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, October 26, 2013

Home delivery

Kranji, 62 km. When the alarm clock goes off, I'm in two minds whether to get on my two wheels. It's the weekend after all. My alarm needs rest, so do I. But today, it's time to deliver rations, part of what we'd raised funds for during Ride for Rations.

First stop: Sunlove Home, the "head office", to deliver a big cheque. The chief there offers us water. We politely decline, but he delivers anyway. He thanks us several times.
Rations belong to the hungry, kid belongs to a volunteer

Second stop: Marsiling, one of the "branch offices". There are bags of dry rations, all nicely packed in colour-coded plastic bags by the food supplier. Cooking oil, sugar, noodles, canned food, 30 eggs … a month's supply of food. There's milk powder too. High calcium type for the elderly and milk for different children's age groups. Some beneficiaries come the the centre to collect their food. For others, it's home delivery.

We have a trolley and slips of paper with names and addresses. Some cheery people are waiting at the void deck of their apartments, but their unit numbers aren't on our list. Walking along narrow and fusty corridors, we knock on doors. People are waiting for us by the door, some in wheelchairs. Some are amputees. Most are elderly, they move with difficulty. Hands fumble with locks. We hand them the bags and they sign for it, then thank us softly.

One lady, on elbow crutches, tells us to go in. We hesitate, she tells us we don't have take off our cycling shoes. We place the food neatly where she tells us to. "Would you like me to untie the bags?" I ask. She says she can handle it. I'd earlier struggled to untie them to photograph the contents of some bags! 

But some don't answer the door.

Back at the branch office, the pile of bags has shrunk. Some people aren't in, or haven't come to collect.

The homes are tiny. From the door, I see the bedroom, living room and kitchen. Some are dim, dank and cluttered. The home of the lady on crutches is bright and airy, neat and tidy. She's going out. She hangs a cloth bag on her crutch, since she can't clutch it.

To clear my head, I cycle to where I'd spent some tough months in my army days, to see my old camp being flattened by earthmoving machines.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Blowing cold and hot

Lim Chu Kang, 70 km. The wind blows, the rain pours down. It's so heavy, it floods. I stay snug in my warm bed, away from the cold. In the afternoon, the sun pours down with full force. After a two week break from cycling, I head out.

A roadie with braided hair overtakes me. At a traffic light, she does a track stand. Well, sort of. Not wanting to unclip her pedals, she circles the stop light slowly until it turns green, then she's off. The angry housefly sound of my fat tyres turn into an angry whine. My pedals, with the new free hub, are so light, I surge upslope at 47 km/h. But I can't keep up with her. Her thighs are like pistons of an V8 engine, compared to my puny two stroke engine. 

I throttle back. Until two guys overtake me. They say hello and I draft them. "He's done nothing for weeks, just stick to his wheel and he'll pull you along," says one to me about the other. I stick as best I can, like a leaf trailing along a container truck. When I stop for traffic, the duo slow for me. 

It's not my legs that give up, it's my air intake. I wave the chatty roadie to overtake me, but he declines. These guys are killing me with their kindness. I say "thanks", he says "no worries" and I and drop back to a more sedate, lung-friendly speed. At a petrol kiosk, I give myself a treat of refrigerated, cold coffee.

And my thoughts at the start of the ride, which stopped when the adrenalin started, come back to me. Going at the same speed when the world moves at a faster rate of change isn't even keeping up. It's regression. What's great for Gen X, might not be good enough for Gen Y.