Sunday, February 24, 2013

Getting lost @ Queentown 24th Feb 2013

I studied at Temasek Polytechnic Stirling Road Campus. That was in 93 and about 2 years back I revisited with Francis and afew of my friends. Today, I went back again with new friends. Many places were gone.
The hawker centre @ Margaret drive. Gone. The old hdb beside Queenstown MRT. Gone. 
Still it was quite a nice ride with a twist. No plans, just roam and get "lost". Literally. Like how it was when we all started back in 2010.
We saw many places which I never went and even had a MTB moment. All around Queentown area. A quiet neighbour hood in Singapore. Try it one day... get on a bike and get lost :) Do it quick because these places will not be the same very soon.
More photos of the fun fun ride we did today
Old Queentown Cinema.. still there but don't know for how long
old ping pong table
Florence and Berenda sharing a nice moment
Street art @ Stirling road
First Generation Mail box
Bicycle makes light work of roaming around
Old estate. Watch out for Elderly People. Well done! 
Alex with his Rolleiflex... wow. Been a long time since I see one working!
April with his vintage Bridgestone in Rivendalle style!
old but new
Quiet walkways
Times stand still. This feels like 1980s
The church I pass a zillion times but never went in.. this time, we did
Blessed Sacramenetal Church, Tanglin Halt
Getting lost bonus area... we going MTB!
Where the path leads to?
Abit muddy at times... but sure lots of laughter
Carry your bike!
Andy Yap. Ever the gentleman he is. Cover the rear of the group. Silently and effectively. Thank you. My friend!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

19th Feb 2013 Dr Faishal meets with road cyclists

Photo credit. Chanel new asia

Session in action. Photo Credit Dr Faishal FB

Notes of Engagement Session with Dr Faishal Ibrahim, Parliamentary Secretary for Transport (Road Safety for Cyclists)
19th Feb 2013, LavaEdge @ MacRitchie
In Attendance:Adriane Lee, Allen Chew (CycleKakis), Albert Yeo (FOTR), Kenneth Wee (Bike School SG), Steven Lim (SCTF), Calvin BooDr Faishal Ibrahim, Sim Hwee Keng (MOT), Bili Yang (MOT), Teo Kwang Liak (LTA)Absent with Apologies:Glen Kenny (ANZA)

Meeting minutes complied by Calvin Boo

Education:Engaging Heavy Vehicle Drivers

Given the recent spate of fatal incidents involving large and medium sized moving vehicles, this group of drivers should receive highly targeted education about watching out for other vulnerable road users, keeping a safe distance, and making the extra effort to check their blind spots. A mere brush from these vehicles is enough to send a cyclist to his death. 
Education should be a continuing process, and reminders / refreshers are needed to reinforce the messages. We also recommend LTA to evaluate and implement the compulsory use of additional side mirrors on these vehicles to enhance visibility of blind spots (much like third brake light - if the technology accords additional safety, use it).Actively engage motorists / road users in continuing education campaign.We hear LTA's point about radio talk show. The plain truth is that a 2-minute spot in a radio talk show does not work - your target audience have to be tuned into the right station at that specific point in time, the message is not capable of repeating itself, and it reaches only a very small segment of road users.
An above-the-line campaign is needed (i.e. print and press), so that the message is highly visible, and reach the widest possible scope of intended audience. 

