Monday, December 16, 2013

Crossing a junction on bicycle

Crossing a typical junction (with side lanes) is quite simple on road. You just need to be aware of cars turning into the side lane when approaching. You will also need to be aware of impatient cars that will cut across your path at the first half of the crossing. After crossing, you will need to be aware of cars coming out from side lanes. Meanwhile, always keep a lookout for cars behind.

Crossing the same junction from a PCN is a quite different game. Upon approaching the side lane, you need to watch out for traffic from the front, left and right of the pedestrian walkway, behind,  and cars coming in to the side lanes. You will also need to look carefully on the ground for uneven surface as many such crossings are not as smooth as you think. Try to cross the side lane at junction between Sembawang Ave and Camberra Link on PCN in the direction towards Camberra and you will know what I mean. The short ramp is almost 45 degrees. You will even have to be aware of falling tree branches if it rains.

Upon reaching the island at the junction you will need to look out for traffic coming to and from the right if that corner's Green Man light is on.

When it is time to cross the road, you will face with another problem if the number of people crossing is big. The pedestrians usually ignores your presence. You will have no choice but to cycle at their speed. The keep to the left rule is almost non existing. People can cross you on the left and right. They can also change sides without notice. They can even stop to decide which way to go right in your path. It is generally not polite to ring your bell if the crowd is big. They don't actually bother that much about the Red Man turning on once they started.

Pedestrian crossings are designed such that you are given about 30 seconds or less to cross. On some busy roads, LTA have to install a card reading device for elderly people to tap their card to extend the time a bit more. Generally, the time starts when Green Man light is on. If you miss the short time frame, You will have to wait for the Green traffic light to Red. Then wait for the turning light to turn Red, Then wait for bus exit light (on some bus interchange exit) to turn red. Finally, you have to wait for the opposite traffic light to do exactly the same before the Green Man Light will turn on. I can tell you, on some busy roads or crazy junction this may take a few minutes just for your slot of  less than 30 seconds. It is, after all, a road crossings isn't it.

On reaching the other island of the junction, you must be aware that there are people who will change their direction to cross over to the other road. They will just turn towards it without noticing your presence. Worse of all, they will just stop there blocking your way. Unlike pedestrians, we can't change direction easily thus there is no way to cycle around them on the island like other pedestrians. We are unhappy that they block our way, they are unhappy that they have to move for you. It is a lose-lose situation.

Ok. You finally reach the last section of the crossing. You will still have to worry about traffics from pedestrian walk way and PCN coming towards you. As there is no distinct divide of the path, they can come from all directions. Also you will need to be aware of cyclists and pedestrians changing their path in front and behind you. Finally you will still have to be aware of cars on the side lanes ignoring your rights. Please do not forget about the condition of the path way. The pathway for PCN are usually painted brown. It is much harder to distinguish the curb from ramps. There is a particular spot near Yishun that have so many scratch marks on the curb that you wonder how many bicycles mistaken that it is a ram and try to go near it and then realize the mistake.

After one such crossing, you will get so tired that you will loathe the next couple of crossings to come.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Life as a Cyclist in Singapore

This is a third person description of a cyclist who lives in Singapore. Up till now Singapore still does not have cycling lanes on roads. As such he has to live a life on edges. Motorists can cut across his path because he is slow. Motorist can squeeze him out of the road by edging close till he hits a drain grail gap on the road or simply push him out of the road. Motorist can harass him by running parallel to him for no reason. If he raise his hand to signal, he is in danger of being hit on the hand as motorists can zoom pass him at close quarters. The 1.5 Meter gap guide is virtually non existing. Motorists can claim that he is transparent at a blind corner. All kind of reasons to make him feel intimidated on roads.

Earlier on, there is virtually no opportunity to cycle on pedestrian paths. It is still illegal to cycle on pedestrian pathways except in Tampines. At a certain time in history, he gets a respite because NParks create PCN that allows cycling. Upon trying, he get a shock. The speed limit is 15 KM max. He must dismount to push across bridges. He even have to push across road crossings where he had to share with pedestrians. He gave up and continues to cycle dangerously on roads.

The condition does improve any better when the Immigration check points were migrated. Now Causeway check point is on BKE. He still can access to the Immigration by going via Woodlands Center Rd but at busy hours, all traffics are directed to the express way. The worst is the Second Link. He cannot even try. He concluded that it will no longer be a good cycling experience to cross over to the neighbor country for a cycling tour.

After a while, a minister officially acknowledge that cyclists can cycle across pedestrian crossings that is part of PCN but must do so discretely so as not to endanger others ( He is also shocked to find that there is a fine of $5000 and a one year imprisonment for cyclists who are rash in crossings while motorist only gets $1000 and 3 months penalty. He also noted that reckless driving by motorist only incur $3000 and one year imprisonment. He began to wonder which mode of transport is more lethal. He reads that there are 18 cyclist deaths each year on average. He wonders how may dead pedestrians caused by cyclists.  He has lost count of how may times a motorist speed across the side road crossing despite that he already stopped at the crossing. Meanwhile the penalty of cycling across some bridges increases from $500 to $1000.

