With several bicycle trails set in Singapore, what is stopping you from trying them out? Here are the MTB trails you should have a go at.
Understanding the IMBA Trail Difficulty Ratings
Singapore doesn’t have a trail rating of its own, so we are going to use the IMBA UK Trail Grading. Here’s an infographic of the grading:
|SUITABLE FOR||Novice cyclists and families. Children 4+yrs riding solo. Bikes with childseats or trailers.Touring bikes. Bikes for those with disabilities.||Occasional cyclists with some experience of road use or easy trails. Reasonably fit families. Children 10+ yrs riding solo. Suitable for mountain bikes, hybrids or robust touring bikes.||Regular cyclists with experience of moderate trails. Suitable for offroad quality mountain bikes.||Expert mountain bikers who will expect and relish technical challenges. Suitable for offroad quality mountain bikes.|
|TRAIL TYPES||Railtrails, towpaths, reservoir trails, estate or forestry tracks. Traffic quietened roads, and those regulated by bylaws or other restrictions.||Unsurfaced unclassified roads. Lightly trafficked lanes.||Any usable trail with pushing or portage unlikely to exceed 2% of total distance.||Any, but with the expectation of technical riding which could include unforgiving terrain, severe climbs and descents, or considerable distances.|
|GRADIENT||Shallow climbs and descents capable of being ridden by children and less active adults.||Shallow/ moderate climbs +/- short sections of steeper climbs which may have to be walked.||A wide range of climbs and descents of a challenging nature.||Any ridable or usable gradient. May include “drop offs”.|
|SURFACE/ WIDTH||Blacktop or compacted limestone or gravel. Essentially smooth with a minimum content of loose||Mostly stoned surfaces. < 10% earth based single track of width <2m.||Widths from 1m, and any usable surface. Likely to include single track of width <2m.||Mostly offroad. Expected to include a significant proportion of singletrack, with challenging surfaces.|
|ACCEPTABLE HAZARDS||These trails should carry a very low risk… Any unavoidable hazards should be identified in promotional literature and through notices at trail head and site of hazard||Some loose surfaces, ruts, potholes and/or tree roots may be expected||The route should be judged on the basis that a reasonably experienced rider riding within his/her level of skill and prevailing ground conditions would not be expected to fall.||Hazards are expected, as assessed and agreed by an expert user. Falling off will be expected!|
|TARGET LENGTH||5-20 km||10-20 km||10-50 km||<1 to 100 km including “skills” courses|
|MAXIMUM CLIMB||<50 m||<100 m||<500 m||<1000 m|
#1 Bukit Timah MTB Trail
Difficulty level: Blue.
Though the trail is only at 6.5 km, it obviously isn’t smooth-sailing. Thanks to trail preservation works, some parts of the park are rocky and have bits of gravels and small rocks. The ride will have abundance in climbs and descents.
#2 Ketam MTB Trail @ Pulau Ubin
Difficulty level: Red to black. With its rural landscape, the trail that is built to IMBA standards is arguably Singapore’s most wholesome mountain biking trail. While the course is flowy, Ketam MTB trail has many adrenaline-packed obstacles like the rock gardens and rocky descents.
#3 Kent Ridge MTB Trail
Difficulty Level: Red.
With its newly opened cross country section and its downhill routes, expect the Kent Ridge MTB Trail to be unpredictable.
There are rock gardens and narrow switchbacks along the course, so newbies are definitely not recommended to ride this trail.
On the bright side, this trail is not as heavily frequented as the others, giving you more time to familiarise with the route!
#4 Track 15
Difficulty level: Green to blue.
Track 15 otherwise known as Gangsa is the easiest trail of the lot. Aside from gradual uphill climbs and downhill runs, Track 15 is essentially child’s play.
The trail is wide and has no sharp corners, making it safe according to IMBA standards and suitable as an introductory trail.
#5 Chestnut Nature Park
Difficulty level: Blue to black.
Being the largest mountain bike trail in Singapore, it has two parts to it – north and south. The south trail has a natural gradient, allowing smooth and gentle roll downs and climbs.
The highlight of the south section has to be the variety of features like a boulder for airtime and also several tight corners, adding oomph to your experience.
The new kid on the block is the north section of Chestnut Park. The section opened in early 2017 and definitely is a mountain bike park for every rider.
For beginners, there is a green spot loop for you to have a taste of uneven surfaces. For the thrill seekers, there are sloped climbs, narrow segments and also features called the Black Crawler and On The Rocks.
What are your favourite mountain bike trails in SG? Share with us!
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