Mountain Bike Association (Singapore) FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: Who are you guys? Are you for real?
MBASG’s Pro-Tem committee comprises of a bunch of regular guys who love to ride mountain bikes on our beloved trails. A few of us got to know each other better back in June 2012, and we have Nparks to thank for that. If not for the crackdown on mountain bikers riding illegal trails starting in April 2012, we would never have formed this association to advocate for our desire to ride more trails.
Our vision as stated on our website is for MBASG to be seen as a credible advocate for the protection, improvement, and expansion of mountain biking trails in Singapore.
The mission of MBASG is to protect existing trail access, to improve riding quality of existing trails, and to advocate for expansion of the trail network. MBASG seeks to focus on these three main thrusts in its advocacy mission, known as “P-I-E”.
1. Protection of existing trail access- With a 100% urbanized population, limited forested areas, an increasing population together with land use competition from other recreational activities, MBASG will work with Nparks to protect existing mountain bikers’ access to all designated mountain biking trails in Singapore
2. Improvement riding quality of existing trails- Given the limited number of designated mountain biking trails in Singapore, MBASG will champion for the upkeep and maintenance of these trails in order to maintain, and to improve riding quality.
3. Expansion of trail network- To ease the strain on existing trails and to cater to increasing number of mountain bikers, MBASG will actively seek the development of new mountain biking trails with Nparks and other government agencies.
We have plans to register ourselves formally as a society with the Registry of Societies this year. This will allow us to seek sponsorship and public funding, and these resources will enable us to do more.
For the moment we're going through growing pains, and operating with a Pro-Tem committee comprised of a leadership team and designated committees, as if we are already officially registered. Our eventual transition into an official registered society is therefore expected to be less painful as we would already be used to operating on the basis of a credible, organized society, and this would set the stage for an eventual AGM of members to elect their formal leadership team and committee.
Q: Is Mountain Biking being threatened in Singapore ? Why is there a need for this association?
Land is limited in Singapore and we cannot assume the trails we have today will be there in the future. We believe, for mountain biking to thrive and grow, locals trails are very important.
Government agencies have their own plans (housing, conservation etc. etc.) and mountain biking might be a blind spot in their plans. If there is a lack of representation for our sport, we may have less trails to ride in future.
We hope, by engaging with the authorities, and playing our part as responsible mountain bikers, we will have more trails to ride in the future and this sport of ours will continue to grow.
The general public may have a negative perception of us. Some have written in to newspapers and labelled us as “inconsiderate”, “mountain bikers’ expectations unreaonable” etc. We believe there is a need to respectfully correct such negative perception in public discourse, and promote a fairer view of our community and sport.
Q: What are MBASG’s organizational values?
We believe in being a open and transparent group representing mountain bikers.
We believe in solving problems with the governement authorities (and even amongst ourselves) by being open and collaborative.
We believe in utilizing our own resources whenever possible.
We believe it is important to be responsible for ourselves and the places we ride in.
Q: What is the big deal about Mountain biking? Isn’t it just another sport, just another past time for some adrenaline starved urbanites?
We love riding mountain bikes!!
It is the perfect “spa” for many of us; it helps us get out of the routine; it refreshes us.
Mountain biking is an outdoor recreational activity with low environmental impact, promotes healthy living, builds individual resilience, and cultivates strong community spirit.
Q: Aren't there already other guys doing this? Have you involved them?
Last we checked, we know of a few individuals/ initiatives, a few whom are pretty well known amongst the mountain biking community such as the SG Trail Adoption Program (TAP). They've done a good job, and we are grateful for their efforts. As a matter of fact, some of the guys behind TAP are part of MBASG, and they will lead trail adoption efforts on our behalf. Others are involved as advisors, or are part of our General Committee.
We have asked some other guys (who prefer to remain unnamed for now) to be part MBASG’s future projects where their specific expertise will be much valued.
MBASG believes that a motivated group can always perform on a higher level than a motivated individual working alone. A group offers the value of diversity of ideas and opinions on how we can take things forward. We have set ourselves up to be as transparent and as inclusive as possible, and all are welcome to join our meetings and be part of our Pro-Tem committee.
Q: Doesn't Singapore Cycling Federation (formerly SACA) represent mountain bikers? Why don't you guys work with them?
As the national sports association for cycling, we believe SCF's mission is primarily to develop elite athletes for sporting glory rather than MTB trail advocacy. We believe in developing mountain biking as a sport for all to enjoy, and we champion for more trails for this sport to grow as current trails are already beyond capacity on weekends.
With more mountain bikers, this means a greater base for SCF to develop elite mountain bikers. Hence our missions are complementary, and we welcome collaboration. In fact, we have SCF’s VP of Mountain Biking as an MBASG committee head spearheading membership and community engagement initiatives for us.
Q: You guys claim to represent mountain bikers in Singapore. What gives you the right to do so?
Last we checked, we are not aware that we needed anybody's permission to do so. Rather than whine and complain about the state of affairs regarding mountain biking trails, we chose to do something about it. Eventually, we hope to be seen as a credible and effective advocate for mountain biking trails within the general mountain biking public.
Q: What is MBASG's position on illegal trails such as Woodcutter’s and scorpion?
The primary non-sanctioned trails frequented by mountain bikers in the Central Catchment are Woodcutter's and Scorpion trail. They were popular with mountain bikers until Nparks took enforcement action in Apr 2012, and fined mountain bikers for riding on these trails.
