Saturday, May 8, 2010

Tackling Upper Serangoon

Towards Bendeemeer
Upper Serangoon is a difficult road to ride. It hosts some nonsensical construction work that never seems to end, much like what's happening in Farrer Road, which always makes it difficult for the cyclist.

The annoying thing is that, in the past, you would only have to contend with barriers, barriers and more barriers on the side of the road taking up your space on the left lane, causing more difficulty for cars to give you ample space, nonetheless, if you kept left, you would be on your way to town. Now, if you were planning to go to the city, you'll have to weave out onto the third lane or you will be sent to MacPherson instead.

Confusing? Sibei.

So how do you tackle this?

The best way, in my opinion, without having to make a massive detour, is to go to the third lane and continue as per normal. But this is not an easy feat. If you are inexperienced, you would probably have a difficult time trying to switch lanes while travelling.

 The lane you want to be in is the lane to the left of the blue taxi (where the Honda Civic is).

The simple, and safest, solution, is to weave between cars, and thereby changing lanes, while all the vehicles are stopped. At this junction, the red light is very long, and I have never arrived at this junction where the light is green... so, you'll probably not either. There are risks associated with this though, and you have to be careful. When vehicles are stopped, remember to look out for motorcyclists splitting lanes too before you cross over to the other lane.

I usually manage to reach the front of the queue, and would try to take up the whole lane at this point of time, as this road is too screwed up. Everybody's confused, and it's best you disallow any driver any hope of overtaking you for your own safety. What's worse is that further into the road, under the PIE flyover, you'll meet a very sharp right curve which you would want to have the whole lane to yourself.

From Bendemeer

The same thing happens when traveling from Bendemeer to Upper Serangoon.

Honestly I hate this road more so than I hate the previous road. Don't know why, I just find that it's even more unsafe and difficult to tackle.

Again, you'll have to be in the third lane, which isn't that difficult to achieve with the same tactics outlined above - wait for the traffic light to become red, then change lanes. With this road, the difference is that there's a safer alternative should you not desire to change lanes. You could go straight and take the pedestrian crossing in order to go straight.

On a side note

On a side note, today I saw the funniest thing in lane changing. A cyclist in full roadie gear wanted to change lanes and what the did was the most innovative, perhaps arrogant, method.

Usually, you would signal that you wanted to turn right, look behind, see if you have space to go in. Of course, this roadie did it too, with that bit of difference that made all the difference. His arm was raised, but it was raised to tell the driver behind to STOP his car while he changed lanes, all while looking at the driver!

He got it his way.


  1. Its getting more and more complicated.

    I've found a replacement route back home from Kallang that avoids this section of road by going through Aljunied Rd.
    Sadly I'm still looking for a feasible route towards Kallang.

    Whats dangerous about being in the 3rd lane is that drivers wont see you as a vehicle heading towards Bendemeer, but rather an annoying cyclist in the middle of the road who they think shouldnt be there. Thus giving them a right to be annoyed and do things to push you out of the lane.

  2. Yes, more and more complicated.

    I know that route! I usually go there, but I find that it is a bit longer, so I generally don't take it when I'm heading towards the city. The route only serves its purpose as a road that avoids to hectic jaywalking present in Little India.

    As for the third lane problem, that's usually why I take the whole lane up, and pray for the best. I find that my comfort zone is in the left lane, and anywhere else on the road, it's ball busting.

  3. Wow, it looks like we frequent this road don't we?

    haha... I take the road when I go to town/bugis area... And somehow its always green... Filtering is easier as traffic seems cautious of the many road signs and thus move slower.

    But your right, taking up the lane before the sharp bend is just essential. Don't you find the road at after that is really bad (pot holes/very rough)?

    hahaha, that last part about the roadie really cracked me up. Won't be trying that anytime soon though.

  4. Yep, this is one of the most important roads for me!

    Haha, if it's always green, then I must be mistaken that it is always red!

    The road on the sharp bend is OK, since I usually only pass by that area on at least 1.5" tyres. I don't really feel it. Of course, the other day I was on a road bike with 110psi tyres, I felt "one" with the road - every little pothole, rough road, could be felt directly where the sun doesn't shine.

  5. Ahh... Yes! Tire choices are essential for a comfortable commute!

    I rode there once on my friend's hybrid equipped with 1.5" tyres at 70 psi and already felt crazy impact from the road.

    Now I just love my mountain bike more.

  6. I agree; the serangoon-bendeemer place is really bad for cycling. Sadly, I live there, and yes, every ride is ball-busting.

  7. Ouch! But have you made changes to your bike/anything to somehow ease the pain?

    I am now riding at lower tire pressures, about 40 PSI.