When people think of Singapore, the word ‘cleanliness’ generally tends to pop up somewhere. But there is a grittier side to the city that largely goes unnoticed and is full of mud, dirt and all sorts of mess: mountain bike trails. We don the lycra and a helmet to explore a few of SG’s best spots for some MTB action.
#1 Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Bukit Timah is the oldest trail in Singapore and consists of medium to difficult tracks. Some parts are challenging – rocky, steep descents, sharp turns – while others are flowing and smooth. You can always take it slow and enjoy the sound of tropical birds while pushing your bike along! The trail is 7km and there are entry points at the Dairy Farm car park and Hindhede Road.
Our favourite trail names at Bukit Timah: Viper Zone, Heart of Darkness, Comfortably Numb
#2 Pulau Ubin
Getting here via bum-boat involves some careful manoeuvring of your wheels, but after that it’s mountainbiking bliss. Ketam Bike Park on Ubin is an internationalstandard track measuring 10km that’s built around a quarry. It’s both challenging (you’ll feel the burn in the legs on the climbs) and rewarding (some really smooth downhill parts with a cool ocean breeze). The site doubles as a nature rehabilitation area, having been reforested with thousands of native shrubs and trees.
Our favourite trail names at Pulau Ubin: Lactate, Enough!, GraveDrop
#3 Chestnut Nature Reserve
This popular area includes 8.2km of both beginner-friendly trails as well as some more technical ones. At the main car park, there’s a kiosk with snacks, a bike wash and a fixing service. There’s also the tarmac Chestnut Pump Track, a great place for the kids to get their skills up. From there, choose the southern or northern loop of the Bike Park proper. The northern side includes some short, sharp downhills, plus drops, jumps and berms for more of a challenge. The Mandai T15 trail extends north from here and is another great ride (albeit on a shared hiking trail).
Our favourite trail names at Chestnut: On The Rocks, Black Crawler, Chestnut Express
#4 Kent Ridge
Kent Ridge is located off Pasir Panjang Road, and is 2km of technical downhill riding that’s among the most challenging rides in Singapore. It’s the kind of place that could leave you feeling overwhelmed, wishing you’d never climbed on the bike, but get a good grasp of it and you’ll feel like the king or queen of the mountain!
This is a single track bike trail, so it doesn’t go in for quirky names for different sections, though there is an XC trail, a DH trail, and some variations along the way.
Keen to start mountain biking? Make sure you have the essentials: a bike (preferably full suspension), helmet, gloves, water, sun protection and a readiness to get muddy and sweaty.
Prefer a more sedate style of cycling in Singapore? The LTA announced last month that it had opened another 14.5km of bicycle paths in Bishan, Ang Mo Kio and Toa Payoh, with more new paths to follow.
Know your track difficulty
Tracks in Singapore are graded tp an international standard with symbols, colours and descriptions denoting difficulty.
Easy (green circle): gentle slopes and uneven surfaces
Moderate (blue square): steep slopes, uneven surfaces and narrow tracks
Difficult (black diamond): long, steep climbs, drop-offs and tricky obstacles
Extreme (two black diamonds): very steep climbs and drop offs, sharp corners and tricky obstacles
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