A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go on a cafe bike crawl exploring the Punggol Park area and several parts of the north-eastern Singapore. I’ve always wanted to explore Punggol and Coney Island ever since it became easily accessible on 10th October 2015. This cafe bike crawl is a preview to the upcoming OCBC Cycle Cafe Bike Crawl happening on 9th July and 13th August 2016. If you’ve always wanted to explore the north-eastern Singapore and the cool cafe haunts, you should sign up for the OCBC Cycle Cafe Bike Crawl.
Early in the morning at 8am, we met at 10 Tebing Lane at Punggol just outside the Popeyes with no idea which cafes we were going to cycling to. Tebing Lane is one of the most popular spots in Punggol on weekends, with several seafood and fast food restaurants, cafes, a pool/snooker hall and prawning facility. The whole experience of the OCBC Cycle Cafe Bike Crawl is to be guided, explore and experience the unknown and be pleasantly surprised by the discoveries of the cafes that we’ll be encountering.
To get us started, we took a short cycle along the Punggol Waterway. The bicycle trail along the waterway makes a great leisure ride for the families around Punggol, with beautiful scenery and a quick ride to the new Punggol Waterway Point Shopping Mall, which sits adjacent to Punggol MRT station, opened back on 18th January 2016. Because of the bicycle trail, the Punggol Waterway Point Shopping Mall has several cyclist-friendly features like a washroom next to bike park for cyclists to freshen up, 24-hour FairPrice Finest, F&B outlets that operate till late.
We took a quick break at the mall and was off cycling again along the trail, this time to Coney Island! It’s a rather long cycle to Coney Island along the Punggol Park Connector going past the Jewel Bridge towards the Punggol Settlement which had a lot of chill out restaurants for a beer or two. But that had to wait.
We finally made it into Coney Island, and was greeted by the gang from Coast Cycles, a home-grown Singapore bicycle brand, who shared with us some of their latest full-suspension bikes. For those who are really into bicycles, do check out Coast Cycles.
Some fun facts about Coney Island – Did you know that Coney island (once known as Pulau Serangoon and Haw Par island), used to be only 13 hectares big? Because of land reclamation projects, Coney Island has expanded to 100 hectares. There is also a 600sqm bungalow on the island built by the Aw brothers of Tiger Balm fame. There’s even a Coney Island Cow and a warning sign on what to do when you encounter THE Cow (with capital C).
Hey wait, isn’t this supposed to be a cafe crawl? Where’s the cafe? Finally, our next stop was a cafe at the Punggol Settlement we went past before reaching Coney Island. We went to Wayne’s Chill-out who serves really interesting ice creams, milkshakes, coffee, pizzas and pastas. There are several other businesses at the Punggol Settlement like Seafood, Peranakan, European, Japanese Izakaya,French restaurants and event bike rentals. It’s a great location to hang out over the weekends during dinner winding down after a long week.
After a little bit of “chill-out”, we started making our way to the next location. It was a long cycle and we copped out at Punggol Park at Upper Serangoon Crescent and decided to take the chartered bus to the next location – Seletar Aerospace View – literally in the middle of nowhere. I found out this is one of the popular haunts of cyclists because cycling is probably the only convenient way to get there besides driving. Who would have imagined there is a cafe in the middle of nowhere – Soek Seng 1954 Bicycle Cafe.
Soek Seng 1954 Bicycle Cafe is owned by Mr Png Kng Joo, affectionately known as “Ah Joo”. He has over 20 classic bicycles on show that are from as far back as the 1950s, and restored by Mr Png himself, who owns more than 100 bicycles. His other hobby is restoring classic cars like Ferraris and Rolls Royces (Soek Seng Motor Pte Ltd). Soek Seng is also one of locations where you can find SHIMANO TOOL STATIONS that let you perform simple repairs and tweaks to your bike.
After a long day of cycling from 8am to 2pm, we headed back to the starting point at 10 Tebing Lane at Punggol. For those interested in the OCBC Cycle, you can find out more at http://ocbccycle.com. If you’re interested in the OCBC Cycle Cafe Bike Crawl similar to this (note: cafe, locations and routes might defer) happening on 9 July and 13 August 2016 from 8:00am to 3:00pm, you can find out more at http://ocbccycle.com/portfolio_page/cafe-bike-crawl/.
I wish we would have visited more cafes, but I did quite enjoy the visit to Coney Island and the Punggol Settlement, which I would have never in my life discovered unless I went on this cafe bike crawl.