Change mindsets to create cycling city

I commend Ms Jessica Cheam for raising the topic of making Singapore a cycling city ("S'pore, aim to be first tropical cycling city"; Aug 18).

There has been a surge in interest regarding this issue.

Singapore's densely built and relatively flat landscape makes it easy to cycle around. However, concerns about our hot and humid weather, as well as safety issues, remain.

As Ms Cheam puts it, "these are not insurmountable obstacles", if the mindset of Singaporeans - that bicycles are an inferior alternative to cars - shifts, and people push for solutions.

Copenhagen's successful transition was used as an example.

While we can learn a lot from these established European cycling cities, we must recognise the difference between our climates.

It can get hot on summer days in European countries, but it is not coupled with high humidity that makes one perspire a lot.

Understandably, most Singaporeans would rather arrive at work still looking smart and fresh out of the shower, than dripping wet from their cycling journey.

We could explore pay-to-use shared shower facilities for cyclists to freshen up before work. This could work in areas with dense working populations, such as our Central Business District. Other companies can consider having shower facilities, and encourage cycling as a form of greener and healthier transport.

Certainly, "diluting that link between cars and status" is important in making cycling more appealing to the masses as a form of daily transport. What is equally important is to address this mindset shift in our local context, with close participation from Singaporeans, of course.

Ingrid Chew Xiu Qi (Miss)