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, August 24, 2013

Clearly wrong

Aug distance: 470 km

Woodlands, 63 km. The heat pounds down, the kind that gives a pounding headache. At the traffic lights, a transporter is ahead of me. As it pulls away, I cycle close to it. In seconds, I'm going uphill at 45 km/h.

I'm heading for a charity ride briefing. I was there last year. I recall the carpark, the staircase. But I can't find it! I circle around. I could keep looking, but almost an hour has gone by.

I head home. Trucks pass by so close, a passenger could reach out and touch me. Or, if smoking, flick ash on me. Or spit on me. At home, I look at the map. The briefing venue. I was so close and yet so far!

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Woodlands, 49 km. How should I tag this ride? I want to run instead so this isn't "cycletherapy". But I should train for next month's charity ride so should this be "training"?

It'd rained so hard, water was coming through my windows. At journey's  start, there's a string of red lights at every junction. Hours after the rain stopped, the roads are still wet. I cycle through a cloud - of insects. I feel them on my face and wonder how many I inhale.

On a whim, I try a different route. Initially quiet, it filled with roaring, speeding traffic within seconds. I turn into a quiet residential estate and almost crash head-on with a Mercedes SLK; the driver had behaved inappropriately with a four-letter word: "stop".

This kind of missing, I can cope with.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Older, crazier

8-10 Aug, Johore, Malaysia, 317 km

Day 1, Batu Pahat, 164 km. Alarm clock sounds. As if on cue, strong winds buffet trees and rain

pours. I feel like going back to bed, instead of cycling. But out I go anyway.

Like one of them said (there are six of us), nothing tastes good on this trip: the roti canai is like inner tube, even the ice does not feel cold. Only the durians are good: sweet, creamy, fragrant. Even the houseflies are in a feeding frenzy. They are more energetic than I am.
Nice long roads: light traffic, nice drivers, no traffic lights

By lunch time, I'd covered the equivalent of half a month's work of cycling. Only half the day has gone by. Dragon Brother (on a classic Bridgestone MB3 and fat tyres rolling lazily at 30 km/h) drops back so I can draft him to rejoin the rest. "Welcome back", says the Treasurer. "Are you sick?" asks D. "Sick of cycling," I reply.

The last time I was at this hotel was in 2005. It was a slow, easy ride then. Why is it so hard now? Then I realise I'm older now, fully loaded and with fat tyres on downhill rims and straight gauge spokes. Instead of 1.25" slick tyres on Made in France Mavic rims and double butted spokes, and support vehicles. So now, I'm older and crazier. My performance today is still sucky, but I feel better than when I started, wondering why I left a warm dry bed for a long wet ride.

Better to ride slow and be in good spirits, than to ride at high speed in low spirits. And at least it stopped raining up north, cool and overcast is good.

Nightstop: Pelican Hotel

Day 2, Kulai, 97 km. So, should I head home the way I came, or follow M to Rengas then break off from the rest as they go to Mersing? Pointless chatter in my head. D decides we shouldn't be heroes. We will cut short our trip by a day.

As it turns out, I'm frisky today. The wonder of a good night's sleep. Along the way, we stop for pineapples, drinks, breakfast part 2, then lunch.

The hills roll along this route. It is so hot, Zambuk melts, then solidifies at room temperature when temperature falls as the sun goes down.

Nightstop: B-link Hotel. This hotel is RM65 per room. It is small, we're told to leave our bicycles locked outside the hotel, then bring it into the reception for the night. The sink leaks, the water cistern is without cover (to flush, pull the lever inside). There's room for us here (and good food a few minutes' walk away), unlike at Batu Pahat, where we found room at the third hotel we checked with.

Add colour to your life. Wear colourful jerseys :)
Day 3, Singapore, 56 km. Treasurer has a neckache. Last night, Dragon Brother used his steely fingers. Today, I chop with the edges of my hands like knives on mincemeat. This is called massaging the numbers?

It's good cycling in Malaysia. The people are friendly, some drivers toot to say hello rather than "get out of the way". Almost all gives us our right of way. Some pedestrians cheer us.

With new roads, there are fewer slip roads to filter past. It's almost as safe as going back via Sultan Aminah Hospital (the coastal route). The onky thing that bugged me is a crank that creaks. I imaginedbit might explode in a shower of parts but it didn't, of course.

I'm glad I came after all.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Two good to be true?

Yio Chu Kang, 41 km. It's evening. I'm so tired, I have three cups of tea before I head out. I discover two loops today, each about two km long. Two loops, two km. I like.

Loop 1 is secluded, with broken road at one end and a tarred road sprinkled with fine gravel at the other. Zero traffic in between. All I have for company is a lone sentry. He stands silently, not moving. Even the fan in the guard house is still.

Loop 2 is in an industrial area. There are occasional heavy vehicles ahead, but the road is wide.

It is only when I head home that there is a near miss. Or rather, a near hit. The taxi driver didn't even slow down as he shot out from the slip road, nor did he spare a glance when I yelled. Life of a cyclist is like a bug's life, it may end on a windscreen.

A secluded road beside an industrial park. An industrial park safe for cycling. This country isn't Marin County, but there's some cycling to be had. Don't accept the status quo, keep looking, elsewhere if need be. And a bug can have fun.