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 :))

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Making the numbers

Pasir Ris: beauty of friendship
Dec distance: 388 km

Pasir Ris, Upper Thomson, Seletar, Ubin, Lim Chu Kang 317 km*. I was resigned to 2015 being the year of my lowest mileage ever since I started serious cycling 12 years ago, in 2003 (the year of my first expedition). But I didn't want this year, a tumultuous one, to end that way.

Mileage is within my sphere of influence, though this year's haze (supposedly the longest in local history) was not. So I resolved to ride the miles and make the numbers. But this wasn't going to be mindless performance driven. I want to have some fun too, and ride to nice places, not do mindless loops like a demented hamster or a trapped rodent in the rat race.


As I ride, I have flash backs of good things in life, mostly abroad with friends and family. Not about work. Someday, work ends. But friends and family: in a life well lived, friends and family will be gathered around my deathbed. Worked till death, no.

Christmas is meant to be a merry occasion ("merry Christmas"). But not for someone I passed on the road. He passed away. He lies on the grass, with a "fatal accident" sign metres away from him. A small crowd gathers around him, all deathly silent. He's still, but probably still alive [afternote: when I passed the site again, I notice the fatal accident sign is dated Nov. No confirmation bias here!].

Ubin: blue skies and sunshine
I erred elsewhere though. Newbie errors. At Ubin, I wipe out twice: first, my wheels lose traction over roots; second, I make a tight turn on the trail and stall. Somehow, no falls at the black diamond trail (ok, I got off to walk at the neck breaking spots).

I'm happy overall. Ubin, on this weekday, has people including a skateboarder who ignored my warning and blundered into my path. The coffee shop is closed. For "lunch" I've an ice cream cone from a nice lady and a cereal bar.

2x2 matrix

If I take a pessimist's view, the km target will be within grasp, but slip away. So many km, so few days left - and worse, if the remaining days of the year are dreary and wet instead of bright and sunny. If I take an optimist's view, the remaining days might be bright, not grey.

Rain or shine, I want to make the numbers and have fun in the process. On New Year's Eve, I'm
If life's a bitch, heal at the beach
rained on twice. And twice, metal nearly hits me. The first is elbow distance away. The taxi driver who saw the near miss was astounded and shouted in my support. The second near miss comes from behind - the driver jammed brake in time. In both cases, I'd the right of way. I could've been dead right …

I reckon I could plot all rides on a 2x2 matrix (sun or rain, safe or unsafe). The "magic quadrant" (would be the top right box: bright and safe). This ride is both wet and unsafe. But it's successful. I exceed my target. This year has been horrible, but it isn't an all-time low mileage.

Tech note: there is a colourful film of oil in puddles which spray up onto rotors and brake pads. I guess this causes my new brake pads (just a few weeks old) to screech. The screech went away after I poured water on the pads and squeezed them against the rotor. The screech came back after I wipe the rotor dry …

Well, I sure am not going to get a third set of pads! I replace the new pads with the initial stock brake pads. No screech!

Bikeshop man had asked me to buy new pads, because once oil gets on the pads, they will screech. Fixes include using a blow torch to burn away the oil, or to use prescribed solvent that won't damage the pads or rotor. Thinking there should be less drastic solutions, I brushed the stock pads with detergent and soaked them for several nights. Let's see how they work on the road.

*Instead of writing a post for every ride, this is the first time I'm combining several days' ride (25-31 Dec) into one post.

No comments: