On the Socialism of Cycling Lanes, Public Transport and Subsidised Transit Part 1

19 09 2008

Just last year, I headed out to one of the cycling specialist shops and got myself a nice bike and kitted it out with skinny road slicks and disk brakes for on road commuting. I figured that, with the kind of frequency that our public buses are scheduled (according to SBS’ online bus tracking service, over 20 minutes between buses during off-peak hours) I can probably out-cycle the bus to most destinations within a 10km radius of my place. On top of that, it is probably an excellent way to fight the flab as well as ¬ dare I say it this year’s flavour-of-the-month, save the environment.

Indeed as it turns out I arrived for appointments earlier that I would had I waited for a bus, and I had quite an adrenaline rush from the commute as well. On the latter point, it was not only the speed that a well tuned gear ratio and slick tires enabled the bike to do (an average of close to 30km/h over the course of a journey, which is not too shabby when you compare that to the frequent start and stops of a bus), but the yobs behind the wheels of their corollas and their lancers. More than once I had nearly cycled into taxis swerving in to pick up fares, or drivers who come too close to the curb-side, forcing one to take evasive manoeuvres. Over the span of 6 months, I had numerous opportunities to test out the enormous stopping power of those disk brakes. Things came to a head when a cycling mate of mine had his front wheel of his bike dented by a car that came too close to him as he was evading the large chunks of debris that litter the side of our public roads on top of the double yellow lines, and in that moment of epiphany I went back to taking the bus, declaring that it is way too dangerous to cycle on Singapore roads. Read the rest of this entry »