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 :))

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Slow leak vs blowout

Jul distance:  187 km

Mandai, 39 km. My tyre is flat. How does a tyre go flat after I park my bicycle? I expect grit has cut through the tyre into the inner tube. I'm wrong. There is a big hole at the base of the Presta valve. And that's the end of the inner tube; not only is it beyond economic repair, how can such a hole be repaired in the first place?

I change the tube and do interval training for a charity ride next month. Training is boring. As I cycle, I ruminate.

Life has been likened to a roller coaster, with ups and downs. Life has also been likened to a railway track. While one part of life may be up, parallel to it is another rail that may go down. With respect, the second metaphor reflects life better than the first, but is more metaphysical than physical. One rail that goes up while the other goes down  spells "train wreck".

For me, life is like an inner tube. No pressure and life is flat. Too little pressure, roll along fine, even comfy, until there's a pinch flat. Too much pressure, explode. If punctured, get to the destination if there's a slow leak.  Or not, if it's a blowout and there's no spare tube or and tools. And it's no use having tools without the know how to change the tube. The ride is over dude unless someone helps out. And the puncture keeps recurring unless the cause is fixed: remove whatever is embedded in the tyre. Otherwise, keep changing the tube and pump up the tyre and patch the inner tube ad infinitum.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ending like the beginning

Woodlands, 48 km. Yesterday morning, it rains so hard, parts of Singapore flood again; it seems more rain fell in a few hours than usually falls in July. This morning, the roads are wet and the skies are grey. I wait till the roads are less wet, so that spray from the road doesn't end up on my cycling togs. When I head out the door, I see the drizzle. I'm committed mentally to cycle so I do. I don't like cycling in the rain. We wear "quick dry" clothes so we stay dry, don't we? The drizzle turns into a shower. I could turn back, but I don't. The task is the same but the purpose has changed. Now, I want to see how big the rain cloud is. As it turns out, really big. The sky from the centre of the island all the way into the next country is a monotone of grey. The rain pours down. Even motorcyclists shelter at bus stops. This time, I'm physically committed; I'm just too far from home. To go home, I have to finish the ride. As I near home, the rain turns into a drizzle and the roads start to dry. Just like when I started. Only, this time, I'm chilled to the bone instead of bone dry.

Do I feel better after the ride? Yes, because the ride is done. If I didn't cycle, I might've rued not cycling at all. And to be warm and snug after a cold ride sure feels better when it's well earned.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A little distance, a big difference

Woodlands, 50 km. My handcrafted-in-Italy, titanium-railed Selle Italia Flite has seen better days. 49 months ago, thousands of km ago. While it is not torn, scratched nor cracked, it is wrinkled. As wrinked as a weather-beaten, aged face that has been sat on. It seems to sag a little in the middle, which is enough to give a pain in the butt after a few hours of cycling. So I shift it (the saddle, not the butt) 5 mm forward, so that the sit bones sit properly on the saddle again. This little distance seems to make a difference to comfort, but time (and over a hundred km day after consecutive day) will tell.

Yesterday, I went for physiotherapy. The therapist says my back ache has to do with the tightness in my hamstring and calf. He also says my right leg is clearly stronger than my left. Which might explain why my right leg got injured from marathon training and saddle sore is not equitably spread across the bum.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Likelihood and magnitude

Woodlands, 50 km. Grey skies here. Grey skies there. The road is wet from an early morning shower (no, I don't mean my bathwater flowed onto the road; I don't get up that early anyway). Will it rain or will it shine? I hedge and put on sunblock but do not wear sunglasses. If the sun does come out, it is likely that I will be toasted. I cycle past a man dressed in trousers, long sleeves, knee guard and baseball cap. No helmet. If he falls, he would hurt his knees. Magnitude of the hurt, should the risk materialise, would be small. However, a knock on the head, can have a large magnitude of hurt. The sun does come out. I don't get sunburnt. I wonder if I've increased the risk of retina "sunburn" and cataracts when I get older.