To Holland Village, 32 km. Today, I recce solo the route for The Hills Are Alive 2: The Urban Jungle, the sequel to The Hills Are Alive 1. Putting on sunscreen feels strange as I've been cycling at night for months. The hills are fine (many thanks to LSL for showing me these routes). Today, I break my speed record: 86.2 km/h. Hard to believe: computer glitch or just a microsecond at this speed? I'm addicted to speed (not referring to drugs here). I try to draft behind motorbike, bus, car, anything faster than me. But they all accelerate faster than I can. Speed is of the essence - though it's sunny, suddenly I see angry black clouds. It's a race against the wind, which whips the leaves into a malestrom. The leaves dance in the wind, swirling and rolling on the road, then rising to say hello to my eyes. Back home, I almost come to grief. I'm drafting behind a van; suddenly it brakes and swerves left with no signal. I yell but he's oblivious to basic humanity. And I'm oblivious to basic common sense, risking my life for speed. Still, I make it out of the rain in the nick of time: it's a squall, with rain and branches pelting down.
Fri 27 Jun: Misty, spooky road
To Telok Blangah, 42 km. On my way to start point at Adam Rd food centre, I pass the cemetery at Kheam Hock Rd. This time, the street lamps cast an eerie yellow glow on the night mist. The wind rushes past me. It's chilly and spooky. Brrr! Tonight, there's just ten cyclists, with J leading again. Up Telok Blangah and down they sprawl when they reach the top. I sit beside D and he asks if I'm the one who wrote "the article about Iron Horse". He's referring to my website and I wonder how he tumbled onto it. He's a connoisseur of old bikes and restores them. Tonight, he rides a modified high-tensile steel racer. I also meet a rider who's got $1,200 wheelset and $240 saddle. Money can buy happiness ...
Tech note By front d is battle-tested tonight on one of the steepest hills in Singapore. It shifts so well, I couldn't believe it and had to do it again.
Wed 25 Jun: Leading from the middle
Tech note Tired of pieces coming off my rims onto my brake pads and causing more damage to my rims, I replace the front XTR brake pads with the original eight-year-old no brand brake pads. And they work fine so far. As does the new rear d I bought on 22 Jun :-)
Photo courtesy of GKTFri 20 Jun: Danger on the roads!
To Changi, 69 km. For the first time tonight, Gentle Giant joins togoparts' Friday West Night Ride. She agrees with me that the chaps here are different. She likes it too. From Adam Road, we head for Orchard Road enroute to Nicholl Highway. And I discover I've been wrong about the most dangerous roads in Singapore. #1 is still Lornie Road. I thought #2 was East Coast Park, but I was wrong. It's #3, while Orchard Road on Friday night is #2. We have safety in numbers, about a dozen of us, so motorists tend not to molest us. Still, on the roads, danger lurks everywhere. In Ang Mo Kio alone, a pedestrian brushed against me - I saw him and rang my bell twice. He tought it was Tinker Bell asking him to sleep. So he sleepwalks as he crosses the road. Either that, or he's cross-eyed. Whatever it is , I'm cross!
At Changi, I race with some cyclists, playing leap frog on the road as we take turns to overtake each other. So it's true: there are people who clock 35 km/h on knobbies.
Thu 19 Jun: Balik kampung
Wed 11 Jun: From 9 to 1
To Changi, 60 km. Tonight, there are nine cyclists - including P and D! Haven't seen P since the Kluang ride. D now rides a racer with some MTB parts including handlebar and crankset. Hmmm, a mutation just like the X-men. We split into two groups, then three, then four. Not really by design. The roadies want to go to Changi. P goes one way and I follow the rest - if P is fast on an MTB, on a racer he'll be like Flash. I think that with the "padre" and R, at least I can see their tail-lights. And that's how we end up in four groups, with me cycling solo down East Coast Park and Changi Coast Road. At Changi, I pass a rider in red. No, it isn't a Man U fan. He nods a greeting to me as we pass like two ships in the night. At 7-Eleven, I treat myself to a Milo freeze and Snickers ice cream (a first time taste for me). I tease Gentle Giant via SMS, and she socks it back to me.
Tech note I modify my new gloves by stuffing some sponge. Seems to work.
Sat 7 Jun: Bittersweet
Tech note My palms hurt. I bought a pair of branded gloves - but wrong model - they seem to be for road bikes!
Fri 6 Jun: Long and winding road
To Kent Ridge Park, 43 km. This is what a Grand Prix must feel like. We speed down the long and winding road of South Buona Vista, twisting and turning. Suddenly, bike leader J of Togoparts (Friday West Night Ride) shoots past me and shouts "left!". So I turn left, as the roadies I'm tagging behind shoot past the turn. First time I've ever cycled up Kent Ridge Park. Beautiful sight of night lights, plus the incongruous sight of an AMX13 light tank too. The tank was brought into Singapore in 1969. It's more ancient than my bike! Sigh, too bad we don't stop to take in the sights. As we head downhill, I clock over 50 km/h. I misjudge my speed on one of the tight turns. Not sure what happened next, but I find myself standing on the grass patch beside the kerb. My pedal strikes the kerb and the impact dislodges the chain. J asks me a few time if I'm OK. Yeah, my first crash of 2003. Not a scratch on me, since I land feet first. My crank and bottom bracket seem OK too. Well, it's a charmed ride, since I am unmolested along the cemetery of Keam Hock Road (well, I was singing to God) and along Lornie Road on the way home.
Thu 5 Jun: Short and sweet
To Sembawang, 32 km. Tonight is a short ride with the Wednesday night gang (cycling on a Thursday night). The "padre" takes the lead as usual, being the only roadie. We try out Sembawang Ave, a nice, broad and straight road. I scoot off early to catch some sleep and ride with C part of the way as she heads for home.
Tech note My brake pads continue to pick up debris, peeling slivers off my brand new rims. I drop by to see Bikeshop Man, who is having a late night. He declines to sell me any brake pads. Instead, he removes the pads and starts filing them. I do the same for my remaining pads. He declines to take any money. What an honest man.