Sunday, September 28, 2008

Thailand to Singapore, via East Coast of Malaysia, Ride: Epilogue

[T]he meaning of an episode was not inside like a kernel but outside, enveloping the tale which brought it out only as a glow brings out a haze, in the likeness of one of those misty halos that sometimes are made visible by the spectral illumination of moonshine.
         (Joseph Conrad)

Just like that, the 14-day tour is over.

How time flies when you're having fun.

Aside from from confronting my fears, testing my intuition, mental, emotional, and physical limits — and regaling in the abundance of solitude — I had the time of my life observing different cultures, social and governmental systems from the ground level; experiencing the kindness and spontaneous generosity of strangers, and having my belief that most people are inherently good reaffirmed. Regular people, heartened by the (comical?) sight of a lone cyclist ladened with luggage, slowly inching his way across their country — despite the cheaper, easy availability of mechanized efficiency — actually cheering and rooting for the endeavorer, suggests, at least to me, that romance is not dead. Or, maybe they just think I'm a retard.

In this aspect, what started as a solo journey became less and less so as the days progressed; a succession of strangers gradually (and unknowingly) linked by the passage of a bicycle, and a story unfolding, hidden within the scribbled pages of a journal. What is recorded in these pages then, become less about the rider and more about the communities and people he came into contact with, however fleetingly. I have become no longer the focus of the narration, but merely the projector's motor — these people and their landscapes are the film.

Deepest gratitude to the following, who made this ride possible and/or contributed to its success:

God; Mom, Dad, Auntie Fong, Uncle Jimmy, Cheryl; Peter Chew (Cycle Corner 6285 1468); Calvin Tay, Xavier Goh, Mabe (Campers' Corner); Chris Wee; Sulaiman (The Rebound Centre 6743 9474); Hon Shin; Viki, Louis, Ahmad (Cycle Craft); Miss Chua (Jinson Industries), Castron Computer Components; Karen Kuah, Nicholas Mok, Francis Chow, Sol, Wayne & Kristina Carpenter, Jamie, Natalie & Nick, Dexter Ong, boagy, brettou, Mr Pumpy, Martin Adserballe, Bine & Uli, Janne Corax, dragonc, kso1, rinconbay, Geer37, greenmango, diuofo, Norman Fischer, and Elmo.

         Thank you.

GPS log does not include the ride north of Tak Bai.

Did this approximation while waiting for my food at Desaru on Day 12.

Not too far off, eh?

Image courtesy of Hon Shin.


Distance  1021.6 km (638.5 miles)
Elevation climbed  2195 m (7200 ft)
53 hours 46 minutes 8 seconds
Average speed  19 km/h (11.88 mph)
Maximum speed  52.7 km/h (32.94 mph)

Lowest temperature  79° F (26.1° C) (Day 14)
Highest temperature  110° F (43.3° C) (Day 10)

Shortest riding time  1 hour 56 minutes 23 seconds (Day 2)
Longest riding time  6 hours 8 minutes 35 seconds (Day 14)

Least distance  37.66 km (23.54 miles) (Day 2)
Most distance  123.93 km (77.46 miles) (Day 14)

Least climbing  50 ft (15 m) (Day 2)
Most climbing  2150 ft (655.5 m) (Day 14)

Bike:  1991 Bridgestone MB-3 Michelle ("my belle")
Size  49 cm (19.29 inch) [Center-to-top]
Lowest weight  41 kg (90.2 lb)
Highest weight  47 kg (103.4 lb)

187 cm (6' 2")
Start (September 15)  64 kg (140.8 lb)
End (September 28)  60 kg (132 lb)

Things I should have brought along

lightweight cup
immersion cup heater
JetBoil™ service kit
spare computer sensor cable
spare helmet buckle
spare rear deraileur
another mirror for non-drive side (useful when filtering through heavy traffic in cities)
non-whistling compass
collapsable chopsticks
clothes pegs

No mobile / cell phone was carried or ever used on this ride.

Ride conducted solo.


QQ*librarian said...

congratulations for completing your journey!

-ben said...

Thank you, QQ


benji said...

wow, from thailand to singapore. major achievement man. Bet it was a journey of self discovery too!

i'm quite curious about that unpleasant incident with the local though =P

-ben said...

Bet it was a journey of self discovery too!

Yes, it was. I haven't sort out what or how I've changed since the trip yet though, but definitely I learned a lot more about myself.

i'm quite curious about that unpleasant incident with the local though

Ah, that. I am reluctant to publish details of the incident as it happened in the outskirts of a small kampung, and it's easy to identify the individual (we all know what small towns are like). Since I didn't come to any harm, I let it slide. It is torture enough for the poor fella to repress his amorous preferences each and every moment — for a lifetime — under the penalty of incarceration, all due to his religious affiliation.

Thanks for dropping by!