Cycle Commuting in Singapore

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RenagadeMaster
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Cycle Commuting in Singapore

Post by RenagadeMaster » Tue, 13 Mar 2012 11:30 pm

Long time reader first time poster...

After reading some, quite old post, on cycling in Singapore I'm starting to build up a picture of what the scene is like, but still have some questions please:

1) Is it popular to cycle commute?
2) Do employers encourage this by supplying showers, bike storage, lockers?
3) Is it safe to leave bikes outside all day locked up?
4) Are there cycle lanes, shared bus lanes (excluding recreational paths) on normal roads?
5) Are drivers sympathetic or aware of cycle safety and drive appropriately?
6) Generally what is the attitude towards cyclists by police, city officials, traffic wardens, general public, etc.?
7) Currently I cycle 33km a day all year round in London, -5C snow and ice in Winter to 28C in Summer. So does anyone have opinion whether I would cope with Singapore humidity?

Did I miss anything? Thanks in advance.
Ren

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Post by Grumpy77 » Wed, 14 Mar 2012 1:04 pm

1) Is it popular to cycle commute? - Not as much as in Europe or N. America but it is getting more popular with every passing year. I felt all alone out there in the 90's but am now seeing quite a few other cycle-pathic riders.

2) Do employers encourage this by supplying showers, bike storage, lockers? - Not very much, it is up to you to get a gym membership nearby and find a parking place. I have a wardrobe in my office and always get changed after going to the gym. Underground office parking lots will likely have an area where the cleaners park their rides, just talk to the security people and ask where they suggest.

3) Is it safe to leave bikes outside all day locked up? - Definitely!!! You will have no problems other than rust.

4) Are there cycle lanes, shared bus lanes (excluding recreational paths) on normal roads? - No bike paths, and it will take a bit of getting used to, but I find Sg much safer to ride than in Vancouver where I spent more than a decade two-wheel commuting. Take your time and find the best route, spend more time on multi-lane streets with bus lanes which is better than narrow roads with parked cars... Bus drivers are getting much better with bikes now that there are more of us - their lack of consideration used to be concerning.

5) Are drivers sympathetic or aware of cycle safety and drive appropriately? - Drivers are very unaware and will not give way! Be defensive, never ever trust that a driver will do the appropriate thing. Away from intersections, go as fast as you safely can as relative speed with passing traffic is reduced. Bad drivers can be found in all countries, nothing special here one way or the other (except for the chronic societal disdain for using indicators to signal turns - intersections need special attention).

6) Generally what is the attitude towards cyclists by police, city officials, traffic wardens, general public, etc.? - Non-existent. Do what you want, but in a safe manner. Finding adequate parking is the hardest thing as you will be chased away from in front of malls and office buildings by the hired security. They won't offer a solution and will just keep parroting 'not here, not here'. But it isn't that hard to find a pole to lock up to.

7) Currently I cycle 33km a day all year round in London, -5C snow and ice in Winter to 28C in Summer. So does anyone have opinion whether I would cope with Singapore humidity? - You'll do well as it sounds like you aren't afraid of a good sweat but a shower is mandatory at the other end if you ride more than 50 meters. If you are ok in the rain, then it is very cooling to ride in the monsoons, and you are not any more soaked at the other end, except it is water and not sweat.

I love cycling here and really feel it is quite safe as long as a person is a seasoned road rider. Weekenders should stick to the East Coast Parkway with the hordes. That said, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm currently rehabbing from my 2nd major crash in the past 3 years (25 years accident free before that so hoping for another run of good fortune). Both have been my fault thus I can't hold a grudge against the sport or Sg. I just need to do some attitude adjustment and stop treating every ride like a race. Also need to do some work on wifey as she wants me to retire and get rid of the bike (not a kid any more.... blah blah.... 50+ is too old.... blah blah), but as the pain subsides, the bike beckons.

Drop a PM if you need info on buying, maintaining, great rides, off-road tracks, etc.

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 14 Mar 2012 1:20 pm

I'm 64 and still riding mine! Don't listen to her! :cool: Though I don't use it to commute as it's a bit much trying to do more than 20km each way daily (it's 21km via expressways which bikes cannot use, so having to use the indirect routes would certainly add up to considerably more (maybe 25 or so).

