Disconcerting as it may be, its nice to know that places like Pulau Ubin have largely escaped the reach of modernisation. An island just 10 mins boat ride from Changi Ferry Point, 6 of us all on foldies, decided to check it out. It seemed like a great idea as I have not been to this idyllic island for over ten years, and a perfect respite from the turbulent global financial markets. The boatman was impressed that the bikes could fold and took half the space in his tight cabin. I asked him if he would consider halfing the bicycle fee of $2, and he laughed not quite sure how to respond!
It may be foolhardy to attempt the Ketam Trail on 20" & 16" (Paul the hero) little wheels but surprisingly, it was quite manageable with some determination and grit. A big group of cyclists on rented MTBs took one look at the tough trail and decided to stick to the gravel road. The warning sign "Not for first time cyclists" may have scared them off and they were astonished to see us popping out of the bush on "clown" bikes further down the park.
Yes, the job would be much easier with the right tool but the thick, fat Big Apples on my Speed 8 soaked up the gravel roads easily and provided security on loose rocks and slippery grass. It helped too that I fitted a smaller 42t Biopace chain ring that allowed me to scale those hills easily. I think the others will be rushing off to fit this brilliant mod on their foldies after today. Even Keong, our newest rider, managed to complete the Blue Trail with a bit of pushing and we all felt extremely accomplished. Rich with a Helios on Marathon Runners road tires, expressed how amazed he was that foldies could tackle such rough terrain. The sturdiness of the frame joint was impressive.
Lunch was at the First Stop Ubin Seafood restaurant. An ice cold fresh coconut with refreshing 100 Plus did the job of quenching our big thirst. Sambal kangkong, stewed chicken, ma po tofu, sweet & sour pork plus foo yong omelette with steam rice made for a delicious lunch at a reasonable S$55 for 6. Since it was my special day, my good buddies gave me a nice treat.
It rained just as were finishing our feast and what perfect timing it was. If we were stuck at the Ketam Mountain Bike Trail then, we would be in wet trouble. A glorious day indeed with a pleasant discovery of our foldie's extraordinary 4WD capabilities!