Monday, February 25, 2013

RazorTV: multi-modal commuting: foldies and MRT/bus

"Bumpy ride for bike commuters" [04:27]. RazorTV, 24 Feb 2013
"Have you ever wanted to ride your bike to the MRT station, board the train with it, then ride home or to the office? Well, there are Singaporeans who have been doing just that, but it isn't all smooth riding for these so-called multi-modal commuters. Find out the challenges they face when they go bike-train-bike."

"Cyclists want bikes allowed on trains during peak hours" [04:03]. RazorTV, 24 Feb 2013

"According to avid bike commuters, the best way to encourage more people to pick up this method of commuting is to extend the hours for bringing folding bicycles onto trains. Find out what tops the wishlist of commuting cyclists in Singapore."

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cycling in KL - feature by The Star (Living)

The Star's (Malaysia) Living section ran a three-page spread of the Cycling Kulala Lumpur, Bicycle Map Project on Monday.

The links to the articles begin with "Pedal for change," by Leong Siok Hui. The Star, 18 Feb 2013.
See also

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Utter joy - cycling the streets of KL!

Gong Xi Fa Cai folks!

This is a really happy memory from last month - the second OCBC Cycle Malaysia at Kuala Lumpur, on 19-20 Jan 2013!

134 ocbccyclemy2013
Jalan P Ramlee, Kuala Lumpur

I saw the advertisement last year and thought myself, 'January's too busy a time at work' and decided I could not go. But then Julian Lim from OCBC Singapore invited me along, urging, "Just come along and blog about it. Join a bunch of cyclists and go!"

Magic words. I am typically buried in the frenzy of starting up a semester at NUS in January which eats into my weekends. But I kept thinking about KL - I had walked those streets in the 80's and 90's and knew the layout well. It had changed dramatically and this would be the only way to ride the streets in the company of fellow cyclists.

After an unbelievable delay, I asked myself, "what's more important than cycling?" No answer to that so I agreed to go and began working to get ahead of my deadlines (and ignore a few). Then the cycling event was shifted a week to avoid a rally in KL - and that was perfect timing!

OCBC CYcle Malaysia - Kevin Lim on his Surly
Kevin Lim rides to meet point at Newton car park on his Surly,
all packed for an overnight stay in KL

We loaded up our bikes and warmed up to a constant chatter on the bus, between Julian, Kevin Lim and our new friends Shawn Chung and Adrian Tay. The conversation on the way up was ALL about cycling - bikes, gear, routes, safety, deaths, policy, local events, and stories from blog, videos and memories, both funny and sad. We talked until exhausted and then snoozed - mrbrown and Ryan were already in KL would add even more to the mix later.

That conversation, like a few more we had during the trip was instructive - if only we had video-ed those! It was great to hear so much constructive and very funny talk about Cycling in Singapore and the two days would transport me a lifetime away from the grind. Cyclists have lots of discuss and share even without an event, this shared, relaxed outing just amplified our discussions.

The roadie in our group, Shawn Chung, ready to ride like the wind!

So what's the verdict?

I had gone up eager to see if the event would be suitable for my cycling kakis, the Zendogs. I was happy to report back enthusiastically that we should definitely head up next year - in fact, I already paid up for OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2014!

The route in KL is more urban than the Singapore ride - it's really street-fare amidst the heart of KL town. Enough sweet little hills are interspersed during the ride to make it interesting but not too much so you'll break!

I actually did some sight-seeing during the ride and slowed down to enjoy the views. I recognise many of the old buildings and streets but the new ones flummoxed me. Some were vaguely familiar, having changed purpose. I understood the feeling Singaporeans must have when returning to our city after an absence of a few years.

OCBC CYcle Malaysia: The Challenge

At 48km long, the Challenge in KL is also a longer, more satisfying ride for me. I am used to fairly leisurely 60km and 80km rides on my mountain bike, and a half-century sprint is a unique and thrilling experience!

As the Challenge sees cyclists ride four loops of 12km, we are able to go faster during latter loops - well some of us as some others had over-stretched themselves in earlier laps. So by their third round, many cyclists were zipping down hill faster than 50km/h on what were now sun-lit roads. It was certainly exhilarating!

Oddly enough, those who took a toss (there were a few), seemed to have done so on relatively flat stretches of the course. One roadie left a kerb blood-splattered and I hope that looked worse than it was!

