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, October 26, 2003

The good, the bad, the ugly

Deepavali long weekend 24-26 Oct
To Sedili and Kota Tinggi, Johore, 242 km. And there we are at Kota Tinggi, watching a programme from a Singapore TV channel: "The good, the bad, the ugly". This ride too has the good, the bad and the ugly.

What's good: the coastal scenery enroute to Sedili. It's great to be able to cycle within sight of the sea. It's no great coastal road, but it sure is better than Changi Coast Road where the sea is out of sight. The fireflies at Kota Tinggi are great too; never before have I set eyes on such a sight: a Christmas light-up in a mangrove. Once in a while, a fly will buzz by our boat. It's so ephemeral, so beautiful, yet so fragile. And, as usual, it's good to have a wide open road ahead of me with no traffic lights. And only me can stop me from going as fast as I want. This is also my first ride in Malaysia with SPDs without even a scratch! And no food poisoning - I eat and drink from roadside stalls with abandon. And I do not feel threatened at all throughout the 200 km of Malaysian roads. So what if the roads aren't always smooth and there's fast heavy traffic enroute to Singapore - Malaysian drivers are friendly and mild-mannered. Also good - I regain my form in day 2 and 3.

What's bad: trying to draft behind Bikerboey, whose bike has become three speed thanks to a faulty rear d shifter. Darn it, I can't keep up with her 33-35 km/h on the first day. My left calf cramps and I get a headache. Why? Is it because (a) the sun is too hot? (b) I'm dehydrated (we cover over 100 km the first day to Sedili) (c) my headband is too tight, just like monkey god's? (d) all of the above? It's also bad that I mount a solo search party, looking for the speedsters who are no where in sight while us laggards wonder where the hotel is. And the "pasar malam" at Singapore customs where, for some reason, I have to unpack my two bags and offer my waist pouch for inspection twice (the officer forgot he'd already checked it!).
What's ugly: the sight (and smell) of road pizzas - birds, monitor lizards and other unidentified dessicated objects. One particular corpse is curled up on the road, dried to a husk, contorted in its death throe.

Tech note After having failed to keep up with Bikerboey on Day 1, and considering the epic 1,200 km ride I'm contemplating, I contemplate getting a new bicycle. I draw up a matrix with buying criteria and grade the options using Harvey balls. But there are too many unknowns. And going to Cheap John's enroute home is just bewildering when I see all the beauties (bikes, not humans) hanging around. Anyway, do I really need a new bicycle? One cyclist on this ride has a chromoly Parkpre and two panniers which is much heavier than my bike - so what? It doesn't mar his enjoyment and he just powers on. Anyway, I think the reason why people tend to overtake me on hills is because of my gear ratios - my bike is seven speed. Of course, this excuse doesn't explain why Bikerboey could overtake me with three speeds!

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