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Existentialism-- Just a bloody good excuse to go riding...

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


There has been quite some changes with the local trail scene this year. First we have Tampines Bike Park closing down. Bye bye Teletubbie Land.

Then one of the much debated "illegal" trail is now officially open.. yes if you have been living in a cave, Butterfly Trail is ok to ride now. No $200 fine. Just bring your trash home and DO NOT chop roots off just because you get stuck... learn to ride. Please. Thanks.

It must be the makeover at BT now that's the major buzz though... in the last month or so more and more pics have surfaced.

Recce Time...

...started from Wallace Carpark so it wasn't before getting back to BT Visitor Center that changes were apparent.

The taken to death trail-head shot.. but changes off the starting slope has taken place.

Recalling... since the small  revamp in 09 of that starting slope, it has been a point of contention among many bikers.. The very old broken concrete was replaced with a upslope rock garden, I'm sure it was out of good intention. As erosion would have been the biggest factor given the overall poor drainage of the trail at that time.  However over 90% of cursing and swearing riders would eventually hike up over that section. The 10% that clears it all the time better hang on to your badge of glory and tell it to the grandkids.. Now just about everyone will be able to ride up.

Total makeover. No more a straight pedal up but transformed into a snaking climb. Yes, to the dismay of some, its been smoothed out. Almost tarmac smooth  but seriously I don't miss all those tiny bits of ruts and rubbles from before. Not as if they did anything much or add to the feel. If I want it rough, there's always the big steep stuff on vacations... yea km long rock gardens.. Ok I digress.

The famed cement climb is history too... replaced by even more humps and berms spiralling skywards as new sections cut into adjacent terrain bypassing the old climb.. (actually the cement slope can still be seen-- its been cordoned off, not sure what's in store for that section)

It takes on a familiar Ketam-ish feel but add to that a whole multitude of humps and berms.

Rail-able berms... unlike the cute looking miniature ones at Teletubbie.. I mean Tampines which looks good but aren't really practical due to the terrain constraints.

Of course all these undulations are nice riding down but what is their purpose on the ups?

Quite sure those who had some fun time at pump tracks would not fail to see the potential. Did a couple of sessioning and there are a number of hump/ berms on ascends that indeed can be pumped. Even with my mediocre skill level, the few that gotten timed right help to propel the bike up into the climbs with little effort.

Now we have a place where you can do a combo still requiring a healthy dose of torque on the cranks but throw in some pump track style momentum on the climb adding to one's bag of riding skills. Might not be pure-pedaling-quadzillas cuppa though but here I was, already entertaining thoughts of setting up my 32/18 SS again.

Cam phone ain't doing justice here, there is a lot more depth than what the pic shows.... but with these 2 berms in a row, coming down from the first builds up sufficient speed to take the lip just before the second one. Aim it right and bank... closest thing to a pedal-powered-roller-coaster moment I can find locally.
Ok there is something else you can try in Gangsa to get that "swoosh" feel but requires transitioning-- I don't have the skill set to do that there so this was a greater fun factor for me.

Moreover its big and wide enough to allow a certain margin of error. Verdict: Fast Fun and Safe

Where once after the cement climb.. there was a choice of diving straight down the tunnel or turning right taking the tight curving singletrack... the changes join up only to this latter option and yes the familiar wooden bridge is still there.. but having the new berm before that means those who can, will now be able to hit it fast, pedal through the bridge at max speed and try to get as much momentum on the next climb...

Ok most of that rubble strewn rutty section going  up is gone too (yes yes no more of that slick broken pvc pipe to trip poor little  weenie xc tires) -- replaced with more curvy features.. but enter with the wrong gearing-- you will still be putting a foot down.

More humps and more flow later..... a dirt enbankment that you can sorta "wall". Haven't really nailed this yet and there is a thin tree just in front that almost clip my bar during the sessioning, so I called it quits (for now).

But if u give it a miss, right around the corner there is another do-able one.. Not sure if this rock has always been there or did the builders actually move it from somewhere. If they did-- I must say I am well and truly impresssed.. The thing is one huge mother piece! See the pic and go figure what u can do with it on the bike :)

Missed the section in the pic below but 29Frankie was updating me with his ride yesterday...

Nice.. the rock part looks like Ketam style rock features again... Really hope a longer line like this will be extended, all rocky, tight and gnarly... Let those who don't like things smooth get a run for their money here. Personally this appeals to me as much as the well designed flowy parts.

Doesn't take much to conlcude my thoughts on the trail after reading all that is written. Objectively I have to say it resonates with much of my armchair ideas of things that can be done to improve local trails.

Mtb-ing has also been maturing quite a bit in a way on this little island. Forget 3-4K elevation...we just don't have it. But its not always about elevation to get fixated about. Many of the nice bike parks don't really have much in terms of height but its all the features and designs thrown in as a whole package to enjoy a fun filled day. Start thinking about sessioning as well instead of simply trying to beat lap time on every ride.

Folks will also have to tune their mentality of what mountain biking is these days... on the couch we all see awesome riding done on well raked out trails but always think this is not possible locally.

On the bike we have been riding the same old monotonous dirt every weekend. So much so that even now when we can start living out those video fantasies, albeit in smaller ways, because of the changes and improvements made-- we don't really see it when out on the bike. For that matter-- go check out the changes at Kent Ridge trail as well.. I think its a whole bunch of awesome hardwork thrown in too and continuously being worked on under the SG TAP banner.

Still gonna need my fix with higher elevations on vacations but for now-- yea, all of these should get moi root-growing posterior off the greasy daybed and start riding more regularly on weekends again.....

1 comment:

  1. 29Frankie :) . Always enjoy reading all the article here .