Jalan Dang Wangi, Kuala Lumpur

The road was not uniformly flat and sealed for sure, and pot holes peppered certain parts, and areas near construction sites were very rough. But that is really all regular city-fare. It did get splashy when water drained across the road unexpectedly. And a sump point appeared in the road too - but a large and loud road marshall positioned himself in front of the gap in the middle of the road and yelled strenuously for the entire duration of the ride, "Cyclists slow down!" His actions prepared us well kept us clear of danger; our hero for sure.

Mostly, the mountain bikers rode over problems, as did Kevin on his fat-tyre Surly. The thin-wheeled bikes were careful to manoeuvre around it all. I was on a relatively thin wheel for only the second time in recent decades and this made the ride much more interesting for me!

I loved the early start of 6.00am for we get to see the sun rise over the city. It did involve me frightening a hotel security guard at 4.30am though.

The poor chap was slumped over a chair, securing the door to the bike store. It took great effort to shake him out of his deep sleep and when he woke, he saw my helmeted, googled face peering down at him. Fear enveloped him and he jerked upright with an arm held out to protect his body! Adrian and I contained our laughter and I felt quite apologetic.

Eventually keys were produced for us to claim our bikes and head off to KLCC. We finally laughed about it later.

Adrian Tay (right) and myself; we scared the security guard
when collecting bicycles at 4.30am

A short part of the course was dark as we climbed uphill. Happily Kevin and I were sporting bright NightRider lights which lit the road. Our fellow cyclists thanked us, and we realised hardly anyone had strong front lights!

In this second year of the KL ride, some 5,000 people rode in various categories. I didn’t feel crowded, so the spacing of cyclists by timing worked well. Sure, there were a few tight spots but as always, safety above speed.

The Malaysian cyclists are chatty - one chap told me with concern to take it easy as I huffed and puffed up the first hill! I chatted with several others along various parts of the course and Kevin's Surly was a natural conversation opener especially with cyclists on lighter bikes.

It'd be nice to meet and chat with some of the Malaysian cyclists next year, before and after the event - read the blog posts in the links below and you'll realise they are kindred spirits!

Many friends are becoming regular recreational cyclists along park connectors in Singapore. They stay clear of our roads but enjoy the obstacle-free OCBC Cycle Singapore's 20 and 40km (Community and Challenge rides). If they want to add one more event, I'd recommend OCBC Cycle Malaysia, just a short bus ride away.

Certainly Zendogs will be adding this to our annual calendar alongside NTU Bike Rally and OCBC Cycle Singapore.

Ahem, Malaysian and Singapore PMs announced today, a high speed rail to create a 90min train ride between SG and KL by 2020. Link.

On the bus ride with us were two Singaporeans. They had taken up the rather quietly offered option of just a bus ride up to KL. They loaded their trusty bikes which they use on the PCN and had sussed out their own bargain accommodation in the city. When the bus dropped us off at the hotel, they simply cycled off to their nearby hotel.

They took on the foreboding 48km Challenge the next day, did well and travelled back with us, happy.


Jalan Pinang, Kuala Lumpur

My tweets tell the story: Saturday 19 Jan 2013
  • Cycling in KL with OCBC Cycle Malaysia!
  • Right on cue! Transporting bike in rain, will bring lube! RT@NEAsg: Heavy rain warning: thundery showers 7:20am
  • On the outskirts of KL, after a morning of bicycling conversation @motorman @mrbrown @brainopera @OCBCcycleMY #ocbccyclemy2013
  • Bus driver warns us, "Once in KLCC, cannot get out!". Sounds like KL needs more people on bicycle and less cars. #ocbccyclemy2013
  • Ooh goodness they're doing that horse dance at Jln P Ramlee, in front of start line of OCBC Cycle Malaysia Men's Open Criterium.
  • 050_ocbccyclemy2013

  • Watching Men's Open Criterium guys zip by in an hour over 50km @mrbrown @brainopera #OCBCcycleMY2013
  • Watching Open Criterium

  • The pro riders in the Men's Open Criterium whizz by in 2mins, shaking railings with their turbulence. Surprising number from Terengganu!
  • 061_ocbccyclemy2013

