Cycle West Singapore 80km-Training for RTI

Last weekend, I followed Randy to cycle West Singapore for 80km. Slowly but surely, I am training towards 100km and first RTI ( 125 or 150km Round the Island).

(You may wish to read our North 50km and East 80km cycling trips too)

Our route covered 80km (90km for Randy) and includes four short breaks. We did take some photos at scenic spots. (Must enjoy your ride journey and have happy memories)

Cycle West Singapore 80km
Cycle West Singapore 80km

RIT for me is not for personal glory, but sort of a bucket list.
We know we can do it physically, but we need to commit the time (actual day and mileage) to achieve our goal.

No need set time limit, nor personal best, just aim for completion and a sense of achievement.

On that note, East side (Tanah Merah Coastal road) is definitely easier to navigate compared to the slopes along Kranji, Lim Chu Kang or old Choa Chu Kang.  East side (From Pasir Ris to TMCR to ECP) has beautiful and wide pavements (PCN). TMCR has dedicated bike lane too!

Relive video:
*
*Strava and Relive to capture your bike trip

West side some sections do no have pavement nor PCN (yet), and you will encounter more trucks and dogs too!

01 Break at Causeway Point

Our ride brought us from Sengkang-Seletar-Yishun-Canbera-Woodlands-Kranji-Lim Chu Kang-Jurong West-Bouna Vista-River Valley-Bugis-Kallang-Macpherson-Sengkang

Estimated timing/checkpoints:
0600 Setoff Sengkang
0715 Sembawang Canberra (17km)
0745 Causeway point 20 min break
0850 LCK Jetty (40km)
0950 Lakeside MRT (50km)
1000 Mcd Jurong East (15 min)
1130 Queentown Petrol staton (5 min)
1220 Bugis (70km)
1320 Sengkang (85km)

Sungei Gedong Armour
02 Lim Chu Kang Jetty and Sungei Gedong Armour HQ

For first timers to west side, you should attempt Kranji and Lim Chu Kang only during weekends. There are no pavements and a lot of trucks will be playing the roads during weekdays!

a)Vehicles wise, roads there are relatively quieter Saturday or Sunday but expect hundred of cyclists 🙂

b)Beside the trucks, the slopes along LCK are killers and will really whack your calves. Better ensure you have enough water (hydration and no full bladder). I did not spot any public toilet or coffeeshop for a good 20km (Kranji to Jalan Bahar).

c)Hardcore folks will cycle 3am or 4am too, but the cemeteries look spooky at night

d)There is higher chance of being chased by dogs rather than ghosts. If you do encounter dogs, some experts will recommend out-pacing the dogs by cycling above 40kmh! My foldie max is only 30kmh so I can only go for next options.

Slow down, and dogs will find you too-boring to chase. Otherwise, dismount and pretend to throw a rock. (PRETEND only, otherwise someone might complain dog abuse)

Disclaimer. Please do not blame me if above dog-panic steps fail. I would panic too if a crazy dog threatens to snap at my heels

Fyi. Lim Chu Kang road will become a runway for F15 and F16 during an emergency, do read our 2016 Ex-Torrent blog post.

Back to two wheels, just cycle straight along LCK towards Jalan Bahar, Jalan Boon Lay. You can break at Lakeside or Chinese Garden area. We continued to Jem.

Turn left towards Lakeside Garden (and MRT) at this junction (GPS 1.337888, 103.710052). Just cycle under 10 minutes to reach Lakeside MRT, and you can head towards Jem (Jurong East MRT).

After Jem, turn right at this junction along Boon Lay Way (GPS 1.328629, 103.749727) and just follow the canal ( Ulu Pandan Park Connector)

With respect to Bouna Vista direction, the right side path of canal is more “scenic” and cooling.

03 Temporary path next to Chinese Garden, and Jurong East MRT (2nd break)

Special mention to garang Randy. He keeps motivating me and is my navigation guru, and he does not need Google Maps!

Really helpful to have him around as I am quite poor navigating the West Side of SG.

Old Railway bridge.

