Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Farewell Ride

Last Saturday, just before midnight, I went out for a ride with my neighbour who also happens to be a friend from secondary school. We now live two blocks apart in the same estate.

Aside from the above, we also share another thing in common: we are both fathers of two young children. What this means is that, rides are always somewhat pre-arranged, but always tentative. There is always the likelihood of it being cancelled, though so far I think I've managed to proceed 99% of the time. The main condition: kids must be asleep - this means that rides are always arranged to start past 11 pm.

In any case, my friend rides a Brompton as well. This one was brought back from the UK as he was working there for a few months. There was some hassle at the airport, but worth it I would say. Oh, did I mention that it is a six-speed titanium model that he got for roughly 2K SGD? Unheard of!! Someone else ordered the bike and changed his mind, that's how he got the deal - lucky him!

This was our first ride together by the way - I have many cycling buddies who are also married / young fathers so it is all about availability. We had no specific plans but eventually decided that it would be fitting to have a relaxed ride to say goodbye to McD at ECP. I really wanted to go there one last time, without the crowd on closing day.

Getting to ECP from Tampines is really easy - 99.99% Park Connector Network. You go from Tampines towards Simei PCN, and then Bedok PCN. If you're cycling in the day it might get a bit crowded around Tampines and Simei MRT but that's about it. Entry from Bedok PCN brings you into East Coast Park somewhere near the Sailing Centre. 2 - 8- 7 and you're there!

Once we got to East Coast Park it was straight to McD. On our way to and fro I saw many foldies but couldn't really pick out anyone, nor did I hear anyone call out for me. Apparently our friend Tomorrow was there as well with some buddies.

I'm not really a big fan of McD, but this particular outlet holds a lot of memories especially of secondary school days, barbecues, cycling with my wife in our late teens, rollerblading end-to-end... For our last meal there I went with the McSpicy and my friend went with the trusty Fillet o Fish.

In any case, this is a cycling blog and I'm not going to get too sentimental or wax lyrical about fast-food, but I mainly want to highlight this particular route. 

If you have three hours-or-so, this route is excellent for a really relaxed ride (pace + can hold conversation) with a nice break (your choice of activity) in between (we were at McD for almost an hour by the way). And since we were riding at night, there were many stretches of uninterrupted cycling. The loop from Tampines Central to McD and back is around 30 km - mostly flat and a nice distance in my opinion. Suitable and doable for most people. 

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