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, April 24, 2011

Take stock, take heart

Apr distance: 204 km

Woodlands, 48 km. Yesterday, I scratch my leather saddle badly while tightening my chain rings (yes they are far apart but it's a long story). I fuss over the saddle and apply Proofide gingerly by hand to waterproof it. But cosmetically, the shiny leather finish is finished. Today: while tweaking my brake pads, another accident happens; the bolt is beyond tightening. Would I ever be able to loosen it? I daren't try. Woe is me?

I take stock. My chain rings are tight and the performance is just revolutionary today - and no more creaking noise. The shifting feels better too. My saddle feels better today after I tweak its angle by the roadside; as it gets softer, its performance characteristic and required saddle position changes. And though my brake pad component is ruined (I hope I don't have to loosen it ever!), it seems to work.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Seat of the problem, my foot

Woodlands, 53 km. Friday night, pound pavement for 2.5 hours at night. Saturday, stand 3 hours to raise funds for Japan (thanks, those who stopped to drop $10, $5, $2 notes, or empty their pockets of loose change. Thanks, moms, who encourage their kids to give. Thanks to the Japanese mom who walked past, then stopped when she heard "Japan" and doubles back to give).
Sunday, feel enervated. I cycle anyway, but it's a struggle. My back hurts, is it because of a maladjusted saddle? Or just overuse on Friday and Saturday? When I reach home, I realise I hadn't buckled my shoes properly. All that loss of power transmission. I took for granted I was tired but i could've done better. Equipment check, regardless of how many times I've done it before - like wearing cycling shoes!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Bad from good?

Pasir Ris, 36 km. Another training ride today, called for by the newbies last week. Unlike last week, there no volunteer are scheduled for today. I make it home in time to snatch 20 minutes of shut-eye, and roll my bicycle out the door. It's good to be able to help, especially when doing a little can do a lot.

The three of them are late, by 30 minutes. It starts to rain. Under the shelter, I tell them how to wear their helmets safely. The bicycle rental kiosk lady probably never had such customers before; she looks at how serious we are and offers better helmets without being asked to. The rain keeps falling. The lesson continues when I find a "runway" behind the kiosk that's sheltered where they can practise their "take off and landing". One of them, who last cycled 10 years ago and stopped after a downhill crash, takes off just after a few false starts. She veers off the "runway" onto the grass. "I'm already wet," she says. "Keep pedaling," I cheer and she keeps going. Another adult, who'd attended last week, seems to have regressed. She keeps pedaling backwards.

As I cycle home, in the rain, my Brooks saddle has its baptism of rain. Jerk drivers try to cut me off. I cringe as I cycle, half expecting metal against bone. Bad things come in threes? I guess when you do good things and expect good things to automatically come, that's bad.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Take off and landing

Pasir Ris, 67 km. Someone arranges a cycling session for those who can't cycle. I turn up to help. Most of the thirty who show up have cycled before, a long time ago, or just a handful of times. And some had bad experiences. Perhaps it's coincidence, but cycling is a little like flying. After all, the Wright Brothers had their start in bicycling before flying. Take off and landing are important, cruising is the easier part. With pedal in position, push off and keep pedaling. Keep above stalling speed to cruise, power through turbulence such as uneven ground, keep on the "flight path" to steer clear of other traffic. Slow down and brake to a stop before jumping out of the cockpit. It takes more guts to jump off a moving bike! One "student" starts by scooting on the ground, by the end of two hours, she's cycled on grass, up a small kerb (by accident) and powers her way back on track. She even navigates through a mixed crowd of kids and other cyclists :o

Meanwhile, I have a crick in my neck. But my crank is silent. After a certain bikeshop had wanted to charge me $55 to locate and silence the creak, I went to DIY. After some km of experiments (eg creak when I push down with the right foot, but not with the left, nor when I coast), it turns out a chainring bolt is loose.