It was the morning of the first day of the New Year. I loaded up two foldies, a Dahon Curve and a Dahon Vitesse D7 into the car, and drove to East Coast Park.
The two folding bikes fitted nicely inside our compact car. I only needed to take down one part of the rear seat to make room for the two foldies. The Curve fits the tiny boot without seat changes, if it is alone. The Sirion 1.5 Sport is a very versatile little car too.
Parking at Carpark G, we set off to try the new 7.9km Coastal Park Connector that was part of the Eastern Park Connector Network.
I rode the 16-inch Curve because I reckoned the red Vitesse D7 with the bigger 20-inch wheels and the 7 speeds would be an easier bike for her to handle. The Curve has a 3-speed hub and is a tad twitchier. So I let her ride the stock Vitesse. She got comfortable with it very quickly. Frankly, I think she would have been fine with either bike.
We were doing about 15 to 20kmh, a leisurely pace but the wife got confident over time and even rode at 30kmh for a bit. She told me later, she wished every day was like this, riding freely in the breeze.
We rode for about 35 minutes, then stopped for a water break, and then rode back. If you ride this park connector all the way, you can reach Changi Beach Park. I didn't want to tax the wife too much, since she does not ride as often as I do, so we took it easy and rode about 14km in total.
There were roller bladers and cyclists riding all kinds of bikes along the path. We saw mountain bikes, road bikes, folding bikes (I saw a Yellow Strida and an orange Dahon Speed Pro!), and rental bikes. There were the teens, families with kids, and hardcore roadies, all enjoying their rides.
Aside from some silly bridge that was too narrow for bikes to ride on (you had to dismount and push), the new Coastal Connector was actually a very pleasant and scenic ride.
One moment you are riding with a sea view, and the next you are at the park of the airport where planes make their approach to land.
I wish we had more paths like these. Then people would ride more and ride to commute. I am told the Eastern Park Connector Network links up the parks in Bedok, Changi, Coastal, Loyang, Pasir Ris, Siglap and Tampines. It would be interesting to try the whole 42km loop to see how connected the network really is.
It was good fun, and the wife enjoyed it tremendously. The weather was cloudy and the breeze cooled us down.
Next time, we will be setting off earlier, maybe 6am, with a bigger group, and riding further. Maybe have breakfast at Changi Village too.
Nothing like spending quality time this way, with the missus on the first morning of 2008.
(More photos at my Flickr set and Otterman did the Coastal ride too, though he went further!)