By Kenneth Wee, Finder Blogger: The Bike Guy, and founder of the Singapore Bike School
Many expats come to Singapore without a car. Partly because they’re unsure how to buy one, partly because of the cost and partly because bikes are a great alternative to driving!
Unfortunately, many expats are also a bit nervous about wheeling around the Singapore streets because they may be unfamiliar with the rules of the road and how to navigate city streets not equipped for bikers. Here are six of my tips to get you started (and check the link to the guide to commuting by bike in Singapore below)!
Bikes are economical, environmentally-friendly, can help you get fit and definitely more fun than being sardined in the train or stuck in a jam. Setting off earlier in the morning when its cooler really makes for a pleasant and more leisurely commute. With a little forward preparation and the proper gear, your bike commute might even become the best part of your day!
1) Invest in a bike rack
For a daily commute, a bike with a rack is the most practical. Luggage or pannier bags offer practical storage to transform your bike into a true sport utility vehicle. Alternatively, a good backpack will also do the job of helping you haul stuff such as clothes, laptops or groceries, if you don’t mind a weight on your back.
2) Fend off the tropical elements
Fenders will keep you clean and dry when road conditions are less-than-perfect. Nothing worse than showing up for work or school with a wet stripe of shame down your back. I simply love the simplicity of these – Ass Savers!
3) Shine your light
In addition to keeping you more visible and safe, lights extend your riding hours after dark. Singapore traffic rules require a white light up front and a red light for the rear. Sticking an extra red blinker on the back of your helmet doesn’t hurt either.
4) Tired tires are the enemy
Keep going with low-profile slicks that are puncture-resistant. Schwalbe offers an extensive range of excellent tires for commuters.
5) Lock it up
Have a good quality lock handy in case you need to nip into a shop or building for a minute. Depending on what you pay, you can get a lock suitable for temporarily parking your bike anywhere between grandma’s house and the ghetto parts of Geylang.
6) Have these ride essentials
Put a seat bag on your bike with these items for peace of mind:
- a lightweight and versatile multi-tool
- tire levers to fix a flat (learn how in our Bike Maintenance workshops)
- pump or CO2 cartridge (make sure you know how to use them)
- spare tube(s) (make sure it’s new and fits your tire size. Carry more than one if you can because as wise people say ‘two is one and one is none’)
- money, ID and of course, your phone
Enjoy your ride!
P.S. Local cycling advocate and ‘cyclo-commuter’ Calvin Boo has written an excellent super-comprehensive guide to commuting by bike in Singapore. Read it here!
About Kenneth Wee
Called “Coach K” by his students, Kenneth started the Singapore Bike School in 2010. As the island’s only Union Cycliste Internationale-trained BMX and MTB coach, he’s taught hundreds of kids and adults to cycle and maintain their bikes. Kenneth also runs Bike School Asia, Asia’s first professional bike mechanic training school. Before that, he spent 26 years working in advertising, design and communications.