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, June 22, 2003

Great expectations, great disappointments

To Paya Lebar Airbase, 65 km.

The expectations
Every year, the airbase is a magnet for thousands of riders and roller bladers from East Coast Park and other parks. They come from all corners of Singapore regardless of race, language or collision. This year, the first 300 who complete the 45 km route stand to win five Scott bikes worth $3,000 each. So, if I win a bicycle, can anyone say I've been unfaithful to my old faithful Iron Horse?

I prepare my bicycle for the ride last night and skip a movie with the NPCC chaps. Today 7.30 am, I'm at the bus stop waiting for the NPCC chaps. At 8 am, we give up waiting for those missing in action and cycle to the airbase. What a jam. Because of thermal scanning to catch severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) suspects, we end up shuffling our feet for an hour. By the time I get on my bike, my legs are stiff. And I miss the sight of seeing thousands of bikes around me all raring to go.

As the ride has been in progress for an hour already, I try to overtake every living thing in sight. I succeed most of the time, but some mountain bikers over take me. Hmmph. I try drafting some roadies and if they're too slow, I skip to the next roadie ahead. I hear a strange noise, it gets closer and soon it's behind me. Something wrong with my rear wheel? I look back and see a blader drafting behind me. What a strange sight. A roadie in front, then me on a mountain bike, then the blader. I see another roadie I know and ask him to join our circus. It's great to draft behind a pro - besides breaking the wind, he is an early warning and chooses the best route to avoid all those human land mines strewn all over the place. I even see a blader pushing a pram - the kid is asleep!

The disappointments
I pass the NPCC chaps as I go on my second lap. But I don't get to go on the third and last lap - the marshalls close the route so they can close shop on time. So disappointing. Even if I don't win a bicycle, I want to finish what I start. Also disappointing is the dissolution of the fellowship of the spins. Though we were at the bus stop, the magic is gone. Perhaps because H is abroad much of the time. Gentle Giant has stopped organising rides. M prefers sea sports now. B is working much of the time; I hear he's got a girlfriend too. And LSH rides with togoparts.

The saving grace: the NPCC chaps. Though we ride separately today, I join them for lunch and chat with ZL. She must love her job a lot, because she's been losing sleep the past several weekends for months to prepare for the round island . And she spends much time with the cadets: ride debrief last night (about three hours), then dinner, then the movie. Well, the cadets are truly a nice lot to be with. But this is probably the end of it.

Tech note I consider getting "egg beater" pedals which cost $99-120 depending on where one goes - all because of the race on 20 Jun where I had a hard time playing leap frog on the road. But I hear these pedals need maintenance, and I already have fuss free Power Grips (so far, I've never seen anyone else using them). So I decide to change my rear d instead, because I hear noise when I pedal. And I like my bike to hum along nicely. I end up with (drum roll please) an eight-speed LX rear d (instead of a seven-speed Shimano SIS which costs less than half the price). It escapes me why changing the rear d affects the alignment of the front d; after all, the freewheel hasn't shifted. Bikeshop man spends a lot of time trying to get the gears to shift properly.

Finally, he succeeds (after taking out the bottom bracket and putting it back in). And now (drum roll please), the chain goes up and down each chain ring with only a bit of fuss. As I do a short road test, I notice lots of wires sticking out of one shifter. I go back to the bikeshop; it turns out my front d is hanging by one strand! So I had to change that too.

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