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 29, 2014

Mental toughness

Mar distance: 129 km

Buangkok, 26 km. As I do my loops, I see the road sweeper open drainage covers and sweep their undersides. Why does she do that? Who asked her to and what difference does it make? I wonder what she thinks as she sweeps in the deepening darkness of dusk.

Back home, I fiddle with my front shifter. When I press the lever, it moves but does not click and the derailleur does not shift. In other words, the shifter is merely going through the motion. I spray lube to dissolve the gummed up grease and shift it furiously. Until it stops shifting. Oops. My heart sinks. I probe the inside with a screwdriver from the outside and everything clicks.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Memory lane

Punggol, 46 km. It wasn't meant to be this way. It was meant to be a short ride, down memory lane.
Wherever the wheel turns, I'll go. Just an hour or so.

As I wandered, time and distance passed quietly by. Before I knew it, more than two hours passed.

Last Sunday, she passed away. Gone, light as the wings of a butterfly, leaving a heavily-burdened life behind, where luxuries were just simple pleasures. I wish I was there, just one more time, but I wasn't. I've said goodbye several times, I wish I was there to say it just one more time. Goodbye.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Systems thinking

I see the light!
Tampines, 31 km. The haze is back, in the moderate range. As I cycle the trail, my tyres are low pressure, suited for hard pack, grass, sand and gravel. Not quite suited for road in terms of speed, but good for comfort. I don't bother to pump the tyres up then let the air out. While there are variables (not to mention tyre tread), the constant is traction and balance.

The slope is so steep, I lean forward to shift the centre of gravity forward. Near the top, the front wheel lifts up and I fall. I go so slowly, I 'm not punctured but twist my ankle as I fall at an awkward angle.

At its core, cycling is about balance. You need gravity for traction; gravity is your friend and enemy. When it comes to people, the core is about care. Self-sacrifice vs self-preservation, friend vs enemy, thinking your enemy is your friend or vice versa, treating your enemy like a friend. There's a system there somewhere?

This post is dedicated to NY, has it been eight years since I last cycled with you?

Sunday, March 02, 2014

A sudden message, a sudden adventure

Tampines, 26 km. Yesterday was a crazy day. A sudden message, a sudden visit to hospice. I've seen
dead people, but never someone dying. There's nothing left to do but wait.

Today, I ride. At first, it's aimless. First, dog territory. I skirt them, along a single track, if you can call it that in the expanse. The wind blows and I wonder if my scent will draw them.

Look hard enough, and see the jungle in the concrete
Ahead, I see a shimmering. I hope it's the sun glinting off gravel, but it's not. It's water. Soon, I am more than rim deep in muck. Imagine the quagmire I'd be in if it wasn't for the regional drought. I hear grinding from below me. Yup, the brake pads are grinding down my rims.

I grab a fence to skirt the muck, while untangling vines from the handlebar with the other hand and balancing all this while. At one point, I see a leaf 30 cm long, covered with fiery red ants as big as my thumb nail. I'm glad I didn't grab it nor did it brush against me. They're just a face-length away.

The trail goes on. I see a group of people sitting on the grass. Soon, it's desolation again. Where am I? It's getting dark. I gotta get out of here!

I see a human figure in black. As I approach, I see he's got wild vegetables. I ask him where he's going. He speaks some English and points. I follow him through an obstacle course. Adrenalin flowing, I heave my bike like it's a pillow. It goes over railings, hedges, a drain, then I'm safe.