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 30, 2010

New year, new decade, new bills?

Dec distance: 325 km

Serangoon, 12 km. After my rear tyre exploded last week, I pay more attention to the rear wheel. It rumbles. I cycle to Bikeshop1. I'm told the hub is toast. My rims are worn too. The boy gives me two options, Novatech wheelset or a custom-build wheelset with Mavic rims and XT hubs. I hear the cash register ring and my bank account drain. I go home and Google my options. What I find online, is either scant or scary.

Off to Bikeshop2. The man hears no rumble but perhaps he’s hard of hearing? He removes the 18 bearings from the hub, soaks them in petrol and cleans the inside of the hub with a dirty pillowcase dipped into the solution. He says the inside of the hub is ok; it’s not pitted nor grooved. He dips his finger into red lithium grease and coats the hub liberally. I suppose there’s some hair from his pet dog mixed in too. “How much”, I ask. He’s silent until he’s put back the wheel. “$10”, he replies. He declines to service the front hub. “No need,” he says. Both wheels have turned 39,000 km over 7 years, but the weight is on the rear one. He says my 7 year-old rims are worn, but still serviceable. $10 to end my last ride of the year.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cloud with silver lining

Kranji, 59 km. The last time I passed here, it was raining. I didn’t have my camera with me anyway, as I suspected it would rain. Today, I pack my camera to shoot the same place.

As I reach the place, it rains. Shoot, I don’t shoot in the rain. I turn back. Bumpety-bump goes my rear tyre. I dismount and look. It looks ok. I cycle on. Bumpety-bump. I cycle on. When the wheel shudders as I brake, I dismount and do another visual inspection. Hmm, the tyre seems to be undergoing plastic deformation. I cycle towards home gingerly, with downhill speed the same as uphill speed. Just when I think I’ll make it home, “bang”! Not a piddling puncture, but a blasted blowout. I pushed it too far, the tyre shreds and the inner tube blows. Now I push on, literally, about 4 km towards home. I walk on grass to save my shoes.

If it wasn’t raining, I wouldn’t have turned back. My tyre would’ve blown. I’d have been stranded somewhere so remote there are no taxis to hail. And no mobile phone with me either. Just as well it was my rear tyre. If it was the front, I may have lost steering control. So, if you must take risks with your wheels, let it be your rear one.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Belief and unbelief

Jurong West, 100 km. The news reader says, “in Bethlehem, where Christians believe Jesus was born”. Do people say, “where Buddhists believe Buddha was born”, or “where Muslims believe the Prophet was born”? Did the news reader mean Jesus’ birthplace is in doubt, or Jesus’ birth is in doubt? Around the world today, people dress like Santa and go “ho ho ho” but seriously, there’s no fat dude living in the North Pole running a toy factory. We know the factories are in China! Which is why today is not called “Santa-mas” but “Christ-mas” with Christ-mas cards, carols and gifts. So how did Christmas (2,000 years and counting) come about but not Santa-mas? How long does it take to debunk something?

As I ponder this, I cycle off the beaten track. It looks like a dead end and dog country but a man on a lorry says it a through road and no dogs. So I cycle on. A few workers gesture to me that there’s no way out. And I see a dog. Fortunately, it’s had its fill of suckered cyclists and leaves me alone.

I believed the lorry man but it's the wrong guy. I then believed the workers who toil there and my eyes which tell me to back track. To be absolutely sure, when I’m on the main road, I circle around where I was misled. Yes, there’s no way out.

My detour leads me towhere I’ve not cycled before, but I’m not really lost. I believe my compass when it points north. Just because I believe doesn't mean it's so, but some things are really so.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Lim Chu Kang, 103 km. Yesterday, I sleep almost 12 hours. Closed eyelids shut out the world and the darkness swallows, albeit for a while, the troubles that confront me. Once in a while, a star shoots across the sky. For a while, it dazzles, then it is gone. On the ground, the mire is still there, poured from above, stirred from below.

I continue my stay-cation. A vacation is when you vacate home and travel elsewhere. A stay-cation is when you spend the night at home. Instead of my usual year-end break, I stay on this little island. Today, I do a century ride. It is so hard to cycle 100 km. I don’t mean it’s hard because I’m on fat tyres. I mean, this island is so small! I detour into housing estates, twisting and turning, which beats going around in circles. On the same journey, I see urban, suburb and rural areas. For the entire journey, it rains not. Once in a while, the heavens give me a break :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Recovery ride

Woodlands, 51 km. The back of my right knee hurts. Must be the result of my 42 km run two Sundays ago. The pain goes away after a few km and doesn’t come back. Physiotherapy helps physical pain go away. Is there anything that makes mental / emotional / spiritual pain go away?

Some people believe in karma / retribution, that those who’ve done wrong will get their just desserts. A cosmic calculator that works out the score and distributes the rewards and the punishments. Well, I believe in a Celestial Being, not inanimate but divine, that sees, knows and feels. And born not necessarily on 25 Dec, but on the original Christmas Day :p

I so hope that next year, things will work out better. The last decade was the worst of my life. And I hope you'll have a good year too, the first in a new decade.