Preparation for NTU Bike Rally

The check list in my head:

  • Helmet, helmet rear light
  • Sunglasses ($12 King’s Safety Goggles from Changi Village)
  • Bike jersey (Toronto Bicycling Network, not the skeleton on a bike this time)
  • Gloves
  • Arm warmers
  • Bike pants – the padded Adidas from Hup Leong
  • Knee guard (going to need it!)
  • Socks – use the new burning yellow/red ones!
  • Ankle reflectors
  • Shoes
  • Handlebar – Speedometer, front light, wipe mirror, bell functioning, handphone (charging) in handphone pouch
  • Saddle pack – Crank Brothers pump, spare inner tube, bike puncture kit (there should be enough bike support but I could find myself stranded), Brave Soldier and some first aid, enough for bad wounds
  • Rear lights (two)
  • Chain maintenance
  • Water bottles (2 x 0.8L)
  • Camelpak (decided i needed this in case its hot despite abrasion) – 1.5L Nalgene bladder (only bladder I could find at Queensway), Gatorade powder (courtesy off Ladybug), Keys
  • Waterproof pouch (placed in Camelpak since am using it, not jersey)- Credit cards, ATM card, NRIC, Organ donor card, cash (waterproofing actually for handphone)
  • Deep heat (I will need copious amounts but I am almost out!) and sunblock lotion (alright, its called sunkiller)

Sleep and breakfast might be helpful too. Got to set my alarm for 4am and hope for good weather. Will to head out door by 4.45am for East Coast Park via Holland Road, Orchard Road and Nicoll Highway. Getting there and back should clock us 150km.

Meeting kakis by 6am. The crowd that heads out from ECP will include Ladybug, Joelle, Cat, and Chi. We will merry up with the shorter route participants (first time this has been introduced) which includes Kaixin, Jaswant and Min Yee.

IMD MIA trail – first bus almost full

The Pasir Panjang Guides offer the MIA trail each May since 2006 as part of International Museum Day festivities in Singapore. It started when Melissa, then from NHB’s Corporate Comms asked me for something interesting. So Amy, Stella and I over breakfast at Holland Village cooked up this idea, influenced by the night at the museum theme.

Though we had to abandon ALL our scary ideas in case of casualties (people are so faint-hearted these days), the tour proved to be popular and we always had a full load of two buses within days of first notice.

We had included Memories at Old Ford Factory since it had just opened and National Archives wanted to promote awareness of this new gallery. However, the guides agreed that the itinerary was too crowded for the average visitor so I cut it down to just Raffles Museum, Kent Ridge Park and Reflections at Bukit Chandu this year. It’s going to be more comfortable this year!

Despite the late start to IMD’08 publicity this year, our first bus for the MIA trail is already almost full. I usually try to give the public a head start but since word is out late this year, I’ll let NUS staff know directly tomorrow. I might stretch it to Wednesday latest. They really sign up in large numbers when we let them know so we reserve February’s walk for their first notice.

This IMD MIA webpage was setup last year when I was dabbling with Rapidweaver at Kevin’s urging. I forgot how to use Rapidweaver or was too lazy to open the app two months ago as I was in the midst of teaching. So I simply used TextWrangler to edit last year’s page. That took little effort, and I just had to get the details right.

I added the IMD’08 logo from a screen grab of the webpage at and added the “3 days, 20 museums, 37 events” since that about sums it up. This webpage went live early today.

I wrote to my fellow Friends of Yesterday that IMD’08 is modest this year. But the guided activities and discounts make it worthwhile. Often the most important thing at a museum is the availability of a guide. Most of the IMD events are guided or they are running staff directed activity. The minority are just discounts/goodie bag based. Duty staff are usually out in more significant numbers so there is an air of festivity normally absent at other times which makes it a plesant time to visit.

I’ll be having a busy Saturday – Sungei Buloh in the morning, another meeting, the MIA tour and rushing back to dive into bed – I’m cycling the NTU round island Bike Rally ’08 the next morning and its a 5.30am start!

I would have wanted to go for the Malay Heritage Centre’s line up of activities and try my hand at calligraphy. Well, maybe next year!

Cycled today, finally!

