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X...A coffeeshop is conveniently located here at the corner of Block 22 Beo Crescent. Just behind this block of flats is a public carpark to park your car if you are driving to the start point.

A...From Beo Crescent to Malan Road, there are several brief, gentle slopes. Once inside Malan Road, Lock Road is linked almost immediately to its left. A complete loop consists of 1.4km but the distance of the climb is only 0.5km approximately. The gradient here can be intimidating for beginner cyclists. ( * June 2011 : Malan Road is currently not accessible due to on-going construction works )

B...The loop at the Labrador Nature Reserve is 1.5km with 0.6km of climbing gradient. This is one of the most beautifully conserved historical places in Singapore. Most Fridays and Saturdays, schools excursions are conducted here to take children on an educational tour of the fort. Please exercise utmost consideration for all visitors at the park not least, help us keep the park clean.

C...Bukit Chandu is another important conserved area no less beautiful than Labrador Park. The distance from the entrance, Pepy’s Hill Road, to the top, where the museum resides, runs 1.2km. Its climbing gradient is approximately 0.8km.

D...The climb here is longest. From start of Henderson Road to the carpark, located at the top of Telok Blangah Hill Park, is approximately 2.1km. The climb distance is 2.0km. This is a popular spot for visitors most mornings of the week; the park provides keep fit amenities for elderly citizens as well as joggers.

E...Morse Road is joined by Pender Road immediate to its left. This stretch of road is popular with motorists headed for Mount Faber 1.5 kilometers into Pender Road. The climb distance is approximately 0.8km to the carpark situated midway up, with another 0.3km of short, intermittent climbs inside the quiet stretch of Mount Faber Loop.

F...From entrance of Mount Faber Road to the gantry point fronting the carpark is approximately 0.8km. The distance to the top of Mount Faber after the gantry is another 0.8km - thereabout. This road is usually busy with tour buses on weekends between 8.00 ~ 11.00 am. Beginner\Intermediate cyclists should never cycle here without a road marshal.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Kwa Chin Swee

For three decades, Singapore's most illustrious cyclist Kwa Chin Swee remained elusive and almost forgotten. He has had dominated the sports locally and that of Malayan cycling from the 50s through 70s no less, played a vital role in the founding of SACA ( Singapore Amateur Cycling Association ) and its application for UCI ( Paris ) affiliation in 1957. The Kampongkakis paid a visit to the revered octogenarian recently and came away inspired by his continuing passion.

Kampongkaki: How did it all get started for you in this competitive sport?

Kwa: I cannot remember exactly but one of the earliest, was a competition to raise post war funds in Malaysia in the late 1940s. During my time, many cycling races were done in Malaysia. There were not many race programs in Singapore under the former Singapore Cycle Racing Association, so I was going in and out of Malaysia collecting these trophies ( pointing to a horde of silver kept in his vintage 1942 wooden peranakan cabinet ).

Kampongkaki: ...must have been countless races to collect that many trophies ...astonishing!

Kwa: I still have many trophies in Malaysia I couldn't bring back because they were too big and heavy. It's really funny because whenever I go into Malaysia for a race, I always come back with trophies hanging on my trouser belt so, the big ones I had no choice but to leave behind ( laughs ).

Kampongkaki: Back then, were you also involved in training our local cyclists?

Kwa: Those years, I was very active with the Malayan Rough Riders Cycling Club. I was not a member of Singapore Cycle Racing Association but became active locally only after the formation of SACA in 1957.

Kampongkaki: What advise would you give to amateurs who take up cycling as a competitive sport?

Kwa: Train hard, sleep well and have good eating habits but, winning a race is also about mental discipline... you must also use your brains. When I go for a race, I mark my strongest opponents, let them take the head winds so I have reserve energies for the final attack to the finishing line.

Kampongkaki: Between doing flats and hills, which was your favourite training ground?

Kwa: Hills of course! I like hills not only because I was good at it but also... if you train hills you become even better on flat roads.

Kampongkaki: How often do you train when preparing for a race?

Kwa: I train twice a day, everyday... late morning and just before sunset. I only rest the day before the actual race.

Kampongkaki: Could you tell us of the bike(s) you owned in the past?

Kwa: When I started racing I do not even own a bicycle. The bike I used for my first race was loaned from a friend. Bicycles were expensive those days... a good one costs about $145 from John Little's; an average salary was only $5 to $6 a month! John Little's had a scheme which allowed for $3 monthly instalment but it was still not affordable. The first bike I owned was a BSA ~ a gift from John Little's after I won consecutive races in Malaysia.

Kampongkaki: Mr Kwa, thank you very much for your time.

For us Kampongkakis, Kwa Chin Swee is not only the pride of local cycling history but truly, the greatest local cyclist of all time.

This above interview with Mr Kwa Chin Swee was conducted by kaki-GUAN on 21st December 2006