Seems like so many places I go these days, biking (that is – bicycling), is becoming more and more popular. My own personal love for the bike is deeply intertwined with my love for my partner. I’ll never forget the first time he rode up to one of our first dates on his fixie bike, looking like the Brooklyn hipster / Philly hipster he was / is – totally cool and totally himself. He had a freedom on his bike that I deeply respected and could not match at the time (and still can’t match). So, despite having had a bicycle accident that ended me with surgery and knees that sounds like plastic bags, I returned to the bike in NYC via an electric bike, then, as I completed physical therapy, I returned to a regular bike in North Carolina. When we moved to Singapore, we tried just renting bikes, but I knew that “real” bikes were in our future if we decided to stay longer than a year.
One thing about Singapore biking is that it seems even MORE unsafe than biking in NYC, which I never thought could be possible. The hatred that cab drivers have for those on bicycles seems to be universal, however, and so biking from Novena to work or even from Novena down the street was a terrifying experience each time we tried it. I was sad that we had not chosen to live on the East Coast where we might stand a chance to make it in one piece to work after commuting by bike. And Singapore is not the WORST country out there for bikers; it does have park connectors and some bike paths. I’d say those on the East Coast of Singapore are luckier than others. The discoverability of Singapore’s bike paths is pretty low, however. Just how does one get from the East Coast to the CBD with encountering as few cars as possible?
Well, Jonathan Hiew has made a bike map of Singapore that overlays on top of Google Maps, and boy it is AWESOME. You can even open it on your phone and it will overlay with Google Maps there. It shows all the park connectors, the town council cycling routes, it shows where you’ll likely have to get off your bike and walk it, where there is construction, and tips to get around. I have never met Jonathan Hiew, but if I do, I will have several high 5’s of thanks in store for him! Thank you Mr. Hiew!
Now, my partner and I have moved to the East Coast, and now we have access to the park connector and have used it only a few times. I hope to be like my neighbros and figure out a safe route to my office, and I also hope that Singapore comes up with a safer way for more people to bike. I know there are some initiatives out there, and I hope that they will come to fruition before our time in Singapore is up!