Friday, 13 April 2007


Yes, that was shouted. I was probably 11 and was cycling on the pavement in the village. The policeman (a real one: big, rotund chap able to make children cry with a look) wasn't asking, he was telling. Fair enough, I'd passed my Cycling Proficiency Test (remember those?) that year at school as a condition of being able to cycle to school.

So you can imagine what I think about the idea of only using pavements for cycling. No-one ever cycles on the road in Singapore.

This produces some absurdities. Some people cycle slowly, almost at walking pace - so what's the point? Others are trying to get along and end up having to stop, go around or just bully their way through the pedestrians. Some do this nicely with a little tinkling of the bell, which can get quite persistent behind me as I am not in the habit of leaping out of the way.

I've been hit twice already. More side-swiped I suppose. The first one was a woman barreling towards us - there wasn't enough space for everyone and she couldn't slow down even if she had been inclined because she was holding her mobile in the hand traditionally reserved for the front brake. The second was yesterday, another woman getting along. She just misjudged it I think, but the doppler effect of her receding "Sorry ..." made me smile as I was rubbing my arm.