It’s the time of the year again when just blow drying my hair makes me want to jump right back into the shower. And if you’re already sick of exercising at the gym, why not plan for a night cycling trip over the weekend?
With the increasing popularity of night cycling, more rental stalls are now offering overnight rentals compared to just a few years ago. And what’s more, the overnight rental charges are usually in the range of $12 to $15, which makes it that much more affordable to go for a long ride.
You can get your bikes at various sections along East Coast Park such as Beach Cabana (Area C), Lifestyle Recreation Pte Ltd and Coastline Leisure Pte Ltd (Area E). There are carparks at each of these areas. After 11pm, the rates at Lifestyle Recreation for overnight rental starts from $12. I once reached at about 8pm and managed to get an overnight rental for $14. The bikes can be returned at any time throughout the night.
If you’re taking public transport and would prefer to start your cycling even before reaching the beach, there’s a little bike store at Blk 58 Marine Terrace (facing Marine Crescent, refer to map below). The store has quite a number of vintage bikes for sale but the rental options is quite limited and they are mostly small fold-able bikes. An overnight rental from about 8pm was $15. One major drawback is that this store does not stay open throughout the night and you can only return your bikes the next morning.
Before setting off, do check your bikes and ensure that:
- The bikes come equipped with a front or back light. No extra payment is required for such lights.
- The brakes and chains are working. You don’t want to be pushing your bike all the way back!
- You have plenty of water
- You bring along a bike lock if you’re planning to stop for some food breaks
And you’re good to go!
It’s been quite some time since I cycled at East Coast Park and I was pleasantly surprised to find new cycling tracks paved all the way to the city area. Follow the cycling track and head towards the city (you’re in the right direction if the sea is on your left).
The first part of the route along East Coast Park is pretty nondescript. At the 15 minutes mark, we passed by a couple of landmarks including Parkland Green, the newest F&B addition, and the revitalized Big Splash, another F&B enclave (you can’t seem to go very far in Singapore without bumping into some restaurants or cafes). Sitting between these 2 F&B paradise is the Road Safety Park. I still remember a school trip here from my primary school days where we took turns being drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to learn about road safety. Though the park is not closed off at night, it was pretty much deserted. Not sure if the park is still operational nowadays but there’s an air of neglect that makes exploring the place a little unreal. Time seem to stand still in this little bubble while you hear the world going on around you.
After passing by Big Splash, it takes about another 15 minutes before you reach the overhead bridge going over Fort Road. It’s the least enjoyable part of the ride as the sea breeze is blocked by the tall trees. Going up the bridge is also a pain, so reward yourself with an exhilarating rush down the other side. Zoom away!
The track after the bridge is fairly new (at least to me) and it meanders through the existing greenery, serving as a quiet respite between the bustling East Coast Park and the lively city area ahead.
Instagram Spot #1 and #2: Gardens by the Bay East and Singapore Flyer
After passing by Marina Bay Golf Course on your left (random fact: the in-house restaurant, Canopy Cafe, is open to the public, and though the food is mediocre, you get a stunning view of the golf course and city), you’ll arrive at Gardens by the Bay East. Unlike its more well-known counterpart, Gardens by the Bay East is a simple park without any fancy domes or supertrees. What it does offer is a pretty spectacular view of the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome, alongside Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer. On a side note, Gardens by the Bay East is also a good place to catch some fireworks during National Day. Time your trip just right and you might catch some rehearsal fireworks over the next few weekends! (Fireworks should start about 8.30pm or so. Get here early to avoid missing anything!)
Instagram Spot #3: Marina Barrage
The only way to cycle across marina bay is via the Marina Barrage dam at the far end of Gardens by the Bay East.
If you’re planning to hold a late night picnic, stop either at the shelters along the Marina Barrage dam or head to the Marina Barrage rooftop (don’t forget your picnic mat!). Most kite flying activities would have stopped by now but you still catch a few lonely pimped-out kites in action with their flashing lights and all. Nevertheless, the rooftop is still a great place for stargazing which might explain why the place is still surprisingly crowded.
Instagram Spot #4: Satay by the Bay
If packing your own picnic food is too much of a hassle, try grabbing some takeaways from Satay by the Bay which is just a 5 minute ride from Marina Barrage. But do expect long queues and large crowds!
Staying true to its name, Satay by the Bay features an entire section of satay stalls. Despite the competition, the good satay stalls here still have a crazy long waiting time. I once joined the longest queue for a Malay satay stall like a typical Singaporean (though I’ve forgotten its name… Oops…) and waited close to an hour! We decided to skip the queue this time round and ordered a $15 combo (10 sticks of pork, 2 sticks of pork belly, 2 sticks of prawn and 1 ketupat) from City Satay. The wait was about 20 minutes but the satay definitely paled in comparison to the Malay stall. No pain, no gain I guess!
We also ordered some fried oyster omelette from the Geylang Lor 29 Fried Hokkien Mee stall. Personally I found $10 to be a little steep for a plate of fried oyster omelette, but oyster fans will be deeply satisfied with the huge oysters (~3cm in length) which you can’t find in most places.
I was really looking forward to some juicy and tender chicken wings that I tried previously from Huat Huat Bbq Chicken Wing, but once again, the queue was just too much to handle. From my last visit, the queue itself took about 20 minutes and the wait after that was another 30 minutes. -.-
Overall, I think the crowds here have more to do with the lack of alternatives in the area than a true reflection of the food’s quality. You can probably get nicer food elsewhere at cheaper prices and a less ridiculous waiting time.
Instagram Spot #5: Gardens by the Bay
After stuffing your face, continue the journey to burn off some calories.
We didn’t get the chance to cycle in Gardens by the Bay as our butts were starting to hurt but I definitely look forward to doing it in the future! It’s definitely a much better way to explore the place than walking around under the hot sun. Besides, there’s just too much ground to be covered on foot. How many of you actually made it to the far-flung section called The Meadow where you’ll encounter a 10 metre sleeping baby sculpture?
Instagram Spot #6: Marina Bay Sands
If you’re giving the Gardens by the Bay a miss, just continue along the track which will bring you past the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome and towards Marina Bay Sands. If you’d like to take a break from cycling, check out these few things to do at MBS.
From here, you can either head back or make a loop around the bay area. Though there are no designated cycling tracks, it’s quite easy to cycle through the area. But I would recommend doing this only after 11pm when there are fewer pedestrians around.
Instagram Spot #7 and #8: Merlion and Esplanade
The loop will bring you to our famed Merlion and Esplanade. A new wide pedestrian bridge now connects the Merlion area to the Esplanade which makes it much more pleasant to walk and cycle without having to squeeze along the narrow Esplanade Drive walkway.
Instagram Spot #9 and #10: Helix Bridge and Art Science Museum
After passing the Esplanade and the floating platform, take a left turn and cycle up the Youth Olympic Park slope which connects to the Helix Bridge. Do take note not to miss the turn as going straight ahead will lead you to the Singapore Flyer which unfortunately does not connect back the Gardens by the Bay East.
Crossing the Helix Bridge will bring you back to MBS and you will take the same route back to East Coast Park.
Instagram Spot #Bonus: Selfies
And how can we end the night without any selfies!
Tip: if you’re using your smartphone camera, try using the chrome or black and white filter to make those night shots look so much better!
Date timer: ~ 3-5 hours
Any other Instagram-worthy spots? Share your pictures!