It is a relatively long and straight route from Upper Thomson to Sembawang road to Admiralty Road to the Woodlands Waterfront. This is the northern most edge of Singapore island and across the straits is Johor Bahru.
It was a beautiful cloudy day and traffic was not too heavy.
There is washroom facilities here. So very convenient to have a water fountain to refill my water bottle.
Bak Chor mee / minced meat noodles at Sembawang food center for lunch. Apparently this cook was previously working at the famous Michelin-starred Crawford Street stall. The taste is very similar but without the insanely long queue.
I learnt something new. Some presta valves have a removable core, while some others don’t.
How I learnt of this was when the tip of the valve broke off. I was pumping up the front tube in preparation for a long weekend ride. While removing the pump head, the valve tip broke off. The tube seem to be holding the air well so I didn’t change the tube then. I was surprised that it held up for the entire 2 days of riding ( see my post on Batam Baralang 6 Bridges). I did bring along 2 sets of tubes and tire levers in case the tube gave way and replacement was needed.
The photo shows from the top:
the tip that broke off,
a valve core,
the presta stem attached to the rubber tube,
an extender for deep wheel rims.
Using a pair of pliers, simple screw off the core and replace with another core, ( I used the valve from a punctured tube.) There is a youtube video that illustrates this.
This particular tube I had on the bike did not have a removable core, so I had to replace the entire tube. But I managed to get 3 rides of about 75 km each, so 225 km with the tip broken off. I’ve extracted the most of this tube’s life.
I managed to change the tube within 16 minutes, much better than the 1 hour it took me the first time.
I don’t use an extender but just wanted to put all the valve related items together in 1 pic for easy reference and if the core is gone without a replacement core around, the extender could be used.
There are 6 bridges that link seven Riau islands as shown on the map. Our group met at Harbourfront at 6.30 am to board the 8.00 am ferry to Batam. Some protected our bikes with bubble wrap or sticky tape. The boat journey took 1 hour. There is a one hour time zone difference.
Upon arrival, our support vehicle driver greeted us and we loaded our overnight luggage onto his truck. We started cycling from the ferry terminal. From this point until the tip would be 77 km where we would stay for the night in a kelong ( wooden hut on stils built over the sea, usually for fishing)
We started of cycling at about 10.30 am. The first straight leg of about 13 km within town had heavy traffic, not unlike the traffic in Singapore. Once we turned left, the village and countryside roads were a welcome cycling paradise. No traffic lights to stop, hardly any vehicles to contend with.
The weather was mostly overcast and cloudy, although the sections with scorching sun did make the climbs more difficult. The terrain is undulating for the entire 77 km. There was hardly any section of flat roads. So it was really important to maximise the downhill speed to allow that momentum to carry one up the next slope.
At bridge number 1.
All the other bridges are not as spectacular in structure. As you will notice, there are no vehicles in this picture.
There were several breaks for refueling with isotonic drinks, bananas and lunch. “Just one more slope” was what they told me, about a dozen times. Towards the last section, the slopes seemed to become hills with steeper gradients. I was tired, the sun was hot and the support vehicle was conveniently behind me. Was it pride or pure stubbornness that kept me from hitching a ride? I asked myself why I subjected myself to such torture. I should have stayed home.
Between the 6th bridge and the end point, there were about 8 sections of the route that had construction. The path was filled with gravel which made it a little difficult for road bikes to pass through but nothing a mountain bike can’t handle. These tended to be at the bottom trough of the wave so the downhill momentum was wasted having to brake and go slow over the gravel.
We finally arrived at the end of the road. A little off road from this tip is the beach and this kelong. We had lunch, freshened up and then took a speed boat to a little island about 10 minutes across.
There was no one else there so for that moment it was our private little island. As we entered the water near the beach, we were surprised that the water was rather warm – I was thinking of poaching an egg. We had to waddle out about 50 meters before it became cooler.
Crab, free range chicken, shellfish
Fresh coconut and sea food.
At night, the skies were filled with stars.
Enjoying the sunrise the next morning before we set off for the return 77 km journey back to the ferry terminal in Batam town
Somehow knowing what to expect of the undulating hills, the return journey wasn’t as difficult as the outbound. I’m glad I came on this adventure.
My friend was born in Kota Tinggi and naturally is familiar with Johor. I went along with him on one of his cycling trips into Johor Bahru. We met up at Woodlands at 5.30 am as there is less traffic and the weather much cooler. We wanted to cycle out of JB city before the traffic got in.
We used the motorcycle lane to go through immigration and customs. It has drain gratings parallel so we had to angle our wheel sideways to cross. It has many humps to slow the motorbikes, but these can be very painful for cyclists’ butts.
The usual passport checks at immigration only this time we were on bicycles. Over on JB side there is a steep climb up the crooked bridge so change gears down early and spin up.
The famous bak kut teh in Kota Tinggi. People come from all over Malaysia, and some from Singapore, for this herbal version slowly cooked over charcoal. It is unlike the peppery version found in most bak kut teh stalls in Singapore. It is an open air kumpung, hut sheltered stall surrounded by plantation. Seems like a gem in the middle of no where.
We cycled 100 km from Singapore and back for this delicious treat!
Lovely to cycle in vast the open space with so much blue skies and greenery everywhere.
On another occasion, we changed our minds about the bak kut teh and instead went to Kota Tinggi waterfalls. As this wasn’t pre-planned we didn’t have change of clothes nor swim suits. The waterfall was so irresistably tempting that we took a spontaneous dip in the pool. The water was clear, cool, refreshing and rejuvenating! We felt like little children playing!
As we rode, the sun dried up our wet jerseys. We were really fortunate that the weather was mostly cloudy. The sun came out to sufficiently allow our clothes to dry then it was overcast again. Thank God for the perfect weather!
Singapore is so small and I’ve lived here all my life yet this was my first time cycling through NTU, Mt Pleasant, Depot road and Orange Grove Road. So grateful for cycling friends who brought me to these places. Hence I call this a small adventure in my backyard.
Our little adventure around this little red dot.
We saw horses while cycling through Mt Pleasant – which made it a pleasant ride 😉
Our first time exploring the relatively new Pelton Canal PCN, Balam PCN, Hougang Av 3 PCN, Serangoon PCN leading to Coney Island. Google maps shows it as Serangoon island. I used the map provided by Nparks as it details the PCN routes. This PCN Google map provides bicycle friendly information – credit to Jon Hiew.
There are 2 overhead pedestrian bridges to cross over Aljunied road and PIE . This means rolling the bikes up the side ramp. There is a underground crossing to pass the TPE.
At the bridge over PIE
Serangoon PCN is very scenic as is by forested area and feels countryside.
The path on Coney Island is gravel and sand, more suited for mountain bikes but a road bike could get through if handled well.
The famous bridge at Lorong Halus
The gate at both east and west entrances are regular photo spots.
The main path that traverse through the length of Coney Island.
Leading off from the main path, there are 5 short paths to the beach, these are marked with signage as Beach A, B, C, D and E – very creative names.
Punggol Road connects directly to Upper Serangoon Road and to Bendemeer Road. This is a straight forward route by the road. Traffic was fairly light during mid-afternoon but some cars and trucks sometimes come within 1m of the bicycle, which is too close for comfort. Cycling on bus lanes while it is in operation actually keeps cars a lane away so these sections were pleasant to ride.
The entire journey of 37 km took 2.5 hrs moving time. We enjoyed this little adventure in our own backyard. Grateful for the cloudy, overcast weather which allowed cycling in the afternoon possible.