5 Green Places to Ride With Your Kids
Ivan How | 8th Jun 2015 | FEATURES
The Usual Places
Why cycle on congested, smoke-filled roads when you can cycle on picturesque paths surrounded by the emerald foliage of our supposed garden city? Not only is it safer for your kids, it’s an escape from the exhausting hustle of city life. Who couldn’t use some of that once in a while? You could use some of these, for example:
This is where many of us learnt to ride a bicycle for the first time. Oh the memories! If you need a semi-urban cycling getaway that offers beautiful greenery while still providing a restroom and convenience store around every corner, East Coast Park is the place for the family!
Stretched along the reclaimed coast of East Singapore, East Coast Park attracts large crowds every weekend, and for good reason. Unless jostling for space with other cyclists and joggers is your thing, you should probably visit this place on a weekday.
Try cycling from end to end of this extensive path, with park amenities on one side and the beach on the other. Tired? Take a break on the beach, or a jetty, or one of the many rock groynes punctuating the sandy coast. Come and see for yourself why East side is the best side.
2. Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
If you’ve ever been to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, you’d know the place is definitely not lacking in greenery. And, why visit the Zoo when you can see wildlife for free, in their own natural habitat?
This is the site of Singapore’s highest hill at 163.63 metres, as well as home to a vast number of plant, animal and insect species. The mountain biking trail is located on the sides, winding its way through the surrounding area. Right smack in the geographic centre of the country, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is also quite literally the most centralized location on this list.
Take your kids to this Singaporean landmark and let them experience a taste of nature in Singapore; what’s left of it, anyway. But be warned: it might turn into a hike instead of a ride as the trail is not for everyone.
More off-beat paths
3. Pulau Ubin
This is the only place on the list not located on Singapore’s main island, and it’s every bit as amazing as the others. One of Singapore’s largest nature reserves, Pulau Ubin is a rare specimen of a place in Singapore largely undisturbed by the meddling hand of urbanization, but meddled with just enough that you can cycle through it with your kids on asphalt roads.
Don’t cycle too fast though, or you’ll miss out on the stunning natural beauty that surrounds you in Pulau Ubin’s lush forests. If bird watching sounds interesting to you, make occasional stops with a bird guide and a pair of binoculars, and marvel at one of the highest concentrations of wild avian diversity in the world.
Also be sure not to miss Chek Jawa, an intertidal flat on Pulau Ubin that boasts a staggering amount of plant and animal diversity that would have any National Geographic photographer drooling over his camera. Sadly, the government has plans to reclaim Chek Jawa, effectively destroying this paradise of biodiversity, so visit it before it’s gone forever. For the more adventurous, Ketam Mountain Bike Park awaits. Bring along your protective gear, you’ll probably need it.
It may be quite a hassle to get there, but if you’re not keen on dragging your beautiful bicycle onto a boat, you can always rent a bike on the island.
4. Green Corridor
If you fancy a leisurely, scenic ride through a landscape of natural greenery in the heart of Singapore, don’t miss out on the Green Corridor.
This unique dirt path used to be the Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) railway track. After train operations ceased, the tracks were removed, leaving a trackbed and adjacent margins of grass – perfect for cycling and walking.
The ‘Rail Trail’ is long enough to satisfy avid cyclists, and connects many of Singapore’s green areas. If you have young kids in tow, there are plenty of spots along the trail where you can pop out for a drink or simply cut short the ride if it rains.
5. Bukit Timah Turf Club
This last may be the most family-friendly yet. Tucked away in what used to be a bustling horse racing track, lies a green cycling adventure waiting to be discovered by the intrepid cyclist.
This is a hidden gem known only to avid equestrians of the wheeled and legged sort: the tracks of the old Turf Club, while abandoned and partially reclaimed by nature, are a perfect spot for cycling for the family. The surrounding abandoned areas are also ripe for exploration, with old horse tracks perfect for your wheeled steed.
Be very careful, though. While this may be the whole charm of it, the place is, after all, abandoned and in disrepair. Also be wary of where you can and cannot wander, lest you end up trespassing.