Healthier and happier after ditching their cars to cycle to work
With the cycling culture growing in Singapore, more people are adopting cycling as their main mode of transportation. This includes using bicycles for short trips like getting to the nearest MRT station, going grocery shopping or even sending their children to and from school.
Some go as far as cycling all the way to work, and one such person is Mr Francis Chu. He decided to cycle to keep healthy when he had a health scare in 2004 when he experienced a dizzy spell after rushing up a flight of stairs.
Since then, the 57-year-old has cycled his way back to health by commuting to his office in Ubi on his bicycle. Mr Chu, who is CEO of Dream Lab One, begins his mornings by cycling with his wife before going to work.
He said: “We will cycle around to different areas as a form of exercise and also have breakfast. From there, I will cycle to work.”
Cycling started out as a great form of exercise which Mr Chu enjoyed, and he reflects that deciding to do it has changed his life for the better — he has become healthier and he feels great!
Madam Christina Cheong has been cycling to work for the past seven years. The cycling journey used to take about 50 minutes from Upper East to the CBD, before her move to Katong which subsequently reduced her travelling time by half. The regional sales manager of mining company Anglo American, who is a mother of three, doesn’t have time to head to the gym as she juggles between work and her family.
“I felt that cycling to work would be a great way to incorporate exercise into my daily routine. I still do own a car but my husband and I have decided not to buy a new car once the COE (Certificate of Entitlement) expires in two years,” said Madam Cheong.
Like Madam Cheong who is in her 40s, market development manager Desmond Cheong of high-end bicycle and accessories company Specialized Asia Pacific also chooses to cycle to work despite owning a car. In the past several months, he has made it a point to cycle to work two or three times a week because he wanted a healthier lifestyle.
Depending on traffic conditions, it takes Mr Cheong, 37, about 30 minutes to cycle from his home in Commonwealth to his Outram office 6km away. He also uses the Alexandra Park Connector Network (PCN) from Queenstown through Zion Road leading to Clarke Quay.
There is already an extensive interlinking network of intra-town routes, inter-town routes, Park Connectors and round-island routes that vastly improve connectivity for cyclists within and between towns. By 2030, all HDB towns will have a cycling network which means a total of 700km of cycling paths across the island.
“My advice to new cyclists would be to stick to the extensive PCN or new cycling networks that we currently have,” said Mr Cheong.
Mr Chu, Madam Cheong and Mr Cheong use their personal bicycles, but those intending to ride to work and don’t own a personal bicycle can also make use of the vast number of bicycle-sharing services located around Singapore. Aside from environmental benefits, these bicycle-sharing services are affordable and convenient to use. It is no wonder why this mode of transportation has become increasingly popular for first and last mile connectivity.
They park their bicycle at the workplaces, either at dedicated parking bays or in their offices. Cyclists who can’t park in their office will have access to designated parking zones near seven MRT stations. These are marked with a bright yellow border and located at Punggol, Hougang, Paya Lebar, Khatib, Sembawang, Pioneer and Lakeside. There are currently more than 20,000 bicycle parking lots at MRT stations across the island and the Land Transport Authority also plans to install 3,000 additional bicycle lots by 2018.
Apart from parking in a considerate manner, Mr Cheong, is also mindful of safety when riding to work. For instance, using a safety helmet and lights is a necessity for him, regardless of the time of day.
Madam Cheong, meanwhile, hopes there would be more measures to encourage more people to take up this form of transport while Mr Chu would like more incentives to be implemented to further support a car-lite society.
These cyclists are representative of the growing number of people who are incorporating an active mobility lifestyle into their daily lives. The benefits? They’re becoming healthier, and feeling happier
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