The hot and humid weather in Singapore presents a constant challenge to cyclists here. All the moanings and groanings will not change the uncomfortable weather so we decided that the only way is to try night cycling and that we did. It was pouring the whole day and the ride was cancelled only to be revived at the eleventh hour as the dark skies finally cleared.
A last minute phone call activated 5 of us, all scrambling to meet at Yio Chu Kang MRT station at 830pm. It was a melange of 3 foldies - Dahon Curve SL, Brompton and Tikit (all 16" wheeled) and 2 renown touring bikes - Surly LHT and a brand new Raleigh Sojourner.
We were delayed a bit due to a headset problem with the Raleigh but soon were on our way to Changi Village, some 22km away. Traffic was still quite heavy but thankfully thinned out as we rode passed Sengkang, Pasir Ris and Loyang. They seemed to be giving us a wide berth thanks largely to our numerous blinking red lights which I reckoned blinded some drivers. The freshness and smell of the cool air after a storm was absolutely delightful.
At Changi Village, we were surprised to find the bike shop still opened at 10pm! Clement of Changi Cycling Services was just about to close when we invaded in, buying all sorts of stuff. He kindly sorted out the Raleigh's headset, much to Mike's utter relief.
Meanwhile, we feasted on the world famous Ayam Penyet (squashed fried chicken) and downed all sorts of cold and hot drinks at the food centre.
The food centre was bustling and Singapore really does not sleep. I spotted a really obese cat who obviously enjoys the good life and she was just happy to lay around lazily, digesting her unlimited buffet of Nasi Lemak fish.
We saddled up and rode the Changi Airport perimeter road. It was deafening to hear the never ending traffic of planes landing and taking off but that seemed to get us into the mood for some fast cycling. 31-32kmh was the norm until we realised what's the hurry? Cycling along the ECP was also intriguing as we spotted many parked cars with couples working hard in contributing to increase the dismal birth rates in Singapore. But Dr J had other more important concerns. His Curve SL broke a rear spoke and although it could still ride, it was a case of when the rear wheel would give way. He took a taxi home later on.
Despite it being midnight, we felt absolutely safe and found the underpass to Joo Chiat Road. There were great plans to ride past the notorious district of Geylang for some bird watching and beef noodles but alas, it was getting too late for us old birds. A quick turn to Paya Lebar Road, the heavens opened on us. Fortunately, mercy was extended and the downpour was over rather quickly. That really refreshed us. Mike turned off at Serangoon Rd while the 3 of us continued on to Braddell Rd. At Thomson, the Surly returned to base leaving Paul and myself to enjoy our early morning ride home to Bukit Timah.
We got back at 3am. Tired but feeling rather satisfied that our first 70km ride all through the night turned out to be such great fun.
I was in Uni back in the 80s when this song by Cyndi Lauper was a big hit. Its lyrics has nothing to do with cycling (more with moving forward through the night together and a stray cat!) but the song is magical. Please enjoy this great hit ...