Sunrise from the Lornie Road overpass

Beginning of Tampines Road

I was quite elated at having finally shaken off a bug to cycle once again. So to Changi it was this morning. At Serangoon Gardens, wen we pulled over at the Shell station to pump Ladybug’s tyres, we chanced upon a father and his two sons. The man had obviously pulled their three bikes out of storage and was struggling with the petrol station’s pump. So we helped him figure out the digital pump’s workings for inflating a flat tyre and the correct pressure for a bicycle (not car tyre). The Crank Brothers dual valve pump sure came in handy with his bike as it had the other valve (Presta valve), once we figured we had to loosen it slightly! The young father was certainly relieved for even as we fixed things, one of his sons went “we’ll never go cycling today!” Well it had certainly been a long time what with the cobwebs on his tyres and all! So it was cheery faces that thanked us later as we headed off to Changi.

Jaswant’s deraileur being changed at Mr Bikes

Jawant’s five rear lights

Jaswant was fascinated by the route changes since he last rode. When we reached Changi, we headed for Mr Bikes actually to look at helmets. He ended up getting his bike fixed up and he got a new rear light as well. He now beats any of my previous attempts at being a Christmas tree – he has five rear lights now!

The clouds disappeared and the heat finally as we headed back from Changi and it was time to test our my sunglasses, Sunkiller Powder Milk (yes there is webpage), Suunto Arm Warmers (will they be cool?), water over helmet and Ladybug’s rock solid-iced Camelpak. Well the sun certainly withered us. We’ll just have to soldier on during the NTU Round Island Bike Rally like we did last year around Sengkang if the heat is this bad. Considering we only clocked 70km, I felt a little sheepish when I was dramatic with friends via SMS but they were all very encouraging.


We raced back but only a few drops of rain hit us – I realised from watchig rain clouds that moisture was mainly being dumped over Bukit Timah and very little ended up our way!

So there was no rain to sleep through post-ride but I was still able to find my second wind at the 70km mark, after a short break. I am more confident about the round-island now. I seem to have shaken off trace of the bug in my system!

The other positive sign? No butt pain! I need to shorten my chain though. It kept getting derailed and jumping during quick gear changes; its new so needs to be fine-tuned.

[HV – Changi. 7.10am – ?3pm – HV: Dst 70.17km, Tms 3:56:19, Avs 17.8km/h]

Arm warmers are great sun protection!

Rain over Bukit Timah

Why not use SLA Street Maps?

I wondered why I have not been using SLA’s Street Map@Singapore maps.

Well, I like to make screen grabs and often annotate maps to make a point or highlight details. But SLA’s “Terms of Use” for the service says, amongst other things, that:

“Except as expressly permitted by these Terms of Use, you shall not reproduce, publish, upload, post, display, transmit or otherwise distribute this Site or any of the Contents in any manner or in any form, without the prior written permission of SLA and (where relevant) SLA’s third party suppliers. …”

“You shall not cache or frame this Site or any part thereof or any of the Contents, nor create hyperlinks to any page of this Site or any of the Contents, without the prior written permission of SLA and (where relevant) SLA’s third party suppliers.”

Ooh, I’m a fan! Meanwhile, returns me fatal errors.

Google Maps – Harbour Front now under clouds!

Google Maps has decided Harbour Front looks better under clouds, it seems.

I was viewing the webpage I setup some months ago for the International Museum Day. Registration begins now and I added a phone number and took a final look-see, just in case. Then I thought of updating the Google Map snapshot I had inserted there. Afterall, University Hall had improved dramatically.

Instead, all of Harbour Front is now under clouds! What’s happening Google? Argh!

Snapshot from months ago, when setting up the webpage, phew!

What’s with the improvement – comprehensive cloud cover?

Maybe its preparation for the haze. Like Paula Abdul’s “seeing the future,” Google Earth and Maps are predicting the happy state of affairs soon to be amongst us. Think the heat is bad? Wait until the haze comes. Apparently fires have begun in Indonesia and potentially ‘favourable’ south westerly winds in two weeks will make us miserable in Singapore. You HAVE been warned.

Sayonara La Nina, you might have wreaked havoc elsewhere, but you sure kept things cool and haze-free here!

When I said comprehensive, I meant it!

Xylo checks out the new washing machine

The boys are intrigued by the sounds of the new washing machine. Xylo’s the least afraid.

Apparently the Whirlpool front loader uses a third less water, two-thirds less electricity and is made of recyclable parts.

The delivery man, who failed to turn up the previous day, made an attempt to convince me I needed a new, $25 Italian-made tap to go since I now had a spanking new washing machine. “What’s wrong with the one I have?” He mumbled something about a leaking tap in future. I was too polite to snort and kept a close eye on him to ensure he did not cast some vodoo spell over my existing tap head – put that down to temple of Doom which I watched with my department kakis last night.

I will be giving him grief later over the transport bolts and the plastic spacer which he forgot to leave behind. After all, never know when I’d like to move.