hi guys and girls
Well, as the only other person who witnessed the accident involving one of our beloved
team members today I feel that it is my duty to fill you in on the details of the accident
and the thoughts that are running through my mind now and of course the ever important
lesson to be learnt.
As u can guess from my tone of voice I'm rather affected by what happened earlier this
morning. I've been reminded again of the mortality of us cyclists, and the dangers we put
ourselves to each and every time we ride on the roads, fighting for a share of the
carriageway with the speeding cars, lorries and buses.
The accident happened at 6:14 am exactly we were doing speed endurance and power jumps
at the gap and as you can guess it was highly anaerobic. Moreover it was already our third
20 min interval and Sting dropped off the pace earlier already so we were probably very
tired, and losing focus and in Sting's own words after the accident lactic acid was
pouring out of my eyes, and in my head, I couldn't think.
A lorry was creeping up behind us and at the long straight stretch right in the middle
of the gap. I waved it through it zoomed pass fast and was about 10-15 m in front of us.
We were riding paceline and I was pulling Sting up the gap. We jumped and were riding
close to 40 km/h, approaching the sharp zigzag left then hard right where the 2nd bus stop
is we made the left turn and the lorry must have been slowing because as we rode up to its
rear, I feathered the brakes to slow down and then realized that the lorry was braking
hard to a stop! I slammed on the brakes and my front wheel overlapped the rear of the
lorry.... my handle bar just barely clearing the overhang section. I was hoping Sting was
alright. I had no idea whether he was on my wheel or not. It didn't matter then, as I just
wanted to haul my ass up the hill and throw it down the descent.
Sting was not so lucky. He was probably just too fixated on my rear wheel locking
himself on it in my mind at that moment. When I came to a complete stop I heard a loud
'shit'.... followed by a sickening thud. I accelerated off again and turned around to
look, I then saw him sprawled on the ground, his bike in a crumpled heap on him, just
after the turn, smack right in the middle of the lane.
I thought to myself, 'shit!!!,' if a car came round the bend, there was no way he would
see Sting and be able to stop in time. I hurriedly dumped my bike by the railings and ran
back to where he was. Sting was not stirring at all. I shouted to him if find out if he
was all right and to get off the road but he just lay there. He must have laid down
motionless for about 5-10 secs but it felt like an hour. I picked the bike off him and
rested it against the railings and helped him up. All he wanted to do then was to sit
down. He sat down again in the middle of the road he kept going 'shit!! f**k!!! what
happened man?' We managed to get to the other side of the road and sat on the pavement. He
was bleeding on his legs and arms I couldn't see where from as it was dark and the lamp
post was quite a distance away then I realized blood was dripping down from his chin and
thats when i saw his badly torn lip and broken tooth. His lip was totaled. I knew it
needed stitches so after resting awhile and catching our breath. I got him back on his
saddle and we rode up the crest and down to A&E at NUH (kids dont try this
It turned out worst than I expected. Sting couldn't remember his address and could not
fill out the form. While waiting to be treated, we ran through the details of the accident
except that there were no details. It was a total blank to him. He did not remember the
lorry, nor how he fell. He only remembered jumping hard and then he was lying on the
floor, bleeding. His lip was as totalled as I had thought it was. The doc said that it
needed more than stitches to patch it up so he had to be admitted for plastic surgery and
maybe some observation for his slight concussion.
We still managed to crack a joke there after about how we should take a photo of the
lip now and post it up on the web
(we have the pictures - webmaster).
The graphics in full Kodak colour splendour would definitely add to the gore in the
accident report which Sting himself would pen.
While waiting for in-processing, the his memory caught up with him. He managed to clear
up his confusion. He cleared up the mix-up between his current address at Ghim Moh and his
old one at West Coast and then he remembered the lorry and how it slowed and we had to jam
our brakes to avoid riding into it and how he must have hit my back wheel and fallen.
He will be attended to by the plastic surgeon when the theatre is available as it might
just be a day surgery. I'm not sure if he'll be staying over or how long the doctors will
want to keep him for observation
His Litespeed Vortex thankfully survived without a scratch except his STI shifter that
has to be re-positioned and his front wheel which may have to be replaced.
Now importantly my reflections on the accident
Well, I spend a lot of time on the saddle riding with numerous close shaves and
Ill be the first to admit but I've always been blessed to live through the
experience, thank GOD for it. However Sting's fall reminds me off my own mortality and how
dangerous a lapse of concentration can be. Crashing on the bike is a game of chance and
probability. Careful riders perhaps may face a much lower probability than others but
sometimes its not your own fault and there's just about nothing you can do to prevent it.
In most cases, we get up and walk away from the crash cursing and swearing taking the
accident and our survival for granted. In some cases, you have to be carried away,
sometimes in a PVC bag.
I'm reminded of my father's team mate from Geylang who's time came prematurely when he
rode into the rear of a lorry and went underneath. I prayed that his end was instantaneous
and that there was no pain. He was only 27. His mom almost passed away too with heartache,
sadness and anguish but the Lord felt that the time was not right and that she still has a
role to play in taking care of the aged father and younger siblings.
Thank God that Sting was wearing his helmet today and that he has been wearing his
helmet religiously every time he is on the bike.
His helmet was not so lucky. The front of the helmet covering the brow and forehead
took the impact and cracked through the reflective plastic covering. The road sanded
off the hard styroform. Hence, he fortunately only suffered facial abrasions and
road rash on his chin and lower part of the face. Had it not been for the helmet, he would
have landed on his forehead first and slid across the road on his face. It might have
needed much more than just plastic surgery on his lip and a new tooth to set things right.
The helmet has served its purpose and saved another life. I pray that each and everyone
of you will make full use of the helmet for we will never know when our lives are going to
depend on it. If not for yourself, then for your wife, kids... people that you care about.
Shaken by the incident, I immediately paid a visit to my girlfriend, Denise, who is a
physiotherapist in NUH to thank her for being who she is and to tell her that her presence
in my life is deeply appreciated
We have only one chance at this mortal life of ours live it fully appreciate your loved
ones lead a fulfilling life surrounded by people that u care about
Be happy and most of all ride safe
May the force be with you.
29th Aug 2001