding.

Together with a group of my ex-colleagues turned cycling kakis, we explored the city via Gardens by the Bay East. There was no better way to explore the city than on our bikes.

We love cycling in SG and here's our mini tribute to the LCSG crew!

Sharing our route info:

ECP Fort Road Car Park B1 > Old Airport Road Hawker Centre for breakfast > Geylang PCN > Tanjong Rhu PCN > Gardens by the Bay East > Marina Barrage > Memory lane down Marina South > Marina Bay Sands > Merlion > Esplanade Park > Floating Platform > Flyer > F1 Pit Building > Kallang Riverside PCN > Loysel's Toy Cafe > Back to start point.

The bridge connecting Gardens by the Bay East to Marina Barrage is only open from 7am -7pm daily.

Marina South today is a pale shadow of its former glory. Gone are the iconic steam boat restaurants, kite flying merchandise, game arcades and disco clubs . What's left of what used to be an entertainment hub is now a humongous construction site.

The weather was fine. Lovely group shot at the SG Flyer.

Loysel's Toy cafe, a nice little cafe by Kallang Riverside that knows how to make a good cup of coffee. Great ambience as well, perfect for a nice chill out after a morning ride.

That was Saturday for us and well, we couldn't get enough.

So on Sunday, coincidentally, we rode to Gardens by the Bay East again. This time, it was in conjunction with the launch of the PAssion Cycling Club which flagged off at Geylang Serai CC.

We were flagged off by one of the Marine Parade MPs. She didn't ride though...

Anyway, I think it's great that the CC is launching a cycling club. It'll take a lot of effort to keep it going though. We wish them all the very best.

Hopefully the idea sustains and it can attract more residents to enjoy the simple pleasures of riding. Besides, Katong's a great area to ride!

We had special duties for the day. Convoy escort for Lil' Tiffany!

I've got the utmost respect for her. She completed the entire journey on her single speed, tackling the roads and bumps along the way like a seasoned pro with no complains.

Surely, she'll grow up to be a super rider.

Same Same but different.

This time with the LCSG crew. Priceless panoramic view of the Marina landscape from the Gardens by the Bay East side. If you have a bike and haven't been there, now is the time!

The weather was really kind to us. Shortly after we returned to the start point, it started raining.

Nevertheless, there were tons of indoor activities while we waited for the rain to stop. There were a couple of demo bikes provided by E-Walker on site. Tried the Birdy, Frog, CarryMe, CarryAll and the IF mode. It was my first time trying so many bikes at the same time.

Here is Mary doing her best bit to model the new LCSG jersey. Can't wait to get our hands on the new jerseys! They look awesome.

The riding didn't stop there. We had time to visit Loysel again, followed by LifeCycle @ Gemmil Lane by bike.

One word to describe the weekend. Shiok!

shots credited to Kay Heng and TC.

Friday, 9 December 2011

LCSG Treasure Hunt Part I

Two weekends ago, LCSG organized their first ever treasure hunt (Cycle Hunt 2011) and we were both honored and glad to be a part of the fun.

It sure did turn out to be a hugely memorable race for us. Here's our account of the amazing ride...

Team Hawaii 5 0 were in it to win it (best dressed at least).

Introducing Diane, KSL, Eman and Derek...

There were some that came straight from bed...

...and there were others that appeared in their Sunday's best.

Here was the game plan. 13 teams, 10 checkpoints. In the next 4 hours, team Hawaii 5-0 will little know embark on an amazing race around Sengkang, Punggol, Hougang and Seletar.

1/10: Start point (Mushroom Cafe, Sengkang Riverside Park) to Punggol Point.

Each of the 13 groups were given a chance to draw lots for their 1st check point. The luck of our draw took us to the commemorative plaque at Punggol Point, which was perfect as we knew exactly where it was and how to get there.

Declared as a heritage site, the plaque remembers the 1942 Sock Ching Massacre whereby more than 400 chinese were mass murdered.

