Tuesday, January 23, 2007

0006 - The Chili Manja

Introducing.....my new steed, The Chili Manja - ooo6 (pronounced triple o six)

Ain't she a beauty? She was a gift (in parts) from my usual biking khakis for me birthday last year! Sweet! Chili's fork's still getting a paint job, so in the meantime, she's receiving a temporary frontal organ donated by Mingloid's wife! Thanks so much, Chris!

Above bears testiment to the artistry and creativity of my adventure buddy, Mingloid. Before Chili Manja was unveiled (I lie, I knew what she looked like all along), this box was given to me as a token. Damn cool! The names of the those who contributed were scribbled on the right hand corner in red! 10Q to you all!

If life were a box of chocolates, this would be it! Come to think of it, if they had a section on creativity for races, I'm sure Ming and I will do pretty well!

On closer inspection, there are some pretty cool re-cycled (get it?) bike gadgets....wait til you open the ol' film tin...

That was the exact expression on my face when I tested my new bike! Woo hoo! Of course, this wouldn't have been possible without Maximuzz, who made all this happen!

Smooches to you and Chili Manja! Chili and I are startin' to get along just fine! :)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Work those wheels for charity!

The concept for riding for charity is nothing new in Singapore, but it's something new for me. Am really looking forward to it.

This charity is pretty close to heart as I've been volunteering for several Camp Rainbows over the years and have gotten to know some of the kids. I guess one would feel more committed to a cause especially if one has met those who will benefit from your fundraising activities.

Cost for the ride : $140.
Funds to be raised : Min $350
Experience for me : Priceless
Benefits to the charity : Depends on how much I am able to raise

So, if any of you kind souls out there would like to help me raise funds, you can email me at lingemerciless@pacific.net.sg and I will arrange to collect the donation proceeds from ya.

If you want to know more about the organisers, click on Singapore Women's Cycling Team.

And last and by no means least, click on Club Rainbow for more information about the beneficiaries.

Thanking you all in advance.

Merciless (hopefully with a merciful heart)

Monday, January 08, 2007

Gotheborg, the East Indiaman from Sweden

Sat 6 Jan. Mingloid, Merciless, Winnie the Pooh and her sista, Cherry Berry, head on down to the Promenade at Vivocity for a personal guided tour of the Svedish vessel, the Gotheborg. I was especially interested in meeting this ship as I'd been to Gothenburg, the motherland of this vessel.

Above : The ship (on ze left) docks at the Promenade in the body of water between Vivocity and Sentosa. [Somehow, those Quay cranes to the right (if that's what they're called) remind me of the Imperial Walkers in Star Wars]

Above : Siva, one of the 4 Singaporeans on board the vessel, shares his experience as a crew, sailing the HK-Singapore leg of the journey. Read more about their adventures here.

Above : Mingloid, moi and Winnie climb the upperdeck of Vivocity for a more wholistic view of the Swedish beauty! For an account of our adventures for that morning, click here or on photo above for lotsa photos and write-ups...

Other websites you may wana check out :-

The Gotheborg Project

Looking back, I don't think I've been on many large vessels (not counting the liveonboard ones that bring you to the dive havens or deep sea fishing, or those at ferry terminals which ferry you or your bike or vehicle from 1 place to another)....let's see...

* USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) - I remember it as "the Ike" - my parents brought me on this boat when I was yeh high (probably that of one of the stubs that you tie a rope around). Couldn't remember much except for the little pins they were distributing with "I LOVE IKE" printed on them. Still have one of those pins at home, somewhere.

* RV Heraclitus - From 1995 to 2006, it carried out coral reef studies with the Planetary Coral Reef Foundation around the world, exploring the islands and cultures of the Pacific while collecting data on the health and vitality of coral reefs. It made a stop in Singapore, and that's when a bunch of me Koh Kong Marine Conservation mates (including moi) took the chance to jump aboard and dream about sailing around the world on this lovely converted Chinese junk!

*Star Aquarius - Spent Chinese New Year on one of these cruises with my family many years ago. Great fun, except when you're sleeping just above the engine. Just found out it's now called Pearl of Scandanavia!

