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 :))

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.


Saturday, July 02, 2016

So close, yet so far

Upper Thomson, 20 km. The child sits on his bike by the roadside and cries, while mom persuades him to go on. She says he's near home. But the road slopes up, which makes the going hard.

So near and yet so far. Sometimes, something feels that way. At other times, like when you can see the finish line in an ultra, it is exhilarating.

I've waited three long months to find out how things work out. Will I find out, or the wait be extended? Time will tell. Well, since I've waited so long, I can't wait some more. It helps I have a choice.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Adjustment

Jun distance: 84 km

Upper Thomson, 21 km. My Little Red Tank has a top pull front derailleur. My current ride, Black Matt, is bottom pull. Both have an irritating creak. The difference is, the former is 10 years old, and so creaks are understandable. The latter is so new. Where is the sound coming from? Sounds like the drivetrain, but it’s intermittent.

I adjust the front derailleur out of desperation, by trail and error, as my notes on derailleur adjustment for Little Red Tank might be the wrong way round. Or am I wrong?

I mess the adjustment up so bad that I notice, but manage to reverse the damage till it's the way it was, with intermittent creak.

No matter how bad the mess, for this one, I can try again.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Something is better than nothing

Upper Thomson, 24 km. I could ride a short distance, or decide that it’s not worth the effort. In the end, I ride a bit, because something is better than nothing*. It boils down to purpose, i.e., why I do this. Not to build mileage per se, but to preserve a modicum of base fitness. Surely, I’ll be doing long rides again. Overseas :)

*Of course, context matters. For a thirsty man, some water is better than none. But there is such a thing as falling short too, like jumping across a stream but not covering enough distance and ending up in the water.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Imagination

Seletar, 21 km. The taxi driver drew beside me and honked loudly. Not a short, soft beep that signals, “stay your course, I’m passing through”, but a long sharp honk that says “get out of my way”. My lights were on, I was wearing reflective material and riding by the side of the road. So why blast me?

Perhaps I’m imagining things. Sure, there was that honk, but it might not have been directed at me. Perhaps the driver wanted to give warning and nothing more.

If I don’t know what the intention was, why think the worse of this stranger ad feel worse? It's better to give the benefit of doubt - and feel better.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Shameless

Seletar, 18 km. How shameless, to cycle for 18 km only and blog about it. Then I realise, it's not just about the distance. I started my ride today to clock mileage, then decide it's more about fun and as I have other things I want to do, I'll go do them.

It was fun, then I let a "door gift" get to me. At a traffic light, a car driver lets off passengers. A door opens. A second is all that it would've taken for the door edge to hit me. The passenger says "sorry", then argues: "The light is red. I should've looked, but you should look too." If the door opens right in front of my face or into my side, I wouldn't have known what hit me till, lady. You're sorry? Not as sorry as I'd have been.

Shameless.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Appreciation

May distance: 77 km

Seletar, 28 km. My long working hours have been getting to me. Then I met a chef today, who works
seven days a week to “keep the place afloat”. He cooks, cleans and chats with customers. He even showed me, when I asked, what pasta he used.

I’m glad he’s there to feed me, and I’m glad that after work, I get to ride, and to see a sight like this (photo).

I realise that when something is gone, I appreciate what I had but no longer have (like being able to sit down and drink coffee while working). And when I appreciate what I no longer have, that which I once had, though gone, still brings a warm afterglow. After all, I'm fortunate to have been able to enjoy it.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

What’s wrong with that?

Seletar, 25 km. This is how it is nowadays. No more running, limited riding, limited to the distance I

used for road tests.

Still, the piddling distance is not to be pitied. I can still enjoy the peddling, short though it is. It doesn’t have to be long to have fun. Just make the most of the little available, whether it’s km or other scarce things. Including time.

I pass an old building. In its heyday, it must’ve been bustling, given it’s size. Now, it stands silent, abandoned. “Useless”, some might say. It was something, now it’s nothing. It’s served it’s purpose, now it rests. What’s wrong with that? And who knows, it might be repurposed.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Taken for granted

Seletar, 25 km. I used to be able to cycle every weekend, but sometimes didn't want to. Now, it's hard to ride even if I want to.

When time is short, distance is short.

Cranking out the short, laughable distance today is an achievement, given the time and energy I've left after working 10 to 11 hours a day, six days a week for the past three weeks (inclusive of less-than-an-hour lunch hour). And more of that to come.

Since my discretionary time has drastically fallen, I’ve to make choices. Some things I drop totally (like running), some things I reduce, some things I maintain. To choose, I’ve to value things. Which means, some things which I’d taken for granted, I now appreciate more.

When there’s less time, there’s less time to waste, which means making a choice to do things I value more.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Many memories, many thanks

This wasn't there the last time I was here
Johore, Malaysia, 139 km. It was in 2003 when I started making day rides across the border. I like
riding abroad as it beats riding from traffic light to traffic light in this garden city or, some say, a city in a garden. A garden is cultivated by man, but wide open spaces is made by nature i.e. it’s natural, not artificial.

The place looks familiar, yet different. It's like meeting someone after years of absence. New roads, bridges and directions pass familiar buildings. To get to where I'd breakfast with my friends, I clamber up a slope: a heap of dirt one storey high.

Another side of Johor Bahru
Riding to Pekan Nanas, reality bites. The distant past has "dimmed" the distance and climbs. Memory is past, reality is present. Time has passed. I'm older, fatter. Well, my tyres are fatter, from 1.25" slicks to 2.1" knobbies.

In the little town of Pekan Nanas, there are two bicycle shops. The biggest one is closed. Besides me, there's another mountain biker standing there forlornly. At the other shop, I'm told, unsolicited, that I can upgrade my 26" wheels to 27.5". Interesting!

On the huge roads leading to the border, traffic automatically hold back to let me filter lanes, just because I glance back. That's one reason why I like cycling here. Instead of small places and minds, there are open spaces and hearts.

Thanks to my bike buddies who introduced me to this life. I marvelled at AF, who cycled in 2003 as if he has a GPS in his head: no map, no compass and gets to the destination without getting lost. As for me, I get to where I want to go after getting lost. Well, yeah, there are new roads and bridges :p