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 :))

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last ride of the year

Dec distance: 299 km

Jalan Buroh, 89 km. Primary mission: spend the last hours of the year in therapy - cycletherapy. If last year was the worst year ever here, this year is better - but not by much. Or perhaps it's just a different kind of bad; the last year I'd spent Christmas cycling in this little red dot of an island was in 2002. I don't have a break, just a break with tradition. Calculation and judgement carries into playtime. Secondary mission: log 3,500 km for the year; no more, no less. It all boils down to today's ride, which is double my usual distance. Traffic is heavy at Kranji; work vehicles jam up the road. Elsewhere, a foreign worker (not the "foreign talent" kind) sits alone in the dark, bottle by his side, with his thoughts and silence for company. At the turn around point, I treat myself to an ice cream cone - low fat, high calcium; comes with stamp of approval from Health Promotion Board too. Then I go for a curry puff. Work weighs heavy on my mind, which works things out as I cycle on auto pilot, unconsciously able to stop, go, turn, filter. And I make it home with 3,500 km cycled for the year. Since I cycle a little further than last year, I guess this year is a tad better than the last one. Today is also the last day of my first blog on Pacnet.
Happy new year, o blog reader :)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Home for Christmas 2

Punggol, 40 km.
Strategic intent: have a fun, safe ride. Not the same old route to Woodlands. No rain and little traffic. Environmental scan with weather radar. Observe three readings, note rain location and pattern, gauge wind direction.
Resource requirements: blinker and reflective strips, money for taxi just in case, big water bottle. No sunblock, contact lenses or arm warmers; too much hassle, too little fun.
Tactical execution: set off in late afternoon for picturesque Sengkang and Punggol. Little traffic, no rain. A little bit of offroad, where I once crashed and had pain in my wrist for a year. See radio-controlled aircraft fly. See dotted sky; as speckled as dirt on window pane - ah, kites; about 30 of them, silhouetted and still, see how they hover in the sky! One kite is printed like a radio-controlled aircraft. Check out a new road, it's broad and wide and takes me to Tampines. Sometimes, I don't know exactly where I am but keeping to strategic direction and reassurance presence of compass gets me home.
Performance evaluation: distance is a little short, but good fun. Mission accomplished.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Home for Christmas

Woodlands, 47 km. The last time I was home for Christmas was in 2002. In subsequent years, I was away cycling: Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia ... This year, work keeps me here while others go away. Here, some wear bling bling to Christmas parties. I put on my 'blink blink' to warn motorists to keep away. Cycling here is different from riding elsewhere because I:
a) Look at the weather radar to see whether and where it would rain (wet season here, dry season there)
b) Think about when drunk drivers would be on the road (Christmas is big party time here, not over there)
c) Cycle here at night (street lights here, usually none over there).

On the road, I see the law of the jungle in action: a car driver without even signaling cuts into a motorcyclist's way to make a left turn. A motorcyclist cuts into a cyclist's way; at least the former beeps the latter to relinquish her right of way. At Woodlands immigration, a procession of big trucks forms; 4-wheelers, 14-wheelers, 18-wheelers ... the tail back trails all the way back to the Turf Club.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

No where but here

0 km. Non-riding day. Yesterday, I dig. And lay out my cycling clothes. Today is a nice day to cycle. Sometimes sunny, sometimes cloudy. I wait all day for it to rain. It does not. I feel bad I do not cycle. Till I remember why I ride: to feel good. Since it feels good not to cycle today, why should I feel bad? I should get back on the saddle soon. Or the endorphins will not flow and my butt will get fat.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dry in wet season

Lim Chu Kang, 66 km. Digging and lifting dirt is backbreaking. After a few hours on a dig yesterday, my back is sore. I cycle today anyway. I meet some Singapore cyclists I'd met in Timor, but they're looking for dirt. Me, I'm a roadie on MTB. I cycle with a solo roadie along the road, decked out in blue including bar tape. Two solo riders together. After some leap frog where we take turns to overtake each other, he leaves me behind. I'm knackered. I stop to eat and explore a river bank though, ironically, my water bottle is dry. I stop again to buy a drink. I'm pushing it, going on a two-bottle ride with just one water bottle. I didn't expect rainy December to be such a scorcher today. Life throws another curve-ball? Not really; if it rains all the time during rainy season, it'd be a deluge and that hasn't happened since the days of Noah.

Still, life has surprises. I see a lorry ahead in the wrong lane. The light is "green" to go ahead but "red" for turning. The lorry turns. I hear a quiet bang; if bangs can be considered quiet, this is one. When I pass the accident spot, a car is wedged between the lorry and a lamp post.

I reach home, grateful to be safe and for blue skies. And the rain pours. As a character in a Hindi movie said, if you're on a crowded train and someone pukes, look outside the window.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Truly it's relativity

Woodlands, 47 km. Usually, when the sky is this shade of grey, I say, "It's going to rain." In December, when the sky is mostly grey, I say, "It might not rain" and I cycle. The sky is tentative; a few drops of rain fall, but my sweat falls more. I wear no sunglasses nor sunblock. The sunlight pours down. I've cycled this route so many times, it starts to bore me. I seek to enjoy the ride. But though the motion (pedal) is the same, the emotion is different. Just as the journey matters, so does the destination.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Cycle and carriage

Upper Thomson Road, 10 km. I cycle to a friend's house to collect some cookies. It's a short ride but I almost end up in the undercarriage of a terrible taxi tyrant who suddenly switches lane. "Oi oi oi!" I yell and brake. The driver must've heard me; he certainly didn't see me. He stops and waves me on. Perhaps he's suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning; his window is down. Shaken, I wobble on my bicycle and a driver in the next lane is alarmed enough to pause. It is drizzling. I arrive at my destination, collect chunky cookies, chat a bit and cycle home. I ride on the pavement for a while - no cars, no pedestrians. Just trees that offer some protection from the drizzle. And from undercarriages and undertakers. As for the home-baked cookies, which I first saw on a blog, yummy. I guess they'd taste even better when fresh from oven instead of air flown thousands of km.