Even with the heavy fine, he decided that he should try the PCN. Upon trying, he discovered that cycling on PCN is not as easy as he though. There are places where the path is very wide and cycling is smooth. There are also some places where the path can be narrower than the width of his bike. At other times the path is so uneven that it feels like going on a roller coaster ride. He was shocked to see some path ends near road with right angle turns into a small lane or there is a pillar right in the center of the path. He is also sick of having to go around bus stops with right angle turns and sign boards right in the path. According to some, it was said that PCN are originally design for pedestrian only. It is only extended to cyclists as the distance get further and further.

After cycling through most of the PCN, he is sick of the NParks web site that shows the PCN routes. It is simply not user friendly. He has to zoom in at the right place to see the route. He need to find the route name to get to the route. He wonder why he has to get the name first rather than seeing the route first. He find it hard to plot a route from one place to another with that web site. Finally, he gave up and plotted the whole route with annotations on Google Map. With that, he could plan a route much easier. He called his map PCN on Bikes (

As he has gone through most of the PCN, he began to notice a lot of designs that is not really mean for cyclists. He got so sick of such inefficient design that he blogged about it in Blogger ( A Facebook group founder in a cycling group suggests him to show the exact issues by photos on a smaller stretch of route. He decided to try on the Woodlands Yishun route. As a result he produces 22 pictures where he think it can be improved ( He also wrote to NParks on the suggestion of the leader. NParks did respond to the mail. However, after 6 months, there is nothing done to improve the situation.

He then decided that he will go on PCN only when he is tired or in group cycling events. In this way he could cycle slowly without being very alert of motorists. He accept the remarks by a co founder of a group that PCN are 80% full and 20% empty. He don't want to treat it as useless unlike many of his fellow cyclists.
Recently he accept the request of the cycling group to try the URA Master Plan cycling route. He tried 4 of them. One out of 4 of them has many dismount and carry/push. He sigh again but realize that the route is really difficult to plan as it goes through places where the infrastructure does not give alternatives. He sadly accept the fact. One route goes through the Kallang Bishan PCN. He is relieved that there is something done to bypass the many dismount and carry along the Kallang river. He used to go on the route and find that he is usually the only one doing that. He beliefs that most cyclist snubs this route.
On and off he posts some PCN discrepancy on the cycling group's page. It usually attracts much comment and jokes about it. He did had a long exchange of words with a proponent of the bad design. He was wondering on which side the proponent is standing. Another proponent came in with similar remark and even say that the road crossing design is better. He really cannot stand such remark so he do a Google Street View on the route to see if that remark is true. It turned out that there are 5 similar crossings in the same route. 4 of which is joined with pedestrian crossings before crossing the road. The one in contention is actually quite far from the pedestrian walk way and that there is another pedestrian crossing (very near HDB block) near by. He thus concluded that the route is cut off not because of good design. It is just a poor design that does not consider the cyclist.
The master plan will not be complete till a number of years later. Meanwhile, he wonders whether he could live long enough to see it. He does hope that with the number of cyclists increasing, the government will do something to cater to the needs of cyclists.
It really strikes him that he know he has all the rights to use roads. Some how some motorists say he cannot use it because he did not pay road tax. Sadly to say that these ignorant motorists will only be forced to acknowledge the wrong view when he gets injured by them. And the worst thing is, he may not even live to see justice served when he gets killed. Talking about rights?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bicycle Path design

I have jokingly posted in FB on a bad design of a cycling path. It is about crossing on a carpark entrance. The design requires user to dismount and push across the road as there is no ramps lining both sides. A few others join in the fun by giving funny answers on how to cross. We were just having fun talking about it.

There is this proponents of the design who actually think that this is an acceptable design and chides us for being wanting to be "spoon fed". He wants us to live with it.

Since we were not that serious about criticizing the design, the post is not a welcoming message. As I started the posted, I am compelled to respond. I brought out the fact that it defeats the purpose of a cycling path if we cannot cycle on it. It is the fundamental reason for a cycling path.

I also point out that if a cyclist have to do it many times, cyclists will get weary of it. The proponent said that he has done it many times and does not have any effect. I pointed out that it will have an effect after a long cycling trip with many of this obstacles.

The proponent then deviates and ask me how "pedestrians cross the road". I bring the subject back to focus by saying that cyclist have to behave like pedestrians when crossing the road. There is no need for an extra step to dismount just to cross the road.

The proponent again criticizes the mention of "extra step". He then ask for the reason for "having no ramps but have pillars". He is obviously just based on the picture I posted. I draw example from PCN paths and point out various places where there are no pillars but have ramps. I also point out that some PCN have ramp and pillar too.

The proponent then switch the focus to "misuse" of the fact of no pillars. This is actually out of the point as I actually started with "no ramps" issue only. I simply pull the subject back to focus by relating the design to cyclists only.

The proponent then mix motorist and cyclists together and focus on misuse. I refute the contention and bring out the point that PCN does not have such protection on both too. I then challenge him to take the proposed route by URA from Punggol to City and comment about the number of obstacles need to go through. He avoided the challenge and say that I deviate from the point of contention.

I corrected him that my post is not just about one single issue. It is about the general design of cycling routes. In actual fact, I posted a long list of issues in PCN quite some time ago and have recently posted two separate issues on cycling paths.

The proponent agrees about the misunderstanding of the purpose of the post but still stress that it is not an issue. Obviously I also stress that one or two such obstacle is not an issue until you have to do a number of it at one time.

