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 22, 2011

Hello 2012

Fellow cyclists and adventurers, wishing you an adventure-filled 2012 ahead :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Road hazard

Dec distance: 1,070 (includes Taiwan trip, see Jan entry)

Old Upper Thomson Road, 31 km. I use my new cleats with my road pedals and find them rather tight - though I manage to unclip as a van turns and cuts me off at the kerb. I haven't even left the carpark yet! I also test a long-sleeved cycling jersey - the first time I'm wearing one. It is warm now, but up in the mountains up north, I wonder if I'll be snug like a bug in a rug or chattering monkey-like in the cold.

The monkeys are out in force today. A car stops and the troop scampers towards it. What would've happened if I was between the car and the troop? Drivers and their passengers, comfortable in their cars, ignore the "do not feed the monkey signs". Why do people keep feeding the monkeys, blocking the road with their cars and littering the road with food? Perhaps they imagine they are on a DIY safari.

While monkeys are all over the road, they are less of a road hazard - they do keep an eye and ear out for what's coming, calculate speed, distance and direction and get out of the way. Unlike some pedestrians.

To fix the pedals, a little kitchen cleaner, some lube for the pivots and some grease where cleats interface with the pedal should do the trick. I hope. I'll know if hope become reality if I do another road test. But first, there are other things to check and service: rims, brake pads, rear derailleur cables, the all important transmission ... and all that packing!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Oral exercise

Pasir Ris, 78 km. For them, it's a round island ride today. For me, it's a training ride where I do some interval training before I meet them, and during too. I stay behind at junctions to wait for the last cyclist, then sprint to the front till the next junction. The peloton, with its blinking white lights, look like a constellation of stars. After a few hours, I have enough. Time for me to streak off like a comet and reach home before midnight.

This is exercise for my cardiovascular system and legs. And my vocal cords.

At the start of the ride, lady crosses the road, lost in her own thoughts, looking straight ahead as if I was wind in her ear. I shout, then shriek as I near collision. Fortunately there was a bus bay for me to swerve into. As I pass her, she clutches her chest in horror while I clutch my handlebars. At the end of the ride, a driver slips out from a slip road. He sees me and stops just so the metal body of his car and my body can conduct heat exchange.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Jam session

30 km, Old Upper Thomson Road. With the prospect of cycling 2,700m up a mountain soon, it's time to spin the wheels a little more. A 30 km training ride isn't going to do much, but some training is better than nothing, especially if there's some sprint training thrown in to jazz things up, get more of of a short distance and break the monotony.

The monkeys are out in force, grooming themselves, nit picking and ignoring me as I whizz by. Which is a good thing. If one or more of them jumps on me and clean their teeth on my skin, I'd get a bad case of road rash and perhaps some dents too :o

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Round on the ground

Paya Lebar, 49 km. Email announces we meet at 1100. As I'm not familiar with the place, I allow buffer time but find the place at 1030. I wait till the minute hand yawns clear past 1100 then call my friends.

After waiting outside a piano shop to kill time softly, I start doing some laps and loops. On the grass, through the grass, under the overhead train tracks I go. My knobby tyres slip and slide in the gooey mud; slowing down and keeping up the traction keeps me upright. Globs of cool mud fling up too, onto my handlebar and my cool orange sunglasses.

People in the area must've thought I've gone mad. Or maybe they thought they were going mad, as in "didn't I just see that guy a few minutes ago?" Round and round I go, as the minute hand goes full circle.

My new cleats, on their first outing, get their first taste of mud. It is amazing how efficient new cleats feel. All that energy and efficiency lost during Bike n Blade, all that time lost!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Get on with it

Woodlands, 56 km. The phrase "weather pattern" exists for a reason. For the past few Sundays, the sun burns in the morning and afternoon. By mid afternoon, the sun pulls over a dark quilt of clouds and snores like thunder. Then rain pours down for hours, so a night ride would be way after dinner and close to bed time. So I don't cycle yesterday, because I didn't get on with it and chose to do (or not do) other things. Can you beat the weather? Well yes, but you'll get soaking wet. No fun. But no cycling is also no fun. And cycling on Monday, a working day, means more traffic dodging. Trade-offs.

Over the weekend, I saw someone who got on with it. A skateboarder with a full-face helmet. Perched on steep slope. With a cape. When he scoots off in full flight, he crouches down. When traffic nears, he stands up, stretches out his arms to unfurl his cape like a drag chute. Then he goes back up for more. He takes care to pack his chute around his ankles before he sets off. He also scans the road for cars. His neck depends on it.

As for me, my "achievements" are:
a) adjusting my saddle using a spirit level. I've been sliding down; what I'd thought was level wasn't, due to parallax error. Errors get us down. Is your spirit level?
b) changing the worn-out cleats on my shoes later in the day, and getting them just so by using a marker (redundant) and matching (precision) the old indentations with the new cleats before tightening them. For greater pedaling efficiency. So I can go at breakneck speed at breathe-taking distances. Soon :p