As part of the challenge at our first check point, I had my face vandalized with lipstick and Gwyn got her hands dirty in the sand where X marked the spot, before we were issued the full set of photo clues for the remainder of the race.

2/10: Lor Halus Bridge

Our strategy was really to keep calm and ride on. Upon receiving the full set of clues, we made sure we took our time to plan our route carefully and then try not to get lost. Once ready, we set off towards the Lor Halus bridge, our 2nd checkpoint of the day.

If you didn't already know, the Halus bridge is a brilliant shortcut for riders/joggers to get from Punggol to Pasir Ris and vice versa.

3/10: Green tablet at Punggol Park

Next was the green tablet at Punggol Park and locating it in the park mimicked finding a needle in a hay stack for many teams.

Fortunately, Gwyn was sharp enough to spot the word, "fitness corner" in the picture clue. (not sure how many groups noticed that) From afar, we noticed a lot of teams circling around the park looking for the tablet. We arrived looking for the fitness corner.

Straight after we reached the park compound, we asked the first jogger we saw for directions to the fitness corner and the next jogger to double confirm.

Ask and you shall receive. Voila!

4/10: IMH

By now, the sun was slowly but surely out in full scorch. (See Derek's "Hawaiian Terrorist" look)

We pressed on towards the Institute of Mental Health aka the former Woodbridge Hospital which was checkpoint number four. Via Buangkok Drive and Green, we opted to stay on the road instead of the PCN as we felt it was more direct and faster.

When we arrived, there were no signs of the other teams and it was here that we virtually took our first and only rest throughout the hunt. When throngs of other riders began appearing at the scene, that was the sign for us to move on to our next checkpoint. While at it, KSL went around spreading the good news of 100 plus, 2 for $2.50.

5/10: Lor Buangkok, Last Kampung

The last kampung in Singapore was our 5th checkpoint.

I've always enjoyed visiting the kampong as it throws us all back to the early days where life was a lot simpler.

Getting to the Lorong Buangkok Kampung was not a problem as we had been there before. Searching for the right house required more effort. We forayed deep inside the kampung and found the house. There were a couple of similar looking houses and we made sure that we got the right one before moving on, red pail included!

There was another team that showed up at the Kampong at the same time. It turns out that we would bump into each other more often throughout the race.


Which team was it? 5 down, 5 more to go. Can you feel the adrenaline? Stay tuned for Part II!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

LCSG Treasure Hunt Part II

6/10: Myco Mushroom Farm, Seletar Farmway

Now we were flying, in terms of both confidence and momentum. It has been really smooth so far. We have our bearings throughout and we knew what we were doing. Though half the journey still lurked ahead.

Our biggest challenge by far would now arise. Seletar Farmway, to call it an unfamiliar territory would be an understatement. Never in our lives have we set foot in Seletar farmway and now, we have to find our next 2 checkpoints in Seletar.

We stayed on the main roads (YCK, Jalan Kayu) before detouring into Seletar Farmway Lane 4. It was all gut and chance.

We bumped into Team Mandai again at the Farmway. Both teams had first bumped into each other at the last kampung. I spotted a small advert by the road, with arrows giving directions to the Animal Resort. Naturally, we took direction and about 200m down the bend, we stumbled upon checkpoint 6, Myco Mushroom Farm.

Team Mandai took the group pic for us, we took a group pic for team Mandai and we worked together to find our next checkpoint, The Animal Resort.

7/10: The Animal Resort, Seletar Farmway

It turns out that the resort wasn't too far away, about 400m down the lane from the mushroom farm and likewise we helped each other out with the group shots.

Looking back now, Gwyn mentioned something about spotting horses at the Animal Resort. I don't remember any horses. All I was thinking about then, was how to get to our next checkpoint...

We made a hasty departure and parted ways with team Mandai. On our way out, we bumped into a couple of other teams riding towards the Mushroom farm.

