Your Dad’s Bicycle Life

Your Dad’s Bicycle Life

Dear Boys,

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.

Pre-NS Days

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!

NS Days

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.

Woodlands to Dieppe Barracks, just 6km!

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.

Image from google

My first Century Ride

My first 100Km in 1995

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.

My friends with me on this memorable ride.

Nov 2015

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.

Nov 2015 ride data captured by Runkeeper
Nov 2015-Fixing light sticks to our bikes at Yishun. Our neighbour’s Aleoca
Wayne the cyclist at 6 year old

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!

Reunited with my Marin Bobcat Trail in 2018.

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!

Bad bad bike

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!

Aikido can save your life

Dear Boys,

Your dad’s Aikido skills wasn’t meant for fighting, like what Harry sensei said recently, how often are we expected to get into a fight and actually use our skills?

And by the way, martial arts, is not fighting and fighting is certainly not martial arts.

So what is it good for?

Life saver scene one.

This happen when I was still quite new into Aikido, because I can remember it happened during my younger years riding mountain bikes. Back then I was still staying at Woodlands, and too poor to buy a helmet, and yet I want to go mountain biking.

picture taken off google, this is the exact Marin I had, same colour even!

I’m not sure what was the occasion, but it I was riding my Marin Bobcat Trail, and I was daring myself to ride as close to the pillars around the Woodlands MRT area. So as I pass each pillar, I try to go closer and closer, and true enough, I struck the second last pillar.

My right handle bar went too close to the pillar, and knock into it, knocking me off my bike.

Obviously I fell and thanks to my Aikido, I did a backward roll and got up immediately. There wasn’t any thought process made, it was instinctive and the body just took over. I rolled and got up, unscathed. I picked up the bike hopped on it and continue riding.

Life saver scene two.

Yamaha-RZ_125LC-1986.jpg
I rode a bike like this in my younger days the plate as Y7339X!

This was a little more serious, than the first, as I was on my motorcycle. I remembered riding down down Stamford Road one evening and the right lane, for whatever reason, was clear, I wasn’t travelling fast, as it was city riding, there is no way to go fast.

So one car, seeing that the right lane is free, decided to turn, perhaps he checked his blind spot or he didn’t, he hit me, from the left.

Things happened so fast, all I did when I saw was to beep my feeble horn, and it was already too late. Since the impact came from the left, I was thrown to the right. I did a roll, not one of those forward Aikido rolls, it was a sausage roll, and I got up.

The driver, a Japanese man got out, he was stunned, shocked beyond words. His face was drained white, hands shaking, speechless. Instead of him asking me, I asked him: “Are you alright?” Twice.

The lady in the car, was more composed. Seeing that there is nothing with me, except for my broken clutch handle, there was really no need for any police to be involve, I was unscathed (so I thought) I took a S$50 (can’t remembered if I asked for it or he gave to me) so that I can repair the little damage he did to my bike.

We parted ways, he drove off. I had a hard time operating my bike as the clutch handle was broken, but I could still manage.

Applied aikido

So every time I go to class, I am qualified to say that the best technique in Aikido to learn is rolling. Learn to roll properly, and protect the most important jewel of the human anatomy, the head, not that head but the one that sits between your shoulders!