As a footnote, I've been riding here some 30 years and have been knocked down 4 times, once by a taxi, once by a Merc driven by a 70 y.o. man and TWICE by SBS buses. So, while they are getting better, you have got to be a defensive cyclist or you will be dead meat. I've never had an accident involving another moving vehicle in the US.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by carteki » Wed, 14 Mar 2012 5:45 pm

Grumpy77 wrote: 3) Is it safe to leave bikes outside all day locked up? - Definitely!!! You will have no problems other than rust.
Image dated 10 March

Just thought I'd share this since a friend posted it on their FB page the other day! Their comment was "serious crime in Singapore"

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 14 Mar 2012 10:29 pm

Leaving bikes, especially good ones, at the MRT stations or elsewhere outside of public view will result in them not being stolen, but stripped.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by RenagadeMaster » Thu, 15 Mar 2012 9:00 am

Hey, thanks all for the info, sounds like Singapore is just like any other city. Looking forward to trying it out.

I'm a member of a cycling charity we do free cycle maintenance, repair bikes we've been given and hand them out to local adults and children, social rides to build up confidence for people who haven't cycled for a while and cyclesafe training. Do you know if there's there such a club in Singapore?

Thanks,
Ren

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 15 Mar 2012 9:09 am

carteki wrote:
Grumpy77 wrote: 3) Is it safe to leave bikes outside all day locked up? - Definitely!!! You will have no problems other than rust.
Image dated 10 March

Just thought I'd share this since a friend posted it on their FB page the other day! Their comment was "serious crime in Singapore"
With some Trek's & Cannondale's costing 5 digits without a decimal point I'd call it serious.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by nakatago » Thu, 15 Mar 2012 9:13 am

Hence, me and my crappy 140 dollar bike. Sure, it can be tough going around at times (thing's heavy with crappy transmission) but at least I can go to the store and get a workout :)
"A quokka is what would happen if there was an anime about kangaroos."

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 15 Mar 2012 9:42 am

I use an "Iron Horse" which used to be a well respected Mountain Bike back in the day. I bought it for my last bike for my 50th birthday. Sucker is 14.5 years old now. Now I'm contemplating buying "another" last bike. My wife says I'm crazy. Maybe she knows something I don't????? :lol:

Have to admit though, the ROI was pretty good.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by Mi Amigo » Thu, 15 Mar 2012 12:58 pm

RenagadeMaster wrote:Hey, thanks all for the info, sounds like Singapore is just like any other city. Looking forward to trying it out.

I'm a member of a cycling charity we do free cycle maintenance, repair bikes we've been given and hand them out to local adults and children, social rides to build up confidence for people who haven't cycled for a while and cyclesafe training. Do you know if there's there such a club in Singapore?

Thanks,
Ren
Hi Ren,

Welcome to Singapore, whenever the move happens!

You might want to check out http://www.togoparts.com, where there is a decent sized cycling community (forums, etc.). I'm a weekend cyclist - yes, I'm one of those on the East Coast Park, where I take my trusty old Raleigh road bike for a spin. It needed some serious maintenance last year and I found a great place to get this done via the Togoparts site. In the process I was somewhat cheered up by someone who referred to my bike as 'vintage', which sounded very sophisticated - up to then I thought it was just old. So I've taken to referring to myself as vintage now 8-).

Anyway, as has been mentioned, there is a good cycling scene here, ranging from the folks who take it all very seriously indeed (what I call the Charge of the Lycra Brigade) to duffers like me who just enjoy a cycle up to Changi Beach and back.
Be careful what you wish for

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Post by carteki » Fri, 16 Mar 2012 2:03 am

RenagadeMaster wrote:I'm a member of a cycling charity we do free cycle maintenance, repair bikes we've been given and hand them out to local adults and children, social rides to build up confidence for people who haven't cycled for a while and cyclesafe training. Do you know if there's there such a club in Singapore?

Thanks,
Ren
Nah - (I know I'm generalising) most of the locals are allergic to any sort of physical activity and bicycles are way way down the social scale of things (unless they're the 5 digit bikes mentioned above). I'll never forget the first OCBC cycle - I did the 20km ride and there were locals there on 4 digit racing bikes (and I passed some!)

Another thought ... I would seriously recommend getting a foldie. There are some really good one's around and I've done rides of 200km+ with people on foldies. They take up far less space and are easy to transport.
If you want to go off-road - just hire a bike and then the shop has the problem of cleaning it!

