I am now riding a used Specialized Hardrock Comp Disc 2006 mountain bike, and my brother now has my Kona Lana'i bike. I spent part of the weekend picking it up from my buddy who lives in West Coast, and getting it fixed up. The Hardrock has a nice strong frame, a Marzocchi MZ-3 fork, Hayes HMX-2 XC mechanical disc brakes (update: changed to Tektro Aquila mechanical disc brakes), and Sram components. It is a little scruffed, but in very good condition. It is in a limited edition Army green color.
Aside from moving over some of my old stuff (lights, rear fender, iPod speakers, Ah Beng tire valve LED lights) I changed the tires from the knobbies to 26x1.75 Schwalbe Marathon Cross tires that have a reflective sidewall. These tires are dual application tires that can do road and a little off-road. Good for touring, I am told. I also swopped out the pedals for Shimano XT M770 SPDs, because I find it odd to ride without SPDs now. Under the seat, I added a Topeak Aero Wedge Clip-on saddle bag. Also added a wireless Cat Eye Strada CC-RD300W cyclometer and left the wired Velo 5 one for my brother to use.
The wife dropped me off at my buddy's place on Saturday morning, and after going to the bike shop near his house to get the tires done, I set off from West Coast and rode. It was not too bad, and it took me an hour via Commonwealth Road, Farrer Road, Lornie Road, Braddell Road, and then Upper Serangoon Road. I avoided some of the fly-overs and fly-unders along Farrer and Braddell because dammit, the slopes can be tough. Instead, I went for the traffic junctions, which had more level road. Not a bad ride home, but the seat needed to be adjusted a little more, because it was giving my ass a hard time after 30 minutes. I think the total distance for the trip was around 20km. Not Tour de France but Tour de Nice Saturday Ride.
I rode it again on Sunday, to the mother-in-law's in Tampines, while the wife drove the family there.
Since I am on the topic of riding and Tampines, may I take this opportunity to say, who came up with the dumb idea of those bike lanes alongside pedestrian walkways?
Bikes belong to the road, not the pavement.
There were so many Dismount and Push signs along the new Bicycle cum Pedestrian footpaths in Tampines, you may as well cycle on the road. If you ever tried to cycle at East Coast Park, you will understand how hard it is to avoid humans on pavements.
In fact, I felt more vulnerable at the crossings while riding on the path. You are better off teaching drivers to share the road with cyclists, and teaching cyclists to ride defensively and safely, than to give riders a false sense of safety on those pedestrian pavements. And if you want to give cyclists their space, do it on the road, with bike lanes, instead of footpaths.
There are supposed to be some cycling warden volunteers on those pavements in Tampines but come on, how many wardens do you have? How useful would they be?
In a country with too many cars (and people buying even MORE cars despite living in the country with the highest car prices in the world) and the ever-spiralling cost of gas, I wonder why we spend so much money putting up ERP gantries (oh wait, those earn money) and building more and more roads. Put some money into making cycling a real option, and you will very likely see fewer cars, lower pollution, lower consumption of earth's natural resources, and healthier Singaporeans.
Look at how successful the Velib’ bike transit system is in Paris. 20,000 bicycles are available for rental from 1,450 automated stations distributed across Paris. Even men in suits and well-dressed ladies cycle there.
And don't tell me Singapore's weather is too hot for it to be viable. I know many people who ride to work daily — my brother-in-law does, and I do it too. On my daily rides, I also see many foreign workers cycling. They need safer cycling conditions too (and probably some road safety tips as well).
Even a mixed mode cycling option will be good, like people cycling to the MRT station, carrying their folding bikes along, and then taking the train. Provide better bicycle lockers at stations for non-folding bikes. Allow bikes on special carriages in the MRT.
In Auckland, you can see buses with bike racks attached outside, and people can mount their bicycles on the racks, and take the bus. In some countries, full-sized bicycles are allowed in certain carriages in trains, and bike lanes are so much a part of city planning, they are taken for granted.
I just want safer roads to ride on. Not half-baked ideas like the Tampines pavement cycling trial.
Note to self, remind brother to find a safe place to practise clipping in and out of the pedals on my Kona, before hitting the road. Or it will be Buang City for him.