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, May 27, 2012

Friend or foe?

May distance: 289 km

Woodlands, 51 km. Two woes hit me one week after another last month, which got me into "go away or go crazy" mode. In the coming week, the results of both woes will be seen and felt, not one week after another, but one day after another.

Cycling feels like a chore today. Push bicycle out the door, put up with inattentive, insolent, insane drivers ... it'll be easier to lie back and do nothing. That's cycling as a foe.

But knowing what I'll face this week, I head out onto the roads. When things look bad and I can't stop the tide, the clock or the sunset, at least, I can cycle. That's cycling as a friend.

Same outside, same activity, but the inside feels different.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Heavy mettle

Lim Chu Kang, 77 km. Last week, I didn't cycle; still reeling. It takes energy to recover. Today, as some friends take a slow boat to an distant Indonesian island, I continue my feeble preparations to say goodbye to an era. Then, it's time for cycletherapy.

Saturday is a working day for some. There's heavy traffic. Heavy vehicles whizz by. After a Y junction, I look behind me to see if it's safe to filter right to left . Two vans filter from left to right behind me. An overtaking car, going against traffic flow, heads right at me. A van overtakes me and cuts into my lane. A dog runs out in attack mode.

"Stop! Stop! Stop!" I yell and it hesitates. But not the mangy cur across the road, which shoots across the road towards me. I hear its heavy panting and crank it up to leave it behind. If only it is as easy to leave behind the things at the back of my mind. It starts to drizzle. This is after a scorcher of an afternoon at 34 degrees Celsius.

As it turns out, this is the end, not the start, of watery misery. When I near home, I find the worst of the rain is over. My heavy heart is a little lighter.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Lord of the rings

Woodlands, 62 km. It's been hard to find a middle chainring. I'd placed an order with a bicycle shop (#0). "We'll let you know when it comes." Days pass, silence. I call and am told. "Not yet, I'll let you know when it's here." Days pass, silence. I call again. "No stock," is the answer. Two weeks have passed since I placed the order. I cancel it.

Today, I resolve to find a shop which has the ring. Shop #1 has big ring and tells me to go shop R. Shop #2 has an XT middle ring but dares not install it; my crank is several years older than the ring. Change the crankset, I'm told. Shop #3 offers to order from the distributor. I reply the answer is "no stock". He says that may be a polite way of saying "don't want your business," and asks me to call him a few days later. Shop #4 (R) is closed. I go to Shop #5, which is closed. I'm just a few minutes past closing time.

A man at the door asks me what I want. I lift up my bicycle to show him the chain ring. He says he has a ring and names a price double what I expect. "At least an SLX," he says. He agrees to fix it on the spot, and reverses his shop-closing sequence. He has a basket full of chainrings! "Second hand?" I ask. He reads my mind and tells me it is a good price; he usually waives labour charge only when he sells entire components. He washes the ring and shows it to me. It looks shiny, new and similar to what I saw in Shop #2, ie, XT. I marvel at how the metal gleams and the tiny holes drilled in it to lower rotational mass.

I put the new ring through its paces. Super. Is it my imagination, or is the crank quieter and more effortless to pedal?

When part of something is broken, it doesn't mean all of it is junk. Don't give up even if several persons say it's hopeless. Look elsewhere for the answer. It's my crank, it's my life.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Shine and rain

Jalan Bahar, 99 km. We're supposed to cycle today, rain or shine. First, it shines. The scorching kind of shine. First, a really late comer. In the maze of roads, I figure she'll be lost so I go look for her.

Then, a guy has a problem with his front derailleur. The barrel adjuster fails to adjust as it is out of the barrel :o Another pain-in-the-fingers repair job. Even after I fix the barrel adjuster, the chain remains on the granny gear. I look at the derailleur itself and adjust what's left of the frayed cable so the chain remains on the middle chain ring. Sooner rather than later, the cable snaps. Rental bikes ...

Then, in the heat, hills and off road, a guy cramps repeatedly and walks. When he catches up, applause breaks out. We haven't reached where we're supposed to, but getting to where we are has taken longer than planned.

And so we break for lunch. Organiser says, everyone buys the sweeper (me) coffee. Not that I drink the stuff. During lunch, the late comer buys me an isotonic drink for looking out for her. Sweet. A few others offer handshakes.

And then we part. Dark clouds form, water falls. Ah well, at least it helps wash off some of the mud.

Back home, I realise my thumb - and head - aches. It's been a long day.