Early last year we moved house. We are now further away from Orchard Road, but right near the Missies’ school. Cheaper and more convenient. One of the things we were all excited about was being able to ride bikes, as our apartment is near to the Park Connector Network (PCN) which joins up parks throughout Singapore. The fly in the ointment of this plan was the lack of a bike. The girls both have second hand bikes, but the tyres are perpetually flat. Rubber and this climate are not a match made in heaven!
In the last two months bikes have begun to appear EVERYWHERE in Singapore due to the opening of three bike hiring/sharing businesses. And I mean EVERYWHERE. Bafflingly there are seemingly no designated areas where bikes can be left, with the directions just stating a ‘safe’ location. As such bikes are left in the weirdest places, like the middle of the footpath or out the front of someone’s house. The country is littered with yellow and orange bikes at the moment!
Whilst this means Singapore is not looking as tidy as she usually does, I was keen to try out the system to see if the bikes and the PCN are as great as I thought they were!
Once I downloaded the app, paid a deposit and added credit hiring a bike is very, very easy. I headed from Toa Payoh along the PCN to Marina Bay. Within 10 minutes I hit my first, unexpected hurdle.
An overpass with three flights of stairs on each side. This was unexpected as I thought a Park Connector would have ramps and underpasses to avoid stairs. There was no way on earth I was going to do as the sign suggested and carry the bike up three flights on this side and down four flights on the other! However, hiring a bike had the added advantage of leaving this bike on one side and hiring a new bike on the other!
Fortunately, this was the only overpass from Toa Payoh to Marina Bay Sands but there are lots of roads that need to be crossed. The bikes are pretty heavy with no gears, so even a slight incline requires some serious leg power! But the route is interesting, particularly once you are near the Sportshub area and you have the city view.
It took about 2.5 hours to ride from Toa Payoh to Marina Bay Sands but that was with lots of stops along the way. I tried to track the distance but the app messed up but it’s probably about 12 or 13 kilometres.
The real bonus of a hire bike is that I didn’t need to ride home! I left the park amongst other hire bikes and caught the MRT home.
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