You live about 2km from an MRT station.
Instead of taking a sweaty walk there, imagine you could go to a rental bicycle kiosk near your home, hop on a bike and off you go. You drop the bicycle off at another kiosk near the station, then ride the train to your workplace which is next to a train station.
After work you take the train back, and at your station, take out another rental bicycle to return to the kiosk near your home and drop it off - all for a small fee. This cheery scenario can become a reality if the Land Transport Authority (LTA) implements its idea to set up an island-wide system of rental bicycle kiosks.
LTA chief executive Yam Ah Mee said the idea is being explored to see how interested private vendors could participate to provide such services.
In Paris, a system called Velib, which was begun in July last year, has proven successful. It now sees some 20,600 bicycles spread over 1,450 self-service rental kiosks. The kiosks are only some 300m apart, and there are four times as many of these as there are subway stations.
A cyclist may pick up a bike from one kiosk and drop it off at another for subscription fees ranging from 1 euro (S$1.90) for a day to 29 euros for a year. Use of the bike is free for 30 minutes at a time, after which charges are imposed.
One important factor to consider in Singapore is the weather.
The heat will put many people off the idea - imagine cycling when the temperature hits a sultry 33 deg C - whereas rain would make riding a test. But the system is meant mainly for short trips.
In Paris, 96 cent of rides are of not more than half an hour. What this means is that there must be many kiosks spread over the island, all of them close to one another, as in Paris.
Meanwhile, the authorities here may want to consider making it mandatory for cyclists to wear crash helmets. At least three people have died on their rented Velibs in Paris, hit by buses or trucks.
This article was first published in The Sunday Times on Nov 9, 2008.