Friday, December 21, 2007

Round and round the park

Growing up in the Naval Base gave me sprawling grounds to wander around and explore the neighbourhood relatively unimpeded. This was because, being a 'protected area', there weren't too many vehicles on the roads and even fewer impediments to cycling. This is where I developed my love for cycling. Looking back, I never owned a bicycle for my size in those years. My dad's bicycle was so heavy for a young lad like me then that I could only touch and admire it. It was just too heavy to even wheel out of its parking bay. But there was another bicycle available - a hand-me-down, lighter though no smaller than my dad's. We weren't so well off that I could demand a bicycle for my size, so I learnt to ride that bicycle meant really for a grown adult.

At first, I couldn't mount the seat as my legs were too short to reach the pedals seated, so I did the next best thing - I stood while I cycled. That involved putting one of my legs through the triangular frame of the bicycle on the pedal on the other side of the bicycle and the other one on this side of the bicycle. I learnt to balance on the bicycle thus when I first started cycling. Eventually, my legs grew longer as I grew and I was able to mount the seat and cycle. Kids today are so fortunate. Not only do their bicycles fit their sizes, they come in all styles and colours. I developed a love for cycling in those teenage years though that never extended to anything competitive. I just loved the pleasure it gave me as I could go places much further from my house, although always within the confines of the Base. You can imagine how big the Naval Base was!

After I moved out of the Naval Base, I cycled less because roads were busier with vehicles and I would be the last person to challenge them for space on the roads. When I moved to Pasir Ris, I had greater opportunity to do a bit more cycling. Pasir Ris is known as the bicycle town not for nothing. When I moved again to the North-East in Sengkang, I stopped cycling altogether.

Now, I am tempted to resume my cycling because of the Eastern Park Connector Network, which joins several parks in the eastern part of the island into a seamless route for cyclists only. The problem is - I had given away my bicycle and there just aren't any space in my present house to take even one bicycle. Renting would seem the most obvious thing to do, but when I saw in the papers that Carrefour was selling Aleoca bicycles for as little as S$56 a pop, I am sorely tempted.

I look forward to cruising the Eastern Park Connector and re-discovering my love for cycling.

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