Wed 29 Oct: The classic collection
To Sembawang, 37 km. One inch tubing. Threaded headsets. Three old guys with three old bikes, in steel / chromoly and titanium. But boy, do we kick butt! T is 64, D is 56. D really gives a good run most of the time. Today, I lead the ride to explore Sembawang before returning to familiar roads. Twice, we separate and twice, I have to tear after cyclists to keep us together. WH leads us to a nice jetty at Sembawang Park, where we have a nice chat before going to Casuarina Road for a theological discussion.
Tech note Many people overtake me uphill. Why? Is it the overall weight, cassette or wheel? Read that aerodynamic wheels are good for flats and downhills while light wheels are good for acceleration and uphills. I have downhill rims - is that why I lag uphill but lead downhill and on flats?
Wed 8 Oct: Five days in a row
To Mandai and Bukit Timah, 44 km. I've been cycling five days in a row, since Sat. I'm addicted to biking. I ask "padre" to lead us for a short ride but that's not to be; we tear down Mandai and Bukit Timah, and going at 35 km/h is slow. I lose sight of the roadies and two mountain bikers including D on his Merlin. Sigh, I used to be the first MTB rider to reach the end point after the roadies. Even WH, on a 10-year-old cromoly with dented pedals, cranks out a decent speed before she heads for home. (Her bike, with front suspension, is about the same weight as my rigid bike! Sweet of her to join us for a while before heading home for a conference call.) We have two guests today: RL (from Penang Jamboree) and friend.
Tue 7 Oct: Pit stop
To Old Upper Thomson Road, 20 km.
Tech note It's a ritual; after every tough ride, I see bikeshop man. This time, it's to fix the headset, which keeps coming loose. To increase the amount of thread, I want v-brakes so that the headset thingy for cantilever brakes is not needed. Bikeshop man says, change the thingy for $10. He says v-brakes plus brake levers cost $50. I ask him to remove my pedals. He taps twice and it's free. How does he do it? "Qigong," he says. I shift the cleats from my old shoes to my Shimano M082 for the first time. After adjusting by the roadside, my left foot still feels uncomfortable; aftermath of last weekend's Penang ride? Today is the first time I cycle with contact lenses - and sun glasses. I look so cool! But once in a while, my vision blurs. Blink, blink - is the wind causing the lenses to shudder? Back home, I clean my chain, having figured out how to do so without making a mess: use Jif first on a cloth, then use Chain Gang.
Wed 1 Oct: The gang is back
To Yishun, 32 km. After a couple of week's absence, the regular Wed night ride gang is back: the "padre", GKT, G, B and I, plus two guests. We start slow, chatting most of the way. Only on the last leg to Casuarina Road do we sprint. One rider calls the initial slow pace "long foreplay". The sprint must be the climax. I lose the race; as it turns out, I had a slow leak. I pump up the tyre and get home before total deflation.
Tech note Back home, I struggle to remove the tyre. My tyre levers lose their leverage. I resort to a metal tool and damage my rim, so I file the damage away. Tonight, I wear my new Shimano M082 shoes for the first time. The studs catch dangerously on my platform pedal - Power Grip combo. I modify the shoes by removing the studs.