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Existentialism-- Just a bloody good excuse to go riding...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Skittles. Anyone?

Another boring Sun ride at Ketam..same old trail and same old me with insufficient sleep again under 200% humidity weather as usual.

After the usual rounds at Ketam, we went around the island on a "mission", scouting the various beaches for signs of litter. Trust Athena to come up with a thing like this, this time its picking up litter on some International Pick Litter Day or whatever (I seriously can't remember)

So 4 guys got dragged by our favourite Auntie Na around the island for a recce mission for the upcoming event to catch unwary volunteers. Can imagine trapping them to come to the last bastion of rural Singapore, only to wade into dirty smelling sandy goo in some pathetically receding front we still call beaches. They will probably be cursing under their breath until someone whips out a digital cam or handphone and all the soil and toil will be forgotten.  Happy face picture with a sun faded Coke can to Facebook or Twit all about it after the weekend.

Ok I'm grumpy today. Have to admit it all sounds to be for a good cause. Just old cynical me that's writing again.

 Auntie Na furiously jotting down the unsanitary condition of each beach. Just look at her engross and enthusiastic face....what evil plans have been hatched for them poor unsuspecting volunteers???

...and more furious jotting....Damn! these litter picker volunteers are gonna be really slave-driven on that day. 
 somehow envisaging her with a whip in hand reminds me of he TV series "Roots"

Can't fault her I guess, after all its our dear Auntie Na that came up with the COTES jersey slogan : Your Torture My Pleasure

We went around, rediscovering old trails long forgotten since Ketam has been built and became the de-facto mountain biking trail. These old trails is what Ubin is really all about. Tranquility, something to take you away from the tombstone pillars landscape that some called a robust growing metropolitan city filled with nothing but skyscrapers. In a flash, that sense of exploration during all those early years of mountain biking came flooding back. Strange, we have been coming back to Ubin since the Ketam trail was built but hardly ever venture out of there. Each time it is like tunnel travelling; straight to the trail, finish, get out and straight back to the jetty.

Throw a dog a frisbee, that's the same reaction you get when u put a staircase in front of Dylon. Hey we still get to sneak off for a bit of action despite being ringed and pull by the Slave Driver Woman....

Is there ever a ride that our dear camwhore has not taken a self portrait?  Hhmmm sumthing seems missing. Oh his signature orange jersey that gave him the title of Orange Cam Whore

As we were laying palms to get across a fetid pool of water and looking at all the fallen trees with tangling branches, it just reminded me how much offroad biking was back then. Dismounting, hauling big ass trunks and improvising before getting back on our bikes to more uncharted terrain ahead. Anything to jump or drop was truly a natural feature. Nothing purpose built.

Lots of reminisicing started sprouting  as all those past rides came flooding back. Oh, and of course we couldn't not have missed out for the millionth time, the inevitable mention of what the COTES coined as the "1 Man, 1 Woman, 1 Girl Hill"... innocuous looking slope covered in slick leaf litter that as the name suggest was only cleared by 3 despite repeated attempts by many more to crest the top. A humbling lesson for many on their swanky 6K xc rigs that just got beaten back...only to see a little girl of 10 clearing it with relative ease.

Finally.......4-5 beaches later, we came to the last stop. As Athena was busy snapping up pics of the beachfront, I saw a little opening that looked like a trail. So I went ahead without telling the rest. Couple of natural humps and a few gnarly roots created for a nice short section. It came to an abrupt dead end and I was a little disappointed. So there I was cursing again as usual about how the main island is truly small and these offshore island is even smaller. Turning around, I looked down and hey! Saga seeds, Adenanthera pavonina.

Picked up a few immediately.. the sight of these beautiful red seeds is like discovering some long lost friend! For many years, I was always casually looking around on the mainland but never chanced upon another of these tree since my primary school days. Memories of that few big shady trees in school where we picked countless of these seed and kept for years, where kids made a game out of it to while away time if they are not busy bragging about who has the largest, bad-ass fighting spider from a recent catch.

Yes it sounds pathetic but that's the 70s and who has ever heard of a personal computer, nevermind a labtop or even dreamt that one day u could pick up a telephone that hasn't a wired attached to it and talk to friends 1/2 the world away. Well...come to think of it, who, back then actually had friends that were half the world away!

Guess it didn't turn out to be such a boring day after all. Maybe it really is the last patch of Singapore that is untouched by the hustle and bustle of rapid urban expansion. But time to get the "f" out of here...tranquil or not, those pesky mozzies are zeroing in................

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