Ideally, this should be designed as a periodic campaign (twice-yearly should be the minimum), not a one-time attempt to convey some very important messages. 
A message from TP promoting road safety for all road users is just as important as the message against drunk driving.The three key arms of the on-going education campaign:1. Key messages for motorists. There is widespread perception that cyclists have no place on the roads. Coupled with a sense of entitlement among motorists ("because I pay COE + tax"), this turns into a dangerous mental frame of mind. As a result, you read comments in online forums along the tone of "I'll run over those pesky cyclists if I see one". Truly very disturbing. [Note: Personally, I have been almost run down twice by drivers who purposely come close to my handlebars - this at 5am in the morning when there are three lanes of empty road!].
A campaign is needed to convey the following key messages to motorists:
a. Cyclists have a right to use the roads
b. Keep a safe distance
c. Don't underestimate the speed of a travelling bicycle
2. Key message for all road users. 
At all pedestrian crossings (both green man and zebra crossing), those on foot and on two wheels must be reminded:a. Do not assume right of wayb. Practice stop-look-go at all crossingsc. Pay attention to moving vehiclesd. Cross only when approaching vehicle has come to a complete stop
3. Key messages for cyclists. We recognize a bicycle is also a vehicle, and hence subject to the same rules as other road users.a. Observe all traffic rulesb. Keep to the left lane, unless changing direction of travelc. Do not hog the laned. Use hand signals to signal your intention

Engaging the Hard-to-reach Road Users (e.g. Foreign workers, aunties and uncles)These groups are the ones with the lowest level of road preparedness, skills and etiquette, but there's no denying them the right to use the roads. Incentive could be given out in the form of a pair of lights (front+back) when they sign up and attend a road safety course. A pair of durable bicycle lights can be had for $3 - a small investment that will reap benefits many times it's cost. It helps to have lights on a FW's bike when he's riding towards you in the darkness, dressed in nothing but black.

Making Road Safety a part of Education Curriculum
Numerous traffic calming measures introduced in other countries will work very well in our setting.
Factors (b), (c) and (d) above can be addressed via active road user education.
Factor (e) - We urge LTA to urgently re-evaluate existing zebra crossing designs before something terribly tragic happens. In road design, speed and capacity should never be more important than safety
.Majority of our roads are not only cyclist-unfriendly, the road designs also puts cyclists in extreme danger. Multi-lane one way roads force some cyclists to ride against traffic, because the 'legitimate' route to their destination sometimes adds considerable number of kilometers of distance and additional travel time. A cyclist travelling down Orchard Road who wishes to turn into Penang Lane have to cut across 5 lanes of fast-flowing traffic. We can work with LTA to identify such hotspots and address possible changes / measures that will help enhance safety.Law:
Enforcement against errant drivers needs to be stepped up further. Zebra crossing offences are on the rise, and offenders are getting away because no one polices the crossings.Enforcement against errant cyclists should also be stepped up, especially against those who beat the red lights and those who ride against flow of traffic. In cities like London, a ticketed cyclist can either pay up or attend a road safety course. This is an example we can emulate - we should not collect fines for the sake of collecting fines, all effort should be made to turn that into an opportunity to re-educate road users.

Good habits are best taught to the young, as they more readily internalize the lessons taught. Early engagement with the right education is an effective way to cultivate a road culture with all the positive qualities we'd like to see. Furthermore, the young can influence their family and friends, and can be a powerful network for information dissemination.

Currently, our school-going children only spend a grand total of ONE day on road safety throughout their entire six years of primary education. We can achieve much more by making road safety education an annual event for students in P1-P6. Much as other subjects, new skills and knowledge are introduced progressively across the years, and old skills and knowledge are reinforced. The Bikeability program run by the UK Dept for Transport (the equivalent of MoT) or Bike School SG's Bike Smart are highly structured cycling safety education programmes which are worth a deeper look.
This education programme should also be extended to students from secondary and tertiary levels, as the teenage years are when they gain more independence and begin to take to the roads by themselves.

A reminder to all road users to share the roads. Maybe paint a bike logo over the bus lane, or install road signs to remind all motorists to share the roads. The signs installed in Sentosa is a good example. This also serves to reinforce the message that use of road is not the exclusive rights of motorised vehicles only.
Our infrastructure has not kept pace with technology and behavioural shifts:
a) Modern vehicles suspension systems are so advanced and the cabins so well insulated that painted road strips neither cause discomfort nor slow vehicles down.
b) Drivers have to deal with multiple technological distractions while driving - GPS unit, central LCD console, mobile phone, LCD TV - in addition to passengers in the cars
c) Pedestrians on foot have a tendency to talk on their phone, deeply engrossed with listening to music, or worse, bury their faces in the smartphone oblivious to the danger in their surroundings.
d) It is not uncommon to see a Foreign Worker cycling with a mobile phone stuck to his ear or worse, texting while cycling!
e) Our pedestrian & zebra crossings are underwhelmingly underdesigned for safety - no features currently exist that force a vehicle to slow down without choice.

(a)+(b)+(c)+(d)+(e) = a lethal mix of causes and factors that will result in fatal accidents.
Factor (a) - We cannot undo technological advances by car manufacturers, but we can implement new road mechanisms to enhance the sensory feedback to drivers.
An examples was given where TP has been sending out mixed messages to cyclists - a family was ticketed/warned for cycling on the pavement in Sengkang, and again while they were cycling on the roads in Tampines. Clearly, TP needs to be clear with regards to rules, and be consistent when it comes to enforcement.
Clarifications are needed regarding 1. Cycling in bus lanes 2. Cycling on viaducts and 3. Cycling on pavements.

Re-evaluate qualifying conditions for overseas drivers license conversion.The current process for converting a foreign drivers license into a Singapore license fails to take into account the cultural background of the driver. Eastern Europe, Russia, China, for example, have very different driving cultures from ours. For example, we see a lot of bus drivers from PRC who drive aggressively merely because it is acceptable for them to do so in where they come from! All foreign licensed drivers should go through and pass a cultural immersion course before being allowed to drive on our roads.

Compiled by Calvin Boo 22 Feb 2013

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Bike to work, Swee Chay

Smiling and abit sweaty.. but definitely a healthy choice!
Cycling to work seems to be a very foreign concept in Singapore. But I know it is changing... helped of course by the sky high COE and increasingly unreliable public transport....
I was pleasantly surprised to meet Swee Chay at the traffic junction while I walked from IMM carpark(yes, I am sad pathetic guy who drives.. dude.. I stay in Punggol and have to drop my kid.. what do u think??) to my workplace at Dell IBP.
Swee Chay has recently been mixed commuting(cycle and jog) to work. His choice of bike is the normal Carrefour bicycle with a big basket on the front. It is not pretty but it certainly works. Looking at his smiles, I think he is making a damm good choice! Ride on sir!
MTB equipped with fenders front and rear plus a big basket
"Tar Glamm" ?? But it bloody hell works! 
Green man and he poodles along.. look at those leg muscles! 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

LCSG servicing workshop @ Punggol

Folks helping out Lovecyclingsg community to make the steel horses we ride safe and in tip top condition.  Not by a theory lesson but a live "getting their hands dirty" approach which we find works better.

We gathered at Punggol MRT, Blk 272 multi purpose hall and practised under the supervision of George Lim and many experienced helpers.

We tackled the most commonly faced issues. One most common issue is the tyre puncture and had everyone change out/check the inner tube and reinstall them back. Lots of fumbling on the tubes and how to use the hand pump to get the tyre the right pressure.  But all agreed, it was good to learn under shade and instruction.. so that when "murphy" comes at the least expected moment... they are at least equipped with the skillset to change the tyre.

In addition, safety aspects of proper brake adjustments, gearing were covered and done by the riders themselves.  The riders also had a close look over their bicycles, checking each components (guided by the LCSG Angels) and how to look out for impending trouble. 

It was an awesome effort and done in a very LCSG Kampong style. Lots of sweat, dirty hands and grease but every one was smiling. Love it!

Many thanks to Encik George Lim, Keng Yong, Alvin Wong, Khairul, Keng Yong, Stanley Kum, Vince li, Zack, Steve Tan, Uncle KC and Steven Tang for helping teach the folks.

More photos here
Folks helping folks! 
Ming tian helping out Cindy 
Main lecturer and demostrater. Encik George sharing and demoing what to do and look out for
Steve sharing the finer points on Derailuer adjustments
Keng Yong helping a fellow rider out
I do, I learn. Confirm!