My Life CycleFinalist: Winter 2019 Writing Contest
The rim of my back wheel was crushed by the bumper of a BMW when I cycled home on my first day of work.
My bottle flew from its cage, my fender splintered, the lights were smashed. My leg was on the up pedal. The crushed rim could have been my leg, my bones – maimed. Amazingly, I was OK.
Grease is the permanent tattoo of a cyclist. My calves are regularly streaked with war paint of my daily battles with Singaporean traffic and riding a bike two sizes too big for me.
Hills in Seattle. Pumping legs, burning thighs. Visualizing my goal – a black belt in karate at the crest of each steep ascent.
Frame of Mind: Life is like a bicycle: to stay balanced, you must keep moving forward.
Cycling is the most efficient form of locomotion discovered to date. I weave through rush hour traffic, careful to squeeze my profile between side mirrors and stay straight, steady. Some days, I marvel at the distance I’ve traveled by merely my own (wo)manpower.
My best friend Peter always tells me: “Don’t forget your brain bucket.” I’ve only needed it when we went mountain biking in Arizona, Thailand, or the Himalayas.
Painless and fearless do not go hand-in-hand, but the latter is always worth the pain.
My first friend at my new job gifted me hot pink grip tape. It’s flashy, but soft.
When I had my accident, the left handlebar was crooked and scraped, split apart like a wound in need of a bandage.
When I moved to Singapore, I felt out of touch with the things I was passionate about – like cycling.
When I went home for the holidays, I picked up an old (bike) box at the shop, carried the cumbersome thing on my head down the street. I disassembled by truly blue Giant, the first thing I bought for myself in 2008 when I got my first job. When I rode her again in Singapore, my heart was filled with joy. It was freedom as the wind blew past and I felt my speed: zoom, zoom, zoom, zoom, zoom.
Full exposure to the elements during cycling is part of the thrill. Fenders are a far-fetched solution to monsoon rains.
I love the clicking noise of the spokes when the wheel spins in suspension. Like a ticking metronome, it’s a meditative rhythm.