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, September 27, 2009

Privilege cycling

Sep distance: 309 km

Woodlands, 48 km. In mass affluent Singapore, there's privilege banking. But privilege cycling is foreign though Singapore has more high-end bicycle shops than any other city in ASEAN. One month after Tour de Timor, I reflect on the privilege of cycling in a government-sanctioned race where roads are closed for us, and food, safety and security provided for over five days. In 2003, hardened ex-communists welcomed us with respect after we cycled the length of Peninisula Malaysia to Betong. In 2005, I had a police escort all the way from the middle of the causeway to Kuala Lumpur . This cyclist is not as welcome in his own country, even in cycling-designated spots. The only time privilege was given on a large scale was 2009's OCBC Cycle Singapore, when roads were totally closed for the route (50 km for a few hours). Still, what a privileged life cycling I've had :) And I'd no close calls on the road today.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Positive spin

Tuas, 112 km. I never thought I'd fight the urge to cycle. First I read, then I lunch, then look for excuses. For an hour, I look at a weather map to see where rain falls and figure out where the wind blows. The odds are 1/4 cardinal points that I won't get wet. Excuses, excuses. When the sun is out, it's too hot. If it's overcast, it might rain. So I ride. As far west, as far south as I can, till the road runs out. I marvel at compact Singapore. North is Sungei Buloh nature reserve, where migrating birds stop. South is an industrial complex. Here, I almost collide with a dragonfly. In both places, wide, empty spaces. Should've brought my camera. It's cloudy. When the sun peeks out, hues of orange and pink burst out. Instead of snapping photos, something else snaps: my sunglasses. It stays on my face anyway. A car (in the wrong lane) nearly hits me. Later on, another car hangs back to let me get in lane. How quickly the weather changes. I keep above my cruising speed but the sky opens 30 minutes before I get home. Rain stings, brakes barely work. I can barely see; no wipers on glasses. I remove them; the first time I cycle with contact lenses and no eye protection. Water gushes by the roadside. I get wetter than at Timor river crossing. I'm glad I didn't bring my camera. And the pouring rain has washed away the encrusted Timor dirt from my bike.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A different spin

Seletar, 47 km. I wake up, then go back to sleep; it's too early to ride. When the sun is up, I get up. I'm in such a hurry, I forget my sunblock. It's a cloudy day. Would it rain like yesterday? For insurance, I go for a short ride instead of double the distance to Tuas. Seletar is now different. New roads, new turns. Heavy trucks with huge waist-height wheels that hurtle past. And dogs. Dog 1 barks while Dog 2 does a flanking movement. I back out calmly and as the barking continues, I crank up more speed. I almost get whacked by a vacuum cleaner on wheels that sucks up gravel. I could rue all the happenings. I could also be glad the doggies didn't sink their fangs into me and the vacuum cleaner swerved away in time as I appeared out of the driver's blind spot. Why be sad when you can be glad?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Riding with roadies

Bukit Timah, 51 km. I rarely do Saturday morning rides but I do one today. What a strange way to do a charity ride, to ride before, not during, then after. "Before" is when I cycle to the jetty to send them off to Mersing; during, when I'm working; and after, which is today. Everyone but me is a roadie. My fat tyres hum to keep up with their silent slick tyres. One of the cyclists, I know through work. I get a headstart on next week's work as we talk. As we head home, a mountain bike on full suspension blasts past us and leads the way. For a while. Almost effortlessly, the roadies pull away at 40 km/h, pulling me behind them. The change from Sunday late morning to early Saturday morning ride is a change that puts a "spin" on the possibilities of change.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tour de Timor: review

1. Regrets :'(
a. losses: my watch (time to go, analogue-digital face, world time and multiple alarms) and my sports towel. Never in 3 circumnavigations (twice by air, "once" by bike based on over 43,000 km cycled in total) have I lost so many things
b. lacerations: i got some, but my team leader got skinned from hip to knee ...
c. loos: oh, crap. Why are communal toilets exciting? Because you never know when you'll get a clean one.
How fast does a toilet queue move? As fast as the bowels ...

2. Relief :)
a. doggies there were, but no bark, no bite
b. dents: none to bicycle (but a big scratch). I got dented, but that'll heal
c. deaths: none (some riders broke bones though)

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Missing Mersing

Changi, 51 km. I used to think cycling a charity ride was hard, but raising funds took effort too. But hardest of all is not being able to do a charity ride. I get out of bed after 4 am. I feel flat, so is my front tyre. I rush to change it and rush on the road, marvelling at how fat tyres can go above 40 km/h. Not that I've got a boat to catch ... I'm going to say goodbye and purposefully leave my passport at home. This is the fourth year of Charity Bike n Blade. This year, the bladers are all on bicycles. I'm asked why I torture myself to show up. I toy with the idea of pretending to be a bicycle frame, hold some wheels and board the boat. But goodbye it is, time to cycle home alone. My front tyre is flat again. Timor-trained-thighs would've fared well if I'd cycled to Mersing, but not Timor-torn-tyres. At least I went to Timor Leste . Still, I'm sad. Gotta be really nice to myself today. But first, I rip out my front tyre, check it and the rim, change the rim tape, patch two tubes ...