One vessel I would have loved to visit is none other than Jacques Cousteau's famous, Calypso - which was featured in Cousteau's long-running television series about the world's oceans! At least our claim to fame was that it sank in one of our shipyard's shallow waters after it had arrived in Singapore following a research and filming mission in China and Vietnam.

The date? 8 January 1996! That's exactly 11 years ago, today!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Penang Jamboree 2006 - Can You Survive?

Penang MTB Jamboree 2 -3 December 2006
Saturday : Penang Heritage on Wheels (Phew)
Sunday : Can you Survive? [xx] participants

Having ridden a majority of this year's trail last year, I thought I'd survive the ride. Rumour had it that this was going to be the toughest jamboree yet - and I was so looking forward to the 37 switchbacks, a finger-wrenching feature which appeared once upon a time in the first Jamboree.

The above just about sums up this year's disappointing ride; the only ones being disappointed being those who got majorly lost...including me, lucky No 8 (or so I thought)! Sigh!

I remembered cheong-ing with the front pack (which I later found out to be the first 50 or so bikers, not that it matters now or at all), climbing steadily and focusing on the narrow paths leading up to....errr....well, just up!

We finally came upon a fork. I looked up and I thought, "@$)*&@$)&@)!!! Friggin Hell!!!! These Penang-ites are REAL sadistic @$*&@$)&@$"!

Right before me, a killer hill which was so steep that the 10 or so bikers scattered on the slope were pushing, some resting every few metres to catch their breath! I didn't even bother looking at the left option of the fork since my mind was fixated on making it to the top of this bike-n-hike section! This was turning out to be another adventure race!

That was when things went completely wrong..........without me realising it. It never crossed my mind to question the well marked out red / white tapes I was following. I was so embroiled in conversation with the other bikers, who seemed comfortable enough with where they were heading.

"I'm in the company of other bikers, some of them from Penang", I thought to myself. "I should be on the right path".

I proceeded to mash on up, up and away, and then down, down, down! Wheeeee....this is really fun! And oh, what a nice new trail they have carved out for us this year! But where are...all the other bikers? It has been sometime since any biker overtook me, and vice versa.

The euphoria of the "cheong" was finally beginning to wear off. I finally bump into Terence, fellow LOST victim, and we exchange notes. It was then that we realised we were...LOST! Shortly after, a Penang-ite appears, followed by 2 other blur Malay bikers.

We asked the Penang biker whether we could make our way back up from whence we came. The look on this face said it all! No....way! But hey, where's the "never-say-die" attitude? Even if I wanted to turn back, I wouldn't know which was the wrong turning we took. Sigh!

The 5 of us unanimously decided to follow our guide, who said he'll lead us to Air Hitam market, and to where we started off. Siggggggggghhhhhhhhhh! No 37 switchbacks this year!

Terence and I were the only ones from the LOST team who managed to collect stickers for CP1 and 5. After returning to the finish line, we found out there were others who were equally lost. This Ipoh gentleman got lost 3 times! Poor fella!

When I told others the story, I had some sympathy votes, as well as non-sympathetic remarks from others who chided me for trying to speed ahead of others - but I was only striving for me best timing? :(

Alex McNab's response was the most unexpected :-
1. Have you been eating a lot of beef lately?
2. Did you pee without saying thank you?

Come to think of it, I plead guilty to both.

Lessons learnt this year :
1. always follow the exact markers described in the briefing
2. don't assume that the locals know where they're going
3. sometimes, it doesn't pay to cheong with your eyes closed
4. try to avoid eating beef when you're cycling on sacred buddhist grounds
5. always ask for permission before you pee in the wildnerness, and don't forget to say thank you!

Above : elevation chart (of the ride I didn't finish - boo hoo), compliments of Chwee.

Above : GSP readings (of the ride that I missed - sigh), compliments of Wayne.

Let's move on to other things. Above : Cool editing function, available only in select Canon cameras. Photos compliments of Angela and Wayne.