The proponent then suggest to avoid the obstacles. I pointed out that this is totally contrary to the purpose of having a cycling path.

The proponent then tries to soften the impact by saying that money is not an issue and that its use is more than just for cyclists. I don't want to point out the fact that this is a "dedicated cycling path" to him. I just concentrate on the bigger issue about "money is not an issue". I pointed out that it wastes tax payer's money and shows the world what Singapore can do with this type of design for cycling.

The proponents then goes quiet. Meanwhile others continues to joke about it. Surprisingly, another proponent posted a message saying that the design is better than another and that we should accept it.

I really find it hard to accept such baseless suggestion. I looked at Google map street view on the whole stretch of the cycling path in the specific area for the similarity of design. I found 5 crossings within the same route with all of the routes crossing carpark entrances from main road. Four of them joins to pedestrian crossing before crossing the road. The particular obstacle is a bit far from the usual pedestrian crossing where other paths join. There is also another pedestrian crossing close by but is very near the building.

I concluded that it is more difficult to join to the usual pedestrian path so the designer simply terminates the cycling path. It also does not makes no sense to have three crossings on a short stretch of the road.

II then reply with my findings to show that the particular design is not better but simply convenient decision by the designer without considering the cyclist. The second proponent did not respond.

The first proponent then rudely say that it is a wast of breath talking (in Cantonese spelled in English). Obviously I cannot take this comment lying down. First I agree with him that it is "a waste of breath" because he did not see out point. I also hinted that by agreeing with the designer, he is actually encouraging more bad designs.

Both proponents then fell silent. I will also give the case a rest until some proponent starts to suggest otherwise.

Please do not take it that I am a die hard opponent to dismounting on cycling paths. It is very much more difficult to design a cycling path on an existing infrastructure. I do accept that some dismounting crossings are inevitable as it may not be viable or economical to make life easy for cyclists. However, if there is a way to make life better for cyclists then due considerations should be made.

This particular issue is actually not an acceptable design. There are plenty of spaces available around the entrance to join the cycling path to the pedestrian walk way. I can live with having a "dedicated cycling path" sharing with pedestrians. I simply cannot accept that a "dedicated cycling path" requires cyclists to dismount because the designer decided that it is easier to design that way.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Cycling Rules

A set of rules were implemented for all cyclists in Singapore. This rule will govern the behavior of the cyclists. Rules are actually for the good of the cyclists. However, humans tends to take it as inhibitions. The result is that they will conveniently ignore the rules and do it their own way. This results in a number of extra accidents due to errant cycling.

Rules are good only if they are observed. It is pointless to talk about rules when people do not want to observe it. On the road, groups of cyclists tends to block the road regardless of faster cars behind them. They charge the red light thinking that they are king of the road. They shout at other slower cyclists to give way to them. They go on the middle of the road.

On the cycling path, they zoom regardless of the speed limit. They scream at people blocking their way. They speed pass you without warning. They ignore the pedestrian crossing. They ring their bells as if they are the only ones that have rights. etc.

Even when we observe the cycling rule on the road there is no guarantee that we are safe. Motorists cut across your path dangerously. They horn at you because you are slow. They go dangerously pass you at close quarters. They harass you by going side by side with you for no reason. They even tried to squeeze you out of the road by going nearer and nearer to you. Some are so malicious that they speed pass cyclists and then suddenly stops in front of them

All these happens despite there are rules. Luckily not many people does it this way. I see motorists tailing cyclists instead of passing them dangerously. I see motorists patiently let cyclist pass by on their right. I see motorists wave cyclists on despite they have the right of the way. I see motorists encourages cyclists to go on.

Rules does not govern every aspects of cycling. What if there are gray areas. For example, both cyclists and pedestrians have the right to go on PCN. PCN rules are quite straight forward. Speed limit is 15 KPH and always keep to the left. They don't say how many person can go side by side. They don't tell you how you should behave with other people around you.

There are lots of people who do not know what to do on PCN. It applies to cyclists and pedestrians alike. Pedestrians are not aware that they are sharing the road with cyclists. They tends to go in big groups. They walk in the middle of the path., They are not aware of faster moving users behind them. They do not know how to behave when cyclists approach them in front or behind. They often split up their group by going on the left and right when cyclists approach them thus making it more difficult for the cyclists. They do not respond to bells to give way. They cross from one side to the other without looking out for cyclists. They walk on cycling paths when there is a pedestrian path just beside it.

Cyclists on the other hand does not act kindly to pedestrians. They ring their bells as if they are the only one that have rights. They do not slow down for other path users. They are rude to other users. They also go in groups instead of single file. They speed on the path.

My conclusion to cycling rules is that we should follow the rules and waive our rights to facilitate other users. If the road is congested, by all means give motorist the rights to move on faster. Give way and wave them on if possible. Use hand gestures to show your appreciation of them. Keep a keen lookout for wayward motorists. Don't show your anger at them who do not follow the rule.

On PCN, just be patient with ignorant path users. They may not even know how to behave with cyclists around. Try not to ring the bells unnecessary. Use verbal gestures if necessary. Follow them till there is an opening for you to pass. Do not be angry at those who do not give way or block your way.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

East Parks

This trip is to make up for those smaller park that I did not visit in my previous trips. The distance required to go through all the parks is quite long thus I changed to cycling activity instead.