  • Remembering not to hi-five passing cyclists on their sprint lap around KLCC. They really shouldn't give me a media bib. #ocbccyclemy2013
  • One cyclist pulls out of Open Criterium, looks like he bust his chain. So it's not just me! #ocbccyclemy2013
Sunday 20 Jan 2013
  • All set for the the 48km ride; woke at 4am, prep, now to collect bikes and head to KLCC by 5.30am #ocbccyclemy2013
  • all set

  • @brainopera @motorman @mrbrown door to bikes locked, security says no one around. No signs left! Checking for access now. #ocbccyclemy2013
  • Shocked an exhausted security guard. Guess I look scary this early! I really need my bicycle! #ocbccyclemy2013
  • shocked security guard

  • mrbrown fixing the timing chip on his pink Moultin @mrbrown #ocbccyclemy2013
  • mrbrown pink

  • Watch my run right now with @RunKeeper Live… #RKLive #RunKeeper
  • OCBC Cycle Malaysia@OCBCcycleMY: Today is an exciting day ahead for everyone! The 48km Challenge Ride will begin in a few minutes. Share with us... Retweeted by @sivasothi
  • Start of the second OCBC Cycle Malaysia!
  • start of 48km


  • Taman Botani Perdana @OCBCcycleMY
  • taman botani perdana

  • Sharing the road, Jalan Dato Onn, start of second climb in The Challenge, #ocbccyclemy2013 my last of four laps
  • jalan dato onn

  • Ampang!
  • ampang

  • Just completed a 39.01 km run - OCBC Cycle Malaysia - with Kevin, Adrian, Shawn. #RunKeeper [was 48km but my iPhone GS was spluttering the GPS signal]
  • Foldies galore at OCBC Cycle Malaysia!
  • foldies galore

  • Nasi Lemak after OCBC Cycle Malaysia, nett caloric gain, but we're happy! #ocbccyclemy2013 @brainopera
  • nasi lemak

  • Riding back to the hotel. Traffic unleashed on Jalan Ampang but it's a wide road and Sunday.
  • riding back

  • @OCBCcycleMY eight of us from Singapore all agreed: lovely route, good job, thanks for the ride! Back next year with more, for sure.
  • Our bus heads south to Singapore as rain descends on KL. Fascinating lunch time chatter about incidents we witnessed during #ocbccyclemy2013
  • @motorman @brainopera @mrbrown @kcfevolve thanks for a great weekend guys. Precious times. Next: NTU Bike Rally?
Tuesday 22 Jan 2013
  • Julian Lim@motorman - OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2013 rough cut: via @YouTube Retweeted by @sivasothi
  • @Sivasothi: @motorman sweet!
  • Kevin Lim@brainopera: @sivasothi mrbrown motorman: Here's the heroic road marshal at #OCBCcycleMY2013 who stood in the middle of
heroic road marshal {brainopera)
  • Blog post (MY) - "OCBC Cycle Malaysia," by alchemyrider. Coming Home as a Roadie, 21 Jan 2013.
  • Blog post (MY) - "Kuala Lumpur - OCBC Cycle KL 2013," by Jotaro Zen. AhPek Biker - Old Dog Rides Again, 21 Jan 2013.
  • Blog post (MY) - "OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2013,":by Sam Cheong. The Samosauran Chronicles, Part 1, Part 2.
  • Blog post (SG) - "Chionging our way through KL at OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2013," by mrbrown., 22 Jan 2013.
  • Route - Kevin Lim's Runkeeper plot of the route
  • Photos - by Kelvin Lim on Facebook
  • Photos - by N. Sivasothi on Flickr
  • Photos, video - "OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2013: Racing with the Surley Pugsey," by Kevin Lim. YouTube, 23 Jan 2013.
  • Article - Downtown Cycling Fun," by Shawn Chung. Cosmone, 28 Feb 2013.
  • Video - OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2013 v2," by Julian Lim. YouTube, 26 Jan 2013
  • OCBC Cycle Malaysia: web, fb, twitter

OCBC Cycle Malaysia - SG group

"6.00pm the equinox" - Bike Hour on 20th MARCH 2013

A month to go…

Bike Hour says,

"The world’s biggest, completely unorganised, mass cycling rally will happen wherever you are, on March 20, between 6 and 7 pm. Why? Because you will be riding your bike.

