(Seldom write about how my day went but today was really memorable, epic and worth it).
Yesterday, Natalie and I planned on cycling at East Coast Park today. Both of us slept at nearly 4AM so we decided to head off in the afternoon. We met for lunch at Junction 8’s Mos Burger and made our way to East Coast from there. Upon reaching Pasir Ris, we got some drinks and snacks for our little adventure (didn’t expect any at first) then took a bus to East Coast.
Arriving at East Coast, we walked excitedly to the bicycle rental kiosk and was persuaded by the person-in-charge to rent the bike overnight for $14 (sorry to disappoint but we did not ride through the night) instead of $12 for two hours. After cycling blindly for about half an hour or so, coupled with the little venturesome explorer inside us, and taking into account the hours we had, we decided to cycle to Changi Airport.
We, or at least I, was so confident that there’d be bicycle path or at least pedestrian for us to cycle on that we just followed the direction provided by Google Maps. (Natalie, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry for putting you in danger. I know you were just following my lead ahaha this won’t happen again on our second adventure).
Initially, there were actually paths for us to cycle on but halfway through (like after 30 mins), we found ourselves in the middle of East Coast Parkway (an expressway) and we cycled too far to turn back. On top of that, other than cycling against the traffic, there was no way for us to turn back.
With no options left, we decided to press on and continue riding on the expressway which had quite a heavy traffic (heavy enough for us to have to wait 5 mins before changing lanes at the lanes that were merging). Cycled for around 15-20 minutes more before we finally saw signages pointing us towards the different Airport Terminals and boy, were we relieved.
In that 15-20 minutes, there were so many vehicles that rudely or maybe considerately honked at us. Also, in that duration, we actually wanted to take a bus to the Airport instead of risking our lives on the expressway but sadly, our bikes weren’t allowed onto the bus so we were really stuck with cycling.
Once we reached the myriad of intersections that led us to the different terminals and taxi stands, we knew we were almost there and continued onto the road with the least traffic which led us to a really secluded area for I suppose, coaches, ground crew? I have no idea but then there was this small coffee shop, and security check post. At the sight of the security post, both of us thought we were going to be stopped or redirected or even arrested for cycling in that area or for not wearing any safety gear (helmets).
Instead, the policeman at the post looked at us and probably figured that we were lost and really confused at our whereabouts. Kindly, he told us the route we could take to CYCLE back to East Coast Park which we were quite reluctant to, considering the danger and risks of getting knocked over by a vehicle. After telling him that we wanted to take cab instead, he redirected us to the taxi stand. And throughout this, he was so patient and friendly. Not sure if he was just surprised to see us there considering not many, or even, no one ever cycles there.
Following his directions, we found our way to Terminal 3 Arrival Hall and we were so comforted by the fact that what we did wasn’t illegal HAHAHA and also that we were finally out of any vehicle’s reach.
Grabbed a McFlurry, sat at Macs and spent a few minutes thinking of the wild, reckless and dangerous decision we just made to cycle from East Coast to Changi and also how we were going to return to East Coast.
Proceeded to the taxi stand, in hopes that one of those bigger cabs would be willing to send two of us and our bikes back to East Coast or at least, we could get on one cab each, mounting our bike on the back and meeting at East Coast Park.
At the taxi stand, there were this two ushers that helped us greatly. They asked two different big cabs driver if they were willing to send us, but the first one said that the bikes would damage his seats, while the second one thought it’d be impossible to fit the two bikes in. I was really thankful for their several attempts to get a cab for us. Even though it’s part of their job to get a cab for us, what wasn’t part of it was the passion and insistence.
Spotting a stationary shuttle bus up ahead, Natalie and I went after it, hoping that it could drop us off somewhere. When we reached the shuttle bus, we were disappointed to realise that it was empty. We were then approached by this man who told us that the shuttle bus only does drop offs in the city or something and for $60 which was ridiculous. On top of that, there wasn’t any guarantee that our bikes could fit into the bus. But then, he told us that we could probably approach the Ground Travel counter in the Airport that may be able to offer us a cab that we could fit our bikes into and so we did.
At the counter, the woman told us that we could book a Maxi Cab for $60 (again). Weighing the benefits of saving $60, but risking our lives by cycling on the expressway back to East Coast Park and spending $60 on a 10 minutes ride that could potentially save our lives, we decided on the latter.
After about 5 minutes, the Maxi Cab arrived and the driver was so accommodating. He helped us carry the bikes up the car and mind you, our bikes weren’t exactly in pristine conditions but he didn’t mind anyway. On our journey back to East Coast Park, he had a very light-hearted conversation with us and told us about his children, how they are graduating from Uni, and that he is finally going to retire and is “sick of this (the parenting) shit” and that we weren’t the first pair of “cyclists” that got stranded and needed his help. Despite the several carparks in East Coast Park and the wrong address I gave him, he was still very obliging and insisted on sending us to the exact location when I told him that he could drop us nearby and we can cycle to the rental kiosk instead (which I chided myself for considering the fact that we’re paying $60).
Upon arriving right behind the bike rental kiosk, he helped us to get the bikes off the car before charging us the $60 which was really nice as well because most drivers would rather collect the fares first than offer help.
I don’t know how I could possibly put into words how helpful and kind they (policeman, taxi stand ushers and Maxi Cab driver) were. It’s today where I really felt touched by the little acts of kindness by Singaporeans and for once, is not faked, planned, duty-bound or in celebration of Singapore’s 50th Year of Independence (SG50) but true humanity, compassion and kindness that radiates from the heart. In light of Singapore’s National Day yesterday, today, I feel additionally proud to be a part of this country.