The first park to visit is Green Oval. There is no plants that interests me in there.

The next park is Brontosaur Park. It sounded like a Dinosaur park to me but I am very disappointed that it has nothing to do with Dinosaurs. Many stainless steel sculpture are in the park. As I am not really interested in the man made things, I skipped all that without taking a single picture as there are no interesting plants available. On exiting the park, I came a cross a play ground with a Dinosaur toy in it. it is a Triceratops. Well, at least I get to take a picture of a Dinosaur.
I have visited Pasir Ris Town Park before but have not gone through the part of the park that is in my route. I had to go through it anyhow as this park is right in between the previous park and the Atlantis Park. Unfortunately, it is a fruitless detour. No picture of interest is taken.

Sea Shell Park has a sea shell theme. However, it is still man made and there are no interesting plants available. I go through it empty handed again.

Pasir Ris St 21 Park is a small park. It is just not my day. I took no digital image of the plant there.

Park Aquaria is yet another of the small parks. No luck here too.

I finally found one worthy plant while cycling on a cycling path. It is a Forget-me-not.

My happiness soon turn to disappointment. The cycling path cuts across a HDB car park entrance but it is not suitable to cycle across the road. The curbs are not slopped. This is again another obstacle by the designers. The foot path on both sides of the path are slopped (just 10-20 meters away). Why they design a cycling path like that is a mystery.

The disappointment caused me to lost track of direction and end up going around in a HDB Carpark. Finally, managed to get hold of myself and is able to continue on the path.

After crossing a pedestrian bridge, I saw this small Morning Glory growing on the barrier of the bridge. Could not get a nicer picture because I forget to bring my L27.
Along the Park Connector, I saw this White Dillenia. A very large flower.

I skipped the Eco Park and Sunplaza Park as I have gone through them in previous trips. 

Tampines Central Park gives me at least one chance to take a picture. It is a Peregina, a very common but nice plant.

I have gone through Bedok Town Park before. I had to go through it again as it is the only way to avoid going on roads.

There are small gardens in the park. I took a picture of a Panama Rose. It is too blurred thus I don't want to show it here. Instead the picture of a White Adler nearby is still acceptable. The Android camera just cannot focus on the right thing or maybe I get too close to the flower.

The exit of the park is blocked by construction. I had to use the sheltered walkway along Bedok North Road as there is no way to cross the road except the overhead bridge which I cannot access.

Took a picture of a Betel nut palm (I think). Google suddenly decided to make it "Awesome" by changing it to a GIF with animation. I actually don't care about the awesomeness of GIFs.

The last park has no name. I found a tree planted by a big shot minister. It is a Cook Pine.

The route plan has a big flaw. Part of Kaki Bukit Ave 1 is closed for construction. Took a big loop around to go to Eunos Rd. The trip ends at Eunos Rd.

The WikiLoc route map is here.

The Picasa Album is omitted as most pictures already appeared here.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Vivo to Tiong Bahru

This trip is a tour of three parks and a short cut through Faber Park via the Malang Trail. The trip starts from Vivo city (Harbor Front MRT).

The route starts at Marang Rd. There is a sign board at the entrance so you can't miss it at all.

At the end of the Malang Trail, There is a trail going down hills just slightly to the right of the Malang trail exit. It is across the Mt Faber Rd. Just before going down, I saw this Pink Trumpet Vine plant growing on the overhead cover of pedestrian walk.

That flower is the only plant picture I took. Since the trail goes a nature forest, there isn't much to take picture on.

At the Purmei Park, this Peregrina grows beautifully but sparsely. You will notice that the flower is wet. It is still drizzling. Again, this is the only flower picture I took in the park.

Saw this Xanadu Philodendron growing on a tree along Lower Delta Rd.

Henderson Park has been cut short. The elongated part has been made a car park and a Point block building is right in the middle. I noticed that there is a security sitting at the point block lift entrance. This is quite a surprise to me as it looked just like any HDB block.

Anyhow, there isn't much plant in the now small park. I notice this QRCODE tagged on to a tree. It is a code that I cannot understand. You can see the text of the code below the code.

At both end of the park are maps that show the visitor where they are. Consider that the park is opened in 2004, it is very seasoned.

Some where near the middle of the park is a infected Crepe Myrtle. You can see the infected leaves in both pictures.

The white Thunbergia is my favorite. There are normal bluish ones growing too but I did not take any picture of them.

This Shower of Gold (climber) grows at the bottom of a structure. There are other plants growing on the structure.

Further down there are Corkscrew flower growing. It is not so nice to look at thus I only use my Android to take a picture of it.

The trip ended at Tiong Bahru MRT.

The WikiLoc trail map is here.

One point to note about WikiLoc is that its ranking system keep changing. I am quite disappointed that it will not keep constant. However, I am not really keen to play the game they intended user to do.

WikiLoc included "trip buddy" in the page but some how excluded my participation in all the trips I went. At least they should recognize that I had went through the trip right?

Most of the pictures are shown here already so I will not include the link to my Picasa Album for this trip.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Reflections on URA Draft Master Plan 2013 cycling path.

Francis Chu, a co-founder of LCSG posted a link on LCSG web site and requested members to try it out and feedback. The web link is about six URA Draft Master Plan 2013 cycling path. I went on 4 of them in two trips. The remaining two are already (or almost) an existing route which I have gone through a few times thus I do not plan a third trip. The following are the reflections on the routes.

