Deeply saddened by the passing of Mr S R Nathan, our sixth and longest running president, last evening. He passed away peacefully at the Singapore General Hospital on 22 Aug 2016, surrounded by family and loved ones, three weeks after suffering a 2nd stroke in two years.
Thank you for dedicating your life to the betterment of Singapore.
My set of Michelin Pilot Streets have done some 17,000km’s, including the horrible roads during my SE Asia tour. The ultra uneven Asian road surfaces that I’ve travelled on has taken it’s toll on these excellent tires. In fact, when I was in Penang, a fellow biker pointed out to me the unusual wear on the rear wheel (I was in a Givi store then and showing him my Pulsar 200NS). While on the centre stand and as the rear wheel spins, the outer circumference of the tire actually “shimmies”. (I later learnt that it’s probably “scalloping” or “cupping” – perfectly normal tire wear pattern.)
Yes! I’m on the road again! And yes! It’s with the Pulsar 200NS!
I had some business to perform in Kuala Lumpur and since I’d be travelling alone, I decided to take the bike instead of the car. And after the eventful low battery situation, getting stranded by stalling my engine and the good samaritan who saved my day, I’m on the Malaysian North-South Highway (NSHW), again.
And I’m glad I did. Because, at approximately 230km from KL, there was a really bad accident. A container truck from the opposite direction had lodged itself onto the middle divider and turned on its side. The cabin looked quite smashed up. And traffic from the opposite direction were directed onto this side of the road – I suspect to facilitate emergency vehicles to access the accident site quicker. But all these mean one thing – massive jam. I suspect that it’ll take at least an hour or two to clear the jam. And thankfully, the bike was nimble enough to squeeze through the traffic, and I still managed to travel at somewhat freeway speeds on the shoulder.
As I was preparing to leave home this morning, my bike refused to start. Turns out that I left my key in the ignition and inadvertently left it in the ON position. It didn’t occur to me that the bike was powered as I had the engine kill switch in the OFF position.
I whipped out my multimeter and measured the battery voltage – 4.67V??!? Wow! My 5V-USB-powered onboard bike cam must have zapped all its juice, and finally died when the battery went below 5V.
Oh great! 🙁 Just when I was about to start riding. I tried to connect my (old) spare motorcycle battery – which was reading 11.5V – parallel to it. Cranked… No joy.
Next, I pushed my bike to where my car was parked and connected a set of jumper cables (I always carry jumper cables in my car). Cranked… Still no joy.
The last 11,000km brought me through various kinds of roads – good roads, bad roads, dirt roads, potholes, gravel, off road, bumpy roads, grass, and almost every other variety of bad Asian road. Also together with the fall in northern Laos, there are several stuff I had planned to replace when I’m back in Singapore.
Happy Birthday Singapore! It’s been 51 great years, and I wish every Singaporean a fantastic and happy National Day!
After travelling for the last 2 months or so, it feels so good to be home. Fantastically smooth road surfaces, orderly traffic, and amazingly clean surroundings. It means so much to me to be back in time for your birthday.
08 Aug 2016, Monday. I didn’t want to wake up this morning. No, it wasn’t because of the “end of holiday” syndrome, but my entire body was aching. For the first time in a very long while (and the first time on this trip), I lay in bed until 9am. The hotel’s breakfast was from 7am to 10am. So I knew I was gonna miss breakfast if I didn’t pull myself out of bed. So reluctantly, I dragged myself out of bed, washed up, got changed, and headed downstairs to fill my stomach.
While at breakfast, a mild, throbbing headache started developing. “Oh, oh. Not good.” I said to myself. I recognised the signs. I think I’m falling ill soon. Being only 240km away from home, it wasn’t difficult to decide my destination for today.
07 Aug 2016, Sunday. I woke up this morning freezing under my sheets. And there was no air-conditioning! What happened was that I had turned the fan on last evening, and since the oscillation wasn’t working, it was pointed directly at me. The temperatures up here in Cameron Highlands dip to the low 20’s deg celcius at night, and can get quite cold.
I had initially planned to head towards Bukit Tinggi today – somewhere near Genting Highlands. I’m not sure if it was the cumulative toil of the journey or the descent, but when I got to the foot of Cameron Highlands, I felt really, really exhausted. Travelling on a fully luggage-loaded small cc motorcycle on a winding mountain pass is not fun. Also, my tires are reaching their end of life and I didn’t dare lean into the curve as much as I would have liked.
In this condition, I was certain that I wasn’t in the condition to make the climb up to Bukit Tinggi. So, I decided to head to Malacca instead.
06 Aug 2016, Saturday. I got a room in the same hotel as Michel and Pim. And after breakfast, we got ready to leave Georgetown, Penang. Michel and Pim will be heading north into Thailand via Sadao. And for me, southbound. And to think about it, when we last met, they were southbound while I was heading north.