The Pedal Ubin Guides (Jungle Fowls) were all bubbly and cheerful as they gathered at Changi Jetty. We were conducting registration there for the first time instead of the basketball court as an experiment. Groups of visitors and their guides set off smoothly in bumboats to Pulau Ubin, in groups of 12.
When the ride began, there were no-shows. So participants enjoyed the luxury of a 1 guide: 4 participants ratio due to the no-shows. The first group headed west, led by Gurmit, November and Leong Wai while Vannessa, Tammy, Shiping, Kai Scene and Ivan took the second group to the coconut plantation near the village. The groups later visited various plantations and ecosystems, the Shrine of the German Girl, Jelutong Bridge, the Thai Temple, “Y U so like that” stall and Ubin Quarry. It was a beautiful day to be cycling about, with lovely cloud cover and cool breezes blowing throughout the morning so the pace was enjoyable and comfortable.
Apparently, some participants had been given the impression by friends that Pulau Ubin had very little to see! By the end of the trip, we were pleased that these participants were convinced their friends were wrong! Mind you, Pedal Ubin’s exploration of the island with the help of the Jungle Fowls, provide but a mere peek at the nature and heritage that Pulau Ubin has to offer.
The guides rode back enjoying the camaraderie and laughter, sharing the day’s stories and engaged in a photo frenzy! The debrief was peppered with lots of questions, ideas, views and suggestions as we discussed some of the new ideas proposed for 2006. An issue that stood out were late comers who held back the the programme today by at least 30 minutes. They lost the second group the opportunity of a long and cool ride.
The no-shows were an even worse problem! The volunteer guides now realise the rationale behind the suggestion to introduce pre-trip charging. Most trips saw a proportion of participants not turning up without prior notice. They were not only wasting the time and effort of the volunteer guides and taking the free trips for granted, they were eliminating the opportunity of others who were told that registration was full. Although the no-shows go into Siva’s black list, he intends to do more than just ban them from Raffles Museum trips.
After a good morning’s ride, the delicious spread of food that awaited us at Changi Village was a well-deserved reward for the cheery guides of Pedal Ubin!