Cycling is like life. Cycling with no goal is meaningless. What meaning is there cycling in circles? Or living aimlessly? Meaning comes from direction and destination. Join me in my life's journey on a mountain bike :)

Blogging since 2003. Thank you for reading :))

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Danger girl

Upper Thomson, 23 km. She’s cycling on the pavement along a busy road, one hand on handlebar, the other holding her mobile phone. She’s looking at the phone, its glow lights up her face. Otherwise, no lights. And no protection: no helmet on her head, no gloves on her hands, slippers on her feet.

“So dangerous”, I thought. When accidents happen, there’s sometimes no time to scream. And the “landing gear” tends to be head, hands, feet.

I stop at a red light. “Where are you going?” she yelled. Turns out she's lost, having cycled from Sengkang. Her friend is lost too. They agree where to meet and I lead her there to wait for him. When we stop, she asks why. “Red light,” I reply.

As we wait, we chat. Jessica wants to be an UAV pilot for the military. She seems to think cycling in Cambodia is more dangerous. Having cycled in all three places, I think the risk of accidents is higher at Orchard Road and East Coast Park.

Danger is relative.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Short time, short route

Upper Thomson, 20 km. I used to find this route boring. It's scenic, with the winding road surrounded by trees on either side and occasional non-dangerous wildlife such as monkeys. While there are dangerous drivers, they are few.

I found it boring because the route was short and to stay on it meant loop after loop. Now, as time is short, I take this short route and it is great.

It's marred only by the memory of bumbling bureaucrats who didn't admit they bumbled, much less apologise or make amends.

I sometimes wish I live in another country, where roads, nay, trails, wind through the countryside. Where the only high rises are trees, hills and waterfalls.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Cool night

Upper Thomson, 16 km. Last week, haze fell from the sky. No way I'm going to clog up my lungs. This week, it rains. No matter; I'm not getting fluid in my lungs. Though the road is wet, I head out to listen for silence. Yes, the mysterious click is still gone. I’m glad the mystery is solved.

It is cool after the rain. Though it is Sunday night and Monday morning is hours away, I see three other cyclists on the road. And a wild boar.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

"Elementary, my dear Watson"

Aug distance: 57 kn

Upper Thomson, 16 km.  After weeks of suffering and wondering what caused my bike to click on pedal downstrokes, I finally found out.

What it wasn't:

  • seatpost or seat; 
  • fork
  • headset.

If it was so, there'd be clicking even as I coasted over bumps.

It wasn't:

  • chainrings, bolts seemed tight
  • bearings; there was no "play" in the crank
  • crankarms; bolts were tight
  • chain. This was a major suspect, as I'd botched up installation. But it wasn't, as I'd lubed it, and the links weren't stiff. 

What ut was ... the right pedal. There are reasons why it couldn't have been, so it was the last thing I checked. As Sherlock Holmes said, "when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth".

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Double click

Upper Thomson, 25 km. First, it was one click. Now, with each pedal downstroke, there are two clicks. A properly functioning computer mouse must double click. A smoothly functioning bicycle does not single click, much less double click.

The sound, while small, is ominous. There is no play in my cranks. So what is malfunctioning, such that single click has become double?

Sunday, August 07, 2016

By the numbers

Upper Thomson, 16 km. In the past, as I cycle, I’d think about km, km/h, hours, minutes, even calories. This evening, I’m preoccupied by ROI, PE ratio, payout ratio, yield.

If I make the numbers, I can do more km and think about the other numbers!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Small is big, big is small

Jul distance: 100 km

A firefly is tiny, the size of a fingernail. Yet, seeing it creates a big sense of wonder. Fireflies have been sighted on this island, so what I saw might not have been a figment of my imagination. I saw a wild boar piglet too, rooting about in the ground.

Another big deal for me is the tiny clicking sound when I downstroke at the 11 o’clock position. Having failed to isolate its location, it is driving me round the bend.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Making the best of a mess

Upper Thomson, 16 km. I've sprayed and lubed. Tightened and hoped. But my bike still clicks when I downstroke.

When I improve my pedal form and pull up with my left foot, the click disappears. So, the click reminds me to pedal properly.

Alone with my thoughts on a quiet road (but for the clicks), I think I see a light float in the cool night air. Am I seeing things? No, it's a firefly!

Then I think I'm seeing things - a large blob of neon, then it's gone. Must be my imagination ... until, round the bend, I see a runner with lights. I'd say he's an ultramarathoner type, rather than a marathoner.

Saturday, July 16, 2016


Upper Thomson, 16 km. I'm alone on the dim and winding road. Then, I'm alone no longer. One dark shape crosses the road, followed by half a dozen smaller shapes. Wild boar! Good to eat but not good to be run into.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Making noise

Sembawang, 32 km. There's an irritating click when I pedal. I'd cleaned my chain, for the first time without degreaser but with lube, then lubed it. It's clean, but something still clicks.

I also hear a strange noise, a "toink" that could be from my inner tube (or is that from air fork?). In all my years of riding, I've not heard anything like this.

Baffling, and anxiety inducing. Dreadful even, if this is related to my front wheel, as that would mean immediate loss of steering control and up to 80% of braking power.