8/10: Sunset Grill and Bar / Fokker Services, Seletar Airbase

Spicy Chicken Wings and a blue knob. That was our photo clue and we figured it was referring to Sunset Grill and Bar. Thankfully, we've been there before. The one with the different levels of spice for their chicken wings. I remember the first time we got lost in our car looking for this place. I swore to remember the way since then and it certainly paid off that day.

Gliding through turns and channels, in no time, we found ourselves approaching Sunset Grill and Bar. From adrift, this enormous blue hanger stood out and almost instantly, we spotted the blue door knobs.

Credit to Derek, he pointed out that there were 2 different knobs. The one in our clue had a small bump on the left side, indicating that it should be the one at the further end. That was attention to detail at its very best and it saved us 10 pts. (For every correct checkpoint, we were credited with 10 pts). True enough, it turns out later that some of the teams got the incorrect knob for this checkpoint.

9/10: Jeli Jetty, Yishun Dam

Now our next checkpoint would be one full of question marks. When I first saw the picture clue at Punggol Point, I had no idea what/where the heck it was. Google didn't help much at all. Jeli Jetty is somewhere that even the almighty Google doesn't know much about. Thankfully, it was crossed on our map and we figured it to be near Punggol Dam (or so we thought)

It turns out that by the biggest unimaginable stroke of luck, muscle cramps and a hungry stomach somehow made us stop momentarily at Yishun Dam. We looked at the map again and went "Hey, isn't this here. It's not Punggol Dam, but Yishun Dam and this is Yishun Dam!" My jaw dropped.

Straight away, we forgot about the cramps and hunger, parked our bikes and started combing the area Infantry style. Tadah! Never been happier to see a "No Entry" sign. Somehow, we just found checkpoint 9.

10/10: Dome bridge and Return to Start Point.

Our final checkpoint was the dome bridge and it was enroute back to the end point, which was also the start point. We quickly snapped our pic at the dome and made our way back to Sengkang Riverside Park.

It had been a long arduous journey and we were now inches away from the finishing line. Towards the end, KSL escaped a near collision with another oncoming rider. It was a close shave.

We re-grouped just outside the mushroom cafe and rode in together. As we were approaching, we heard a huge roar of laughter. We knew there and then that we were not the first to return...

Though shortly after, we began to realize that there was actually only one other team that had returned earlier.

Diane thought everyone had left!

Nick from the other group came over and asked if we had managed to complete all checkpoints.

Gwyn was like :" you mean you didn't?"

Our eyes lit up and our hearts were now in our mouth and all that stood between us winning the hunt was getting our photos verified.

Diane, KSL and Gwyn zoomed towards the empires with our photos like the flash.

One by one they went through the photos and ALOHA! We got the full 100 points, which meant that we won!

Feel the estacy...

It was surreal. I don't think anyone would have placed their bets on Team Hawaii 5-0 prior the hunt.There were definitely more experienced and speedier riders out there. We were elated that our sheer hard work and great team work paid off.

Team Mandai, who were neck in neck with us for most of the second half came in 2nd, a mere 2 minutes behind. (now that was close!) For our efforts, we each took home a $50 Lifecycle voucher, plus a horn trophy!

Indeed, the prizes were really cool but at the end of the day, it was not all about which place we finished in but rather how we went about the race. The team work and camaraderie formed was elusive and priceless.

Diane was our camera girl; sets the tripod up regardless of muscle cramps and demands that everyone gets in the shot. Derek was our Mister attention to detail. Eman kept us on time with all the frequent time checks. KSL got hungry at the right place and the right time. Gwyn was our eagle eyed sharp-shooter, while I just tried my best not to get the team lost.

We really enjoyed ourselves and credit to the volunteering organizers for making this hunt possible. Superb organisation, sponsored prizes, great hunt, and no fees involved. We really couldn't ask for more.

Cyclehunt 2011, will always be for us, a ride to remember.