Not long after the first nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, being unemployed and restless, I began looking into building up a cycling routine. I didn’t have a bicycle, and the last time I rode extensively was years prior in Taiwan. But I truly missed cycling.
I had remained in Singapore at the time, fortunately holding a permanent residency that allowed me to stay even without a job. I lived 5 minutes away from Punggol Park, where there was a GoCycling, a bicycle rental shop available at various spots all over the island. The best part about them is that I could rent from one outlet and return at another, so I didn’t have to worry about having to circle back if I’m doing a long distance.
I chose the most doable route – from Punggol Park to Changi Beach, a location I would eventually familiarize myself with. It would take no more than 2 hours, and frankly was the most scenic route I would ever take in my cycling journey on the Singapore island.
The route is very easy – all I had to do was follow the park connector route, which is clearly displayed by the signs and also my CityMapper app. From GoCycling in Punggol Park, I started riding down the canal, crossed the road, and took a left turn under Buangkok Bridge. Then I continued down the easy path that followed a river, past 2 more bridges, until I arrived at Lorong Halus Bridge, recognizable by its iconic red. The view from here was already beautiful, so a quick photo op was taken before I continued across it.
After crossing the bridge, it took a moment to manoeuvre out of the construction area and onto the shared sidewalk past Lorong Halus Wetland. It’s not as scenic, but there are plenty of nature and few cars to disturb the peace. Once I found a residential area, I had to check the map to weave through it and find myself in Pasir Ris Park, where I had a quick pit stop and marked the middle of my journey.
Pasir Ris Park is huge – there is a small beach, a kayaking facility, and just overall a family outing spot. As I was here late morning on a weekday, it was virtually empty, so I had a peaceful ride through the park. I even managed to spy a couple of monitor lizards swimming leisurely in the stream. After resting and recollecting my energy, I prepared for the long second half of my ride towards Changi Beach.
The rest of the ride was mainly on urban pavement, but still a park connector route, evident by the occasional markings on the ground indicating the distance towards Changi Beach. There was more concrete than nature, especially while making my way through the industrial area of Loyang. So the ride became more boring and more about expending my energy as quickly as I could to get to my destination.
Mind you, I had poor stamina all along, even after training myself as much as I could in the past year. But every sign on the ground was encouraging, and once I managed past the quiet industrial into civilization again, I realized that I had already made it. It was the final sign that I had arrived at my destination sooner than I thought.
The entire journey took me 1 hour and 45 minutes. I did the same ride at least another 2-3 times after this, and shortened it to about 1 hour and 30 minutes. It is very doable for a beginner, and certainly could also be done without the detour to Pasir Ris Park if pressing for time. At the end, the view of a sea and the calming sound of waves are very pleasing to my accomplished spirit.
I will write a separate entry on exploring Changi Beach area. For now, I bask in the delight of having done a wonderful trail rarely known to even locals.
*All photos featured in this story are taken by the author.