Category Archives: pedal ubin

Sun 24 Jun 2018: Pedal Ubin 2018 @ Pesta Ubin – explore Pulau Ubin and “The Ubin Way” with NUS Toddycats

Pedal Ubin returns for for Pesta Ubin 2018!

Pedal Ubin is a programme by NUS Toddycats dating back to 1999 and is pleased to be a participating member of Pesta Ubin, which is organised by the Friends of Ubin Network (FUN).

Join us for a ride around Pulau Ubin to explore the Island’s landmarks and scenery with NUS Toddycats volunteer guides from the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, NUS. The ride is free of charge but you must read the details on the registration page and register on the Eventbrite page at

We will cycle past old plantations, kampongs, forest, quarries and mangroves, stopping for a coconut or two, whilst listening to guides share stories of Ubin’s wildlife, heritage and ongoing conservation efforts. In keeping with the Ubin Way, at some point, we will sit down and get to know each other!

You must be able to ride a bike and be at least 10 years old in order to keep up with the pace. Even if it is a slow ride, there are slopes and dirt trails to enjoy.

Participants must arrange to rent their own bicycles (and you are encouraged to rent a helmet too) on Pulau Ubin or bring their own bicycles from the mainland.

More important details on the registration page.

Pedal Ubin 2017

Be sure not to miss Pesta Ubin – Pulau Ubin’s Open House, 10 May – 16 July 2017!

Screenshot 503Pulau Ubin is going to be abuzz from 20 May to 16 July 2017! Volunteers from some 20 organising nature and heritage groups have come together to offer a slew of Pesta Ubin activities.

Many Pesta Ubin activities are offered free of charge to members of the public. You may not even need to register for some – just join in the fun once you are on Pulau Ubin! Check the blog to see what is happing by date and activity type – something is going on EVERY weekend during this period.

NUS Toddycats are supporting the Balik Chek Jawa event and a Pedal Ubin ride for sure!


Just some of the people behind Pesta Ubin!

Sun 05 Jun 2016 – Journey to the East with Pedal Ubin! (30 places)

Sun 05 Jun 2016: 8.00am – 12.00pm – NUS Toddycats, volunteer guides of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum are offering Pedal Ubin’s Journey to the East for Balik Chek Jawa.

This event is part of the month long 2016 Pulau Ubin Open House, now rebranded as Pesta Ubin – check out the truly amazing list of activities offered by the community to the public on Pulau Ubin.

The Pedal Ubin team will head to Chek Jawa with 30 participants to enjoy the special open house planned there by the community and will include a guided tour of the boardwalk and the fun activities at House No. 1. On the way we cycle through the sensory trail, past old plantations, old kampongs, forest, quarries and mangroves, stop for a coconut or two and hear stories of Ubin’s wildlife, past heritage and present conservation efforts.

This ride is partly on dirt roads with slopes so is slightly technical ride, and not suitable for very weak cyclists. Participants must be at least 12 years old and can rent their own bicycle on Pulau Ubin, from shops in front of the Wayang Stage.

More details and for registration, see Eventbrite.


This is the 15th year of Pedal Ubin. It was run from 1998 – 2009 and restarted in 2014 for the annual Pesta Ubin.

Discover Pulau Ubin during Pesta Ubin, 14 May – 12 June 2016!

“Pesta Ubin” is the 5th iteration of Ubin Day and offers a wonderful array of activities by more than 30 groups who enjoy nature, heritage, adventure and recreation activities on Pulau Ubin. Many events are offered free of charge to share the joy of this unique island with Singaporeans.

For more details, see the Pesta Ubin blog and facebook pages.

Pesta Ubin 2016

The festival starts on the 14th of May 2016 with a Chek Jawa boardwalk tour, a basic mountain-biking course, and an evening at the Wayang Stage, explorations of the western tip, a specialist heritage tour, and learning kampung cooking in a 100-year old kampung house! The truly marvellous array of activities continue until mid-June!

This festival is a ground-up exercise coordinated by WildSingapore which facilitates the offerings of various groups.

The Ubin Way

A unique feature is a code of conduct the groups subscribe to, called the Ubin Way:

  1. Greet each other with a smile, a “Hello” or “How was your day on Pulau Ubin?” Respect the culture and get to know the people of Ubin, and each other.
  2. Do not litter – and pick up litter that we see. Bring it back to the mainland.
  3. Be gentle with wildlife – no balloons release, avoid noisy activities, be considerate during photography, don’t pluck plants or harm animals. At night, do not blind animals with the glare of strong lights.
  4. Minimise our footprint – avoid bottled water, styrofoam, plastic bags, useless freebies, pamphlets and single use items
  5. Encourage participants to patronise local businesses and share news about activities on the island.

To contribute an activity or volunteer, see the About page.