It is good that URA start to take into consideration an alternative way of transportation in the form of cycling. It could be Bike to Work (B2W) or Bike For Fun (BFF). In any case, it will keep Singapore citizens healthy doing so. I fully agree with the plan.

My previous experience with NParks PCN really give me good concerns as to whether the same thing will happen with cycling routes. Many of the cyclists I talked to say that they refused to go on PCN due to poor design. I can't disagree. There are way too many defects in PCN so much so that I wrote a blog about whether the PCN is built with cyclists in mind (

The founder of LCSG Taiwoon suggest I point out the issues in a particular section of the PCN and wrote to NParks about it. I did. NParks did reply to my feedback. However, after 6 months, I could only find 1 improvements out of the more than 20 issues ( Furthermore the path conditions has since worsens to have a number of pot holes that is covered with moss. Such is the experience I had.

With that in mind, I looked at the six draft routes by URA one by one.

CCK to City Route

Part of the route goes through PCN with all its existing issues. However, there is much less issues at the West Adventure Loop. It started on the Pang Sua PC. This section is very nice with broad paths. There are practically no obstructions here.

Three is currently no path near Verde View. It is a dead end at the end of Verde View.

The PC at Chua Chu Kang Dr is acceptable except for the portion right on top of KJE. It is typical of PCN on older overhead roads. The cement cover are loose. When you cycle or walk over it, it makes hell lot of noise. A very irritating sound effect.

From CCK Dr to Brickland RD, the path is always on the left hand side. I am glad they did as it is very confusing if you need to go to the left and right of roads in a path. That is the one point which puts people off especially when there is no signs that show the correct way. Many of the PCN signs are on the track itself. Some are so worn off that you cannot tell the direction. Unlike roads, there is no early warning. You actually reach the turning point then there is one sign showing the direction. Travel at 15 KPH and you will easily over shot before you see the turning sign.

I always joke about having to be extra alert cycling on PCN. You have to look out for cars, pedestrians, cyclists, obstacles, turns, and dangers 360 degrees around so much so that it hurts your eye just doing that.

The path on Brickland Rd, Bukit Batok Rd and Jurong Town Hall Rd are always on the RHS. There is no worry except for a few bus stops right in the path. Hopefully they make the path around the bus stops unlike PCN. PCN paths around bus stops are really a sore eye. It is very narrow and you will suddenly come face to face with a pillar, between pilars, or Sign board right across your path not to mention commuters standing or walking on the path itself.

One particular point of irritation is at Jurong Town Hall Rd junction near Jurong East St 11. The traffic light is so slow in changing so much so that I wonder whether it is working at all. I guess there is no choice as Jurong Town Hall Rd is a busy road.

There is currently no route between Jurong Town Hall Rd and the river (along AYE).

The section between IBP and Zion are existing PCs. These are some of the nice PCNs that I like to go on except for the fact that some part has to cross roads and the paths to cross the road are pathetic. Some are so narrow that even on a bike in a single direction is already very dangerous. We have to share it with pedestrians and cyclists in both directions on the same path.

There is one section between Buona Vista MRT and Queenstown MRT where there is no existing cycling path. I wonder how the cycling path is going to be. The road is very busy and the existing foot paths are narrow with many pedestrians using it. PCN did not bother (or cannot) building a path to span between the two places. Can URA do it?

The route ends abruptly at Zion Rd. what to do with the bicycle at the middle of no where? I guess it is get down and push your bike around to your destination.

This route is the most pleasant of the 5 commuting routes (Punggol -Sengkang Route is considered a leisure route.) Like Taiwoon, I separate commuting routes from leisure routes as they serve different purposes. Commuters do not want to waste time. They will take the easiest, shortest and fastest possible routes to their destination. Leisure cyclists will want to take their time tackling challenges like long distance, winding, difficult and hilly routes.

There is a sub class of the two group. This subgroup are usually those who are new to the route and wish to try out. If you have a route that is winding, complicated and difficult, they will not try again. All new cyclists belongs to this group.

Yishun to City Route

I have gone through this route on the reverse direction. Therefore, the description is in that order. The route starts from Tanjong Pagar MRT (actually it starts at the park nearby). The route started fine with available foot path till you try to cross from Tanjong Pagar Rd to Yan Kit Rd. The existing infrastructure is already very confusing. I am not sure if it is a good idea to create a cycling path. It does not make sense to go around it too. I guess it is up to URA to design it. Hopefully it will not be a narrow and winding path.

The green corridor is already an existing path. It is nice except you need to dismount and push your bike at the underpass below Neil Rd. As a cyclist, the idea of having to dismount and push bike is almost equal to telling cyclist not to use the path. How could you call it a cycling path when you cannot cycle?  $1000 fine if you ignore it.

The section at Pearl's Hill Terrace is another potential issue. The road and path are both currently very narrow with little hope of expanding them. Adding a cycling route means adding new constrains to pedestrians and cars. I like the idea of going along the side of the Pearl Hill Park (not existing yet). Many B2W cyclist will rather not go up hills.

Is it really necessary to go around in Tiong Bahru Rd when Outram Rd is the shortest path?

The section between the bridge and Kim Seng Rd is another potential bottle neck. The road is narrow and the foot path is nothing but smooth. It is like going on a roller coaster path.

