Have I been unfaithful to my old bike?

I put up a picture of the new bike, but never put up a picture of my old one, and yet it served me well, and my son Toby as well, over many years. I owe it many hours of safe riding. So this is now remedied.

It weighs 12.4 Kg as shown, wherease the new one weighs only 9.2 Kg, as shown in the picture in my previous post. Such a big weight difference is really surprising, with the steel bike 25% lighter than the alu one. Surely this is in part because of the higher quality components, but it shows that steel bikes are not necessarily heavy.

By the way, I found this useful blog about Singapore cycling (cyclinginsingapore).

 

 

The new bike arrived, and I rode it today.

genesis_equilibriumIt is a steel road bike, something which is hard to find in Singapore, so I bought mine in London, in the great shop near where I used to live: Bike and Run. But it was not cheap! It is a Genesis Equilibrium frame, built up in the shop with strong 36-spoke wheels and high specification components.The advantage of steel is that it flexes more than aluminium, which means the ride is much more comfortable. The steel absorbs the vibrations of the road surface, and gives me a smoother ride. Besides, the components are much higher grade than on my previous bike. Gears change smoothly, which is useful when stopping at or starting from traffic lights, and when climbing hills.

I really enjoyed the ride.

CyclingNTU

The purpose of the blog is to share the experience of commuting to and from NTU by bicycle. Perhaps this will encourage others to try commuting by bicycle. The banner picture, taken on the Serpentine bridge in Hyde Park, London, reminds me of my London commute. Not a scene likely to be encountered in Singapore.

Here, a shower is definitely advisable after a cycle ride I take advantage of the facility in the LKCMedicine office. Previously I was using the showers and changing room in the sports centre. This was fine, but it meant I had to cycle to work and take the shuttle bus C or A to get to and from the sports centre. Convenient shower facilites are a important.

So, about the commute? Here is a rough map of my 18km commute to and from Bukit Timah.bicycle route

It takes me about 45-50 minutes each way. If I leave home at 07:15, I reach my office at ~08:00. Traffic lights account for a sizeable fraction of the commute time. For comparison, the public commute transport takes about 1h 30m each way, but a car journey is only 20-30 minutes, unless there are traffic jams.

How does the commute compare to my 13km commute in London? First of all, it’s a lot hotter in Singapore, which takes some getting used to, but, surprisingly, it takes about the same time to do 18km here compared to 13km in London. This is because London is more congested, roads are narrower, and there are more traffic lights AND HILLS! In Singapore, there are long stretches of flat road, with no potholes! The wide traffic lanes means that I am not competing for space with cars so much. I enjoy the long uninterrupted stretch on Old Jurong Road, along the Tengah ‘wild’ space, although the road edge is damaged by heavy lorries, and people use the canal to dump liquids and the lay-bys to dispose of litter. The absence of hills is also great for speed, ignoring for a moment the painfully steep Nanyang Drive in NTU. The steepest is just before arriving at work, so no opportunity to coast home.

I do have gripes though. There is a lot of commercial and bus traffic with ill-adjusted diesel engines, causing a lot of stinking pollution. I think the engines of London diesel traffic are better tuned and controlled, even those of smelly taxis!

The grilles on rain covers have longitudinal ribs, which are quite dangerous if your wheels end up too near to the curb.

Overall, I find Singaporean drivers to be quite tolerant of my bicycle, and usually they give me plenty of space, with the odd few exceptions.

So, overall, commuting to NTU is a great experience, and more manageable than I had expected. I use an inexpensive aluminium racing bike, which cost me £250 ten years ago on ebay. Very much bottom of the range, but it has drop handlebars, 12 gears that don’t work too well, and a rack to hold my panier for a set of clothing, a  towel and basic tools including spare tubes.

I have ordered a new steel bike. Details when I get it.