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 :))

Sunday, April 06, 2003

The hills are alive

To Admiralty Rd West (see route details below), 63km. A group of 10 riders visit the hills of central and northern Singapore.

  • Storming the castle: Windsor Park Rd. See how rich people like big houses on big hill tops.
  • Piercing pain: Upper Pierce Reservoir off Old Upper Thomson Rd. Look out for monkeys looking out for you and motorists trying to feed monkeys. There's a place here with a sign "beware of crocodile" - don't think it refers to underwear .
  • Catch your breath: Sembawang Rd, Gambas Ave. Sightseeing at the hotspring where a couple of guys soak their feet while the rest of us joke at their expense.
  • Waves of despair: Admiralty Rd West. Rest along the little quiet road facing Johore. Lunch, then a quick spin by Senoko Fishing Port at Attap Valley Rd.
  • Dessert here we come: Admiralty Rd East to Sembawang Park. Ice cream by the sea.
  • Ride in the park: scenic park connector beside river to Yishun Ave 2.

Quite an eventful ride, with riders cursing me at the first hill of Windsor Park Rd. Indeed, the hills are alive, with the sound of cursing. Of course, it isn't that bad; if they had breath to curse me, the ride isn't that tough. Unhappiness continued at the second stop for breakfast - which was unscheduled. It seems some of the riders hadn't had breakfast, though they were supposed to eat before the ride starts. But how can they cycle on empty stomachs? So they eat while some of those who'd eaten fume quietly to me.

After the ride, cheeky Gentle Giant insists I should give her a certificate of participation / achievement. She e-mails me after that to drive home the point. But I can do better than issue certificates. Everyone who rides (and one who didn't) gets an award. Some get more than one award. Here's the roll of honour (drum roll).

  • Distinguished Achievement Award: RL, for perseverance despite a bad knee and riding a bike that also needs help.
  • Achievement Award (joint winners): to LEK, keeps up and keeps smiling despite being a newbie and saddlesore. AZ, who took part in a race the day before the ride (this is also the first time I've cycled with her).
  • Gentleman of the Ride Award (loud applause): NBL, who rides behind to keep an eye on RL. NBL has made it a point on other rides to look after stragglers / strugglers, even though he can ride like the wind. As in the case with society, it is a mark of decency to watch over those at risk of being left behind.
  • Helpful Rider Award (loud cheers): LCT, for keeping me posted on happenings among riders and helping me wait for them. LCT also wins the Overqualified Rider Award, for taking part in the ride even though it must have been boring for him. Imagine a postgraduate student taking a test for an O Level student ... He rides faster than 40 kmh so the slow pace must have been boring. Just watch him entertain himself at rest stops and during the ride, as he disappears and reappears like a ninja at different parts of the road.
  • The "Hello, Where Are You" Award (joint winners): Gentle Giant and ST, who overshoot turning points. Giant also wins the "What, No Ice Kachang?" Award.
  • The "No Complaints" Award (joint winners): to GL and LSH for quietly enjoying the ride.
  • The "I Wish I Was Riding With You" Award: to M.

This ride is memorable to me for several reasons

  • I didn't get lost though the recce was more than a month ago
  • First time I ride with a bandanna; it sure helps keep the sweat out of my eyes and off my glasses. Looks cool too, I think. And when I soak it in water and ride, it sure feels cool. I also put on a t-shirt cut off at the waist - it sure lets in cool air!
  • I clock 41.9 kmh on a flat road. Might have been able to go faster, but chain started skipping and there were some on-coming traffic. Before upgrading my drivetrain, the max speed on the same road was 36 kmh.
  • I ride like I had dogs after me at Upper Pierce, dodging cars right and left. Why did I take those risks? Speed thrills but kills
  • Bike computer tells me I clocked max speed of 62.61 kmh. Dare I believe it? I don't recall going that fast.

Tech note The second "liposuction" of my bike (see 29-30 Mar) is paying off well overall. Less weight, less energy needed, less injury. More distance, more speed and (of course) more costly. Price I've spent upgrading the bike is now about the same as the cost price. Still, it costs less than getting a new bike - and what price can you put on a "classic" bike? Anyway, the only original parts left on my horsey are the wheelset, inner tubes (unpunctured after 3,652 km), rear derailleur and, of course, the frame. May the Horse be with you. I reward horsey by cleaning and lubing it for the next ride.

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