Thursday, December 20, 2007

Like riding a bicycle

They say you never forget how ride a bicycle once you learn how to do it.

The last time I rode a bicycle was almost 10 years ago. So when Siva invited me to join them at Changi Village for a two-hour cycling trip, I hesitated.

But he assured me it would be, in his words, a "lame duck ride".

No jostling with traffic on the main roads; a leisurely pace on the park connector between Changi Village and East Coast Park. Nothing strenuous.

The only thing I'd have to be prepared was for a stiff bum.

He was right.

About the pace and the stiffness.

But nothing prepared me for the downpour at 9am. The weather forecast predicted showers in the late afternoon but I guess the winds shifted since the last time I checked the NEA website.

It wasn't a bad thing though.

There's something to be said about riding a bicycle in the rain, near the coast.

Wind in my face. Rain, tasting faintly of salt, tapping out a staccato song on my helmet. Getting soaked from helmet to socks.

Soggy feet.

The one thing I dreaded most. But turned out I didn't mind it that much.

I guess the anticipation of soggy feet was worse than the sogginess itself.

Finally, that hot drink at the end of the ride. Feeling the warmth permeated the chill in your bones, your spirits buoyed by the company of nice people.

There's also something to be said about riding a bike after a long hiatus.

I was surprised, and delighted, that my mind and body remembered how to balance on one. Even down to the coordination in the shifting of gears.

Oliver Wendel Holmes, Jr. said, "Men's minds, once stretched by new ideas, never regain its original dimensions."

Perhaps there's something similar about riding a bike too.