Follow canal all the way towards Bouna Vista and Holland Village. Go straight towards Queenstown. Ulu Pandan PCN is about 6km.

Turn Left “small path” (GPS 1.294833, 103.806194) before Queenstown MRT to go along river “Alexandra Canal Linear Park” PCN.

Follow river to Clarke Quay and Boat Quay, look out for pedestrians. There are at least 4 or 5 small junctions to cut across, but route is quiet and cooling as you cycle in between flats and condos.

Colourful Alkaff bridge

From here on, we cycled towards Bugis and Kallang Park Connector.

We were fortunate as the day was warm and not too hot. Nevertheless, 80km took me 7 hours to complete (including breaks).

Back to Sengkang Neighbourhood

Referring to the coast-to-coast map below (credit Straits Time url), we are excited about new upcoming trails across Singapore.

-Does it mean Kranji and LCK will be more cyclist friendly?
– Looking forward to RIR (Round Island Route) as it means we can explore more without cycling on roads

singapore new coast to coast trails
Singapore new coast to coast trails

While we ride, do not forget to enjoy the ride and scenery. Every kilometre is a milestone, a memory.

This post shares Cycle West Singapore 80km, next posts will share Cycle East side 🙂

Sharing some other related posts to trails or Lim Chu Kang below:
-RSAF Ex-Torrent 2016 (LCK runway)
-More details and landmarks about Park Connectors (PCN) at nParks link
-Coast to Coast Walk 42 km from Lakeside to Punggol

SengkangBabies cycling
-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

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

Tips for Nparks Coast to Coast Trail

Nparks Coast to Coast Trail is popular on the island. I have uploaded more photos on Facebook album.

Two things are common during Covid19 measures, folks cannot clear leave and families are exercising more!

So we (me and colleagues Daniel, Francis and son) did a 2-in-1 by walking the 36km Coast to Coast trail (C2C).

And we realised it was 42km instead of 36km :p

Startpoint at Lakeside MRT (7.15am)

We started at Lakeside MRT, and I had to take the earliest train from Sengkang.

Rough estimation of distance between checkpoints.

This might help in planning for your rest points.
~Lakeside (Start) to Hindhede (CP3) – 8km
~Hindhede (CP3) to Adam (CP4) – 6km
~Adam(CP4) to Bishan(CP5) – 8km
~Bishan(CP5) to Sengkang Swim(CP7) – 8km
~Sengkang Swim (CP7) to Coney (CP9) -7km

Total= 37 to 38km (real walk will be longer)

Singapore coast to coast trail map (credit Nparks)

If add Rower’s Bay (CP10) from Sengkang Swim (CP7), add another 7km +

Coast to Coast trail Singapore
Coast to Coast trail Singapore

Back to our trail…

There are a lot of constructions and detour around Jurong Lake Garden, walk under MRT viaduct, along PCN markers next to Boon Lay Way.

Park Connector Network (PCN) and Coast to Coast Trail signboard.
Image below indicates Bukit Batok Park (CP2) is 6.5km away.

Checkpoint 1 Chinese Garden(7:38am)

As we begin our walk, no worries about toilets and water points. There are MRT stations, coffee shops and 7-11 for pit stops.

Checkpoint 1 Chinese Garden

If you are first time attempting c2c, I would recommend Npark app to pinpoint your checkpoints. But take note keeping this app running in the background will suck your mobile phone battery!

Another useful webpage would be NEA’s rain area. Although not real time, you can get a pretty good idea of whether it will be a passing drizzle or island-wide thunderstorm (NEA website recommended, as the app is not responsive).

Rain clouds and forecast

The viaduct and PCN provides much needed shade.

After CP1 (checkpoint), cross overhead bridge and walk towards Block 115. If you are cycling, head to the junction of Jurong Town Hall Road and Boon Lay Way.

You will be heading North East under MRT viaduct, between Jurong East and Bukit Batok stations.

This is part of Ulu Pandan PCN.

**Detour** Do take note of ongoing work down the “slope” (at GPS 1.34294, 103.74523). Keep left at this junction.

Refer image below, you will have to walk along Bukit Batok Ave 1, pass by swimming complex (on your right), and turn right along Bukit Batok Ave 6.