Obviously the advice on the bridge is to dismount and push across minus the $1000 fine sign.

The path between the river and River Valley Rd is in dire need of maintenance. Water collects in pools all along the path. I guess the path tilts the wrong way towards the wall fence. From River Valley Rd to Holland Rd is a typical winding and complicated route. I had to stop and look at my GPS map to check my location many times. Hopefully, cycling signs will help to lessen the task.

It is good design taking into consideration the expansion of Botanic Garden. The path is currently non-exsting. I did miss the turn into Tyersail Ave thus ending up going further down Holland Rd. This is due to the fact that my GPS voice navigation did not tell me to turn as it expects me to go further down before turning.

At Bukit Timah Rd, I lost track of the route as there is no crossing at the road. I then realize that it is an overhead bridge that I have to go up and cross the road. The idea of carrying bike up pedestrian crossing really puts me off. We usually do that at off road dirt tracks when it is too steep or dangerous. On roads with road bikes we don't expect to do the same. It will be a very good deterrent to many cyclists. Even with added railings so that cyclists will push their bike up and down the bridge, it is still a foul tasting experience. In the end I just go the junction nearby and cross the road.

I did not try to go up Adams Rd then find a path along PIE to Khean Hock Rd. From Google Maps Street view, there is no available path. I was lazy to find a path there thus use University Rd instead. It is a good idea bypassing the crossing over AYE as Adams Rd is already a up hill task. The hump at the crossing is even more difficult. The exit and entrance point of the PIE is also making it impossible to construct a cycling path.

The existing condition of the Lornie Rd does not allow crossing of the road from Khean Hock Rd. I guess it is still possible to create a crossing there as there are already traffic lights at the junction. I waited for one side of the road traffic to go red. Push the bike to the middle island and wait for the cars to clear from Country Club then push to the other side of the middle island before pushing across the rest of the road when that side of the traffic light turns red. It could be illegal to do so but since I had to try out the route, I have no choice.

Cutting into the McRitchie Reservoir path is really a bad idea for commuters. The hill is very steep and currently only have steps up hill. I cycled on an alternate way up the hill to bypass the steps. I can't make it too on my MTB. Consider that I have gone through the last King of Da Hill trip without even dismounting, this is a humiliation. Since it is not my hybrid, I swallow my pride and push the bike up the last 5 meters.

When I came to the underpass at Upper Thomson Road, I sigh loudly. Another dismount and push! If the path to the next road junction is not wet, I would have gone there to cross the road.

At Marrymount Rd there is a sudden change of sides near Shunfu Rd. Although this is the only middle of a road change side maneuver in this route, it still leaves some unhappiness in my heart. It is easy to miss the turn like this. Many cyclists would agree with me that this change of side creates confusion.

The rest of AMK route goes smoothly till AMK St 31. This is a side road with no traffic light control and plenty of cars existing. The problem is that there is no "STOP" sign except a white line across the road. Without passing Road Theory Test, I know that it is a stop sign. Car drivers don't even though they passed the theory test. They move beyond the white line right up to the edge of AMK Ave 6. This leave practically no room for pedestrians and cyclists alike to cross the road. It took me almost 5 minutes and some maneuver before I could cross that road. The same thing happen at AMK Central 1. I doubt the creation of a cycling path across the roads will make any difference unless it is a zebra crossing. Even then drivers may not recognize our rights to cross the road.

The one and only delight I have on this route is at Lentor Ave. If there is a cycling path on the existing walking path, it will make me very happy as crossing the underpass below SLE is way too dangerous. The traffic is way too busy for slow bikes to cross the entrance and exit point to SLE. I sure hope this will be the fist cycling path to build in the near future. It allow cyclist to cycle from Woodlands right up to Kallang via PCN. It is currently the only obstacle that deters cyclists from Woodlands/Sembawang/Yishun to City.

Just 4.5KM of cycling path that will make many cyclists from North West Singapore happy. Hundreds of Kilometers of cycling path is meaningless unless they are interconnected. I like to use the cyber term to refer to cycling between towns. It is called Inter-town cycling. The current meaning of inter-town cycling is actually intra-town cycling. NParks have 4 networks of PCN but they exists as islands by themselves. There is no connection between the four networks. I do hope that in the near future they will be connected.

Come to think of it, the 6 routes by URA is also not connected in any way. A more thoughtful design is to some how connect them especially the "to-city" routes. I choose to combine two routes back to back as they are quite close to each other. It also reflect my desire to have connected cycling paths. Cyclist may not cycle the whole length but many will use it to cross over to the other routes.

Pasir Ris to City Route

I started the route with the full awareness of the number of "dismount and xxxx" to be done. As said before, cyclists generally dislike to dismount from bike during cycling. I will elaborate more as I go along the route.

The route starts from Punggol Waterways near Lor Harus Wetland. Well, this cycling route start with "Dismount and Push".  Why don't URA start the route at the Wetland instead. It is like telling cyclists that this route is not for cyclists.

The path along the canal between Farmway 3 and Drive 3 is perpetually wet at many places. I have not once cycle across it without having to go over water patches. Hopefully, there will be drainage when the cycling path is built.

There is no direct crossing at Pasir Dr 3 at the point proposed. It is right at a right angle turn which make any crossing of road dangerous.

