Cycle to Woodlands and Mandai, around 50km

I have blog about cycling to the East and West, this post is about Cycle to Woodlands (about 20 to 25km from Sengkang).

Cycle Sengkang Punggol Park connector

I am training for my Round the Island trip (RTI), which will be around 130 to 150km.

By the time you read this post, I have successfully completed my first 100km target. Click on my Relive Video link on Youtube.

As I stay in Sengkang, I am more familiar with the East and North side, compared to the West side.

Refer map below, cycling route would be anti-clockwise Sengkang-Yishun-Woodlands-Mandai-Yishun-Sengkang.

Cycle to Woodlands
Cycle to Woodlands

Starting from (Point 1) Sengkang Swimming Complex, head towards Yishun Dam. I would recommend (Route 3, Google Map above), as it is 80% Park Connector and 20% pavement. You will loop South of Seletar airport.

Seletar West PC
Seletar West PC

Alternate (Route 2) will bring you through sand and dusty terrain through Seletar North. The pavement is uneven and packed with construction sites (Previous experience looping around Seletar Airport)

Cycling on Seletar North road is not recommended for new riders, due to traffic and plenty of pebbles.

(Point 4) Yishun Dam. Take a breather and enjoy the sight, be it low or high tide.

Yishun Dam
Yishun Dam

Detour. I would recommend Rower’s Bay Park for the fantastic sunset.
This is actually one of the Coast 2 Coast checkpoints.

Sunset at Rower’s Bay

(Point 5) Sembawang Hot Springs. Since we cannot go to Japan or Taiwan for Onsen, this might be your open-air hot spring experience in Singapore.
(Read my Sento experience in Tokyo)

After Yishun Dam, just head North on Yishun Avenue 8 and turn left to Yishun Avenue 7.

Below photo is pre-upgrade from 2015. Only taps, no cascading pond and the kids were still so small.

Old Sembawang Hot spring

Meanwhile, my first foray North was caught in a thunderstorm!

It was too late to U-turn  and the rain might last hours. Totally drenched but huge sense of freedom as no more reservations. Woohoo!

Could barely see JB’s skyline. So near yet so far.

Woodlands Waterfront
Woodlands Waterfront

I did not expect to see so much rubbish across the straits.

If you are taking Marsiling PCN back towards Mandai or maybe Kranji. Take the path on the right side of Block 37 (picture below).

Head South along Marsiling PC followed by Woodlands PC (Park Connector), you will go behind Singapore Sports School and reach this junction (GPS).

Go across SLE and route behind MRT depot. Take note cars exiting/entering SLE travel fast, be careful. Secondly the direction from Woodlands towards Mandai, is packed with steep slopes.

Woodlands PCN
Woodlands PCN

(Point 8) Lastly, Ulu Sembawang is totally dark at night, and eerie 🙂
Otherwise, you should enjoy the climb and scenery. (Ulu Sembawang PCN has nice Sunrise and mist, read post here)

(fyi, Sengkang to Woodlands, you can only choose cutting across Yishun or Ulu Sembawang)

Go easy on the down slopes as the bends might block your view from runners and visitors.

Scenic Ulu Sembawang
Scenic Ulu Sembawang

Once you reach Mandai, cross the road and cycle towards Yishun, Seletar direction.

I would recommend taking the Park Connector pavement (picture below), the other side of the road is pavement (not PCN), and can be slippery (mossy) and littered with fallen branches.

Mandai Road is famous for leg and lung workout. I would recommend newbies to go in a group (and you do not need to cycle on the road).

Mandai Park Connector
Mandai Park Connector

A few openings provide scenic photo opportunities. Do look out for Pumas and Chinooks from Sembawang Air base.

You are very near to Mandai Zoo and popular T15 trail (not recommended for foldies).

SLE image below. The rain never stopped for the 2nd half of my trip.