Ulu Pandan Park Connector
Ulu Pandan Park Connector

Just follow “Bukit Batok” direction,  and not “Toh Guan”.

Image credit Google Map

Walk another kilometre from Swimming complex and you will reach the stone zodiacs at Block 280 (BB East Ave 4).

Checkpoint 2 Bukit Batok (8.55am)

I would say the first 3 checkpoints are relative near to each other, and offer a lot of shade.

Checkpoint 2 Bukit Batok

We love the awesome amount of greens as we skirt around Bukit Batok hill. Beyond the shades, the pathway beckons you to explore inland.

Continue along the shared path and you will pass behind Autobacs.

We passed by Liveband pub, which used to be a Firestation.

Bukit Timah fire station

Checkpoint 3 Hindhede Drive (9.28am)

This is very near to CP2. And if time permits, you can sprint up SG’s highest hill Bukit Timah. We noticed a crowd, even on a weekday.

On second thoughts, stick to the Coast to Coast trail, unless you do not mind completing in 15 hours :p

Coast to Coast Hindhede Drive
Bukit Timah Market & Food Centre might be a good pit stop for some snacks. Most folks will actually eat at Adam Food Centre (CP4), but price and queue might be higher.

15 min break, nice Bak chang.

5km more to reach Adam Road Food Centre.

Many sights and memories along Bukit Timah road. King Albert McDonald, Railway line, and Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

More slopes, kerbs and junctions along 4km stretch of Bukit Timah. The road-work around here makes driving tough, and biking harder.

If you are cycling, the narrow paths and pedestrians add to the congestion!

We are amused by all the atas MRT stations. Remember to have fun along the way, it makes the journey so much more relaxing.

Laughter does help to delay fatigue.

Rochor river runs along Bukit Timah road.

Checkpoint 4 Adam road Food Centre (11.15am)

Took a well deserved 40 min lunch break. The longer you rest, the harder it is to resume your pace :p

Order any food, but do pamper yourself with some cold beverages.

Adam Road Food Centre good food

After cp4 Adam lunch, compose ourselves and march on, this time under the merciless sun. From CP4 onwards, it is easier to navigate but distances between checkpoints are longer too.

Head towards Kheam Hock Park and go through the underpass (GPS 1.33043, 103.81966).

You will pass some tombstones, this area was part of Bukit Brown cemetery. Do not be spooked, especially when you are walking in the night.

Cross the overhead bridge and land on the new Lornie Road PCN.

Lornie Park Connector
Lornie Park Connector

Head towards Macritchie Reservoir carpark direction. Toilet or water break, or take a small detour and enjoy the scenic water view.

Take the underpass (in the direction of St Theresa’s Home, GPS 1.346073, 103.838151) and exit to Marymount Road.

This stretch towards Bishan Park is exposed to elements, and dust from constructions.

Checkpoint 5 at Bishan (1.52pm)

You need to detour left and walk 500m in.

Checkpoint 5 Bishan Park
Checkpoint 5 Bishan Park

We took a small detour, crossing the overhead bridge to catch some merlions (infront Block 218).

Ang Mo Kio merlion

Decided to treat ourselves to some cool ice cream, celebrate 25km completion, about 2/3 of trail 🙂

Pass by AMK Town Garden West, this used to be my childhood playground. There were some hidden “forts” at the top.

Turn right towards Ang Mo Kio 5, Buangkok and Sengkang direction.
Looking at the sidewalk flora distracts us from the long trek.

If you follow this trek between 10am to 12pm, you might see some happy butterflies.

Checkpoint 6 Lexus Hills Park (3.25pm)

The rain clouds were threatening us from Punggol and Sengkang.

We decided to have a sweet pitstop at Esso Yio Chu Kang.

Checkpoint 6 Lexus Hills

Pocari and Eclair boosted our energy and spirits.
9km to Coney island end point, but only 2km from home!

Just follow PCN and river to Punggol.

Buangkok Kampong is just behind us.

3 more checkpoints to go, 7, 8 and 9.
We will not attempt Checkpoint 10 at Rower’s Bay, which is out of the way.

