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N. Sivasothi,
a.k.a. Otterman,
Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore. Since 1998 with origins from OneList.

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Sat 12 Nov 2005

CGW Cyclethon - NParks' first-ever mountain bike event

Category : events

The thunder and lightning that began at 5am thankfully cleared by 7.30am, and cyclists assembled for the first-ever mountain bike ride organised by the National Parks Board.

Initiated by the North West CDC as part of their Clean and Green Week (CGW) activities, the 19+km route took cyclists along the northern edge of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, without infringing core areas of the reserve yet keeping cyclists safe from heavy vehicular traffic.

And thus we were able to ride from Zhenghua Park to Bishan Park this morning. On a route based on park connectors and safe roads, it easy to forget we were in Singapore - we were cycling safely, with a sense of space, and listening to the sounds of insects and birds singing on a rain-washed morning.

A cheerful Mr Lim Swee Sway, of the NWCDC MPs sounded the alert to a very relaxed bunch of cyclists, seconds before flagging us off.

We weren't the only ones being flagged off - briskwalkers set off minutes after us. The various groups were accompanied by NParks officers and I spotted several familiar faces interacting with the community today.

The cyclists started off through a small path in a vegetable plot! Then it was a steep climb into Gangsa Track before reaching Track 15. There we found a support vehicle that dished out bananas raising and drinks - how nice!

Then we were off to Mandai Road, Old Mandai Road and across the Seletar Reservoir into a new track created on some degraded land. This allowed us to avoid some tough road junctions, but it was really muddy, making it the toughest part of the course! We loved it!

NParks staff organised the event and even carved out this new trail. Some of them even suffered tick attacks, and were still scratching their legs last night!

We survived and took a familiar road along the edge of the Lower Peirce.

As we got out of Bishan Park, we felt exposed as we joined main traffic. But it was just a crossing into the next section of the park where the CGW festivities were being held.

Finally after all of us cyclists had eaten, NParks staff who made the event a success finally caught a breather - it may have been their first organised mountain bike ride, but they sure worked like pros!

More photos in the Flickr Album.

Posted at 2:48PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news