Monday, May 11, 2015

Rider Profile - Pernille

Thats me at my home town Copenhagen.
My name is Pernille (Pa-ne-la). I have lived in Singapore since August 2014, when I moved here with my family for my husband's work. I am from Copenhagen, and it was not until recently that I identified myself as a cyclist. 
Bike racks back in my home town

Bike paths at copenhagen

I used to take riding a bike for granted, but after having lived in Riyadh, Dubai, Mumbai and Singapore I find myself connecting with others who love cycling too. It is a revelation to me that cycling is not practised on a daily basis everywhere and I am now actively involved in promoting cycling. 

I am inside the photo...some where. :) 
One of my projects is to bring the social enterprise "Cycling Without Age" to Singapore and I hope to launch it very soon. My other job is as a facilitator in schools, where I talk to teenagers about body image, bullying and teasing, social media, sexuality and other related subjects. I have a degree in psychology and started my company here, "Seeds of Awareness" after having worked with teenagers in Mumbai in the aftermath of the brutal gangrape in Delhi. 
Me and my girl visiting Bukit Brown Cemetery 
My bike is a second hand Maxwell. I often carry heavy things around like books from the library or groceries, and I mostly think of my bike as an effective mode of transport, so I went for a cheap and robust model. My eldest child has his own bike, the little one is three, so I also looked for a bike that can fit a child seat and feel stable at the same time. When my child isn't with me on the bike, I use the child seat to put my groceries inside and lock them in with the strap. Of course I also use the basket in front, it's a very practical bike. I also use it for leisure in the weekends on the park connectors which it also does to perfection. It has three gears which is all I need. I only use a helmet when I ride with my children to teach them to wear theirs too, or when I ride on the road at peak hours for safety reasons. I believe it should be a personal choice and not compulsory. I find it much more comfortable to ride without a helmet and it allows me to feel the wind in my hair which is one of my favourite sensations in the world. I feel quite OK riding on the street in Singapore, the child seat makes the drivers more careful when they overtake me. It is silly, but I think a mother and child are considered more worthy of looking out for, I hope the consideration is extended to all bike riders as we are vulnerable in traffic and all of us want to get home to our loved ones. 
Thats my princess!
Singapore is nice to ride. Always summer and no snow!
When I ride with my children I always use the pavement, I don't feel safe enough with them to expose them to moving cars. When I am on my own I feel more in control, but when I ride with them, I cannot guarantee their safety and I am also a little bit distracted because they ask me so many questions all the time! I am not happy about using the pavement as I feel I am taking the space from the pedestrians, when I approach a pedestrian walking in front of me, I don't use the bell to alarm them. I am a guest (or intruder) on the pavement so I have to ride slowly behind them until they feel my presence, which usually happens pretty quickly.
My favourite roads in Singapore are the small, quiet ones in the city (think Oxley Road) without much traffic on them. I think there is a wonderful infrastructure here and with less cars it would be a commuters paradise. My favourite commuters are pedestrians, cyclists, metros and buses. I am not a big fan of cars in the city, but I love them for road trips! The climate in Singapore is perfect for cycling, even when it rains! When I remember to do so, I bring a rain jacket with me and it's so hot here that I don't even mind getting wet. I use the park connector system a lot, to me it is the most beautiful part of Singapore, and another thing for  Singaporeans to be proud of. 
I wish all the readers of this post a wonderful day and hope you get to feel the wind in your hair today if that's what you like.

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