Sunday, 30 October 2011

Our Big Bang Theory

When we first joined LCSG for their Sunday rides, there were about 30 riders each time. Today, the group has grown and the figures have doubled. 60 odd riders turned up today in search of some big ass canon hidden amongst the subtle slopes of Changi.

From the beginning, it promised to be one heck of a monster ride.

Monstrous times call for monstrous measures. Queen Boo, lead rider for the day briefed the pack before moving off. Safety was always going to be a concern in a huge group like today and the team made the sensible decision of splitting the pack into two groups.

We were however greeted with the sad news of the passing of a fellow LCSG rider, Henry. The group observed a minute of silence in memory of Henry.

From East Coast Parkway Car Park F2, we made our way to Changi Village via the Coastal PCN. The skies were clear and perfect for a chillax morning ride.

Here is Israwi with his "in progress" self-assembled monster cargo bike. Everyone's looking forward to see the finished article.

The Coastal connector always promised to be one of the more challenging connectors around. 8km straight road with no real sight of the finishing line at any point in time, it can work your mind...

The Changi Boardwalk ensued shortly after. This boardwalk traverses the scenic coastline from Changi Beach Club to Changi Sailing Club. Because we were on wheels, it wasn't practical to walk down steps. So we did a short loop, though I can totally imagine us strolling down the other stretches of this beautiful connection.

With no monster guns yet in sight, we encountered our first monster friend at the Old Changi Hospital (OCH). It's Halloween but it's not what you think.

That was one heck of a monster slope before we reached the top/entrance of OCH. Certainly topping the one at Hort Park last week! But we pulled through and made it to the top without dismounting and that counts!

The abandoned Old Changi Hospital...Legend has it that you do not visit it during the night...

LCSG@Old Changi Hospital.

The ride got friendlier as it went on. I lost count of the number of slopes we met along the way - the ironic beauty of a ride in Changi!

Finally we arrived where X marked the spot and viola, the monster gun @ Changi, a replica built to mimic the ones in WWII.

By now, sun blocks were running off. The sun was showing it's monster side. We were now facing the near afternoon scorches from the sun. Nevertheless, we bit the bullet and pressed on.

A short ride down the road and you'll find the Changi Chapel and Museum, built to remember those who have lived and died in Singapore, in particular the Changi area during the dark times of the Japanese Occupation in WWII.

Admission is free and there is a wealth of museum exhibits to learn from. Definitely a must go for the history buff.

From Changi, we rolled down towards Tampines and Simei before hitting the Bedok PCN all the way back to ECP.

Thumbs up for an enriching ride today. LCSG, we ride, we eat and we learn!

amazing pictures credited to Andrias, KC and Taiwoon

Sunday, 23 October 2011

A Private Area, Two Parks and Haw Par Villa

Today, we rode in the west...

The crew gathered at the open area in front of Vivo City today before heading towards West Coast Highway, making a left detour midway towards Keppel Bay.

It didn't take long before we were informed by the resident watchmen that we were treading on private area, even though there was no barrier/check point of any sorts between the path and the main road.

Keppel Bay, not the most visitor friendly place on earth, but offers quite stunning scenery.

Here in this private area, you'll find many yachts which is quite a rare sight in Singapore...

A few weeks ago, we rode past some traditional and rustic shophouses along Joo Chiat. Today, we witnessed some quite stunning futuristic architecture within this private area...

Here is KC doing his best impression of mowing the lawn of the private area...

As we couldn't stay too long on the private area, we promptly made ourselves scarce. We then proceeded towards Labrador Park, one of our country's oldest parks.

Here is a machine gun post built during the World World II in an effort to defend Singapore against the opposing Japanese forces. It also proved to be one of the biggest mistakes and became an apt case study. The post was deployed facing south towards the sea. The Japanese invaded from the north.

And speaking of irony, we saw this guy rock climbing in front of a danger sign warning of falling rocks...

Our regular hunt for good food found ourselves at Telok Blangah market this week...

A solid bowl of good Lor Mee. Certainly worth a try if you're in the area...

We ride, we eat and we ride again! Burning those Lor Mee calories away, we rode past Henderson and Depot road towards Hort Park along Alexandra road.

Here we met our first friend for the day along Hyperadad Road.

Riders cranking up slope!

And when you thought it was over, here comes friend number 2! and one heck of a steep slope I must add!

The fruit of our peddling labour was a nice and relaxing ride along the quiet streets of Canterbury road where colonial black and white houses stood in their finest glory.

Here you'll find Singapore's only remaining tennis clay courts. Rafa Nadal will be pleased.

