We're not talking about bike paths or park connectors, which while providing a service, are hampered by pedestrians and road crossings, and aren't really suited to those that like a bit of speed. What we're dreaming about is an unbroken loop and Changi Airport would be the place to do it.
The simple imaginary route above created by following the airport's perimeter fence on mapmyride.com reveals the utopian concept.
Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport has shown the way by this week opening a 23km circuit around the airport's perimeter to "encourage cyclists who want to enjoy a long ride in complete safety," according to the Bangkok Post.
Bangkok's vision: http://tinyurl.com/k68kqln
Why couldn't the same thing happen at Changi?
"All" that would need to happen would be the creation of a second fence running parallel to the existing security fence with the bike track in the middle. OK, we'll admit we haven't done our homework here, we're just thinking out load and we're guessing it would probably be impossible to follow the fence right now, even on foot. We don't really fancy facing the barrels of a few SAF guns during the reconnaissance mission. So it might well mean the odd bridge or tunnel would be required to make the loop seamless, but surely this shouldn't be too much of an obstacle?
Cyclists already ride an "airport loop", involving the Changi Coastal Road, Xilin Avenue, Upper Changi Road East and Loyang Avenue, which is obviously a stop-start affair due to intersections and traffic lights. It's a notorious circuit mainly due to the gauntlet that is Changi Coastal, so imagine being able to ride it free from the worry of death by speeding truck.
The Singapore authorities should be applauded for recognising that cycling is growing here and the inclusion of cycling infrastructure in future town planning is a step in the right direction, even if it's mostly just paths and connectors for now. But awareness of the need for more is there and earlier this month MP Irene Ng stood up in Parliament and advocated even bigger things, including the much-needed bike lanes for cycling commuters on the busy roads into the city. So we're on the right track.
It's much safer to ride the streets of Singapore than Bangkok, but the Thai capital is showing us what can be done if we think big. We recognise that Changi Airport is in the middle of an expansion, so building the perimeter bike loop might be off the cards for now. But with a bit of foresight that very expansion could create the exact opportunity to include the bike loop in the plans.
We're dreaming, we know, but dreams are for free.