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, November 28, 2010

Stick or quit?

Nov distance: 254 km

Woodlands, 52 km. For seven rides in a row, I cycle the same route, with its 25 upslopes and 49 traffic lights. I'm not tired of it yet. Same road, same sights, perhaps what's different is the traffic conditions and the cyclists who pass me. A guy on a titanium frame and carbon chainstays overtakes me. I crank up my wattage and keep up, till I get tired ... tired of following behind. So I surge past and we part ways.

I stop by the same shop for lunch, though I don't eat the same thing as last week. The cook-boss tells me he's in business for 20 years, though the shop I eat at is less than a year old (his other branch is the first branch). He's done well enough to drive a BMW. He says it's a hard business, with long hours.

So how does he keep it up for two decades? He sure can stand the heat in the kitchen. As for me, two colleagues quit, one after 2-3 months. This is after she tells me her time frame was 2-3 years. The other tells me she'll stick around "for a very long time" and it turns out the time frame was weeks. What gives? I don't get it. Perhaps us old sticks in the mud, just stick around too long.

How I long to be back in Cambodia. To cycle far away from home, away from the things that eat me up, to be away where the road is long (photo).

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunblock, reprise

Woodlands, 52 km. Sun is out. Sunblock is smeared. Bicycle is rolled out - at a different time, lest I, uh, run into that woman-who-ignores-shouting-cyclist again. I’m still shaken by my experience last weekend. Imagine if I’d skidded and bounced face-first into a parked car’s window or smashed into one of fat mama’s kids ...

Like last week, the sky grows dark, the clouds rumble and thunder roars. Rain pelters down. I sit beside a reservoir and zip up. My jersey I mean. I don’t have to zip up my lips as I cycle solo. I see several other solo cyclists. I guess the pelotons are on the road at dawn, while high noon is for us soloists.

When the rain lets up a little, I stop for lunch. The stall owner is glad to see me. Can’t be that many cyclists who stop to eat his food I guess. We talk a little about his business and he moans about the laws of the land. He says 'we don't have to work anymore" but somehow he still wants to cook, but not over expand his business. He's got human resource problems. Nice lessons there, for those who'll listen and learn. Our chat is like one of the highlights of the week. What a week it's been. Hope the sun shines on me really soon, I'd like to bask in it for a while. Without sunburn.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Woodlands, 51 km. The sun shines. I smear on sunblock for my dose of cycletherapy. To spice up the ride, I count the number of stop lights. There are 49 sets (each set is two or more traffic lights; a pedestrian crossing would have two, an X-junction would have four or more). This makes almost one set of lights for every km on the route. I sure wish there was a set of lights where I have my accident.

The rain pours down as I cycle downhill. A group of pedestrians cross the road; a big lady with some teenagers. I yell. Lady looks at me, looks away and continues crossing. I jam brakes. Brake blocks grip wet rims. Tyres lock. Forward motion continues. No time for evasive action, no time to brace for impact or wince. Bicycle meets body. She takes 1-2 steps sideways, still carrying her umbrella above her head. No blood is shed. Everyone remains upright, my foot unclips by reflex. Lady giggles and says something which sounds like “I thought highway code says I should launch myself into the path of a cyclist going downhill in the rain and bicycles have anti-lock braking systems”.

Sunblock doesn't block the rain from pouring down, nor blockhead from jaywalking.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Come and go

Woodlands, 51 km. I arise from my sleep because of a funeral dirge. Drums bang, cymbals clash and  do I hear clarinets? The mourners gather in the carpark, dressed in white t-shirts. Someone holds and old lady by the shoulder, I guess it’s the widow.

When they are gone, I go too. Cycling I mean. The same Woodlands route. I'm not quite tired of it yet, but someday I will. Before I do, I'll count how many stop lights there are on the route. I'm sure there are more stop lights than there are upslopes on this route (25).

Two tyres lie in my living room. All worn out. They’re still serviceable, I’m sure I can crank some distance out of them. What I don’t know is, whether they’ll blow. That’s a risk I don’t want to take.

Things don’t last, do they? Or they last, but not in the form they once were. Consider the PIGS: Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain. Once great imperial powers, especially Italy. Its been around for over two millenia. They used to lord over all. But now?

Somethings don’t last a lifetime. When it comes to relationships, especially blood ties, they last for life. The question is, whether they work or not, and whether they work without working at them.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Mismatch meets match

Woodlands, 50 km. For the first time, I’ve mixed tyres. All my life, tyres are the same; if one is 1.25”, the other is 1.25”. Today, I have 1.95” semi slicks in front and 2.1” knobbies in the rear. That’s another first; the fattest tyre I’ve used before today was 1.95”. Riding a 2.1” is like riding on a fat cushion of air. Nice. Sometimes I ride over stuff on the road just for fun. I can feel - and hear - the buzz of the knobbies as chemical energy becomes mechanical energy becomes sound. Today, I count the slopes on the route: 25. Slopes they are, I wouldn’t call them hills; that’d be making hills out of molehills. Well, most of them anyway. As I ride up the steepest road, a worker carrying shopping bags stops and stares, then cheers me on. As I reach the top and ride down, he offers me some of his groceries. I smile and wish him “subah Diwali”.

After cycling over two hours, I get home, brew a cup of tea, and start pounding the road. I just want to see what happens when I do my own dualthon. My legs protest. It feels like I feel some way into a half marathon. As I go on, the ache goes away.