Ride how you like, where you like, with whom you like, or ride alone. Just get on your bike and pedal the sucker. By doing so, you will be showing the world our staggering numbers, and unspoken yearning for safer, more edifying, cycling conditions."

Founder Steven Fleming from Australia adds, "Bike Hour is being championed in dozens of countries now. There's no head office. No royalties. No power to be gained. We would like to think that no one can own the idea."

Bike Hour takes place at 6.00pm on the Equinox, in March and September.

Just give a shout out on the Facebook page to cyclists around the world at

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

inSing feature: "Cycling as a way of life? It’s possible" feat Kevin Lim @brainopera

Kevin Lim explains in an inSing article, "Cycling as a way of life? It’s possible"
Cycling as a way of life It s possible  inSing com Features
"Cycling as a way of life? It’s possible," by Gregory Leow and Irene Lee. inSing, 05 Feb 2013. Updated 07 April 2014.
If there is one person who knows what it is like to brave Singapore roads on two wheels, it is Kevin Lim who works as an assistant director in the civil service. The 35-year-old, who cycles daily to work, took particular note of the news when Minister for National Development (MND) Khaw Boon Wan announced that cycling to work could be a way of life one day. Lim is already ahead of the pack. A year ago, he started cycling to work every chance he got, from his home in Sunset Way to his office at City Hall. He sets off 8am in the morning, rides along Ulu Pandan canal to Commonwealth Avenue, gets onto the Alexandra Park Connector, passes through Zion Road, Robertson Quay and Clarke Quay, and finally wheels up to his office at Victoria Street. He estimates that he travels 12km in just under an hour and at the end of the work day, he hops onto his bicycle and cycles back.When Lim first heard about the bicycle accident in Tampines that claimed the lives of two boys, he was saddened by the news because he says it only takes a bit of awareness and small changes to the traffic design to make roads safer for cyclists. Simply giving pedestrians and cyclists more rights on the roads like designated bicycle lanes or bolder pedestrian crossing lines would help tremendously. But he worries about the KPI (key performance indicators) driven work culture that pressures workers to be more productive. Like the cement truck driver involved in the Tampines accident, such work culture can lead to more reckless driving on roads. “The most important point is that no matter whose right of way it is, one should stay clear or slow down when there are children nearby. Back in the ’90s, there used to be dark blue road signs to indicate children at play, but I rarely see them now,” says Lim, who cycles to get “a sense of freedom” and for fitness. The tragic accident motivated him to head down to Tampines to examine what the traffic conditions are like. While he saw wider pedestrian paths for cyclists – as Tampines new town is designed to be bicycle-friendly – he also saw high vehicle traffic in the area. “You have no choice but to cross these streets located at critical traffic junctions,” he observes. Lim welcomes Minister Khaw’s announcement that more park connectors (PCN) and bicycle lanes will be built in the future to facilitate cycling to work. “Currently, PCNs will never get you all the way to your destination, which would be nice since cycling on them is less stressful than riding on the roads with traffic,” he adds. That would also counter the other problem he highlights, that Singapore has a high proportion of recreational cyclists who are not as cautious as veteran cyclists who ride on the roads regularly. “When they transition from PCNs to roads, they might not be aware or be overwhelmed by all the dangers around them. It takes time to get used to it,” says Lim. You have to be extra careful cycling on the roads as Lim has experienced dangers such as sleepy drivers and a lack of cycling road infrastructure. “More than one time, a bus or truck driver has cut in front of me while I’m cycling on the left side of the road, but they underestimate how fast cyclists actually are. I get forced against the kerb or I am made to slam on our brakes to avoid getting killed,” warns Lim, recounting a personal incident. “Cyclists should try to be as visible as possible, but always keep a lookout for bad drivers. Once you’re in a crash, cyclists rarely make it out alive to tell their side of the story.”

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Foldable Bikes in Trains and Buses - SMRT's FAQ

In response to several queries about bringing foldable bikes on to the MRT, the text from the SMRT's Rider's Guide FAQ webpage is reproduced below:
Fold it and Ride it - bicycles on MRT and Bus

Can I bring my bicycle on board trains and buses?

