Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Son can ride a bicycle!

On 29 June 2014, last day of his P1 holiday, I was putting back a 12" steel kids bike given by a neighbour so that we can discard it for someone else to use. He hadn't had good time with this much heavier and taller bike while training wheels were fixed on, as he has been enjoying his wooden balancing bike much more. Thus, when he was asked a few days ago he said he didn't want this bike. However, as I put on the rear rack and the kick stand, without the training wheel, and asked again if he would like to ride on it, he said yes. So we went downstairs, to an open, flat and sheltered space.

There, initially I asked him to position the pedal so that he could start pedalling off. After some attempts, this didn't seem to work, partly because the chain kept dropping off with this sudden assert of force on the pedal. Ironically, another neighbourhood kid of his age, who hasn't yet able to ride a bicycle, suggested to push first then step on. So, he tried that and after some attempt, he could pedal and balance for more than 2 m. Upon see this, I concluded he has learned how to ride.

I think the short distance was mainly due to the chain was very loose and kept dropping off. Later, than I realized the problem was because when I fixed the rear wheel earlier, I didn't ensure the chain is taut, which is not necessarily when there is a rear derailleur, but this is a single speed bike, the first that I have ever meddle with. Now that this issue is resolved, I am eager to see him ridding a bicycle.

Update: Confirmed he can. The night this blog post was published, he showed his ability to ride a bicycle to my dad.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My Bicycle Commuting - Some experiences can't be shared

There are lots of experience sharing by cyclists who have been "saved" by the helmets. I believe there are also many cyclists who don't wear helmet hadn't experienced any events where a helmet could have saved them. However, virtually none of the latter would want to share that, even touching woods with as much skin as one could. Also, sharing such is not helpful. Thus, this is not a helpful post :P

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My Bicycle Commuting - Diagonal Pedestrian Crossing?

The junction between Balmoral/Anderson/Stevens road is one of the many uniquely Singapore junctions. There is no pedestrian crossing across Stevens on the west side, probably because most cars from Balmoral Road waiting at the junction will be turning right into Stevens Rd. Furthermore, there are two long periods for cars travelling straight along Stevens Road and those that are making right turn into either Balmoral or Anderson roads. All these lead to long wait for most pedestrians, and it is quite common for many to cross this junction diagonally. Currently, doing so is illegal, but I think quite safe because of the followings:
  • The time allowance for the two right turns for cars along Stevens Road into Balmoral and Anderson roads is sufficiently long.
  • The right turn from Stevens Road into Anderson Road is not at the junction, but some distance from the junction, giving a wide space between the outer curves of the two right turn paths.
  • Although the junction is not small, but the diagonal distance between the two corners (north and south) are not too far.
 (on 20140325)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Feedbacks on some other installations near the Aljunied BWR

Zigzag blockage
Not exactly zigzag as bicycle just need to be ridden through it diagonally. It has some use in slowing down but I still think the potential hazards it creates are much more than its benefits. Anyway, I guess some would still use the cement covered drain portion (on the west side) and the grass patch (on the east side).

The blue/white bollards and chain
As the PCN hit Merpati Road, there is a pair of alternating blue/white painted bollards with chain blocking off. This is new to me. Older Google Streetview show it was black/yellow previously. I'm not sure why and the meaning of blue/white paint. Here, I find the chain is too thin and might be missed out as some may not notice the bollards as the opening is quite wide.

The distance markings
I like the distance markings. Previously it wasn't clear the direction relevant to the distance labelled. This one is quite clear to me.

Sheltered walk way
The roof of sheltered walk way are not very heavy, and I think just have support on only one side should suffice. Especially on narrow pavement like the one along Aljunied Road here. Yes, cycling on pavement is [still] not legal, but the crowdedness would be worse if bicycle users obediently dismount and push on pavements.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Aljunied Road Pedestrian Overhead Bridge Bicycle Wheeling Ramp

My feedbacks after a recce ride to the bridge along Aljunied Raod with BWR

Photo credit: Danny Juriah Chay
I find the channel is quite redundant, regardless of its width. Anyway, it should be more about the depth rather than the width. I have seen such add-on in some European countries, and those are like 5 cm deep [protruded] trench, or 5cm tall wall besides the "channel" (I think like there is a similar one at Yio Chu Kang Shell station, Punggol PCN). 

The current shallow channel cannot guide the front wheel, while I don't think there is a need for it on the rear wheel. If in case this was to tackle the infamous curvy ramp on the now demolished bridge across Braddell road, then I think no need, as that problem was due to the curving down inward ramp.

