we're getting jaded, maybe we're too busy, maybe we're just
plain lazy, ...and maybe, just maybe, we're starting to take
things for granted. And this is
something we must never let happen... We ride some,
we ride more, and then more and then
even more, until it becomes a
habit, the habit then becomes our ritual, and our ritual
gradually becomes our rights, yes our rights to ride, just
like our rights to share the road, the air, and everything else, until we
get a rude wake-up call...
I don't know Sylvester
well, I was totally shaken when he became another unnecessary victim of a
road accident. His death was somehow more real and closer to us
than all the other victims we read about in the past. It's
not hard to see why. He was too much like us, he loved cycling
as much as we do, he rode on the same route as us, he enjoyed
the thrill of speed like we do. He enjoyed the
camaraderie of group rides like we do, and he shared the same
lactic burns like us, and he probably
felt just as strong and unbeatable as us… never mind that we
were soundly beaten over and again by better cyclists, we are always convinced
we could eventually beat them all... and that was how I
felt when I saw him at the hospital. Of course, me without any medical
training, I was absolutely clueless as to the severity of his
injuries when I saw him. I was simply convinced
he would beat the odds. When Sylvester died, I was reminded of the dangers
of our chosen sport, and our fragility, and our mortality. I was scared
to ride pass Lim Chu Kang. Then before the year ended, the
tsumami made death tolls sounded like a bad joke. The number of
dead was initially in the thousands, then it became tens of
thousands, and then it just became another number, another statistic.
didn't end happily for all. I didn't even have the spirit
(nor the champagne) to welcome the New Year. For once, I went to bed
before the clock ticked over.
a happier note, T@ had great results in the 2004 races, many new
riders riding with us regularly, which
made us very happy. Some of the new riders even asked to race in our so-called
'Holy Robe.' That was really flattering... we felt so honored.
reflecting on the past 12 months, we did quite well. We maintained and
strengthened our position in the local race scene. We are no longer the
Outsider, we are recognized by others, and despite not being a serious racing
team, we achieved some serious results. Podiums and more podiums.
Ironically, Sam and Wheelie Mike won both the Open and Junior Veterans
categories for the mountain bike races with no support from anyone else on
the team. That's talent for you! Of course all the good results that make
2005 even more demanding.
sad development was our off-road rides. What started as our basic ride is
in danger of becoming forever lost. Our off-road rides have shrunken to 3
or 4 regulars only. I blame it on the evolution of mountain biking in
general, with the current trend towards free-riding, North-Shore biking and
downhilling. Let's face it, most of us are simply not inclined to
ride off the top of bus or cliff, nor are we really excited about
trading 12-inch of rear travel for 25 kg uphill. Downhilling, North Shore,
and free ride are killing my interest in mountain biking. It's
getting too exclusive and reserved for those who are blessed with talents,
daring, and age. I can only admire but I cannot participate.
of course we didn't have our ADD for '04. It just doesn't feel right
to party. Did I say party? But wait, ADD is never about partying
despite the amount of beer and chocolate we have. It's about
dedicating a nice and nice dinner to our special ones for allowing us
to ride, to enjoy our sport, to become kids again, to drool over new toys,
to feel alive! It's about NOT taking good things for
which incidentally is a major milestone for TA as we turned 5 years
old, we will have our Annual Dedication Dinner. And we will have a fifth
anniversary souvenir to remind us of who we are, why we ride, what we
the rest of the biking fraternity in Singapore (CycleWorx, ANZA, Geylang,
Ascender etc..) and the rest of the world, we wish you a great 2005.
Remember to treasure what we have, to share with others the joy and
benefits of cycling, to celebrate what we have in common and most
importantly, remind ourselves to ride safely, we do not have NCAP ratings.