I joked on FB about the "cycling path" near Blk 626 (Dr 3). It provoke a number of comments. Who's idea is it to ask a cyclist to turn in to a cycling path just to exit it within 25 meters. Does the planner really think that cyclist will do that? It looked nice on figures but fact will tell you that no one will actually do it. I was told there are bill board on two pillars right in the middle of  the short cycling path. Some still exists at Dr 1. It will be a laughing stock to every cyclists who knows it.

The next dismount and push is near TPE. The first one cross the canal the second one is across TPE itself. The blanked out PCN markings on the bridge across TPE is a sign of poor understanding of cycling. It can't be a PCN (where you can cycle) on the bridge.

I would say the creation of PCN under MRT lines is a good idea. It is a waste of land with the train up there and there is nothing nice or useful below it.

Sad to see the first dismount and carry at Bedok North Rd. Many cyclists will curse and swear carrying their bikes across the bridge. Obviously many others will not even use the cycling path here.

There is yet another dismount and push across PIE. I lost count of how many dismounts already.

The Siglap PC crosses the canal just before Kembangan MRT. The proposed route goes straight. I guess it will be a confusion to many cyclists later.

From this point onwards till Kallang MRT, the route generally follow the rail track. There are problems arising from this path. I will explain them as we go along.

At Eunos Rd, there is no meaning creating a cycling path across the road. It is a very busy road. I guess the path turns towards the junction then back under the rail. Problem arises after Eunos MRT. The bus terminal is right below the MRT line. I guess the best way is to create the route to the right of the terminal.

The next obstacle is crossing Paya Lebar Rd. There is already an underpass so I doubt there will be a crossing here. Problem is you have to dismount and carry across the underpass. It will be difficult during office hours. I see a lot of people around. Curse and swear you may have to be but that will probably be the fact.

There is another impasse at Ajunied Rd. It is all fenced up. The only way you could cross it is via the over head bridge. That means another dismount and carry.

You will have to go to the junction at Sims Way. Probably the cycling route will be near the road instead.

Dismount and push down the underpass at Geylang Rd. No through road below the Nicoll Highway for the time being as there is construction near Nicoll Highway.

Not sure whether there is a need to carry up stairs to reach Nicoll Highway in future. For the time being I have to use an alternate path to reach Nicoll Highway. That means I have to dismount and carry near Republic Ave to access to Nicoll Highway.

The route ended abruptly near Esplanade Park.

I am sure you get sick of just reading the number of message about having to dismount and push or carry in this route. That is probably the same when the new route is available. Sad to say that it will still be called "cycling path".

Central Area Route

This is a short route with one section of it going up and down hill back and forth. City area cycling is always confusing to me. There are just too many road crossings. It is easy to lost our way as GPS reception is very poor when there are a lot of tall buildings. I get confused and is not able to fully make use of my voice navigation app. It ended up that I have to keep stopping and look at the route map.

The path ways are usually very narrow which make it more difficult to cycle with pedestrians around. The routes are really winding and complicated. I guess that is the only way cycling can be done in the City area.

There is only one "dismount and carry" in this route near Bukit Timah Rd. There is an "underpass" path way near Newton Circle. I wonder why the planner use the overhead bridge instead.

I can't stop giggling when I saw that the path go towards SGH then double back to the Singapore River again. Nothing wrong with the route. It is probably a fork of the path. One fork goes to SGH and the other goes to Marina Bay. It will be good exercise though if you follow exactly to the path as the SGH fork goes over a hill.

AMK-Buangkok- Kallang Route

This is another route that has a number of "dismount and xxxx" activity. I wonder why the planner does not make it a loop instead as the start and end is in AMK. I have not tried the route but since I passed through most of the path a number of times, I think I could talk about this route.

The AMK Ave 5 PC is a route that need serious repairs.  Be prepared to get annoyed by the cement covers over a canal near Yio Chu Kang Rd. You will have a number of obstacles like poles and billboards in the path near bus stops. Some of the paths are very sharp right angle turns. Just be careful on the PC.

I was commuting on the PC this morning while going for the Pasir Ris to City route. As I goes near Nanyang Poly, a group of girls were walking on the PC. One of them saw me approaching and tries to turn to the other side of the path not aware that there is a cyclist going the opposite direction. She cross right into the cyclist's path. When she realize that she is sandwiched by two bike, she panicked and don't know what to do. I stopped so that the other cyclist could safely go pass. We pass each other with a big grin.

You will come across a lot of pedestrians who don't know how to walk on PC. They will behave erratically and you can't really tell how they will respond to cyclists. The only safe way is to go extra slow when approaching pedestrians. Try not to startle them as they will respond even more erratically. Ringing a bell is only feasible if they block the entire PC. Most of the time they can't hear you. No point shouting at them as they have the same right as you do. Just be nice.

The PC at Buangkok Green is Uphills and it has a lot of S shaped twists. Will not be a problem if you are the only one cycling. Just be careful when there is a cyclist going the opposite direction.

The PC at Buangkok Dr is wide. Don't get confused near Hougang Ave 6. The exit of the PC is not near the junction. It is further down on Ave 6 away from the junction. Why they design it like that is a mystery.

Beware of on coming traffic at the point below Upper Serangoon Rd. That is a blind spot turning. I do wish they put a corner mirror at the turn so that cyclists will be aware of the traffic.

