Sunday, November 25, 2018

Mae Hong Siong (Hokkien for tough) Adventure - 26 Nov to 12 Dec 2018

I have always been enamoured by N Thailand ever since I drove this 600km loop 10 years ago. If memory serves me well, I have done this twice on scooters and twice on bicycles. Yet, I'm preparing to fly there again as I write to do my 3rd ride this time on my Bike Friday Expedition. Previously, I used a Dahon Speed Pro and last year, the Marin Four Corners. It has been serviced by the ever thorough and skillful Lewis of Unique Custom Cycles and it is ready as can be. The real question is whether the twin piston engine of yours truly is up for the challenge of long, long inclines and fun, speedy descents.

Our team consists of 17yo Wayne, who did it last year and that changed his life literally. He is hooked on cycling ever since and is keen to flatten them hills with his new 7kg carbon road bike.  3 other MHS newbies are joining us. Gary and Siew Wan, who are like me, the slow and steady bicycle tourists (note - not tourers) who like to enjoy the ride more than the pain. They too will be flying the Bike Friday Flag, namely the NWT and the Crusoe. Also, a well known long distance champion cyclist who I respectfully call Nuclear Heng. He enjoys pain and has taken part in numerous Audax and ultra long distance riding. He will be on his Dahon Speed Pro - a true classic foldy that is fast!

Last but not least, I am so glad my trusty LTF buddy, Ying Chang is coming along to pilot the Mothership. He did this with me last year and it is a joy to be able to have him on the team again for this most important role. I forsee spending a lot of time with him in the cockpit - judging from my very ill-prepared physical condition. 

So why am I going back again and again and again?  Words are hard to express and capture the sheer beauty, the majesty, the people, the food, the experiences and of course the sheer satisfaction of conquering crazy mountains on the humble bicycle. 

Stay tune on LTF and find out!

Monday, November 12, 2018

A bike-train commute to retrieve Sir Song

Singapore soon celebrates its 200th year since Sir Stamford Raffles founded her in 1819. A huge celebration is planned by the government and with its amazing economic miracle and transformation, there is every reason to do so.

On that note, it is interesting that a century ago, a prominent Cambridge Lawyer Sir Song Ong Siang, a Straits Chinese, wrote his classic book, "One Hundred Years History of the Chinese in Singapore" and published in London, 20 Dec 1922.  This is a must read and not many copies exist today.

Therefore I was so excited that my Aunt Ruth, an avid heritage historian, asked if I could retrieve her one and only copy from a friend who lives in Swanbourne, Perth.

Of course I happily obliged as I was too excited to get my hands on this rare book as our forefather Chia Ann Siang was given a mentioned.

Swanbourne is about 20km from where I live and a 40km commute by bicycle in the hot sun didn't appeal. I could drive or ride my Tricity scooter but decided wisely on a bike/train adventure.

Turned out to be the best decision ever!  A 2.5km easy ride to Canning Bridge Station, hopped on the super fast train to Perth City, change to Fremantle line and before I knew it, I was at Claremont Station.  A scenic 2km ride around a lake brought me to Peter's huge home and as arranged, the precious book was waiting for me by the front door.

It was unfortunate that Peter was not home but I was glad to get my hands on the book. I took a different route back to Claremont Station via the other side of the lake and was back home in under 2 hours.

Best of all, the train fare costs less than $3, cheaper than the fuel for my thrifty Golf and even Yamaha scooter.

I reckon a bike-train way of commuting is unbeatable. Cheap, fast, pleasant and fun.

Reflection - As we journey on in life, perhaps the best way of going about it is with God who watches over us.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding
In all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3,5,6