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 :))

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Unearthly hour

Mar distance: 251 km

Changi, 104 km. Usually when i cycle for a cause, it is for fundraising. Today, it is to help T mix cycling with Earth Hour, involving over two dozen cyclists.

My hand hurts from adjusting rusty, slow "quick releases" to raise saddles. I stop clanking spokes and later help fix a puncture (T patches it with a piece of rubber from an old inner tube and super glue). We stop at Marina Bay to picnic, see some of the city lights go out, hear a recorded speech via MP3 and portable speakers, and sing a song. On a lighter note, I'd like to think I have a small carbon footprint. I don't have a carbon frame :p and use components until they wear out and beyond repair.

Some helpers break off: a sweeper and marker. I want to go home, but I'm the only one with a bicycle pump. Cyclists string out on the way back to return their rented bicycles in Changi, so i do double duty - sometimes a sweeper and sometimes a marker, when I rush forward to a junction and show which way to turn. By the time my "duties" are done, it is almost midnight and I get home the next day.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Storm rider

Nobody but me
Kranji, 43 km. Today is grey sky day. I pass a couple of cyclists. One points towards where I came and calls out from across six lanes: "Is it raining over there?" I wave to say "no".

I reach dog country. One of them roots around the undergrowth along the former railway track. Pooch then takes a poop. I call out to let it - and its friends - know that I come in peace, please let me go in one piece. I bounce along the tufts of grass and reach a dead end. The bridge that was here is gone. I turn back, looking warily along the banks for fangs. I reach freedom and a bus stop. The portal to the sky opens and rain pours down.

Sheets of rain sweep across the road in waves. The wind picks up so much, it is like standing in front of an industrial fan. My bicycle rolls on its own. The plastic inner liner of the bus stop garbage bin blows inside out. Buses may stop at the bus stop, but not wind or rain. Water flows down the side of the road, threatening to overflow onto the kerb. Big, 10-wheeled trucks plough past, water spraying into the bus stop and onto me.

Calm before the storm
A pedestrian and I shelter behind a noticeboard and our backs get drenched. I guess we get less wet from the back than if we get sloshed by trucks. He's dressed in black, now glossy in the wet. I shiver in the wind and rain. The stream behind me has swelled into a river the colour of milk tea. I wish I was somewhere dry with piping hot chai.

I scan the sky with my eyes, the grey in the sky never ends. When the rain is no longer blinding, I head out. What a baptism for my new cassette and chain. I look for a silver lining and see that my mud-encrusted Tank has been blasted clean by the rain. How novel, a "car wash" in a bus stop.

On the way home, I pass a tree that's fallen across three lanes of the road. A lorry is already there, to lug the logs away - once the tree is cut up. Upstream, a policy car and motorbike have already blocked the road so a logjam doesn't start. How's that for efficiency. I passed that road earlier today. How's that for good fortune ...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Hard feelings

Woodlands, 54 km. Things which are unseen, like feelings, can be more powerful than what is seen. Just as invisible molecules of air can lift an Airbus 380 or float a space shuttle back to earth. Or tear through cities as a typhoon. Feelings can immobilse, or it can move things.

When feeling gets too hard, at least I can ride. The rain stops, my ride starts. I drop by the old Bottle Tree Village; I've read the restaurant is closed and the people gone. The huge bottle tree is gone too - all that's left is a huge circular patch of churned earth where the tree once stood.

Once, the ceiling fans whirled to create a breeze. Now, the fans whirl in the breeze that blows in from the coast. Some day soon, this place will be flattened. What will appear in its place: flats?

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Weight of iron-y

Buona Vista, 50 km. Holidays allow a break from stress. To work out where to go, when to go, the daily itinerary, can be fun. To work out whether to go, what to beware - especially if the trip involves icy cold, dizzying heights above 5,000m and a bicycle - can be stressful.

To work out to keep fit is to keep healthy. Yet, the work out can cause injury. Bad shoulder or not, dark clouds or not, I go on the road to go off-road, along the former railway track.

As it's earlier in the day, I see walkers, joggers and several mountain bikers.

Some small bridges are still intact. I cycle cautiously to maintain traction as I negotiate the gravel on a bridge above a road. There are just two thin wires between safety and a bloody mangled end below. Hmm, perhaps "cautiously" isn't the right word. "Cautious" would be one who gets off and pushes, isn't it?