On another trip, I had cycled to Rower’s Bay to catch the beautiful sunset.

Sunset at Rower’s Bay Seletar

Checkpoint 7 Sengkang Floating Wetland (4.10pm)

The park connectors in Sengkang and Punggol has one of the most scenic routes, mixture of nature and man-made.

One loop (Sengkang Punggol Hougang Buangkok) is 25km, checkout my running route. Imagine exercising along the riverway.

 

Iconic Jewel Bridge (GPS 1.409512, 103.89587).

Punggol Robot wall
Punggol Robot wall

The robots mural, next to Block 308C (S822308).

Checkpoint 8 Punggol Waterway PArk (5:02pm)

Can smell the ending already! Quicken our pace. The whole C2C trail has taken us longer to complete (both distance and time).

Oasis Terraces, plenty of F&B options here. I thought it is less crowded than Waterway Point.

Oasis Terraces Punggol
Oasis Terraces Punggol

Checkpoint 9 coney Island (5.40pm)

One feeling: Relive!

One picture for memories.  Had estimated to cover route under 8 or 9 hours, but we took 10 hours (including breaks).

Nparks Coast to Coast Trail
Nparks Coast to Coast Trail

Relive Video. (Use Strava to clock your journey, then just run Relive app to get the animation)

After the trail, some will choose to have dinner at Punggol Settlement. We chose to Grab home 🙂

More Nparks Coast to Coast Trail photos are in my Facebook album.

Coast to Coast Trail photos
Coast to Coast Trail photos

I have friends asking whether we need to be super fit to attempt the Coast to Coast trail. Long distance walking should not be new to those who have done NS (National Service 24km).

But walking 42 km (sorry not 36km) still exerts a fair bit of energy. We know we can complete, but we often add undue pressures for ourselves. Go easy.

As a guide, if you wish to complete in 9 or 10 hours,  you should be comfortable walking 10km around 2 hours 10 minutes. Go practice first or even try Coast to Coast in installments.

Factor in rain and sun (humidity) elements. First timers might even miss a junction or two :p

Photo below, my Crius Master at Bukit Batok. I jogged and cycled the trail to identify the checkpoints beforehand.

Cycling Coast to Coast Trail
Cycling Coast to Coast Trail

Additional tips for Nparks Coast to Coast Trail

1.Nparks link and detours
Brochure  (and side visits)
*Latest updates (detours and Mobileapp)

2.There are plenty of walking groups in Meetup groups! Long queues too.
Do search for “Trailblazers coast to coast” or “Deep breathing coast to coast“. You can identify your own pace and join a group, someone more experience will help you hunt for the checkpoints.

3. Packing. Besides hydration, powerbank and waterproofing would be most important. You might wish to use Strava to track your journey too.

-I brought along a 500m bottle, but we can always find 7-11, provision shops and coffeeshops nearby.
-Umbrella or rain coat, slippers for heavy downpour
*Suntan lotion, muscle rub
-Sunglass, towel, cap
-(optional) Spare tshirt/short to change after walk
-Cash for taxi and food

4. Start/end at Coney Drive or Lakeside?
Lakeside has MRT, but one-hour journey from Sengkang.

Coney Island entrance has no public transport. Nearest LRT is Punggol Point, followed by 1km walk. (Punggol Coast MRT is still under construction). You can grab bus 84 to Punggol end, but service is only available weekends.

Nearest carpark should be at Punggol Settlement.

Punggol Point LRT to Coney Island

5. I will recommend weekday walk as many folks will be tramping this route over the weekends. For first timers, choose daytime over night time especially if you need to “pose” at the milestones.

Once you have completed Nparks Coast to Coast trail, there are other Round-Island trails (up to 150km) waiting for you!

6. Wear a pair of shoes instead of sandals or slippers. Your sole and calves will be sore after the walk.

*Follow our families’ hiking adventures here. We hope to climb Malaysia Gunungs soon. Happy Walking!

 

ps Updated 2021 Jan 22, we walk Coney Island(CP9) to Adam Food Centre (CP4), Relive video