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 21 Mar 2012 9:01 am

For everybody concerned, from the Highway code....
PART III
PEDAL CYCLISTS
When Riding
29. Always ride on the left-hand edge on a dual carriageway but do not ride on a footpath. Allow other traffic to overtake you safely. Keep a straight course and avoid sudden swerves.
30. If there is a cycle track, you must use it.
31. Always ride in single file.
32. Do not swerve in and out of vehicles in traffic. When traffic is held up, keep your place and do not attempt to get in front of the other vehicles by weaving in and out of the narrow spaces between them.
33. Keep a safe distance behind moving vehicles. A sudden stopping of traffic will give you no chance to avoid a collision if you ride too close behind a vehicle.
34. Always keep your head up.
35. When passing a parked car beware of passengers opening doors. Allow a margin of safety when passing.
36. If a hill is so steep that you wobble before you get to the top, get off and walk. On downhill roads keep your speed under control. If you travel too fast you will not be able to stop quickly in an emergency.
37. Do not hold on to the back or side of motor vehicles.
Roadworthiness
38. Check your lights, brakes, tyres, chain and the height of handlebars and seat. If you cannot touch the ground with your foot on either side of the bicycle, then the seat is too high and you will not have full control of the bicycle when coming to a sudden stop in an emergency.
General
39. At night have your lights in order. Your front lamp should show a white light only. At the rear you must have a red lamp or reflector. Paint the back mudguard white and keep it clean; it may save you from being knocked down by an overtaking vehicle. If you ride at night, wear a white shirt or coat. This will help drivers of other vehicles and pedestrians to see you clearly.
40. Keep both hands on the handlebars. Do not ride with your hands in your pockets or your feet on the handlebars. Give signals in good time, but return your hand to the handlebars, before you actually start to turn.
41. Do not carry anything in your arm that may interfere with the proper control of your bicycle. During rainy weather you should not hold an umbrella while riding your bicycle.
42. You must not carry passengers. A passenger sitting on the crossbar hampers control of the bicycle.
43. Always use the safest route, and keep out of heavy traffic as much as possible.
44. Always obey the law and observe all traffic rules. Never ignore road signs.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by Saint » Wed, 21 Mar 2012 10:16 am

carteki wrote: Nah - (I know I'm generalising) most of the locals are allergic to any sort of physical activity and bicycles are way way down the social scale of things (unless they're the 5 digit bikes mentioned above). I'll never forget the first OCBC cycle - I did the 20km ride and there were locals there on 4 digit racing bikes (and I passed some!)
This year's OCBC 39k cycle was even funnier as there were actually 4 quite demanding slopes to negotiate. There were loads of locals with their 4 digit bikes pushing their bikes up the 1st slope which was only after 1km!

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Post by nakatago » Wed, 21 Mar 2012 10:23 am

Saint wrote:
carteki wrote: Nah - (I know I'm generalising) most of the locals are allergic to any sort of physical activity and bicycles are way way down the social scale of things (unless they're the 5 digit bikes mentioned above). I'll never forget the first OCBC cycle - I did the 20km ride and there were locals there on 4 digit racing bikes (and I passed some!)
This year's OCBC 39k cycle was even funnier as there were actually 4 quite demanding slopes to negotiate. There were loads of locals with their 4 digit bikes pushing their bikes up the 1st slope which was only after 1km!
It would be funny if someone in a crappy, Giant-sold bicycle passed them on the uphill slope whilst whistling a merry tune.....
"A quokka is what would happen if there was an anime about kangaroos."

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Post by Mi Amigo » Sun, 25 Mar 2012 5:10 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:For everybody concerned, from the Highway code....
...
Do not ride with your hands in your pockets or your feet on the handlebars
...
I'm so glad they've included this text in the rules because otherwise everyone might think that is is the correct way to ride :roll:.
nakatago wrote:It would be funny if someone in a crappy, Giant-sold bicycle passed them on the uphill slope whilst whistling a merry tune.....
Sometimes when I'm out on my ancient boneshaker I find myself passing some 'Lycra Brigade' types on their megabucks carbon fibre bikes and I have to admit to a little smile as I go by. What I do find irritating is when a [insert suitable collective noun here] of them decide to stop for a chat and then block the path so that the rest of us have to weave around them. I'm like, "Hello? Have you considered that there may be other people wanting to cycle here besides you lot in your poncy outfits?" :x Apparently they haven't.
Be careful what you wish for

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