New park for cyclists opens at East Coast

5.4ha area on former Goldkist Chalets site touted as one-stop hub to meet cyclists' needs

Mr Ahmad Abdillah and his 1½-year-old son Ahmad Khairi at the nature play garden yesterday. In order to provide natural shade and vibrancy, 800 trees have been planted at the new Cyclist Park.
Mr Ahmad Abdillah and his 1½-year-old son Ahmad Khairi at the nature play garden yesterday. In order to provide natural shade and vibrancy, 800 trees have been planted at the new Cyclist Park.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG
Cyclists try out the undulating tracks at the Advanced Circuit in the new Cyclist Park on Nov 23, 2019.
Cyclists try out the undulating tracks at the Advanced Circuit in the new Cyclist Park on Nov 23, 2019.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

Members of the public now have one more reason to visit East Coast Park this school holiday season. A new 5.4ha Cyclist Park opened yesterday on the site of the former Goldkist Chalets.

Located along the Round Island Route, and just across the highway from the Mandarin Gardens estate, the Cyclist Park is touted as a one-stop hub to meet cyclists' needs, with features such as a bike retail shop, a self-service bike repair station and cycling-related workshops.

The park was opened by Marine Parade GRC MPs Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong and Senior Minister of State for Law and Health Edwin Tong, who planted an Ixora plant in its nature play garden.

Mr Goh said: "Cycling along the marine vista is a quintessential East Coast Park experience. The opening of Cyclist Park will further enhance this experience, by adding a greater variety of recreational spaces for visitors of all ages."

The space includes a nature play garden, retail as well as food and beverage outlets, and two cycling circuits targeted at learners and experienced cyclists.

The 280m-long Learner Circuit is designed for beginners to train their balance and stamina, and has gentle slopes and slight narrowing of tracks at strategic points. There is also a gently contoured terrain where beginners can challenge themselves further and practise basic bicycle motocross skills.

Ms Kartini Omar, group director of parks development at the National Parks Board (NParks), said: "The objective of this circuit is to provide a conducive area for learners to develop their skills and get more confidence before moving to the cycling track outside."

The Advanced Circuit, which is 500m long, has challenges such as undulating tracks, an undulating bridge, a narrow bridge and zig-zag columns.

In order to provide natural shade and vibrancy, 800 trees have also been planted at the park.

Amid the greenery is the nature play garden, which has logs, boulders and a 1.5m-tall climbing wall.

One of the park's first visitors was sales operations manager Richard Kwok, 51. "I think it's quite refreshing for cyclists, it could be a good place for beginners to start learning and for families to exercise as well," he said.

 
 
 

Others, such as German Ambassador Ulrich Sante, said: "I feel like I'm in paradise. For Germans, cycling is part of our genetic make-up - this for me is like coming home."

For legal counsel Clara Toh, 51, who grew up in Bedok, the opening of the new park was bittersweet.

She said it has been transformed into a more inclusive space compared to when the site was home to gated chalets. But she added: "I have mixed feelings - the chalets were quite precious to me growing up. Like many Singaporeans, I enjoyed barbecues and my first stayover with friends there. It's a little sad that the chalets are gone."

In 2017, the chalets were part of one of three sites NParks said it would carry out improvement works on - the other two being Raintree Cove and Big Splash.

Big Splash is expected to be revamped by next year as an active node with a water theme, featuring open lawns and water play features.

This will be the final stage of major redevelopment in the near future for East Coast Park.

Mr Goh said: "I look forward to the reopening of Big Splash next year, which will bring back fond memories for many Singaporeans."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 24, 2019, with the headline 'New park for cyclists opens at East Coast'. Subscribe