If your bicycle is foldable, you may bring it on our trains and buses. It should be folded while on board. You are responsible for its safe carriage and must not leave it unattended at any time. Your bicycle should also be folded at all times in the MRT/LRT stations, and bus interchanges/terminals. Note: Station staff and bus drivers may not allow foldable bicycles if a situation does not permit them to be admitted safely and without inconveniencing other commuters.

Can I bring my foldable bicycle on board anytime?

For the comfort of all passengers, your foldable bicycle can be carried onboard during the following times when our trains and buses are less crowded:
  • Mondays to Fridays, 9.30am - 4.00pm
  • Mondays to Fridays, 8.00pm to the end of passenger service, and
  • Weekends and Public Holidays: all day.

Are there specific train cars for foldable bicycles?

You are encouraged to use the first or last car which is usually less crowded.

How many foldable bicycles are allowed on the bus?

Only one foldable bicycle is allowed at any one time.

Is there a size limit?

Yes, your bicycle should not exceed 114cm by 64cm by 36cm when folded.

Are there guidelines on the condition of my foldable bicycle?

The wheels should be wrapped up if they are dirty or wet. Protruding parts, which may cause injury or dirty/damage property, should be covered up.

Where can I leave my bicycle when I’m in the train or bus?

You can leave it anywhere as long as it does not block aisles and doors or make it difficult for passengers to move. To minimise use of space, carry it in an upright position.

What else should I take note of?

Use lifts and wide fare gates at MRT/LRT stations, where available. Do approach our station staff or Service Leader if you need help.

Who can I contact to give feedback?

You may contact the Land Transport Authority (LTA) at 1800-2255 582 or email To download the brochure on foldable bicycle guidelines, click here. To view the Rapid Transit Systems (Amendment) Regulations for foldable bicycle, click here.
Reproduced from: SMRT

Friday, February 01, 2013

NUS road sign says, "Give way to cyclists"

A pleasant sign greeted me today as I walked along Lower Kent Ridge Road. It said, "Give way to cyclists".
20130201-NUS-give way to cyclists

The clue to this appears to be in the July 2009 report from NUS Office of Environmental Sustainability, "Study of Green Transport in NUS," by Tong Yiu Yan. The report set out to identify routes in Kent Ridge campus suitable to promote cycling or green transport options.

The second of two routes identified is from Kent Ridge MRT to the student centre at Yusok Ishak House, along Lower Kent Ridge Road.

Overhead Bicycle Network in NUS: Route 2

It is not clear if this suggests cyclists travel on pedestrian paths, or if to share the road. Read the report in the NUS OES Cycling Master Plan webpage.

Update (02 Feb 2013): Yiu Yan clarifies:

"Hi Siva,

one of the angles of the study was to access the gradients of the sections of possible routes: red being the steepest & green the easiest.

So cycling routes should avoid the red parts as much as possible. Given that it is mostly concentrated in the centre, a peripheral loop around the campus may work. A well designed "Circle Line" with trails leading inwards to various Schools can be considered.

Whether to share the route with vehicles or to dedicate a cycling path was not considered in the study. Hope this clarifies, thanks!"

Thanks Yiu Yan!

Meanwhile, do have a look at the Facebook pages of the OES and Office of Estate and Development. Perhaps plans to promote cycling in NUS will be revealed in time!

Motorcyclists and cyclist in collision at Bedok North Ave 3

"Another cyclist involved in road accident on Wed." AsiaOne, 31 Jan 2013.

SINGAPORE - In the wake of the tragic accident which killed two young boys on Monday, another road accident involving a cyclist was reported on Wednesday.

According to the Shin Min Daily News, the accident between a bicycle and a motorcycle occurred yesterday evening at about 5.30pm around Bedok North Ave 3.

An eyewitness told the Chinese daily that she saw the motorcycle colliding with the bicycle.

The cyclist, believed to be a man in his 50s, as well as the male motorcyclist, who looked to be in his 20s, laid by the side of the road in pain after the collision. The wheels of the bicycle appeared to be badly mangled.

The motorcyclist was ferrying a 8-year-old boy riding pillion at the time. The boy was seen sitting on the pavement with a dazed expression, Shin Min reported.

The eyewitness said a crowd of about 20 on-lookers gathered, with 4 or 5 offering their assistance the two men who were injured.

According to the police, the two men were conveyed while conscious to the Changi General Hospital, while the boy was sent to KK Women's and Children's hospital.
Investigations are on-going.