Monday, February 18, 2008

Coastal Park Connector

Today (17 Feb), I set off on my bike at 1625 hrs from my place of residence to East Coast Park. However, East Coast was not my destination, in fact, every time I cycle, the only destination is the starting point which is my home. I enjoy the process of cycling because cycling is my hobby though many also cycle with an objective like going to places of work.

The agenda of today’s cycling was to try out the coastal park connector (>8km in total length) which I have always wanted to try since its opening. This coastal park connector links Changi Beach to East Coast Park.

After 30 min of cycling, I reached East Coast Park and continued blazing my bike all the way towards Changi. Along the way, I enjoyed the sea, breezes and watching the aeroplanes flying above me and not to forget the myriads of different groups of people tearing down the park in their skates and bicycles.

Finally I reached SAFRA resort. This landmark symbolises the end of the East Coast Park and after another 1 minute of cycling, I found myself commencing on the Coastal Park Connector.

The start of the connector was set on connectors which are a series of winding bends against a very interesting backdrop of different colours of plants, which I thought for a moment was man-made vegetation.

Soon, I reached a zebra crossing, and this was the only gap for the whole of the coastal park connector and thus it was not so bad for cyclists.

After crossing the zebra crossing, the winds and bends became gradually fewer and soon the park connector ran parallel to Changi Coast Road and I immediately knew this long and parallel road will not terminate that easily as it is indeed a very long journey to complete this portion of the park connector – 8 km in total length!

My legs soon grew tiring as I cycled like there was no tomorrow on this portion of the park connector. However I was treated to majestic views of the gigantic aeroplanes taking off along me as I cycled; it seemed that my bicycle and the aeroplanes were racing with each other but of course, the aeroplane manoeuvred and soon it was up in the air many times faster than my poor struggling bike. I was immensely satisfied at having cycled this portion of the connector as it offers an unparallel, unobstructed and complete view of the aeroplanes taking off………..from the basic manoeuvring to the changing of trajectories and the final taking off.

As I cycled on this hot day and my legs becoming more and more aching, I suddenly felt my bladder needed relief. The rich and luxuriant canopy of rich vegetation tempted me to seek relief in the army way via camouflage. It was also quiet and remote with no cyclist in sight and this fact also tempted me to……… but it was just a joke, I recalled that there was a free toilet at Changi Beach Park for me to do my business.

It was really a wonderful workout for one’s body cycling along this portion. It was really relaxing to partake in views of the giant aeroplanes, nature and the fast vehicles trailing by along Changi Coast Road.

Though this portion of the road was long and seem to be never-ending, one will not be a loner on this connector as occasionally, I would meet cyclists, donned in somewhat professional cycling suites and many of them were expatriates.

After a tiring cycle, I reached Changi Beach Park. With my adrenalin still rushing, I continued my venture and blazed past SAF ferry terminal where I witnessed many recruits in No. 4 very carefully folding their sleeves to ensure the standard “Smart 4”. I pity these recruits but no choice, every man needs to go through NS in Singapore unless under certain circumstances. I do not also want to be reminded of NS, it was a sad time for me.

I paused my cycling at a certain location in Changi Beach where there are certain kind of special trees like Christmas trees. The ground below them are made up not of soil but dead branches of these trees. With the strong breezes, the gigantic aircrafts hovering above me with their ear-piercing thrills, the strong aroma of satays from some BBQ pits, and the sights of joggers and beach goers, it was truly a very refreshing moment! By the way, the park connector along Changi Beach is called the Loyang Park connector.

The sky grew darker and darker and I did not pause at the popular Changi Village food and hawker centres for a bite but instead headed home through ‘devising’ my own journey along some park connectors and pavements.

Finally, I returned home at around 1910 hrs, after slightly more than 2 hrs 30 min of cycling.

Currently there is a hot raging debate on where cyclists should belong: on the pavement or on the road. The legal answer is the latter though in Singapore, one will see dozens of cyclists on the pavement everyday! Those who advocate cyclists should travel on the road shall try it out and experience for themselves how extremely unsafe it is !

And along my journey back, I still saw buses packed full with botak recruits heading towards Changi Ferry Terminal and one is inclined to shout at them: “ORD LOH !”

It is not a perverted thought to shout that two words, my platoons mates and I heard this cry many times from civilians as we travelled along the road in either military trucks or in buses, wearing army uniforms.

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