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, August 20, 2016

"Elementary, my dear Watson"

Upper Thomson, 16 km.  After weeks of suffering and wondering what caused my bike to click on pedal downstrokes, I finally found out.

What it wasn't:

  • seatpost or seat; 
  • fork
  • headset.

If it was so, there'd be clicking even as I coasted over bumps.

It wasn't:

  • chainrings, bolts seemed tight
  • bearings; there was no "play" in the crank
  • crankarms; bolts were tight
  • chain. This was a major suspect, as I'd botched up installation. But it wasn't, as I'd lubed it, and the links weren't stiff. 

What ut was ... the right pedal. There are reasons why it couldn't have been, so it was the last thing I checked. As Sherlock Holmes said, "when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth".

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Double click

Upper Thomson, 25 km. First, it was one click. Now, with each pedal downstroke, there are two clicks. A properly functioning computer mouse must double click. A smoothly functioning bicycle does not single click, much less double click.

The sound, while small, is ominous. There is no play in my cranks. So what is malfunctioning, such that single click has become double?

Sunday, August 07, 2016

By the numbers

Upper Thomson, 16 km. In the past, as I cycle, I’d think about km, km/h, hours, minutes, even calories. This evening, I’m preoccupied by ROI, PE ratio, payout ratio, yield.

If I make the numbers, I can do more km and think about the other numbers!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Small is big, big is small

Jul distance: 100 km

A firefly is tiny, the size of a fingernail. Yet, seeing it creates a big sense of wonder. Fireflies have been sighted on this island, so what I saw might not have been a figment of my imagination. I saw a wild boar piglet too, rooting about in the ground.

Another big deal for me is the tiny clicking sound when I downstroke at the 11 o’clock position. Having failed to isolate its location, it is driving me round the bend.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Making the best of a mess

Upper Thomson, 16 km. I've sprayed and lubed. Tightened and hoped. But my bike still clicks when I downstroke.

When I improve my pedal form and pull up with my left foot, the click disappears. So, the click reminds me to pedal properly.

Alone with my thoughts on a quiet road (but for the clicks), I think I see a light float in the cool night air. Am I seeing things? No, it's a firefly!

Then I think I'm seeing things - a large blob of neon, then it's gone. Must be my imagination ... until, round the bend, I see a runner with lights. I'd say he's an ultramarathoner type, rather than a marathoner.

Saturday, July 16, 2016


Upper Thomson, 16 km. I'm alone on the dim and winding road. Then, I'm alone no longer. One dark shape crosses the road, followed by half a dozen smaller shapes. Wild boar! Good to eat but not good to be run into.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Making noise

Sembawang, 32 km. There's an irritating click when I pedal. I'd cleaned my chain, for the first time without degreaser but with lube, then lubed it. It's clean, but something still clicks.

I also hear a strange noise, a "toink" that could be from my inner tube (or is that from air fork?). In all my years of riding, I've not heard anything like this.

Baffling, and anxiety inducing. Dreadful even, if this is related to my front wheel, as that would mean immediate loss of steering control and up to 80% of braking power.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

So close, yet so far

Upper Thomson, 20 km. The child sits on his bike by the roadside and cries, while mom persuades him to go on. She says he's near home. But the road slopes up, which makes the going hard.

So near and yet so far. Sometimes, something feels that way. At other times, like when you can see the finish line in an ultra, it is exhilarating.

I've waited three long months to find out how things work out. Will I find out, or the wait be extended? Time will tell. Well, since I've waited so long, I can't wait some more. It helps I have a choice.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


Jun distance: 84 km

Upper Thomson, 21 km. My Little Red Tank has a top pull front derailleur. My current ride, Black Matt, is bottom pull. Both have an irritating creak. The difference is, the former is 10 years old, and so creaks are understandable. The latter is so new. Where is the sound coming from? Sounds like the drivetrain, but it’s intermittent.

I adjust the front derailleur out of desperation, by trail and error, as my notes on derailleur adjustment for Little Red Tank might be the wrong way round. Or am I wrong?

I mess the adjustment up so bad that I notice, but manage to reverse the damage till it's the way it was, with intermittent creak.

No matter how bad the mess, for this one, I can try again.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Something is better than nothing

Upper Thomson, 24 km. I could ride a short distance, or decide that it’s not worth the effort. In the end, I ride a bit, because something is better than nothing*. It boils down to purpose, i.e., why I do this. Not to build mileage per se, but to preserve a modicum of base fitness. Surely, I’ll be doing long rides again. Overseas :)

*Of course, context matters. For a thirsty man, some water is better than none. But there is such a thing as falling short too, like jumping across a stream but not covering enough distance and ending up in the water.