SINGAPORE: At 8.30am, Mr George Kee sets off from his home in Pasir Ris to his office in Eunos. The 54-year-old has ditched his car for his bicycle, a choice he has made almost every day for three years. Besides travelling on roads, his ride avoids traffic congestion at certain stretches, offering him green views through park connectors.
“Cycling makes me healthy. It got rid of my diabetic condition. It makes me calmer, instead of driving on the road. And I can have better food options. I'm very motivated by food. On the way, I pass a lot of food centres (with) nice food, comfort food - and I have no issues at all with parking,” said Mr Kee.
Mr Kee is part of Love Cycling SG, a group of enthusiasts who hope to interest more people to cycle to work. Come Feb 28, Mr Kee will be one of the leaders guiding amateur cyclists on their ride from the heartlands to the city, where roads at the civic district and CBD will be closed to vehicles for the first Car-Free Sunday.
Those who have been thinking about cycling from home to work but never felt too confident about it may want to give it a shot when Car-Free Sunday rolls around. Amateur cyclists can ride with a "mentor" from Love Cycling SG.
Mr Francis Chu, a co-founder of Love Cycling SG, said one of the biggest challenges of inexperienced cyclists is finding a safe route.
“An experienced person can show (them) the way very easily. With the announcement of the car-free day, which is between 7 and 9 in the morning, it's precisely the time that people have to go to work, so we thought it would be a nice opportunity,” he said.
Three groups will be organised - from the east at Kembangan MRT station, the west at Clementi MRT station and the north at Bishan Park. Each group can take up to 50 riders and will be accompanied by five to six experienced cyclists.
To better simulate what it would be like to cycle to work, the group will ride at a "commuting pace" of about 15km to 25km per hour. That is a little faster than the pace one would take for a leisurely cycle, which is typically under 15km per hour. On Feb 28, the group will start its 10km route from the heartlands at 7am and is expected to reach the Padang in about an hour.
Mr Chu said Feb 28 would not be “particularly representative” of traffic conditions, but believes it could be useful. “We will be using mostly park connectors which, on a normal day, are also traffic-free. So if people know how to go from these few locations, they can build up confidence on a normal day; hopefully they will be able to (give it a) try later themselves," he said.
Those interested can sign up at the Love Cycling SG Facebook page under the events tab.
The group said it will continue the initiative, if there is enough demand.
The pilot car-free initiative will see roads in the civic district closed to vehicles every last Sunday of the month, for six months from Feb 28.