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 :))

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Rock and roll at Bukit Timah

To Jln Eunos, Bukit Timah, Mandai, 58 km. For the first time in my life, I cycle the trails of Bukit Timah Hill. On semi slicks too. Had a few close calls bouncing along the trails, especially downhill among the gullies and loose rocks. At times like this, there's just no time to think. Yet, it's really a mind game. If I keep looking at an obstacle, I'll tend to plough right into it. Look at the obstacle, then spend more time looking at the way around it. If I think about failing, I will. Going uphill, I stall a few times - no traction. Besides, how can I pedal when my pedals are hitting stones? And my !@#$ chain refuses to shift from #2 to #1 despite repeated attempts and pleading (as if that helps). I shift my rear d in desperation and my chain obliges by flying off the chain rings. What a ride, thanks to LCT who leads the ride - and who knows the trail intimately. He shouts warnings to keep us safe, because he knows what's around the corners and down the hills.

Somehow, people are different on the trails. People walk and strangers talk. Hikers give way to cyclists, cyclists greet cyclists though all are strangers, and some hikers stop by to talk to us as Aviation H changes his inner tube.

Cycling with us are Giant's colleagues; I've met them before at Ubin on 1 May 03. Same people, different bikes. Now, three of them have the same Gary Fishers. And me, still rigid on my Iron Horse. And I made it :-) except for an embarrasing fall while I was stationery and resting! Well, blame it on the lack of sleep - I managed to snatch about 4-5 hours of sleep only.

The ride didn't have a good start though. While I was riding along Hougang on the way to meet Gentle Giant, I see a couple of dogs at a petrol station 75m away. They start trotting out to wish me a good morning. One of them, which is coloured like a hyena, runs parallel to me. I cut across three lanes (don't remember if I checked for traffic, but whew, this is about 7.30 am on a public holiday, so traffic is light). Ahead of me is a red light. Oh oh, I'm in for it now. Fortunately, the dog gets tired of its monologue with me. It stops barking and gives up the chase. But this isn't the only rude encounter of the day.

While cycling with Giant towards Bukit Timah, a driver cuts in front of both of us. I jam my brakes and skid. I swerve round the driver and ask her: "How do you drive?" She comes after me and horns me, winds down her window and says: "I signalled." Giant yells a one-word insult at her. The driver keeps nattering away. I ignore her, thinking that she ought to try her stunt in front of a 5-ton truck and see if her signal will save her.

Tech note Am I imagining things, or is my Bukit Timah dirt stained chain working better? Previously, one flick of the wrist turns the crank about 1.5 revolutions. Now, it goes over two revolutions. Hmmm. Last night, for the first time in my life, I changed my own tyres solo (well, I was strongly advised not to use my slick tyres). Oops, got one of them the wrong way round, let's start all over again. Must have done it right, because my tyres didn't blow despite the pounding at Bukit Timah. Whoa, what incredible inner tubes - over eight years old, still going strong.

Today, I buy myself a camera. It's kinda alarming wondering whether or not my old $25 camera is working or not. Sure, the shots of my first ride with Giant's colleagues turned out OK but the Kluang experience (18-19 Apr 03) was a real fiasco.

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