Avoid heavy traffic for a safer ride

The third of a four-part weekly series to help readers prepare for the upcoming OCBC Cycle 2015

With its busy traffic and hot, humid weather, Singapore may seem like a road cyclist's nightmare.

But not to Adrian Ng, an endurance trainer with the Singapore Cycling Federation, who believes one can still train safely along the Republic's many roads both day and night.

Ng, 34, who has coached the likes of SEA Games cyclist Serene Lee and Youth Olympic Games triathlete Denise Chia, has come up with a number of training routes for riders who are preparing for the OCBC Cycle event on Aug 30.

To start off, Ng believes a training route should be selected based on its level of difficulty.

He explained: "The level of difficulty of a route is categorised by the terrain (gradient) and wind conditions. These are variables that will affect a person's physical threshold and ability.

"Easy to moderate routes are where the majority of the road sections are flat, with occasional climbs of manageable gradient. These are suitable for beginner to intermediate cyclists.

"Difficult routes consist of steep-incline roads for the intermediate to advanced cyclists."

With more cyclists opting to cycle at night where there are fewer motorists on the road, Ng urged participants to think twice.

"Day routes are more visible than night routes. Both will have to depend on the level of traffic in the day and night," he said.

"If there is less traffic (at night), it should be the better choice. They should cycle early in the morning to give the body enough time to rest at night. It's best to rest the body at night to follow our natural biological clock to adapt in the best possible way to the demands of training."

For those who are looking for new routes to tackle, Ng has a few suggestions that are accessible from different regions.

He said: "Sembawang Park is an easy to moderate route in the north. Other routes with an easy to moderate level of difficulty can be found in the north-east, from Seletar West Link (beside Seletar airport) towards Seletar Link to Seletar North Link.

"Riders in the east can cycle from Loyang Avenue towards Changi Coast Road and to East Coast Park for a route of similar difficulty level.

"West-siders can choose to ride from Kranji Way, past Neo Tiew Road and on to Lim Chu Kang Road. It is a route with a moderate level of difficulty with occasional climbs.

"Riders in the central area can look towards a more adventurous ride that starts from Mount Faber Park to West Coast Highway before ending at South Buona Vista Road."

Ng also noted that cyclists should be mindful of road traffic, saying: "When you are choosing a route, you should make sure that there is as little traffic as possible, especially trucks.

"Large construction trucks usually come in around 7am onwards, so it would be good to start cycling at around 5am. And after 8pm would be a good time if you are cycling in the night.

"You also would not want too many traffic lights along your route, so that you have continuity in your riding. Those who are not cycling above 25kmh can also cycle along park connectors. It is the duration that matters, not so much on the intensity."

And Ng always obeys a golden rule when it comes to safety on the roads.

He said: "Cyclists should always look out for traffic from the back (by checking what is coming from behind) and also for what is ahead.

"Never look down but look out for debris or objects in front of you. There are always objects lying on the side of the road from construction trucks. Brake early so your fingers will not be sore at the end of the ride. And cycle with the traffic, not against the traffic."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2015, with the headline 'Avoid heavy traffic for a safer ride'. Print Edition | Subscribe