Broken (with blessings in disguise)

What can be more disappointing when two goals were set but we only achieved one?

But I was (or maybe Felix and I were) thankful that we were disappointed.

The plan was to complete our first Round The Island (RTI) ride, except Ernesto and his wife who have completed a few times.

And the second milestone we wanted to achieve was to set foot on the ground where the famous Tuas Lamp Post 1 stands.

But a couple of things was broken.

First, we didn’t realise that it was going to be the first day of Lunar seventh month when the clock ticked 12 midnight, and the gate of the Lunar Hungry Ghost would open. At least it matters to me and Felix.

And I thought I was well prepared for the challenge but as I rode towards the meeting point, I realised that my spare back light and power bank was left at home.

That made me super conscious about being caught for cycling on the road without safety precautions and I felt bad for needing to use my colleagues’ power bank and drain their juices.

So I travelled almost half of the journey without lights!

I believe we were in Woodlands moving towards Kranji when I saw the misty road right in front of me, with the cool night breeze caressing my face and arms.

It was mystical and beautiful.

As we stopped at the traffic light, I said to Felix: It’s misty. And he responded that there was a scent of burnt smell, which reminded me of the opening gate.

As the island fell deeper into sleep and as we travelled along the more deserted and secluded place (Neo Tiew area), quietness filled the surrounding except the sound of our pedalling, the voices of the wind that whispered into our ears and the occasional convoy of speeding cars and motor cycles.

Yes, it was airy but also eerie at certain part of the journey on the deserted road, especially when our shadow casted by street lamps onto the ground flashed through quickly from the corner of my eyes.

Soon, we “safely” got out of that eerie spot and were pedalling “furiously” (in actual fact, my legs have weakened” on the long and wide Lim Chu Kang road. It was like another Tanah Merah Coastal Road (TMCR) which can be very demoralising looking at the never-ending road.

Then Ernesto lost his water bottle at the Lim Chu Kang bus stop where we stopped for water break.

It was believed that the water bottle was stolen by one of the hungry thing, since we were near the cemeteries. LOL!

Our last stop before we reached our first milestone was Jurong West extension Shell gas station.

We checked on the map and was informed that Tuas Lamp post 1 was 15 km away.

Oh yes, 15 km wasn’t far, I thought. But it didn’t turn out that way!

Either we were feeling tired or the distance was much longer than we were told. We turned left and right on the quiet streets, looking forward to reaching the lamp post soon, until we got a little frustrated and started cursing and swearing: where’s the lamp post??!!

Then it happened.

We were just about 3 km from the lamp post (I was already feeling demoralised by then) when Ernesto’s chain snapped and he fell onto the ground, hurting his ankle. We were worried for a while but seeing him fine, we laughed at our predicament – we were stuck in the middle (or near end) of Tuas area!

Then we decided that we should at least go to the Tuas lamp post 1 and take some photos before calling a bike transport service to go home.

And so we did and it was around 3 am in the early hours.

It wasn’t easy to get the bike transport service and we waited for more than an hour for the rescue vehicle.

As we rested and chatted, I realised that my body has started to break down, feeling exhausted and muscles tired. I looked back at how far we have travelled and I was kind of glad (oh I’m so apologetic towards Ernesto for he was hurt in the ankle and his pocket) that the “mishap” has happened or else I do not know how to get out of Tuas, let alone cycling home!

We began our journey when the sky was falling into darkness, and when I reached home and showered, the sky has just lifted its dark canvas and daylight came. The sky mood seemed to me that it has not changed, but I have experienced a tiring and long journey throughout the night.

Our goal to reach Tuas lamp post was achieved.

Our goal to do RTI was only 3/4 completed, reaching only 120+ km instead of 160+ km that we planned.

It was a good ride, though.

But I guess I won’t attempt it again in the next few months. It is too long a distance for my body and mind to take it.

08.08.2021

Francis Lim

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