Be aware of a "middle of the road side changing" at Hougang Ave 3.

I wonder why the designer choose the side near the Tai Seng MRT when there is an existing path available across the road. I guess it is harder to go on the left hand side of Ave 3.

Balam PC is a newly opened PC. To reach Kallang PC you have to dismount and carry across Ajunied Rd and dismount and push across PIE. The PIE over head bridge is extra high. Put more efforts to push your bike there as it is a step type with side rams for bike not a handicap friendly bridge.

Notice there is a boy in the picture below. He has to push like adults across the bridge. Other kids had adults helping them carry the bike across. Adults already find it difficult to cross. I feel sorry for the kid.

Dismount and push also at underpass below Upper Boon Keng Rd.

You may not go through the following obstacles on the new route.

Dismount and carry up a few steps to access to crossing at Kallang Bahru Rd.

Dismount and carry across over head bridge at Bendemeer Rd.

Dismount and carry across over head bridge at Serangoon Rd.

Dismount and carry across bridge over kallang River near Moonstone Ln.

Be aware that you are cycling on roads at Moonstone Ln. There is no marking on the road to say that it is PCN or cycling route.

You need to dismount and carry across a high over head bridge across PIE.

Although the above 6 obstacles are bypassed, there is no telling what new obstacles are created.

There is no further dismount till Bradell Rd. The bridge is currently being dismantled. There is no telling what the new bridge is going to be like. Hopefully cyclists can cycle across but it may be a wishful thinking. Probably a handicap friendly bridge is the best guess.

The rest of the route along Kallang river is pleasant and nice up to AMK Ave 1 where it ends.

Punggol Senkang Loop

I tried this loop quite some time ago. It is currently a complete PCN route already. I heard they are paving the roads at the PPN walk (previously it is a pebbled road which is not so road bike friendly.) I guess it is more of a leisure loop. Just be aware that the two bridge at the Punggol waterways are still dismount and push type. Unless they decided to create another crossing over the river, it will be the same in the future.

The PCN at Yio Chu Kang has a dismount and carry after crossing the road if I remember it correctly. I normally go on the road to enter exit the PC at Gerald Dr.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pasir Panjang to Kent Ridge Park

This post is actually quite belated as the trip was taken in 13th November. The route is generally for walking around Kent Ridge Park. A small part of the route passes through a canal at a private estate.

The trip starts from Pasir Panjang MRT. The first plant that greets me is a bright yellow leaved shrub which I cannot identify.

The canal is just across the road besides Jalan Mat Jambol. I realized that I have started the route on the wrong side of the canal when I saw a Camwood flower over the canal. By then it is too late to walk back. The picture is taken across the canal with maximum zoom. The flower is way too small for the picture.

As a consolation, a close up of a Lead Tree is available.

You can find plenty of Chinese Violet bush growing besides the canal.

There is nothing that attracts my attention after the canal till I reached the lake at Kent Ridge Park. This climber with very large leaves is still young. It is a Smilax setosa. It has a very hairy branch.

Nobody wants to eat an Elephant Apple. That's why you can see all the fruits on the ground.

This Chinese Taro grows near the lake.

The purple color Pickerelweed is very nice looking and complicated.

This trip is more for photo taking. I ended up with so many plants that I cannot identify. Most of which I will omit here.

The Simpleleaf Chastetree is nothing simple. I had a hard time finding its name.

The Butterfly Pea Tree flower is typical of a bean family with its characteristic shape.

The Akar Memplas flower is equally distinctive. It actually have 4 white petals. There is only three in this picture - Mea culpa.

A different specie of Chinese Violet is growing here. This flower is very much larger than the previous one.

A common plant, the Tembusu, has very nice fragance flowers. 

The Crepe Myrtle is too nice to ignore.

The snake tongue like plant Pinanga simplicifrons is very unique.

The Swaddling Flower tree fruit looks very unique.

The Malang Malang tree flower is very hard to focus. It is small and the wind is blowing constantly.

The False Kelat tree is very hard to see in this picture due to its sparse leaves.

The Sweet Clock-vine is very common in Singapore. I always like to take a picture of it.

I must have been getting old. There is a number of repetitions of the same plant. Some of it is due to the fact that the previous picture is not that satisfactory. This is another picture of the Malang Malang flower. This time it is up close.

The trip actually ends here on this last flowering tree. But since it is just besides Hort Park and I had to walk through it to get to a bus, a few more plants pictures were taken.

This Tropical Fuchsia is all red color and is grown inside the green house. I have no access to it thus snaps the picture outside the glass panel.

Another Dillenia cousin of the Simpoh Air has a white color flower. 

This unidentified flower looks like an Ixora.

This Nam Nam plant is a foreigner. It is mainly found in Northern Peninsula Malaysia.

I simply cannot miss the opportunity to take a picture of this Bauhinia flower at Alexandra Techno Park BLK A.

A map of the Kent Ridge Park is available here. This is the only clear picture of the complete route of the Southern Ridges after Hort Park. I used a panorama app to take it. The trail actually starts from West Coast Park and ends at Vivo City. Previously I did walk from Kent Ridge MRT to West Coast Park and back but did not follow the exact route shown here.

The WikiLoc route map is available here.

The full Picasa Album is here.