11 Mar 5 Brilliant Bits about the Bamboo Bicycle

Contributed by Aisha Lin, OCBC Bank.

This week, I headed down to Hotel Jen orchardgateway to check out their bamboo bicycles. While we don’t see many of these in Singapore, the bamboo bicycle is popular in Latin America, the United States and in other parts of Asia like China and Thailand. Here are five reasons why:

1Bamboo bicycles at Hotel Jen orchardgateway front lobby

Say hello to a longer and smoother ride!
Bamboo bicycles are touted for their vibration dampening – a much sought-after quality in bicycles. Bamboo has a dense cellulose structure, and this is what dampens road vibrations to reduce shock impact, which in turn reduces rider fatigue.

It can be light as a feather
Can you believe that each bike weighs under 5kg, with most being around 2.5kg?

Rain or Shine
Is it starting to rain while you’re on the road? Fret not, finished bamboo bicycles are sealed with protectants like honey wax so you can keep on pedaling even when it pours.

Lifelong Friend
Bamboo is so stiff and strong that it is often used as scaffolding in Asian countries. In fact, bamboo stiffens over time, giving its rider an initial compliance that plusher bikes provide, and eventually stiffening up to what would feel almost like a stiff road bike.

It’s eco-friendly, and pretty darn pretty
Apart from not requiring fossil fuels to run, bamboo is a renewable resource that can be harvested annually. Plus, the earthy tones of the bamboo body make for a really aesthetically pleasing bike!

With the bicycles offered by Hotel Jen, guests can explore Orchard Road on two wheels for FREE. I took up their offer of a test ride so I could share the experience firsthand. The folks at reception were happy to recommend some of the sights around the hotel using their “Monceirge”, an interactive electronic touchscreen loaded with useful tourist information. Fort Canning Park was my choice because of the slight incline along the route and great scenery to boot.

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Hotel Jen front desk staff, Adrian, recommending places to cycle to and showing how guests can email the information straight to their smartphone.

I adjusted the seat height, clipped on my helmet and was ready to go!

4Comfortable strappy sandals for Instagram before my casual ride.

The bamboo bicycle provided me with a smooth ride down Orchard Road, even on the cobbled ground at Fort Canning Park. Heaving the bike up the few flights of stairs leading up to Fort Canning Park was a little tougher, but still doable .

5View of the slope and cobbled ground at Fort Canning Park

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Taking a morning ride to the park on a bamboo bicycle, taking selfies with a fish-eye – am I a hipster yet?

After a beautiful morning surrounded by lush green, I decided to cycle back for a drink and snack at the top of Hotel Jen – BayWatch@Jen.

8Ended the ride at Baywatch@Jen, a beautiful rooftop boardwalk with an infinity pool and cocktail bar.

I dined at the BayWatch @ Jen with Hotel Jen’s Communications Manager, Ler Ling, over some of Hotel Jen’s classic drinks – a cocktail and mocktail for each of us – and their Organic Vegetable Salad and Mini Beef Sliders to share.

9Signature drinks from the BayWatch@Jen Bar (L – R): J Punch, Blue Chandelier, Blossom Spritzer, Watermelon Mojito; and guest favourites Organic Vegetable Salad and Mini Beef Sliders

We talked about Hotel Jen’s bamboo bicycles and Ler Ling told me it gives guests a sense of adventure, to cycle places instead of hailing a cab. ‘‘And it lasts forever. It’s like a piece of good leather, it improves with age,’’ said Ler Ling.

10Lunch with Ler Ling from Hotel Jen orchardgateway

Great food, conversation and company made for the perfect alfresco lunch, not to mention having a view from the highest infinity pool along Orchard Road.

11Rooftop bar at BayWatch@Jen

12Children’s wading pool at BayWatch@Jen