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Death of a trail (as we know it)


I did not think that the fifth of December 2000 would be the last time I rode the Bukit Timah Hill trail. Don’t get me wrong. I’m still alive and capable of riding, my bike’s fine and the trail’s still there. Or at least what’s left of it.

What’s left of it. Interesting.

In the name of safety, cloaked in the paranoia of Kiasism much of the landscape of the original Bukit Timah trail has been altered. Up went barriers, in went the cement, slopes were leveled and stairs were built. All in the name of safety.

In the name of safety, the latest incarnation to appear on the trail takes the form of a cemented slope leading up to and replacing the first formidable climb out of the car park. Gone is the loose terrain. Gone is the only line up the slope. Gone too is the experience of making it up the slope. Gone, all in the name of safety.

In the name of safety, the National Parks board has made the Bukit Timah trail more rideable. I don’t really know what that means. To me riding was an experience of the thrills and spills of an outdoor sport. I knew it’s inherent risks and dangers. Occasionally I even embrace them by pushing my limits. It is the undiluted experience of the sport. The trail in all it’s natural incarnations was rideable. It helped the spirit of riding to breath. In the name of safety the trail is more rideable but what about the ride?

I am glad I rode on the fifth of December 2000. I am glad I forced myself to clear the slope. It will be a morsel from the platter of my memories of disappearing rides that I will savor for a long time.

"Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans," said John Lennon. Were you too busy on the sixth of December 2000? I lived a moment.

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