Thanks to the relative flatness of the Island (and those 200kms or so of park connectors) there is no shortage of options available for biking families in Singapore. Just steer clear of the roads (drivers are not super-cyclist-friendly here – take it from us!) and head to any of our reco’s for some serious cycling. Helmets at the ready? Ride on!
The Park Connector Network is a relatively recent addition to the Singapore cycling scene. In a nutshell, it aims to connect all the nature reserves and green spaces in Singapore with paved paths. The best part about this initiative is it means your kids can ride their bikes away from the main roads and pedestrian-filled footpaths (bare in mind though that it is still a work in progress so there remain parts of the network that don’t completely join or have major roads that need to be crossed via overhead bridges).
The Alexandra Canal Linear Park is a leisurely ride (and a rather popular one too!) with 1.4km of flat paths for tikes on bikes. Picking up the track from Queenstown MRT, expect littlies to be distracted by the playgrounds along the route! It ends at Tanglin Road so you’ll be well placed for a post-cycle coffee at Spruce in Phoenix Park. Older ones with more energy can continue the path for another 1.7km along the Alexandra Park Connector towards Zion Road (you can refresh with a cold drink from the Zion Riverside Food Centre).
School-aged kiddos and teens looking for a challenge can try their hand at the Kallang Park Connector. It’s a 7.6km trek that starts at Bishan Park and ends at Kallang Riverside Park, and basically follows the Kallang River through Bishan, Toa Payoh, Patong Pasir and Serangoon. Keep an eye out for the wildlife; squirrels, monitor lizards and birds are commonly seen along the river. Parents looking for a less intense cycle for their just-learning-to-ride preschoolers can do a lap (or two) of Bishan Park – there are plenty of wide paths for wobbly wheels – and playgrounds for when the novelty of cycling wears thin.
Head to the coast for a bit of pedal power and take a ride next to the airport (we don’t know many kids that don’t love planes!). The Coastal Park Connector starts at Changi Beach Park (Carpark 7) and connects through to East Coast Park. It’s an 8km flat stretch of path that runs parallel to the Changi Airport runway– you’ll be cycling with the airport on one side of you and the coastal strip on the other (thank goodness for cooling sea breezes). Don’t have your own bike? Pick up a bicycle for rent at the PCN Pit-Stop at Changi Beach Carpark 7 from 10am to 7pm daily (opens at 9am on weekends). It’s at 3 Changi Ferry Road.
If long rides on park connectors are a bit much for the littlies, head towards any of our fab regional parks – most have cycle-friendly tracks and are perfect for a quick scoot around.
East Coast Park offers up 15km of dedicated riding tracks, perfect for the whole family. The path is lovely and flat and offers fabulous views, while remaining fairly shady and breezy. You can rent bicycles for kids and adults from any of the PCN Pit-Stops located along the track or bring your own. The best part is there is no need to backtrack – simply pick up your wheels at one pit stop and return to another. They even have bicycles for children too. Keep an eye on the smallest tots though as some cyclists can garner up a bit of speed along the track and might not be watching out for junior.
Speed demons can rack up some kilometres at West Coast Park; a full lap of the grounds is 5kms, and is a lovely spot for the older kiddies to freewheel whilst the toddlers play on any of the eight adventure playgrounds. The path is generally well-shaded too so it makes for a pleasant ride.
Pasir Ris Park is another popular spot for a session of coastline cycling, while Admiralty Park in the north has a 2km-walking trail that is perfect for a back-to-nature ride. Besides the wildlife (and there is plenty), there are a few hills on this trail too so it’s probably best left for more confident bike riders.
Head further west towards Jurong Central Park for a 2km spin on the dedicated cycling and jogging track or stop for a board game – there is a life-sized Snakes and Ladders Playground and a Ludo Garden. If you can tear your preschoolers away from the game, use the flat space of the park to ditch the training wheels and teach the kiddies to ride solo.
Need a longer ride for your sporty teens? There are 4 main adventure trails in S’pore that provide the perfect cycling challenge. Just remember to take a map with you before you go (to make sure you stay on the right track!).
The Northern Explorer Loop is a 25km loop that passes through 11 parks and nature reserves near Sembawang, Yishun and Woodlands. Future Cadel Evans’s should be able to complete the track in 2-4 hours.
Further east from here, the North Eastern Riverine Loop is a seamless ride, where 80% of the trail is along reservoirs and waterways. You can rack up some serious speed on all 26kms of the trail.
East Coasters can try their hand at the Eastern Coastal Loop – it’s a challenging 42km, but at least half of this is along the coastline so it’s shaded and hopefully breezy (it’s not too hilly either – bonus).
The Western Adventure Loop is the most vigorous of all the trails. At 20kms in length, parts of the route travel through the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve so that means there’s plenty of steep hills (some might say it’s mountain bike worthy!). Set aside 2-4 hours for this cycle and keep in mind it can be fairly wild in parts, so it’s not one for the faint-hearted.
Steer clear of the glossier ‘attractions’ and take your charges for a cycle on Sentosa. You can either bring the kiddos’ bikes with you (best if they still use training wheels) or hire bikes from GoGreen Cycle – you can even rent tandem bikes for a bit of extra fun.
It’s best to stick to the beach walk if you’ve got little ones. The roads are flatter and easier for kiddies just learning to cycle (no cars either, just keep an eye out for the beach trams). Older ones can round up Dad (score!) to take them further afield and push themselves on some of the more hilly tracks around the Island.
Prefer a tour? The Sentosa Island Explorer has you covered. Offering a 1-hour cycling tour of the Island (kids must be at least 140cm) for $28 each, you’ll be led off the beaten track to discover a different side of Sentosa.
Where to buy (or rent) Bikes
Bike Haus has a full range of children’s bicycles (even teeny tiny bikes with training wheels for the youngest cyclists) plus all the riding gear you could ever need. Stop for a chat and you may just be given a discount on the retail price of your new wheels (but don’t tell them we told you so!).
Treknology is one of the biggest bike stores on the Island and stocks the coolest and the latest in Trek bicycles for the serious riders out there. They also have all the gear you’ll need to get riding (helmets ahoy!), as well as kid’s bikes and accessories.
Over towards River Valley, Bike Connect sells children’s bicycles and accessories (and even BMX bikes for stunt-prone teens). They can even kit out your wheels mama, with an on-the-back baby seat for precious little ones.
For your diary
Set for completion in late 2014, you can expect to cycle from Changi all the way to Gardens by the Bay. That’s a 25km, almost-entirely coastline ride that will afford stunning views of the sea and the Marina Bay area. We’re definitely excited to see this one completed soon!