Obscure cycling trails in Singapore

 

While long stretches of flat roads are great to speed-cycle through, they don’t grant half the satisfaction that slopes and hills do. The feeling of aching quads and calves as you ride up a steep hill of an unmarked trail is what makes the downslope all the more rewarding. Cycling is quickly catching on as a form of transportation, but seasoned cyclists know that few activities beat cycling as a form of exercise.

For those who are tired of Singapore’s super clean NParks-approved greenery, here’s a list of trails that offer more than just curated shrubs:

 

1. Seletar North Link

 

Obscure cycling trails in Singapore (1) - Hidden lake at Seletar

Hidden lake at Seletar North Link

No, this isn’t the same as Upper or Lower Seletar Reservoir. This undiscovered ‘lake’ lies between Punggol Barat Island and Punggol Timor Island. With a perfectly symmetrical landscape, this undiscovered site tops Punggol Waterway any day – trust me it’s worth the bike ride!

Obscure cycling trails in Singapore (2) - Seletar North Link lake

Obscure cycling trails in Singapore (3) - Seletar North Link bridge

The recommended starting point for this trail is the gorgeous Punggol Waterway, where you can see for yourself what the hype’s all about. From there, cycle down through Seletar North Link to find this lake.

Recommended route: Punggol Waterway > Seletar North Link > Seletar Air Base > Yishun Dam > Seletar West Link > Seletar Aerospace Way

 

2. Khatib Loop Trail

 

Obscure cycling trails in Singapore (4) - Khatib Loop Trail bunker

Rustic-looking bunker covered in algae and vines tucked away at a corner of the estate

While Park Connector Networks (PCNs) are extremely well connected and convenient to keep cycling through, the meticulously-curated green surrounding can get rather boring. If you enjoy cycling through landed property estates while ogling at pretty houses, this trail’s for you.

Obscure cycling trails in Singapore (5) - Khatib Loop Trail colonial houses

British Navy staff officers and their families used to reside in these houses in the colonial days

While there are furious debates about demolishing *cough* a certain house, the black and white colonial houses along this trail date back to the 1920s. Within the heartland of Sembawang, lowkey lies a whole residential area of them!

Obscure cycling trails in Singapore (6) - Beaulieu House

Cycling past the Beaulieu House within Sembawang Park

Obscure cycling trails in Singapore (7) - Beaulieu House restaurant

The front porch of Beaulieu House, a former colonial home converted into a restaurant

If you look hard enough, there are plenty of cool buildings and bunkers hidden around the estate – just keep cycling!

Recommended route: Khatib MRT Stn > Simpang Kiri PCN > Sembawang Park > Beaulieu House > Gibraltar Cres > Malta Cres > Canberra Rd > Gambas Ave

 

3. Chestnut Nature Park Trail

 

Obscure cycling trails in Singapore (8) - Chestnut Nature Park Trail

With 20 mountain biking trails within 1 park, you can guess how huge Chestnut Nature Park is. There are 2 parts to Chestnut Nature Park – the Northern Loop and the Southern Loop. Depending on your level of expertise in cycling, the trails vary from easy all the way to extremely challenging.

If you’re a noob, I’d recommend the easiest trail, ‘Tender Foot’ located within the Northern Loop of Chestnut Nature Park. Consisting gentle slopes and a few uneven surfaces, this trail is best for beginners and recreational mountain bikers.

 Obscure cycling trails in Singapore (9) - Tenderfoot Trail

Tenderfoot Trail

If you’re up for a bit of a challenge, go for the Bicycle Pump Track, that offers curves, bends, and sharp drops for practice.

 Obscure cycling trails in Singapore (10) - Bicycle Pump Track

Bicycle Pump Track

 Obscure cycling trails in Singapore (11) - Bicycle Pump Track safety gear

P.S. Helmets and safety gear are a must on this trail.

 

4. Mandai Track 15

 

 Obscure cycling trails in Singapore (12) - Mandai Track 15

In our concrete jungle it’s a rarity to see muddy pathways and uncut tree branches, which is why Mandai Track 15 offers views that you’d probably only see while hiking the outskirts of Singapore.

This trail is best for beginner mountain bike riders, although you will have to be confident on 2 wheels before you attempt it. Since Mandai T15 is rather ulu, here’s how to get there.

 Obscure cycling trails in Singapore (13) - Mandai Track 15

With uneven surfaces of gravelly roads and even mud tracks, this 12km route strikes the perfect balance between challenging and manageable.

P.S. Helmets and safety gear are a must on this trail.

 

5. Kent Ridge Park

 

 Obscure cycling trails in Singapore (14) - Kent Ridge Park

Image credit: @stevelai_

There are 2 kinds of cyclists – those that cycle for the #fitspo ‘gram shot and those who are actually up for a challenge. This one is definitely for the latter – Kent Ridge Park trails are generally more skewed towards more advanced bikers. So if you’ve just picked up cycling, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Expect sharp bends, quick drops, and extremely bumpy surfaces – expect steep slopes here as a default. But what makes this trail so worth it is how natural the landscape is.

With few visible signs of NParks’ presence, this #nofilter park will give you a riding experience that most PCNs can’t.

P.S. Helmets and safety gear are a must on this trail.

 Obscure cycling trails in Singapore (15) - Kent Ridge Park boardwalks

Image credit

 

Keep fit with legit cycling trails

 

With everyone’s obsession with aesthetics, most of us have forgotten that cycling is actually a sport. Not only do these trails offer the uncurated version of Singapore’s greenery, but also sets you up for a physical challenge, that most recreational trails can’t provide.

Some of the routes on the list are pretty hardcore, so make sure you don’t compromise on safety while you embark on new cycling adventures!

 

Safety first on these unmarked trails

 

 Obscure cycling trails in Singapore (16) - Safety first

Health is something you should never play play about – while exploring cycling trails off the beaten track can be crazy fun, safety should never be compromised. Get your gear checked before every ride, and always ensure you have sufficient water to stay hydrated.

And arguably just as important as safety is taking the first step to fitness. AIA Vitality is a wellness programme that incentivises and works with you to get healthier.

Here’s how it works:

 Obscure cycling trails in Singapore (17) - AIA vitality weekly challenge

Image credit: AIA Singapore

In addition, AIA Vitality members enjoy premium discounts or free additional coverage on selected AIA insurance policies as they get healthier and improve their AIA Vitality status.

Who wouldn’t wanna be pampered with rewards? Plus, you preserve something that cannot be monetized and will stay with you long-term: good health.

 

Find out more about AIA Vitality here

 

This post is brought to you by AIA Singapore.