NUS Toddycats will be in action with the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore booth and Pedal Ubin.

Join NUS Toddycats at Ubin Day 2015 – Pedal Ubin and the ICCS, Palm Civet and Otter booths!

Once again, Ubinday2015NUS Toddycats are part of Ubin Day 2015! This very special Open House event is conducted by people and groups who love Ubin. We come together to organise special events for the public to celebrate Pulau Ubin on Sat 13 June & Sun 14 Jun 2015.

Toddycats will offer Pedal Ubin, as we did in 2014 – this exploration of Pulau Ubin on bicycle includes visits to Ubin Quarry, Ketam Beach and the German Girl Shrine.

We also join other groups at the bazaar in the main tent on 13 & 14 Jun 2015 – International Coastal Cleanup Singapore will engage visitors about marine life in Singapore and the hurtful impact of marine trash. The Common Palm Civet and Otter Watch groups will introduce the public to native mammals which we are lucky to have live amongst us still in Pulau Ubin and Singapore.

You can join us to help out in the Toddycats Pedal Ubin programme or as an Exhibition Guide to talk about marine life, civets and otters. Just sign up here: A training workshop will be conducted on Sat 06 Jun 2015..

Another Junglefowl, Joelle, talking about Ubin Quarry.

Pedal Ubin guide Joelle Lai, introduces the Ubin Quarry at Ubin Day 2014.

Public engagement by various groups at the main tent on Ubin Day 2014.

Toddycats revive Pedal Ubin for Ubin Day 2014! (30 Nov 2014)

Between 1997 and 2009, the Toddycats organised a quarterly outreach programme called Pedal Ubin!.

We combined our favourite activities: cycling, nature, and public outreach, and set it on Pulau Ubin, the island time forgot. It was a great way to introduce to urban Singaporeans the pleasure of being outdoors, cycling in relative safety amidst the slow pace of the island, and learning about its history.

We retired the programme in 2009 and kept the website online as a resource page for visitors wanting to discover the island on their own.

When we were approached by the organisers of Ubin Day to be part of the celebration, it was very clear that we would bring back a one day edition of Pedal Ubin! A quick round up of the Jungle Fowls (what the Pedal Ubin guides were known as) saw Alvin, Kai Scene, Chee Kong, Marcus (Ng) and Kenneth respond to the call, in addition to new guides Yi Yong and Liana! We had enough guides for 50 sign ups!

Spaces were filled quickly and we looked forward to sharing with members of the public just how special Ubin is.

Breakfast at Guru’s, our usual meeting place before a day out on P. Ubin.

After some confusion and delay at the jetty due to the overwhelming number of visitors to the Island, we flagged off the first group, led by veteran guide Alvin and Yiyong, but not before a briefing on road safety, braking, and how to make the gears of the bicycle work for you, especially when climbing up slopes!



After an hour, the second group, led by Chee Kong, Kai Scene, Joelle, Liana, Marcus and Kenneth set off too! And yes, not before the obligatory briefing.


We took the Journey to the West for the day, and made Jelutong Bridge our first stop. Liana took the lead in explaining to our  participants what mangroves are and the kinds of flora and fauna that can be found in this habitat


Our first snake encounter happened here too, when Marcus found an oriental tree snake. Chee Kong, being the experienced snake handler in the team took the opportunity to explain more about snakes in Singapore (please do not handle snakes in the wild if you are not properly trained! If you encounter one, do leave it alone and call the ACRES wildlife rescue helpline at 9783 7782)


Alvin at the garden opposite the ‘Why you so like dat‘ drinks stall, regaling participants with stories of the breadfruit tree and its connection with the mutiny on the Bounty


Joelle at Ubin Quarry, possibly talking about the hemiparasite, the mistletoe, and its strategy for seed dispersal.


One of the highlights in our rides to the west of the island is the German girl shrine. While the original building is gone and it looks like a new one is being constructed, the shrine sits under a temporary shelter adjacent to the site. Here, Marcus gave a comprehensive history of the german girl and how she came to be deified by the local villagers. It was translated into mandarin by Kai Scene a second time round!


We also made a short stop at Ketam Beach, a short walk away from the german girl shrine where we spoke about the problem of marine trash, fish farming and food security in Singapore.


Chee Kong found a partial horseshoe crab carapace and we also spotted a single carpet anemone amongst the rubble. It was a good way to introduce to our participants some of the marine life that can be found in the waters off Ubin.


Three hours later, we returned from the west and deposited our participants at the basketball court where a whole plethora of Ubin Day activities were in full swing.

It was a great reunion for us Jungle Fowls and we had a good time reconnecting with Ubin and showing our participants what a gem of an island Ubin is.  We thank the organisers, NParks and Ria of WildSingapore for the opportunity to contribute something to Ubin Day and look forward to future Ubin events! More pictures can be viewed on our flickr album. 