If you are only heading towards Mandai (and not Woodlands), you can reach Mandai area via Lentor Avenue too (Take note Lentor Avenue pavement is uneven and narrow)

*If you extend your trip to Pang Sua PCN , you can connect to Choa Chu Kang, Chestnut Nature Park, Bukit Batok etc. You can also hop onto the “Coast to Coast trail” towards Jurong West (Lake Side).

Singapore is that small!

(L-Yio chu Kang and R-Lentor avenue)

Lentor Avenue will run parallel to North-South MRT viaduct. Lower Seletar reservoir forms a nice backdrop (Location of image below).

Lower Seletar Reservoir

Little kids would enjoy the wading pool at this corner, or just walk to the end of the bridge (our old blog post)

Bonus and warning, more leg trainings needed :p

If time and energy permits, you may wish to dedicate some time for the beautiful reservoirs nearby Lentor Avenue or Central Water Catchment.

Blog post – Cycle 50km to explore 3 Reservoirs and 3 parks !

Go google MacRitchie, Lower Pierce, Upper Pierce. Exercise caution along old Upper Thomson road, lookout for vehicles, monkeys and sharp hairpin turns.

Springleaf Nature Park and Thomson Nature Park are new. And take note of multiple steep slopes at the two Pierce reservoirs!

Central Catchment reservoirs
Central Catchment reservoirs

Hope you and family will have fun exploring more corners of Singapore. I might try to share some essential upgrades and basic maintenance in the next post.

Do pop by our other cycling posts too:

-Cycle 70 km East, TMCR (link)
-Cycle 80 km West, Lim Chu Kang(link)
-Cycle to Woodlands and back for 50km (link)
-Cycle 50km to explore 3 Reservoirs and 3 parks
-Completed Round Island 140km!  (Click for GPX routing)
-Cycle 20km to Green Corridor (or Marina Bay and Sportshub)

-Jogging one round Sengkang, Punggol Buangkok PCN (link)
SengkangBabies cycling

* MTB\RoadBike\Foldie selection, & Foldable bike shortlisting
* Follow my family’s cycling experience here .
-Instagram SengkangBabies #skbCycles



Why I chose a foldable bike (1/2)

If you are deciding between foldable bike, road bike or mountain bike, do read on.

Cycling is a fun way to explore Singapore and overseas. It is an interesting way for families to explore the neighbourhood and enjoy some bonding moments too.

Cycling is a Life Skill for kids.

Click on the image below for our cycling journeys in SG and overseas.

Family cycling is Fun!

Before I bought a foldie for myself, I had hijack the Mrs’ BTwin bike (from Decathlon).

In this post, I would be sharing the benefits of Foldie (also know as foldable bike). In the second blog post, I will share the challenges which I encountered while shortlisting my foldie.

Why do you need a foldie?

-If you need speed, go for road bike
-Off-road, choose mountain bike
-If convenience and mobility, a foldie will follow you to the last mile

1)Mobility. Just roll your bike into MRT and explore every corner in Singapore, North East South West!

Fold and Roll into the train.

The other cycling options to explore Singapore “corners” would be round-island trip (100 to 150km!) or car transport (bike racks). Option 1 requires significant fitness, time and map reading efficiency. Option 2 requires you to go back to same carpark.

Only Foldies offer you the best flexibility.

Biking to your office is easier with a foldie. As a bonus, you can consider packing your foldie for oversea rides too!

Do take note that 20″ or 16″ wheels will be much smaller than 27.5″ wheels. You will “feel” more potholes and uneven grounds. Eg a 451 wheel (speed) would have lesser grip than profile 406 (better comfort and a bit off road).

2. SMALL! Foldie has a smaller footprint and is normally lighter, thus it is easier to keep. Just roll into your office or take public transport.

We can pack six foldies into our MPV comfortably, and we do not need the car rack 🙂

My Crius Master

Selection criteria for foldies

Foldie is not for everyone.

My kids find foldies lame and less happening. They would prefer road bikes or even fixies!

