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, July 31, 2011

Hearing is believing

Jul distance: 354 km

Lim Chu Kang, 75 km
As I cycle through the concrete jungle, The Cure's "A Forest" plays in my head (or is it a song in my heart?). Concrete still surrounds me but the music I imagine makes me feel better until I'm near the coast.

My creaky crank behaves itself but just for while. A tiny creak returns. I stop to turn the crank bolt and that's like turning up the volume. For an hour I put up with the irritating, infernal, incessant noise. Time to head for the bikeshop but that's hours away.

Surely I can't fix it so I've to put up with noise? Haven't I tried enough? Well, what do I have to lose but a few minutes to try again, then say with grim satisfaction, "I knew it, waste of time"? So I stop, I fiddle and presto, the noise disappears. Well, almost but for sure, it's the bolts. I'm glad I didn't take it for granted that the problem is beyond me. And if it wasn't for the incessant noise driving me insane, I wouldn't have tried again.

After I get home, my cyclocomputer dies, wiping out, yet again, the total distance accumulated over time. I replace the battery. The day before, my solar-powered watch gave up too. Time to reset the watch. Some things can be reset but don't be deaf, listen ...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Creepy creak

Lim Chu Kang, 72 km. I've been plagued by creaks. Whether loud or soft, they grate and irritate. There are so many parts, some moving (like drivetrain components) and non-moving (like seatpost). First it was the headset (grease it or replace it if worn out), then the front wheel quick release (grit from mud?), then chain ring bolts (loose). And now, the crank arm bolts?

Each time something creaks, it's a wild goose (or is it wild creak) chase. The process of elimination begins, to isolate and fix the trouble spots. While on the move. While enjoying the sights.

I see a blue Conalgo and give chase. I sprint and crest a hill. I'm breathless and so it is the creak, it's gone silent.

Sometimes, a problem goes away, only to return later. Does it make sense to fix one thing at a time, or go for an overhaul? Scheduled maintenance, whether for bicycle or life, might make more sense, to prevent rather than to cure.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sometimes this, sometimes that

Lim Chu Kang, 69 km. How nice it would be, if I could (a) step out my door and cycle on dirt or gravel; a single track that winds through green trees and hills, past a babbling brook and fields of yellow flowers beneath the clear blue sky. Instead, I (b) cycle on grey asphalt past beige or white boxes of apartments, past silent, sullen crowds and streams of metallic monsters called cars. It's hard work to get away from civilisation to wide open spaces.

But then, if the situation was (b), most days of the week I would be hard-pressed to get to work or groceries. And I work most days of the week instead of play.

Sometimes this is better than that. Can one have a cake and eat it? Yes, one residence (b) for work and another (a) for play, which is the life of a very select few. But then, I've met so many people who are happy with the little in their lot in life (dirt roads, wooden huts and wide smiles).

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The start, the end or not yet?

Former Malaysian territory in Singapore, 76 km. After 79 years, the gate is shut, the train is gone and the station is quiet. It's the end. Or, it is the start to something else?

Some things are historical (Singapore was part of Malaya). Some things are illogical (after independence, board train in Singapore, clear Malaysian immigration in the south of Singapore then clear Singapore immigration in the north). Some things are inevitable. Some things, well, don't get hysterical.

Is what is to come better than what has come? The past has its ups and downs. The future, we plan and pray. When there's a setback in life, it's not the end. Not yet. One chapter ends, another begins. One book ends, pick up another. Keep reading :)

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Bleached bones, glittering glass

Former Malaysian territory in Singapore, 62 km. Yesterday is the first day a multi-million dollar project which I'd brought to life and nursed for two years is no longer my baby after I hand it over. And the day where Malaysian territory in Singapore, on which Keretapi Tanah Melayu trains run, is handed over to Singapore.

Today, I check it out the former foreign land. There are fist-sized rocks along many parts of the railway track, sometimes level with the sleepers, sometimes on the sleepers. The ground between the sleepers isn't always even either.

Besides rocks, I see bleached bones of small animals. Some are almost intact, perhaps a dog crouched by the rails to die. Sometimes, the bones are scattered, a skull here, a jaw bone there, bleached white in the sun. There's a snake, decomposed, with its skull showing and the rest of the body in slimy black. In some places, broken glass is strewn all over the track.

Bleached bones, glittering glass and hopeless hope. Despite the picturesque way, this is way harder than I thought. I almost derail several times. It's taken longer too. Time for water rationing. My rest stops become too frequent for my liking. Time to give up. I look for a way out and am on my way out when I stop. I'm near the end of myself, but maybe I'm near the end. If I tough it out a bit more ... and look for signs that the way will become easier.

Some metres ahead, the way does look easier. No more fist-sized rocks. And the journey ends soon enough.