Your dad has been riding a bike since his pre-NS days, where he learned how to ride at his dad’s warehouse in Eunos. It wasn’t a brand new bike I got but one of those hand-me-downs I got from my dad, and I learned to balance it rolling down a small ramp. It was a small bike so it was easy for me to learn how to cycle.
It was in my pre-NS days where I learned to cycle all around town. I used to stayed in Blk 168 Boon Lay Drive in a government rental flat and I cycled the west side, all the way to Clementi. I vividly remember ‘Sunset Way’ at Clementi because I failed to cycle up a steep slope, back in those days I was still to young and noob to learn how to use lower gears to tackle inclines. Till today I ‘swear’ to myself, I will return to that place to conquer the slope!
I cycled quite extensively during my NS days when I realised that it is faster going on pedal than bus from my Woodlands house to Dieppe Barracks. Thanks to modern technology, I now know that it is only a mere 6km from A to B. Which was easy for a 19-year-old to do. Oh back then, no helmets, lights or blinkers, those days in 1995.
It was in camp where I got my very first ‘serious’ MTB, the Marin Bobcat Trail, my Division Commander was retiring and he wanted to sell off his MTB which he basically use to cycle around camp, I happily paid $200 for it and this was the bike that started me seriously cycling.
I bashed trails in Bukit Timah, Ulu Sembawang, Ulu Pandan with it, all without helmets.
My first Century Ride
I did my first 100km with my camp mates, and it was on a Toys ‘R’ Us MTB which was heavy as hell but I had a lot of fun with it. I remembered cycling down Jurong where there is no cars and we occupied all the lanes like a boss. I still recalled one of my friends came along with a dinky MTB and he had problems with the gears and still managed to complete the ride with us.
Whenever we go cycling as a family, I’d depend on our neighbor’s Aleoca, while you boys have your new bikes, complement of your grandparents. Your mum will use our very old GT MTB. We did made a night trip to Yishun and I’m particularly proud of this moment as Wayne was just 6 years old and it was our first night cycling as a family. For a baby to do 30km to and fro, was quite an achievement.
The next Marin Bobcat Trail
I have Aik Kean to thank for reuniting me with the Marin Bobcat Trail, we were in a train one day and he told me he has transited from Road to MTB, and he has a Marin. It lit me up as not many people have Marins in Singapore. I ask him what model, lo and behold! “Bobcat trail.” he says, and he is selling it to upgrade! I jumped a chance to get it and this is it!
This happened because prior to this, I was at Bukit Timah hill wanting to hike, but spontaneously rented a MTB wanting to relive my trail biking days. It was a bad, bad experience, because I was so rusty with MTB-ing, I took a bike too big for me, and I went up the trail in the wrong direction!
Being a rental MTB, the gears were shit and so were the brakes, more importantly, I couldn’t trust the bike and I couldn’t trust my fitness. It was really a case of the mind is willing and the body says f**k you! The brain was transported back to my 19-year-old NS days but the body was firmly saying NOPE!
I told Aik Kean about my bad experiences and he was selling so I was sold! Since then I’ve gone places with my Marin and I tell you all about the adventures on the road!