The reason given by Nparks for enforcement action particularly at Woodcutter’s trail is conservation, and mountain bikers are not necessarily targeted as all recreational use is prohibited, and trail runners and hikers found there have also been fined. Woodcutter is a thoroughfare running through the central catchment area and according to folks who spoke to us from the Nature Society (Singapore) and Raffles museum of biodiversity, the heavy numbers of mountain bikers riding there in recent times is extremely disruptive to wildlife residing there. Only the Singapore Armed Forces is allowed to use the trail for training purposes in the name of national security. All recreational use including cycling and hiking is prohibited.
To be an effective advocate for mountain bikers, it is important for MBASG to be seen as a credible body with Nparks and other stakeholders, and to work amicably with them towards a win-win solution. Therefore, MBASG's position is that we will accept Nparks' and the other stake holders’ arguments regarding conservation at face value, and we therefore strongly advise mountain bikers and all other recreational trail users to refrain from entering non-sanctioned trails, especially Woodcutter's trail.
MBASG is serious about the conservationists’ point of view as an equal stakeholder in our fragile trails, and we have environmental and conservation advisors within our organization. Hopefully through organic wildlife growth with less disruption, and the new eco bridge across BKE allowing an explosion in mother nature’s numbers, we can revisit this position on Woodcutter’s trail in future.
We believe the situation with Scorpion trail to be a lot less dire than Woodcutter’s trail, as it does not cut deep into the nature reserve and in fact is very near the peripheral of the nature reserve. However as it still lies within the nature reserve, recreational use is still prohibited.
Additionally, MBASG has been actively championing for Butterfly trail and Kampong trail to be officially open for recreational use by mountain bikers, and hopes to have some good news to share with mountain bikers in the near future. For now, watch out for upcoming and ongoing trail update sessions which will be conducted to provide a situational update for mountian bikers.
Q: I don't need your representation, and I ride where I want anyway. I ride to be free, and we don't need another one of those guys telling us what to do.
Seriously, it is impossible to make everyone happy. Just do what you want since you're all grown up. All power to you, ride on along, and we wish you happy trails.
We can't force everyone to agree with us. However, we urge mountain bikers to bear in mind the consequences their riding decisions could have on the community at large, as there are also other stakeholders such as other trail users, nature lovers, and the public at large.
We are all ambassadors for mountain biking whether we like it or not and negative public perception of mountain biking by other stake holders could make it more difficult for us to influence policy making with Nparks as they definitely consult the views of other stakeholders and not just mountain bikers.
Q: What is MBASG's position and thoughts on the various official MTB trails in Singapore?
In line with our mission, we seek to protect continued access of the existing trails for mountain biking, improve riding conditions, and expansion of mountain biking trail access.
For Bukit Timah trail, MBASG has been in constant communicated with Nparks, and penned a position paper on BT Trail. As we understand, Nparks has a project to revamp Bt Timah trail, scheduled for completion by Q4 2013. Dirtraction has been appointed as trail consultant, and tenders to rework the trail have been called for and closed, awaiting award. MBASG had a sneak preview of the new BT trail with Nparks, and we are very excited about the upcoming developments which will make BT a more sustainable trail for the long run.
Kent ridge trail is currently taken care of by riding group RideBrothers under the Trail Adoption Program, and they've done a great job with it There are plans to rework and extend the Super D line for the remainder of the year and they will need some help from mountain bikers to do that, so please support them!
With regards to Tampines Bike Park trail, MBASG understands that the whole area has been zoned for upcoming public housing projects. The exact timeline for this as we understand is fluid, and MBASG’s is looking at the situation closely, and working towards a solution to balance mountain biking needs, and national needs to house an increasing population and space for more amenities, etc.
Pulau Ubin’s Ketam trail sets the local gold standard for a sustainably designed/ built and well signposted trail, and is arguably the best mountain biking trail for many local riders.
We feel T15 is in need of some love at certain sections which have seen erosion or are perpetually muddy, but there are no major issues with it for the most part.
Q: What are your plans for expansion of riding trails?
MBASG is always seeking to expand trail access to mountain bikers in Singapore.
We endeavour to work with Nparks to provide input towards shaping of upcomimg trails in the next few years e.g. Chestnut Nature park trails to meet mountain biker needs.
Conversion of existing hiking trails to allow cycling is also something which MBASG has its eyes on. We are in the midst of putting together a proposal to Nparks to resdesignate Kampong trail off Jln Kampong Chantek as a dual use hiking/ cycling trail.
Q: What about BMX, freeride, and downhill? Do you have any plans to seek more bike parks, jumps, and facilities for mountain bikers who specialise in these disciplines?
We currently have no plans for these at the moment, as these are more specialized disciplines of cycling and mountain biking. Our resources are limited, and we prefer to focus purely on the mission of having more, and better quality mountain biking trails which can be enjoyed by as many mountain bikers as possible. Q: Sounds good. How can I help you guys?
Great. You can be involved hands-on and join our Pro-Tem committee. We have various committees and you can slot yourself into any of them. We do meet monthly on the last Wed of every month for about 2 hours each time, and the meeting minutes (to be posted) will give you a good idea as to what is discussed. There is much to be done and we always welcome people who are willing to join us and make the load lighter.
Q: As a mountain biker, how can I help our Mountain Biking community ‘carry more weight’?
If you haven’t done so, please sign up with us to be a provisional member of MBASG. Membership is free. As we are not an officially registered society, we do not offer official membership as yet, and hence membership is provisional. Upon official registration as a society, all members will automatically become official members of MBASG.
Membership figures will enable MBASG to understand the number of mountain bikers we represent, and these numbers can help us be seen as an official stakeholder in our discussions with government bodies and other parties.