Here are Singaporeans who have incorporated cycling into their daily lives. Find out how it can be an attractive mode of transport. By Bryna Singh
For designer Eugene Chua, 41, cycling is his chief mode of transport. He clocks about 40km every weekday. He is out of the house by about 7am to cycle his 11-year-old daughter from their home in Punggol to her primary school nearby. He makes this trip on a longtail bicycle – one with an extension at the back for his daughter to sit on. He then cycles back home to hop on his foldable bike to go to work in Tai Seng. When he knocks off work, he cycles home to Punggol. There, he switches back to the longtail and is out of the house in a jiffy to pick up his younger child, a six-year-old son, from a kindergarten in Sengkang.
Designer Eugene Chua transports his children Chua Lin, 11, and Chua Yi, six, on a longtail bicycle and cycles on his foldable bicycle to work. Photo: Chew Seng Kim/The Straits Times
Only then is he ready for the final ride home. It sounds like a lot of work, but Mr Chua has no complaints. “I get to kill two birds with one stone – fetch my kids and exercise at the same time,” he says. It does not matter either that his wife, a 43-year-old primary school teacher, gets to drive the family car to work in air-conditioned comfort while he sweats it out. “I don’t miss driving. The traffic and jams irritate me,” he says. With his lifestyle, Mr Chua is the poster boy for Singapore’s drive towards a car-lite society.
Today, cycling accounts for just 1.5 per cent of all commutes, but the plan is to increase this to between 3 and 4.5 per cent in the next five to 10 years. In recent years, the Government has pushed for cycling to become a more attractive mode of transport. It will build cycling networks in all Housing Board towns by 2030 and roll out schemes such as bikesharing to encourage more people to take to two wheels. Last month also marked the completion of the first phase of transforming Ang Mo Kio into a model walking and cycling town – some two years after it was identified as a car-lite testbed. While it remains to be seen if the measures will get more people on bikes, cycling enthusiasts say they have noticed that cycling is going from a fringe sub-culture to the mainstream.