I used to listen to Siva talk about cycling, Zendogs, and his long rides from one end of Singapore to another and joined in the Pedal Ubin rides now and then. The most memorable ride I had was probably that in 2005 where I rode a tandem bicycle to ferry a student while guiding a group in Ubin.
So between that and reading Lance Armstrong books, I was pretty much content.
Then Siva alerted me to a old GT Vantara to be given away. Here’s the fateful email:
Hi Cheng Puay,
Bike is yours, please arrange with Rob for pickup.
Cheng Puay an obvious choice to revive the bike. Glad he’s interested.
This is what the bike looked like before I sent it for servicing:
And after a visit to Mr Tan’s bike shop, it is ready to go on the road.
However, I only started riding last week with Siva, Kenneth, Adrian and Kevin. Siva, being one to understate things, said that they will be going slow and it is a simple ride from HV to Changi. Adrian, Kevin and Kenneth will be coming in foldies. So I said yes, thinking then, “How fast can a foldie go?” and thought that this will be a leisurely ride like one I used to do along ECP.
I was wrong on all counts. Underestimating the time, I rushed down to Holland Village from Clementi and then joined Siva and Adrian and Kenneth there. Briefly remembered the route to be from Farrer Road, to Lornie, turning into Marymount where we waited for Kevin.
I was glad for the break for my legs were feeling the strain. My lights were not bright enough so Adrian passed me a rear light for my havesack and Siva clipped on a front light for me. Again I underestimated the importance of good gear for safe cycling. Thankfully everyone was kind with their advice and equipment.
Continued up Tampines where I faced my first slope, Kenneth was tellling me, “There will be 2 slopes, this and the one at Pasir Ris. After that should be a pretty smooth ride”. This was the time where I was shifting through all the possible gear combinations to get the pedals going and trying to keep up. Siva will usually hang around to wait for me. The stretch along Tampines Road was really good, flat road, industrial buildings and sun rise. You do not feel like in you are in Singapore.
So I was pretty much hitting my limit and exhausted when we turned in from Pasir Ris to Changi. But the boys were looking very relaxed and enjoying the ride. As Kevin wrote:
Woke up late, so I biked to the Holland Village circle line to catch up with the rest at Marymount. Siva, Kenneth, Adrian and our new rider, Cheng Puay, waited patiently for me. We carried on through Bishan, Kovan, Tampines, Pasir Ris, and eventually Changi Village, which was our breakfast pitstop, and little bike shopping place.
Was really glad that Airani joined us and gave me a lift back from Fort Road. I do not think I can cycle back from Changi!
Thanks Siva and Adrian for the lights and everyone for being so patient with a newbie.
1. You need good gear for long rides. Every piece of equipment matters and has a function. Good quality comes with a price and it is worth it.
2. You need good riding buddies for long rides.