Cycling from Fort Road to Changi Village

We did 45km in about 4 hours. Cycling, not running. Three pastors from the Brompton Pastors’ Club – Richard Wong, Seng Chor and myself. Pastor Lawrence Koo and Daniel Lee could not join us.

We set off at about 7.30am from B1 carpark located at the beginning of the East Coast Service Road (near Fort Road). It was a free car park. We intended to meet earlier but I was waiting at the wrong car park B2. I don’t know how I got that wrong. I saw the WhatsApp and it said B1 car park but when I typed into the Google map it was B2.

At halfway point after the Bedok Jetty. where there are some repair tools, air pump, and water fountain.
At halfway point after the Bedok Jetty. where there are some repair tools, air pump, and a water fountain.

We cycled all the way to Changi Village with one or two drink stops. At one of the stop there was a station for cyclists. It had a few repair tools, an air pump and a water fountain. Wonderful idea. I commend the authorities for making such things available in this park connector.

At the end of the Changi Park with the sea in the background.
At the end of the Changi Park with the sea in the background.
A wife at the famous old Changi bridge
A wefie on the famous old Changi bridge

The scenic stretches of the route that I liked was the one after the Youth Adventure Center, with deciduous trees on both sides of the route. The other was the Changi Park itself with its tall casuarinas. We rode to the end of the Changi Park PCN.  I thought that it was so beautiful that the sea scape along the route had less ships (unlike the ECP PCN), and there were no restaurants, and there were less people around. The most boring section however was the straight and broad Coastal park connector path of about 8km. On both sides of this path were ongoing construction work of next two airport terminals.

Famous competitor of the best nasi lemak in Singapore
Famous competitor of the best nasi lemak in Singapore
The nasi lemak
The nasi lemak

At the Changi Village hawker center we had a delicious nasi lemak breakfast. It was just past 9am. I used to patronise the famous stall that earned the accolade of best nasi lemak in Singapore. But Richard insisted this competing stall was better. After eating, I agreed with him. The rice was soft and moist, and the fish I ordered was fresh and meaty. We downed it with 100 plus to replenish our lost body salt.

We decided not to rest too long. We moved off for the return leg. The weather was cloudy and we were thankful for that. Especially at the monotonous Coastal PCN which had no tree cover. The clouds gave us shelter and cooled us. You see, in the late morning, it is usually very  sunny and humid.

After that my legs grew tired , and my bum ached. This was the first time I covered such distance.  Prior to this, 20 km was the most I have ridden. Pastor Seng Chor just recovered from a flu and he too had gone slow and steady. Pastor Richard went strong throughout as he was a veteran of such long rides. He was physically well conditioned. This was a piece of cake for him.

On the whole we enjoyed it. When I reached the end point I felt relief as well as a sense of satisfaction. I was thinking of how in my fathers’ generation men retired at 55 years old, and were expected to gather moss, and rot at home. We were all over 55 and we were not at home, not gathering moss, and still active in ministry. Times have changed. Attitudes have changed. Retirement is indeed a social construct.

Trekking Pulau Ubin

Boats at Changi ferry point awaiting passengers
Boats at Changi ferry point awaiting passengers
A pleasant 15 min boat ride to the island of Pulau Ubin
A pleasant 15 min boat ride to the island of Pulau Ubin
Trekker friends: Michael, Y.K., Nellie, Jane
Trekker friends: Michael, Y.K., Nellie, Jane, Judith

The last time I went to Pulau Ubin, I was a teenager. With a few friends we took a boat across to the island and walked across the small holding farms and orchards and forest to a small beach front. We swam an hour or two and then made our way back. All I remembered was feeling weary from the long hours of walking and taking the public bus from Bukit Timah to Changi.

Now it is so much easier. We drove to the car park next to the Changi Village hawker center. The ferry point is just in front of the car park with electronic meter so there was no need to worry about the number of coupons to use.

When there was a load of 12 people, the boatman brought us aboard a boat and brought us across to the island. The boat ride took about 15 minutes and we paid $2.50 each directly to the boatman. Soon we were on Pulau Ubin and walking on bitumen roads.

On bitumen roads
On bitumen roads
Pitstop with a beach view
Pitstop with a beach view
We came across many Muslim tombstones and this is one of them
We came across many Muslim tombstones and this is one of them
Can we really call it a "wild" boar?
Can we really call it a "wild" boar?
Standing in front of what was once a chief surveyor's colonial house
Standing in front of what was once a chief surveyor's colonial house
The Chek Jawa boardwalk
The Chek Jawa boardwalk
On the boardwalk
On the boardwalk
Atapchee - sea palm
Atapchee - sea palm
Looking down at friends from the tower at Chek Jawa
Looking down at friends from the tower at Chek Jawa
At the herbal garden
At the herbal garden

We walked from 9am to about 1pm. At the ferry point on Pulau Ubin was a small village where we had a seafood lunch at one of the restaurants. The highlight of the walk was an encounter with “wild” boars that seem very used to human encounters, and the boardwalk through Chek Jawa, one of Singapore’s conserved ecosystems, a coastal walk, “a unique natural area where six major habitats meet and mix”. It was more an enjoyable excursion than a trek. Cycling would be more fun, and there were many shops with all kinds of bikes for hire. Maybe the next time, that is what I will do.

Pulau Ubin circled
Pulau Ubin circled