Group photo with Siva (above) and the Guest of Honour for Ubin Day, Minister of State Desmond Lee.



Pedal Ubin 13th June – durian dominates!

Attendance figures:

With one guide down with flu, another shifting house and others going or already overseas, the registration cut-off turned out to be just nice. A 15 participant to 2 guide ratio is quite comfortable and allows the guides to enjoy the ride more. This is important since we intend to keep at this for years. I did have to turn away some non-registered individuals at Ubin itself. We simply can’t take them on ad hoc anymore now that we have fewer guides.

Airani, writes:

Grace Leng and I led a group that went on a hunt to find durians – I warned them at the very first stop that I’m too much of a durian fan! We stopped and scoured the ground at every slightest hint that there might be fruits on the ground. At one point, we bashed through lallang taller than us. Two participants managed to collect three fruit. Even the small boy in our group followed us through the lallang!

I took them through the rubber plantation (yes, now open once agan) to get to Noordin beach. The former prawn pond is under construction to become a fish farm. It’s much more open now, so can’t stay too long for the heat but luckily we had plenty of shade nearby to take cover.

We met a bunch of youths wearing NYP dark blue t-shirts who had been going round and round the farm. They were heading to Noordin so I told them to go straight. I hope they didn’t take the right path at the fork in front – they wouldn’t have gone round again! hehe…

I like that the participants were all so game!

One of other groups (Joelle, Kenneth & Alvin) took the easier approach with durians by patronising auntie’s stall at Jelutong bridge:

Photos from:

Marcus and I took a large and game group to the Sungei Ubin, Sensory Trail and the Chek Jawa boardwalk where they fell in love with fiddler crabs and had a hornbill encounter with four individuals. They also saw two otters out in the distance. The Chek Jawa counter was teeming with people, it was like a fish market!

The ride to the east proved that exercising caution and riding slowly allowed the steep slopes along Ubin’s main trails to become manageable. At the site of the old Malay village, we encountered a 90-year grandmother back from the shore after collecting bivalves and oysters. She gamely chatted with us and posed for pictures!

We id not pursue durians but marveled at the enthusiasm of the durian hunters we saw all around the island. We had no idea the other groups were just as enthusiastic! As Marcus and I debriefed the ride (we were the last group back), our group members plunked rambutans on our table as they passed us on the way out to the jetty. Nice!

Ivan Khong writes of his enthusiastic group:

The early morning shower raised the humidity by several levels – and probably the number of no shows as well [attendance was 83% – ed.].

We did a brief introduction and bike check whilst awaiting other guides and participants to appear.

Ivan chatting with the early birds before the pre-ride briefing.

First stop, Pekan quarry! Egrets coming back from all directions from breakfast to rest by the tranquil water. Nice start – and the group already visibly excited!

At the good ‘ol Jelutong bridge, stories on mangroves were told. Participant eyes were aglow when informed about the importance of mangroves, and how marine litter is a bane to marine life. Mudskippers were skipping in the background (must be happy someone is raising their plight). Half beaks aplenty at the sluice gates!

At the Marina Ubin toilet stop, the group enthused over the hornbill research tower. It must have been a very welcome toilet break because everyone went!

On the way to the German Girl Shrine, we stopped (as usual) at the mouth of the inroad, for a quick safety briefing. This pays off well once again as even the wobbly ones make it to the top without incident!

At the beach near the German girl shrine, we saw a grey heron – no talking needed! The whole group was peacefully admiring the beautiful sight of this magnificent bird looking for food. As usual, the only time we forgot the camera, everyone shows up. Gave Ketam trail a miss, as many of the bikes were felt like they were going to crumble.

While waiting for group to reassemble at the mouth of the inroad, an old friend greeted us in the bright sunlight – Episersema!!! Sitting on top of the mudlobster mound, it was happily basking away. The enthusiastic folk approaching the crab scared it back into its burrow but it reappeared for the later group, along with a few others from other mounds! We had a hearty time with group as they had so many questions! Managed to get them going again by getting them excited about Sg. Buloh Wetlands Reserve. Heh!

To prevent heat exhaustion (and to conserve energy for work the next day), a coconut break beckoned at the “why you so like that” stall. Then we journeyed north towards Mamam beach, and stopped by the coconut plantation to see the source of their cool drink! This group’s enthusiasm was bubbling still, and we planed to take them to the sensory trail after Mamam when a sprarakling flash of lightning rearranged our plans immediately with a sprint back to the village!

As we headed back to the jetty, we reflected upon our rides of past- and turn to face a brighter future ahead thanks to the little things each of us had done that day in our very own way.

– N. Sivasothi a.k.a. Otterman