I caught a little nap after taking my flu syrup. It was quite a nervous preparation since I did not know the exact arrangement of the night cycling trip. Bus 196 took ages to arrive and I was cursing SBS for the indication of “13 minutes” waiting time on the board at the bus-stop.
A well dressed up collar shirt man boarded the bus and sat beside me at Lao Pa sat and I felt like kicking him for his body smelt of liquor and that he added as if his body was huge. My initiate plan to rest in the journey failed all because of him moving about and having his long sleeve shirt slicing my skin on the arm.
Anyway, I was surprised to reach the destination on time despite all the factors that stalled my time. I was so shocked that nobody else was at the meeting point, carpark C4, except for many unfamiliar faces. Luckily, some of them were wearing the school’s shirts. I took a walk further down to make sure I was at the correct location and twenty minutes later, I returned to see a few familiar faces.
Weiming arrived before Faris and I realised there were only three of us. The kids were divided into four groups and appointed leaders did most of the controlling.
At the beginning of the trip
Since there got to be two persons on the vehicle and that I did not have a civilian driving license, Faris and Weiming had to be the drivers. I was left alone to cycle by myself. I could have joined the groups randomly to have a clearer picture of the entire situation or tease them around, but since Faris placed the responsibility of being the sweeper at the most back to ensure that we would not lose anyone by the end of the event, I was all by myself.
The stoppages since beginning of the trip caused yawning. The thing I hated most was the “yaya papaya” attitude from some of them who were from another department – banking. I regretted joining in the trip when I could have used the time to work on my websites instead, or at least, surf net at home.
Alex joined us when we reached the runway and we actually sped up a bit on the long stretch of path. Our pace was in fact still quite slow that I could not feel any stress on the legs’ muscle. When we reached Changi Village, everyone simply dumped their bicycles by the side of the hawker centre and I volunteered to stay behind to look after everything.
More than an hour later, we decided to move on further to the Old Changi Hospital but at the start of the expedition, there were too many casualties that we had to halt the plan. The cramping of legs and the breaking of a bicycle chain caused the problems. Worst still, there was a girl who fell more than five times throughout the trip and luckily there was a small personal bicycle in exchange for her rented one. It took us some time to clear up the mess and begin on the journey back. This time round, since the small lorry was already occupied with the casualties, Faris and Weiming took a bicycle each while Alex became the chauffeur.
The entire trip would not be so memorable without the rain which started to hit us at the Changi Beach. We had to put on poncho before reaching the runway as the rain started to pierce through the air. Alex did a good job by distributing them at a road junction and I was impressed by his responsibility.
The pace on the return trip seemed to be much faster. Visibility was a great issue to me for my spectacle was almost wet by the huge rain. As my shoes started to get wet, I felt so irritated and it reminded me of the army days. In the mid of the runway, Jiaquan stopped due to stress probably from cycling in the huge rain. His body was weak and thus we had to accompany him. We contacted Alex and pushed our bicycles to the nearest small shelter, the last of the third shelter along the path.
The thin plastic poncho could not help much to resist the coldness and my Ripcurl singlet was probably a wrong choice of top to wear in the weather. We realised the rain would not stop and thus we continued after some time and to begin on the journey in our almost frozen bodies made it seem like it was impossible to carry on. The entire bicycle was shaking because my body was shivering in the numbness, too cold to talk. If only we did not pause at all, our body could have provided enough heat to resist part of the coldness.
At the end of the runway, we chose to move on the road since it could be faster and Alex drove the lorry with hassle light on behind us to ensure our safety until we reached East Coast Park again.
The stress level was definitely high under the never-seem-to-stop rain. However, it was probably the only chance to challenge our limits together. That was probably the best gift of the entire trip. I was certain that others would be envious of my struggle together with both Weiming and Faris because we could probably not find many better men than them in this world.
As we reached the destination, we were glad to see everyone back in a piece. We started to return the bicycles to the exact spot and everyone was too anxious to leave, such that in the end we were the only ones keeping account of the bicycles.
Faris first sent Azyan back to Bedok North and then the rest of the guys to Bukit Panjang. I realised I could have gotten home much earlier if I were to take bus 196 in my wet shoes but it was good to accompany Faris who did not catch a wink as well and had to drive. He was yawning and trying to keep himself awake, but insisted to send the kids back home even though he was in a rush to return the lorry. In the end, he dropped me at Jurong East MRT before making a turn back to the school.
It could be a much better trip if the convoy was smaller or having a bigger lorry and that more adults were present to control the problematic kids, especially from the banking side.