3. Cycling style. I have listed some of the selection criteria to help you identify which brand and model is available within your budget.

-Do you ride on the road on PCN?
-Do you use your foldie for errands and neighbourhood rides (PCN), or do you intend to do trips above 30km?
-Do you need more space in your flat or car?

There is a whole spectrum of parts (and tuning) to cater from leisurely rides to extreme round island tours. More Poison!

I started with the Mrs’ Decathon’s BTWin Tilt 100 foldie. The 6 speed was good enough for PCN and neighbourhood, but I struggled with longer distance and slopes! This foldie weighs 13kg +

4. Slopes. Foldies normally have smaller gears to play with, from 7 to 11. Road bikes would easily have double. You can cycle up the steepest slopes with the smallest gear, but foldie would generally need more leg power, compared to mountain bike. (This is a small limitation)

Before I committed to a foldie, no one could tell me whether 9 speed is enough for slopes. Some might be sarcastic and tell you to train your legs first.

My question was valid for a newbie. If all things are equal, 9 speed would be easier to climb a hill compared to 7 speed, and 9 speed can definitely go faster. The only thing to sustain the momentum is stamina and legs.

I settled for a 9-speed Crius Master eventually.

And I am happy to report that 9 speed is more than enough for my riding style (15 to 50km trips). I can climb slopes easily, and 9 speed can bring me up to 25-30kmh, but requires a whole deal of ENERGY to sustain!

End of the day, Legs are 60% and Machine 40%. Train your stamina and leg power, before you upgrade more parts 🙂

5. Performance. Again, all things being equal. Foldies are less nimble than mountain bike. My other bike, a 27.5″ RockRider mountain bike can “anyhow” turn  and swerve and is still rock stable.

I feel my foldie is more rigid, maybe I have not pushed it to the limit. You can feel the difference (between foldie and road bike) when you do hard turns.

On the other hand, foldies are easier to manoeuvre on pavements (compared to mountain bikes).

6. Wheels. 20″ wheels will never be as efficient (fast) as 27″, as more rotations are need. Pure physics, as you cover longer distance faster with bigger wheels.

Humps are not foldies’ friends , even if you have suspension. Those foldies with 14″ or even 16″ wheels need to ride more safely.

7. Reliability? Foldies might be less durable than mountain bikes, due to the constant  “folds” and joints. Wear and tear.

However, all the above mentioned limitations are small, compared to the various benefits.

Cycling to Changi Airport!

I am having a lot of FUN on my Foldie!

Clocking more milage on my Crius Master V

8. Breakdown! Touch wood, if your foldie suffers a malfunction in the middle of the night. Just fold and take a taxi home. It is really that compact!

In part 2 of my foldable bike selection (the next blog post), I will share more questions and challenges.

After going through so much research (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram #). I was still confused. Buying a bike seems to exact more research than buying a car!

(For cars, you zoom in on Toyota, Honda and BMW established brands. Bikes have too much designs and configurations!)

In the next blog post, I will also be sharing accessories and servicing shops. More importantly, reputable bike shops (both online and brick-mortar).

foldable bike
My foldable bike

You can buy your bikes from :

-Traditional bike shops
-Online Taobao (eg, without local “presence”)
-Online Carousell with local warehouse
-Second hand

Nothing beats a test ride, only you know which bike suits you best. Ride feel, height, colour, budget etc.

The best bike you have is the one you are cycling with now.
I am loving every moment with my Crius Master.
Happy exploration!

Me and my bike kakis W and R.

Disclaimer : I am sharing my bike shopping experience as a newbie. It was a steep learning curve. Do correct me if any of my presentation is wrong.

Meanwhile, do visit my family’s cycling experiences:

-(Blog post 2/2) Tips for Foldies selection
-All our Cycling journeys
4D3N Taiwan Hualien to Taitung with two kids
– Instagram #skbCycles

My family’s cycling adventures