As you both know by now from my previous post that your dad has been cycling for a long time, all terrain cycling (except water and air!), especially mountain biking!
Well, I guess when you put your feet to the pedal, it is one of the most liberating thing to do as an individual, there is no place you cannot go on a bicycle. Since I took this Marin back in 2018, I’ve been many places in Singapore, and still not bored of it.
In our tech and digital world, this is one of the things I consider to be analogue, humanistic. Sure you can run, but at that speed, you can’t go very far in a daylight, without getting too tired. On a bike, you get speed and you get the view. That relationship with your environment is spontaneous and real, it engages all your senses, and you cannot totally switch off while you’re riding without getting into serious hurt!
Freedom comes with Responsibilities
Whether you’re cycling alone or in a group, you take care of your own s**t, that’s one thing I learn Mountain Biking, because in the ‘swapah’ where you bash through the bushes, you have to fix your own problems, and issues. Chain break, fix it, puncture fix it, so I has taught me from a very young age to prepare and be ready for any and all situations that might arises during the trip. You really have to own that situation you get yourself into, dig your way out of it, cos no one is coming to rescue you.
So it has become a habit for me to pack well, balancing needs and wants on a 2 wheels, water, tool kit, first aid, and other little luxuries for wet weather. And whatever happened on the road, it is all you, your responsibilities. There’s often a lot of bad calls you have to make, and you just have to suck it up and do it.
Adulting The Adult Thing
Adulting is quite a new word, and it basically means:
“the practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.” (from Google)
I guess that would means a kind of a sarcasm perhaps, but I think that’s what cycling is to me, in a good way. It’s really not a big deal as a cyclist to anyone on the road, but to the cyclist, me, every place I explored gives me that life experience full on, and I can randomly go places and explore new roads, on an MTB, I can even spontaneously go off road and check out where the trail goes. It is an accomplishment that is quite mundane to others but very intrinsically satisfying for me. So while it might sound mundane, it adds to my world perspective and gives my life background and stories to tell, myself and you boys.
Zen and The Art of Cycling
A long time ago, your dad used to ride a motorbike and this was one of the book he read that is closest to the subject matter. Now that your dad is no longer on a motorcycle, cycling is the next best thing (and safest) for me to experience life on the road.
Unlike a motorbike, you need a level of fitness to cycle, since you are the engine, passenger and mule all rolled in one, you have to be fit to go the distance. It is not only about physical fitness but a level of mental resilience as well. Mental resilience on a bicycle don’t come from being tough, but knowing when to be tough, when to accept fatigue and when to enjoy the ride.
Enjoying the ride often means getting into a cruising speed, and listening to the sound made by the wheels rolling on the ground. Feeling that wind, or even sometimes the rain! Night time riding can bring about a different sensory experience as well!
Going the Distance
As I do the distance, my on-the-road experience evolve and takes a different relationship. I often have to take the same road but every time I roll past the same spot, the feeling is always different. It is as if the road is your old friend, patiently waiting for you to pass by again. If you have a specific memory, self conversation, incident or flashback on that same spot, it helps to trigger a familiar feeling in you, so that inconspicuous spot to others, is actually a special meeting spot for you.
As Singapore is constantly changing and evolving, some of the same old spots might not exist anymore, so by going on the road, you get your internal map ‘upgraded’ with new topographical details. New park connectors are being build all the time and there are new connectivity across the island that can bring us to more places on a bike. What better way to know this island home of ours?