I met a hefty Scandinavian man on a bike as I cycled along South Buona Vista Road this morning. Well, he had an EU sticker on the back of his bicycle and replied "Ja!" He didnπt sound German or look Mediterranean and reminded me a little of an ancient mariner that used to teach me, Jon Siggurdsson. He was sweaty, rode well, and had saddle bags.
We chatted behind SBS Bus No 95 which was waiting at the red lights of the Dover Road junction. He too worked at NUS and said it was a crazy thing to do, riding to work but he just had to do it! I bade him an enjoyable ride and suggested trying to stay alive, to which he replied in camaraderie, "same to you!" We then set forth to battle the slope and traffic hustling into NUH and NUS.
I realised then that many ang mohs have told me that it is crazy to ride here. The contrast must be considerable, if the Netherlands was any indication. The cyclist is afforded bike lanes, right of way in some instances (I remember a driver frantically urging me through a box junction), flat ground (Dutch speciality I believe), cool weather...oh, so peaceful. All conspires to keeps the rider alive! My best hope for this in Singapore are park connectors of which we have 40km now, and it is suggested, another 120km by 2015!
Okay I admit, on occasion I enjoy the hustle and bustle of traffic (but never the air), the need to be on your toes and the little skills that allow you to reach NUS faster than the bus. I especially enjoyed crossing Geylang Road during our first ever National Day Fireworks Ride! A good test of skill, the maniacal look on my face can be likened to my old neighbourhood cat after she had caught her first piegon! I had just ridden through busy traffic unleashed from National Stadium and the rest of my party, sensibly I now say, pushed their bikes across the road. They were preserving themselves for the durians!
Well, if you cycle South Buona Vista Road at 3am like I did last night, you will enjoy empty roads, cold air and a downhill ride which can coax your bike, almost without peddling, right up to Buona Vista MRT Station! Simply amazing! And the chilly wind would be the closest thing to home for the avid Scandinavian cyclist!
First posted in Otterman speaks.