Above : This is the first year that we're staying in Georgetown - close to where all the good food is! I also got to visit the Kek Lok Si temple in detail....maybe the forces that be was telling me to slow down, and smell the laksa (no beef please)!

Penang Jamboree 2006 was both Firefly and Chiku's swansong epic ride. It was also the 5th year that moi, Mingloid and Eric Bak Chor Mee have been dragging our asses up Penang Hill since it's inception.

The organisers forgot about us during the dinner :( Apparently, we had used multiple names over the years for our multiple-personas. They quickly made up for it by presenting to us each a lovely Penang Jam cap with our names personally stitched!Awwwwww.....you shouldn't have!

But kudos to the KOTRT folk for bringing us so much joy year after year, without fail! We really must return the favour by organising our very own Singapore Torture Jamboree! :)

For more stories in pix, click here :

Ling's Album
Angela's Album

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Farewell Firefly

"When are you going to change your bike? You've been using the same frame since I first met you! Look at the poor state of her! Time for a change!"

I get that comment many times, even from bikers who have picked up the sport after I joined, and left it many years after.

But is there a need for a change? Firefly's stuck with me, through thick and thin all these years. She's never let me down once (hmmm....except for the face plant incident, but I accept full responsibility for not steering her in the right direction)!

And why does she need a new paintjob? Why are bikes touted as more worthy of praise and attention with a new coat of shiny paint? I like her just the way she is! If there was ever a term for those bruises and scratches, I'd say it was "character-building". Besides, it complements those appearing on its rider's knees and shoulders. Hey, we work as a team!

Sadly though, the abuse that she's endured over the past half decade has taken a toll on her badly beaten up body. It's not just the exterior I've been told. She is in need of a layer of protection, which if left to procrastination, may lead to a spreading of the corrosive disease.

I've had to make one of the toughest decisions - to let Firefly go!

I bid thee farewell, my dearest Firefly! May you have many more good years with your new owner, whoever he or she may be!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Cowboys & Aliens Showdown!

This was the first party I've been to where almost 100% of the costume victims bothered to dress up! And twas half part one of my favourite themes - Aliens! Cowboys are alright too, I guess!

The invite from Pauline was hilarious!

Ground Control to Major Dudes,

The posse is having a party eve-of-the-eve and you're invited! Mosey on down for wild LIVE music and out-of-this-world grooves.

Get into the swing and dress that thang. Ultramen, Singapore Cowboys, Bordello Babes, Space Cadets or any Wild-West-of-the-Moon alter ego is welcome.

I plan to be a one-armed bandit!

Pauline, Terence, Brin, Geri, Mars, Dawn and Wil
The Cowboys & Aliens showdown

What: Slap on your wildest best or your gooey-est mess, make like Garth or Darth – heck, go Brokeback if you like – but make that extra-terrestrial effort and come dressed up, kiddos!

Maximuzz and Merciless, off to save our blue planet!

The next generation of space wo-men...
Pauline, the one-armed bandit, stands between them! She is called so
as a result of fingers getting crushed by some alien spacecraft!

Just when we thought we were a couple of millenia behind in space technology with our retro spacesuit, a first generation spaceman arrives!
They must know all about recycling in that planet! Excellent!

Hello, I'm your space cadet for the evening!
That reminds me, my younger sister, the "real" space cadet,
wouldn't even have needed to dress up! haha!

Mr T summons the space cowboys from the brokeback vortex....
"c'mon, boys, giddi-up!"

A coupla' normal lookin' cowboys appear from the wild wild west...

...along comes a wannabe cowboy...Roh looks rather disturbed...

Still wondering what this red fella and his adbucted cow'z meant to be...
the Cowcroach from Hell? hee hee!

MarsL - aka the red planet! Ingenious!

And the other who hails from the Chemistry Lab,
Wil-O-the-Pink-Lantern...on blades!

Space and chuck grub....

And the galactic folk who made this happen
(from left to right : Brinjal, Terence, Geri, Dawn, Marsl, Pauline and Wil)!

We certainly were entertained for the evening! Thanks ya'll!
Live long and prosper for year 2007, kids!

Click here for more photos....