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Walking tours are aplenty, but cycling tours? For those looking to explore Singapore on wheels and learn some interesting nuggets of history about the East side, check out this new guided cycling route.
As the three-hour cycling tour does require some stamina and riding skills, be prepared for a good workout. Otherwise, it’s a great activity for friends, couples and families with older kids. Get ready for your cycling journey with your trusty water bottle. Here are the interesting pitstops you can look forward to during the route!
Note: You will be cycling mostly on pedestrian paths or along the park connector, so be alert and always give way to pedestrians.
1. Start your cycling adventure trail at East Coast Park
The tour starts bright and early at 9:00am at East Coast Park’s Carpark C4. There, you will meet the guide at the GoCycling kiosk to select your bike.
With a full three hours’ ride ahead, you should definitely fuel up before starting the route. You can enjoy a hearty breakfast at McDonalds or The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf at the nearby Marine Cove. Alternatively, you may want to pack your favourite breakfast from home and enjoy it with the nice early morning sea breeze at one of the many rest areas at East Coast Park.
Pro-tip: Since the end point is at the Hub & Spoke café at Changi Airport, we suggest taking public transport to the starting point. You can easily take the MRT or bus home from Changi Airport after the cycling tour. If you still prefer to drive, parking at East Coast Park Carpark C4 is chargeable at $0.02/min. However, if you do not mind walking a little for free parking, you can choose to park at the nearby Carpark D3, which is about an 8 minutes' walk away from the GoCycling Kiosk.
2. Learn about the interesting history of Frankel Avenue
After about 20 minutes or 2km of cycling from East Coast Park to East Coast Road, and learning about the history of St Patrick’s School, you will reach the first pitstop at Frankel Avenue. Note that you will be navigating some narrow pavements around this estate, which may put your cycling skills to the test.
Here, the guide will launch into an interesting narrative about the history of Frankel Avenue and the Jewish family who used to own this street, as well as the nearby Opera Estate. Fun fact - did you know that Albert Einstein visited the Frankel family at this very location back in 1922? At the end of the captivating story, the route continues in the direction towards Siglap and Bedok.
The pitstop here is pretty short so you will not have the chance to check out all the shops and restaurants along Frankel Avenue. But do make a mental note to come back next time, as there’re a handful of cool cafes here including the new and Instagrammable bicycle-themed café 6 Letter Brunch and Dutch Colony Coffee Co. Restaurants like the House of Peranakan, Peperoni Pizzeria and SHAO Teochew restaurant are also worth trying out. So, the next time you’re looking for things to do in the East, you know where to head to!
Pro-tip: If you had forgotten to bring along your water bottle for this route, you can easily purchase a bottle of water from the old-school laundromat along Frankel Avenue. The prices of drinks sold there are relatively cheaper compared to those at East Coast Park.
3. Read up on the history of Bedok at Bedok Central
Continuing along the route brings you to the bustling Bedok Central, which was once upon a time a sleepy fishing village. It was one of the earlier new towns that the Government had started developing in the East. You will learn upon reading the signboards that the town likely got its name because there used to be a mosque in the area which would sound its drums five times daily to signal prayer times, and the Malay word for drum is ‘Bedoh’.
Pro-tip: As the route passes through the neighbourhood centre where many people will be going around their daily activities, so you may have to get off your bicycle along this stretch of the route and push it along, for the safety of others. Also, this would be a good pitstop to take a toilet break, before you head to the next stops at Fengshan and Simpang Bedok.
4. Check out Hua Yu Wee, the seafood restaurant where time stands still
After Bedok Central, you will then cycle through the Fengshan and Simpang Bedok estates, before reaching the stretch along Upper East Coast Road, which used to border the coastline. In the early days, many seafood restaurants lined the area offering fresh seafood straight from the sea. When the coastline was reclaimed to build East Coast Parkway (ECP), most of the restaurants either closed or relocated. Hua Yu Wee is the last surviving seafood restaurant in this area, steadfastly holding on to the tradition of serving old school ‘zhi-char’ style dishes. Operating in an original 1920s bungalow, time seems to stand still here. The minute you ride into this restaurant’s premise, you will feel as if you had been transported back to olden day Singapore.
Pro-Tip: The last stretch of the cycling route after this pitstop takes you through the park connector network around noon, when the sun is hottest and there is minimal shade. So do apply a second dose of sunblock at this pitstop, to prevent getting sunburnt. A pair of sunshades will also soothe your eyes from the glare!
5. Return to the end point at Hub & Spoke café
Taking the Park Connector Network back to the end point at Hub & Spoke café, you will pass by Jurassic Mile, giving you the chance to check out all the life-sized dinosaurs on display and snap some photos. If you had visited the Jurassic Mile when it first opened last year, you would be glad to learn that Changi Airport has added new dinosaurs since then, so try to spot the additions!
The best part of GoCycling’s service is that at the end point, you can simply hand your bicycle back to the staff at any of their kiosks around Singapore, without having to worry about returning it back to where you rented it from. Thereafter, you can freshen up at the shower facilities (at S$3.00 per person, per entry) conveniently located beside the Hub & Spoke café, and fuel up before setting off for your next activity.
If you’re looking for more food options, take a short walk over to Terminal 3 or Jewel to cool off over a nice meal!
Pro-tip: You’ll be glad to know that hot water, shampoo, body wash and hair dryer are available. But fret not if you had forgotten to bring along towels. You can easily purchase them from the vending machines outside the shower facilities.
While this three-hour cycling route does require some stamina, especially towards the last stretch, it offers you the opportunity to see neighbourhoods in the East from a different viewpoint. The interesting nuggets of information shared by the friendly guide along the way also helps you to better appreciate the developments that Singapore has gone through over the years.
Find out more about the cycling tour here!
Tours can start with a minimum group size of two, up to a maximum group size of seven. But do check with the tour operator when you book.
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