The original plan was to explore along the Southern ridges but because of the recent heavy rain resulting in a minor landslide, plus the emergence of an aggressive alpha monkey in the vicinity, the bridge was closed. Hence, we reverted to plan B, Haw Par Villa.

It has been ages since we last visited Haw Par Villa. The last time we were here, there were entrance fees and a theme park. Now, admission is free and the theme park is a thing of the past.

A steady stream of visitors could be seen flowing into this historic premise, now made even more accessible via the newly opened Haw Par Villa circle line station.

We weren't allowed to cycle within the villa, but allowed to push our bikes around.

The Ten gates of certainly would be some venue for a spooktacular Halloween event...

The Chinese culture omnipresent throughout the villa...Chinese proverbs can be seen everywhere...

The founders of this stunning iconic Haw Par Villa, Mr Aw Boon Har and Aw Boon Par. We haven't been riding much in the West and this was quite an enjoyable ride. The scenery along Keppel Bay was picturesque. Labrador Park was nice and complete with its history fix. Hort Park was peaceful and beautiful. Haw Par Villa, as always was quite something.

It was the perfect weekend ride before a brand new work week.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Hospice Day Ride 2011

Two weeks of national reservist duty meant limited time for our usual riding and hence, the lack of entries of late.

It was difficult but not impossible and we were eager to scratch that week long itch to ride.

Last weekend, there was the round island night ride on Saturday that was tempting, but it would have been a big ask for my already battled body midway through a vigorous in camp training schedule. And considering the lack of ample body recovery time, we skipped the night ride and joined in for the subsequent morning Hospice Day ride on Sunday instead.

It was a short 15km ride one way from the start point at Tan Tock Seng to the end point at East Coast Parkway Car Park E2.

There was a massive turn out of riders, easily around 200-300. With such a huge group of cyclists hitting the road, safety was always going to be a concern.

The fateful route saw us manoeuvring past tricky junctions along Balestier, Lavender and Kallang. The junction just after Kallang MRT station proved the most memorable. Let's just say that cutting across three lanes on a busy road is not something we'll look forward to repeat again.

Kudos to the handful of iron butts that continued with the Hospice Day ride on Sunday morning after completing the grueling round island the night before on Saturday.

Along the way, we noticed the tagline for the Assisi Hospice, "Living before Leaving".

I'm no copywriter but surely it's not just about getting it to rhyme...

We arrived at East Coast Parkway, greeted by a carnival and a delightful line of refreshments (Cold drinks and mini kuehs/puffs) to go around for all participating riders. Credit to the organizers.

No ride would be complete without the customary pose.

How time flies, two weeks have gone and I'm back to resume the civilian life that incorporates riding and writing.

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. How true.

pictures credited to Taiwoon.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Chill Ride down Joo Chiat and Gardens by the Bay

For us, riding is not always about the destination. It's not about how far you travel. It's not about how fast you can go. It's really about the journey.

Last Sunday's ride exemplified our school of thought. It didn't cover the furthest distance nor was it the fastest ride but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves zipping down and embracing the heart and soul of Joo Chiat and stumbling upon the route to the gorgeous Gardens by the Bay.

With no particular route in mind, we basically went with the flow. Ran into a couple of dead ends and got lost along the way. But it was all part of the fun in riding. Simultaneously, we were admiring and appreciating the unique and rich heritage of the area which can be easily found embedded amongst the many conserved architecture from the pre-war era.

On a Sunday morning, the streets along Joo Chiat are quiet and conducive for cycling.

We rode down Ceylon Road, one of the few streets in Singapore where you can find three temples of different religious denominations on the same stretch of road. There was a Christian church, a Chinese temple and this beautiful Indian temple.

Enroute to Old Airport Road from Ceylon Road, we passed by this row of interesting looking white apartments along Tanjong Katong.

At Dakota, we rode by some of the oldest housing blocks in Singapore's history...

...while at the other end were some of the newest apartments...

Aligned with the impromptu spirit of the day's ride, we decided on the spot to explore the newly completed Gardens by the Bay via the PCN from Dakota all the way to the Gardens, heading past Tanjong Rhu.

And it proved to be quite a scenic ride. It was really nice to see cycling paths along Gardens by the Bay. Over there, it offers a view of the Marina skyline from an angle never seen before. Now we know where to catch fireworks the next time round!

Chill ride, embrace and get to know your surroundings!

We ended the slow and easy ride at Old Airport Road hawker centre for lunch, after which we decided to take full advantage of our foldies by hopping onto the train, in an attempt to stay away from the scorching mid day sun.

It was a chill ride down Joo Chiat and Gardens by the Bay. Slow in speed but highly satisfying!

amazing pictures credited to Andrias and Francis