Wheelies news since 2013

Monday, 11 January 2016

A wheeling marathon by Frederick

The Wheelies have invited Fred, a fellow wheelian, a friend and a electric unicycle enthusiast to share his account of his experience of journeying 100km around Singapore just on his electric unicycle. Video, photos and content are produced in full with permission from Fred on our blog. Kudos once again for his dare to dream spirit and we are inspired!

100km begins right here …

Whoever says that Singapore is a boring place is probably more concern about the destination one is heading than the journey itself. As in life itself… the daily living journeys that we all part take are just as important as the result we achieve at the end isn’t it? It is thru’ these journeys that memories are developed…the good, the bad and the ugly… All are life changing in some ways.

I did not have any music playing to kill time on this anticipated long journey. I find it ironic, that Singaporean often complains about the lack of time… yet, we try to kill it whenever we do have it. I don’t need the distraction of music; injecting forms of imaginations which befuddle me from the surrounding. I really wanted to fully enjoy the whole journey as is. The sound of branches cracking beneath me, the thumping of the metal drain covers as I wheel over, the scream of the insects, the bellowing of the wind, and the chances of interacting with any passer-by.

I always like long drive and have done many times in my car. It allows me to enter a state of deeper thinking and self-reflection, free from various distractions, choosing to go where I want to go, and usually to places less traveled. Wheeling seems to be more effective in engaging most of my senses. It quietens my over active and easily restless mind… I can really engage quietly in my thoughts. I find it hypnotically therapeutic.

In fact, I discover wheeling in my EU (electric unicycle) put me in the driver seat more than driving my car…. Cos in my car… I am still “driven” by the rest of the moving vehicles and the traffic rules. I couldn’t stop as and when to appreciate the surroundings. Whereas in wheeling, I control where I want to go, how I want to ride, in the direction that I determined at that moment how I felt it should be. A film director without a script… the story is written as I wheel. It was wonderful break from the hectic work life.

There were several thrilling moments. Like the part thru an 800m-1km stretch in Ulu-Sembawang at about the 25km mark. It almost ended my trip that early due to me forgetting to fix my headlights. I didn’t have enough battery to do a detour but the road ahead is undisputedly …. Scary. In my thoughts, the effort and time that goes into the planning of this trip didn’t justify giving up on the entire 100km trip, for that moment of 1km of intense fear and doubt in pitch darkness.

So, I suck it up and wheel on excruciatingly slow, with only 2-3 feet of visibility in front of me in order not to trip or run off the track. It would be a traumatic experience if I ever slip and fall in the middle of nowhere, encase in pure pitch darkness. I made it out eventually… and am not in the hurry to repeat that again anything soon.

So what was I thinking about for the 9hrs 21min journey?… Loads! From pondering if I should take up the invitation to do a PhDs, doing scenario planning for work, critically reflecting on recent events, conjuring my next design ideas, what should my next personal challenge be…. to the deeper things in life…. Like… “Why do grass smell like piss when they’re wet?”

Since this is a blog on “Wheelies” perhaps it would be appropriate to share the moments when I was thinking about the Wheelies group which occurred somewhere on the stretch from Yishun to Orchard.

I would not consider myself being with the group long enough to be a “know-it-all”, however, in my view, one obvious attribute, and I felt, it’s most valuable group asset, is how open and inviting the members are to everyone. There was no evident of hidden agenda, nor do people being selective in choosing who they want to include, and that collective embracing attitude from the more senior members to newer members is something I find rare from my encounter with other interest groups.

I find this element precious in current times, where the hustle and bustle of work and the dog-eat-dog world get infiltrated into our personal life, the coldness and selfish protectivism mentality, that this “ME” attitude are now so prevalent in Singaporean that we only engage in activities and make friends that focus in benefiting ourselves.

The Wheelies however, have kept it fairly pure in their simple intention…. which is a gathering of friends that enjoys wheeling and the drive to make electric unicycle towards greater acceptance from the public. There were no bureaucratic institution of chairman or committees members… nor any hieratical relationship among each other. As such, everyone come in as equal and is able to exercise their expertise, contribution and leadership as and when situation calls for.

As witness in the time with this group, the interactions via various activities have spun off many potentially long term friendships among themselves. I find it more and more difficult to develop lifelong friends as ones ages. Believe me… I am OLD… enough to say that. It is even rarer to have the opportunity to develop good friendship with people of different background, age and gender without ulterior motives.

It is my personal hope and desire, that as the group positively attracts and increases in numbers, these very core qualities that fuel its success would continue to replicate itself to other members in their own ways.

I also thought a lot about the use of electric unicycle in this trip. How odd it is that people seem more approachable when you wheel… it’s like Tony Stark is just human till he don on the Ironman Suit. I got a few cars that horned at me and giving me a thumb-up as I wheel along the pavement or stop at the junctions. Strangely because usually if a car horned at you when you drive, ones would expect the gesturing of the middle finger instead and not the thumb.

I manage to catch a few chats along my trip with passer-by, pedestrians and cyclist. The conversations aren’t limited to inquiring on the contraption beneath my feet. At times, it spill off to other subjects too. It raises question within me as to why is it that we cannot engage such chat without the wheel; and why are strangers and myself more friendlier to each other and not when I am not wheeling. Perhaps it’s the novelty of moving on one wheel escalate me to the sort of “performer” and augmented a “celebrity” aura that helps breakdown the scepticism in human interactions. Maybe I will leave this to ponder in my next long wheeling trip….

Unplanned, the journey ended at the national stadium instead of Sentosa’s Siloso Beach, which was the initial plan to see the moment of sunrise. It was also unplanned that as I was filming the sunrise over the city afar, round the running track… the apps announced distance clocked …. 100km. It was a fitting end. The end of my journey, the start of a new day…. and a victory lap.

Now that I have done a 100 km of wheeling, and distance shorter is like…Waking up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet… and going back to bed again… The distance may be short… but it does give you the much needed relieve…

Probably the first 100 km journey ever made on a electric unicycle in Singapore. Enjoy!

Interested to get started on electric unicycling? Get yours at our webstore – http://thewheelies.sg/shop/

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