Actually, I find those (I think there is one along Serangoon Road near Kallang River) with the slanting surface, where the current railings are mounted, is extended inwards nice, no need the groove/channel. The main issue is the tilting and the steepness, and I think tilting can be solved by redesigning the railings (see Qn 2).

The slope is ok for my current fitness and the foldable bike I was pushing, but I don't think the weaker/older one can manage well.

Although the painted surface looks slippery, but I tested a little and it was good when dry. Not sure how would it be when wet.

Tilt of bicycle is ok, BUT why should there be a tilt. I noticed the lowered hand rail to a height below the height of most bicycle handle bars. I wonder is it feasible to have the railings mounted outside, at the side or underneath the stairs, and if need to curve outwards? This way, I believe the bike can be much more upright. 

Another issue is with the "flatness" of the railings. Currently, although for the most part the paddle is not touching the railings, but one will need to take care to tilt the bike more to avoid the main supports of the railing, that are protruding inwards.

Will I use the BWR?

In this particular case, no. Because it is easier and smoother to use the pedestrian crossing a short distance north of the bridge.

In general, no. Because for this design the bicycle easily knock on the railing, and at this angle the strength I need to use is not much lesser than if I were to just carry it up or down. Also because it is quite easy/convenient to carry foldable bicycles by resting the saddle on the shoulder.

Also, if it was intended to have the ramp on only one side, then I will only use it when it is on my right side. Because I (and I think most people) dismount to the left of the bicycle, and to use a ramp on the left is inconvenient.

From slope to flat
I think the connecting between ramp and flat ground can be improved. I would suggest a wider mouth or curve route at the turning part to remove the need to position the bicycle before the next stairs. 

Another little suggestion is to have a curve up instead of the current angled design where an impact is felt when pushing up from the ground on to the ramp.

Other wheel users
However, even if this works perfectly for bicycle, the other wheel users are still being neglected. Thus, why not just add a traffic light crossing here, synchronized to the two at both sides. This way I don't think it will delay the traffic.

What is the vision?
More fundamentally, the problem here is that what is the problem/issue that is being targeted, and is it the correct issue to be focused on? I guess NParks concern is to connect the PCNs, which are meant for recreation. Thus, from the perspective of recreation, maybe there is no strong need to ensure everyone (old, weak and kids) to cross over to the next PCN. LTA's concern is to have smooth (and moving) traffic, thus, getting as much non-motorized objects away from the roads has been their approach. Thus, adding a traffic light crossing that is on-demand based or synchronized to the existing traffic lights is quite unlikely although this will help the old/weak/young while not slowing down traffic much. Basically, whoever, if any, is taking care of bicycle commute is not doing their job or has no power/resources to do it.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My Bicycle Commuting - A route into Toa Payoh from Thomson Road

It is usually quite boring to show a cycling clip, but this one has a lady on a fixie or single gear, and my guess is she was commuting. 

(on 20140128)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

My Bicycle Commuting - Is this a norm of taxi drivers?

On the next morning after I watched a video of an accident involving a taxi that was making a right turn, I encountered two taxi drivers who expect me to slow down or stop as they force their way out to make a turn.

 (on 20140123)

My Bicycle Commuting - A week after NParks enforcement act

Last Friday I saw NParks enforcing the "No Cycling" rule besides Toa Payoh Garden but there are still many who ride across this bridge. Obviously such enforcement is ineffective, waste of resources, and targeting at the wrong people.

(on 20140122)

I understand that there are complaints and maybe even incidents/collisions between bicycle and pedestrians. However, there are also many bicycles passed by pedestrians without any issues. Probably there are less than 1% incidents/collisions verses more than 99% safe passing. And for the fault of those minority cases, probably by reckless bicycle users, the other 99% suffer.

How about NParks follow LTA's style? I notice in many places, when it is deemed dangerous to cross a road, railings and obstacles were put in place to forbid pedestrians from crossings. However, I hope LTA does what NParks is doing, to conduct more enforcements to catch reckless drivers, while NParks redesign the bridge and ramp to send out matching signal. Don't build something so inviting, conducive and safe for cycling but legally disallow it. I wish they allow it legally since even speed limits is based on the 85 percentile rule, and I am sure much more than 85% bicycle users find it safe to ride across here.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My Bicycle Commuting - Someone with red blinker in front

I saw this guy with red blinkers placed at front and back of his bicycle along Holland Road. I tried to tell him he should not have a red blinker at the front, but couldn't manage to get the message across.. :( (20140121)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My Bicycle Commuting - Imagine some of these car drivers ride a bicycle instead

Slow traffic along Tanglin Road is common in the peak hours. It always feel good to ride pass cars in jams :)

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