I have been pondering for a few months now on what I want to put into this “buhlog” of mine and I finally came to a decision on what it is I want to “buhlog” about. Sometime in August, I made a decision to pickup cycling as a hobby and that somehow led me into running as well. So that is what I am going to “buhlog” about. Blogging my experience will not only help me stay in the game and set goals but I thought there might be someone out there who might be looking for a physical hobby for whatever reason inclusive of mid-life crisis, that this might be something to consider.
Hunting for a bike is no easy task these days. There is so much choice that is easier to just drop into Baskin Robbins and pick out a triple scoop. I spent a lot of time researching. I read, watched and listened to everything I could find on cycling from bike reviews in magazines to beginner videos on YouTube. Articles after articles, reviews after reviews, videos after videos trying to make head and tails of what was suppose to be an easy hobby. Come on, as kids we just hopped onto a bike and rode as fast as we could. I visited local bike stores and asked questions about the bikes they sold. I started with three thousand ringgit bikes and gradually worked up to the eight thousand ringgit bracket. It was overwhelming. There was so much of information to process and I felt like I was never going to get going.
So I took a step back and thought that I may be rushing in too fast. Someone said to me that I ought to be looking at some second hands that I could trash as I reminisce the good old days when I used to race down the streets with a BMX. Thank heavens I remembered that my former boss (now a friend) has been cycling and running and have now moved onto triathlons. I gave him a call and incidentally a friend of his was looking to sell her bike in order to upgrade. So after a few days of rapid negotiations, I collected the bike on the 24th of September 2011. It was a Scott S30 road bike and it only cost me two thousand two hundred ringgit. She threw in a helmet, a bike stand, clipless pedals, a CO2 inflator cum pump, two basic bottle cages and a tiny light. All-in-all I got a very good deal. I bought a pair of gloves that very day and had planned to ride it out that evening or the next day. By the time I got back it was already getting dark and I thought it not safe to ride without ample lighting. That same evening another friend of mine passed me her set of rear lights from her bike that she had given away. At 2:30 in the morning, my veins were crying for a little test ride. I put on a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, my helmet and rode out. I targeted a short route circling around my housing area that should have taken nothing more than fifteen minutes. Now, here is the thing about driving – you hardly feel the short steep climbs and those long low gradient slopes. On a road bike however you can feel the small pebbles from the tarmac and that night I discovered that I actually lived on the top on a hill.
The first two turns were easy as they were downhill slopes. On the third turn I was climbing a low gradient road. Not having any real experience on the gearing system, after twenty years off the bike and hitting the big four next year, I felt every turn of the crank. Just over two miles out, I thought I was home free on the next turn but I was gravely wrong. It was just another 2 miles but it was a steeper climb. I took two stops and thirty minutes to complete my first run on the Scott S30.
Over the next month, I got cycling shorts, jersey, front lights, chain cleaning tools, spare tube and patch kit, a rear under seat bag, a bike computer, a proper tire pump and a pair of shades. Yes, no cyclist is complete without a pair of Oakleys.
I was all prepared and I had cycled out a couple more times since. Then the Gods decided to play on my new found excitement. We hit the monsoon season and it rains nearly every evening now. So now I have to find a way to wake up a couple of hours earlier in the morning and start cycling. There goes beauty sleep and episodes of “House”.