The saying time flies when you are having fun is so true, especially when it comes to pursuing and blogging about one's passion. It has been a really quick 7 years since my first post on Lovethefold and I am amazed that it is still going, albeit at a much slower pace gauging by the number of postings made this year. Blame it on general busyness, other pursuits or distractions but at least I got all the major adventures logged! That said, the readership has surprisingly not fallen that much, averaging at 7000 per month last year to about 6500 this year. For that, I am very grateful for all your support.
Reflecting on 2014, it began with the ultimate adventure - The 1000 Hills Ride through Northern Thailand. This was memorable and will continue to be so for a long time as the the climbs were really tough, almost akin to climbing a wall.
All 6 of us came home champions especially the 3 touring newbies, Ian, Anne and Jan. I almost feel guilty that their first initiation to touring overseas was so darn tough. Without going for Basic Military Training, they parachuted straight into the Ranger course - and survived intact!
I am so proud of them and what is encouraging is that Jan (& Pete) joined me once again for another adventure in August. 500km from Phuket to Chumphon through torrential monsoon rains across beautiful Southern Thailand with our team of 7.
We celebrated the end of our ride in style by chilling in balmy Ko Tao island and did an amazing 600km overnight train ride to Penang where we met up with more friends and family where we ate too much. Penang is undisputedly the food capital of the world, as confirmed by Lonely Planet.
Though all the adventures are special, the one that really took the cake this year must be Taiwan with the chirpy Spring Riders. Our big team of 17 led very capably by Ying Chang, rode literally the whole East Coast covering 600+km over 9 days.
This is my second tour there and it confirmed for me that this is perhaps the best destination for bicycle touring. Amazing scenery, great climate, superb infrastructure (dedicated long distance train with bike carriage for instance), friendly people, quaint accommodation and great cuisine. Though I was apprehensive about joining such a big group, it turned out great fun for most of us and I deepened some beautiful friendships.
It is no surprise then that those who made the effort to give, share and care in a group end up enjoying the most, and the inverse is true. There is wisdom indeed not just in touring but in life, that it is better to give than to receive. To live for more than oneself makes all the difference to the team, and to ourselves.
Two minor tours were done in Malaysia, one pre-Chinese New Year ride in February to Malacca with many newbies and a recent one to Mersing in October, aptly called the Legend Ride. I had the privilege to ride with Heng of Audax fame and the venerable, unconquerable Uncle KC where I never had to ride so hard and so fast. We also did a marvellous 2 day tour from Busselton to Dunsborough in Western Australia with Rod, Patrick and Pete in Sept.
My latest acquisition bicycle wise (#13) is a practical Bridgestone Jobno Mamachari that I lugged all the way from Matsumoto Japan 11 months ago. I wanted a souvenir from Japan and didn't expect to buy such a big one. It's 5 speed internal gear hub, lightning with intelligence, dynamo hub, auto steering lock and great Japanese finishing meant I had to own this important icon of Nippon. O yes, did I mention the stainless steel front basket?
If I was asked to name only one thing that I truly enjoy most about cycling foldies, I have to say it is the people that I am privileged to meet. New friends who sometimes grow to become firm and priceless friends. They truly are God's gifts to me and fill my life with so much joy and laughter. Proverbs 17:17 instructs us that a friend loves at all times and I hope we all become such friends to one another.
As Lovethefold turns seven, it is my wish that this written expression of my passion for cycling and life will inspire you - to be a little more curious about our wonderful world that is waiting to be discovered, to be a little more motivated to get on the saddle and wear out those tires and perhaps to be a little more bold in meeting and embracing new people. Time may move quickly but the wonderful moments and memories that God allows us to enjoy together on our small wheels will stay with us forever!
That in itself, is a bit of heaven experienced already, don't you think?
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. Psalm 136:1