|Pretty, but no taxis here|
Punggol, 75 km. As a volunteer on bicycle patrol at Craze Ultramarathon, I look out for runners in trouble. Their distances range from 43 km to 160 km (100 miles). My patrol is a loop from checkpoints 4 to 5, then reverse. I bring along a water pistol but only one rider wants it to cool off. Most others appreciate a thumbs up; they wave, smile or return the gesture. Others thank me (or groan) when I tell them how far away is the next checkpoint; I don't say so when it's more than 5 km away.
There are two other cyclist on patrol at our route; we ride separately but sometimes meet at checkpoints. One of them has lost his bottle top after dousing heads with water to cool runners. I find it and return it to him.
Five hours into my nine hour shift, I run into trouble. My hub fails. I'm like a cartoon character now; I move my legs as much as I like, but I don't move an inch. Like when my wheel exploded last year, when I see what's happened, I know it is game over.
Crestfallen, I report my situation to the organizer then walk and walk my bicycle to where I can catch a taxi. The driver is reluctant when he sees my bicycle.
I place it tenderly in front of the rear seat, pad it with rags and wipe the floor mat before I disembark.
A bicycle that cannot be cycled is a dead weight that comes with a feeling of helplessness.