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New Zealander pedals his bike on every Singapore road

New Zealander has pedalled his bike on every Singapore road where cycling is allowed

Whether it's the back lanes of Geylang, the country roads of Kranji, or the wide thoroughfares in the Tuas industrial area, Mr Stephen Moore has been there on his blue Brompton bike.

The 49-year-old New Zealander, who set out two years ago to pedal his bike on every Singapore road - save those where cycling is not allowed - finally completed his quest earlier this month. Mr Moore believes he is the first person here to do something like this.

According to the Land Transport Authority (LTA), there are 3,332km of public roads, but this figure does not include expressways and roads that are not maintained by the LTA - for instance those in universities.

The avid cyclist, who works at an industrial consultancy here, completed a mission that has led him to cover all of them and, including the distance he cycled getting to these places, he has clocked about 11,000km in total.

He logs each ride on a cycling website and maps it out on Google Earth. "If the road had a name, I was going to do it," he told The Straits Times.

Mr Moore started his quest in August 2014, as a way to both explore the island and celebrate SG50. Public transport was not allowed unless in emergencies - such as bad weather or a puncture. Cars, too, were out of the question.

Mr Moore and his Brompton have covered about 11,000km on his quest, which he started in August 2014 as a way to both explore the island and celebrate SG50.
Mr Moore and his Brompton have covered about 11,000km on his quest, which he started in August 2014 as a way to both explore the island and celebrate SG50. ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI

He started out with about five friends but they soon abandoned him because "we were going down all these dead-end roads", he said.

But Mr Moore kept on going. "I wanted to be able to say I've been everywhere in Singapore," he said.

In April last year he realised the island was not as small as he thought, and he was not going to finish before August that year.

"I was getting to the point where I had to cycle one hour or 1½ hours just to get to areas I hadn't covered," said Mr Moore.

The far-flung corners of Singapore such as Woodlands, Tuas, Punggol or Pasir Ris were the most challenging for this reason.

Estates with many small roads, like Geylang, were time-consuming and tedious, he said, adding that he took 31/2 months to cover the Geylang and Marine Parade area.

"You'd go all the way to Woodlands and thought you might have got everything done, then you come back, upload your ride and realise you missed a 40m sector."

He would drag himself back to do it, even though his wife thought he was crazy. "My wife would tell me not to worry about it, but I have to be honest with myself," he said.

He completed his feat on Sept 18 after finishing with Pulau Ubin and Airport Boulevard.

His wife, Mrs Hisae Amy Moore, a Japanese translator in her 40s, said: "At first I was worried that he was cycling so much before sunrise. I didn't think it was safe. But now I am really proud of him."

The feat has given him a new appreciation for Singapore, a country he has lived in for 14 years.

BRAGGING RIGHTS

I wanted to be able to say I've been everywhere in Singapore.

NEW ZEALANDER STEPHEN MOORE

SENSE OF SPACE

For a country that is so built-up, you never get the sense that you are hemmed in because of all the greenery.

MR MOORE

"For a country that is so built-up, you never get the sense that you are hemmed in because of all the greenery," he said.

Some of his favourite parts of the island include areas off the beaten track that look "untouched by time", such as the pottery workshops in Lorong Tawas and the Sembawang hot springs.

Mr Moore, who cycled to primary school in Auckland as a child, cycles to work. The 4.5km commute from his River Valley condominium to his office in Queen Street takes him about 20 minutes. He said a cycling culture here is just emerging - something that drivers and pedestrians are "getting used to".

But this will get better as more cycling infrastructure is built. Under the National Cycling Plan, the Government will build 700km of cycling paths by 2030 - including cycling networks in all Housing Board towns. The plan is to have more residents use the bicycle for the first and last mile of their commutes.

"If people can do a combination of public transport and biking - then that's not too intimidating... and that could gradually build confidence," said Mr Moore. "Soon there will be no excuse not to cycle."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2016, with the headline 'Cycling mission accomplished'. Print Edition | Subscribe