Perseverance : Cycle from Singapore to Mersing

It’s fascinating that when a challenge gets tough and you are at the bridge of giving up, a sign comes along and makes you realize the journey hasn’t ended yet.

Some people may already know that I have been training for a 450 km mountain bike race in East Timor to fundraise 60,000 dollars for a local micro-finance called Timor Aid.

Last weekend while on our 3 day cycling trip to Mersing, a port side city in Malaysia. Due to a series of unfortunate accidents, we had to cross over the causeway to Johor Bahru, not the friendliest cyclist city and not to mention the terrifying traffic. I had images of being crushed by a truck and the fact that most of the roads in Malaysia are hilly didn’t help either. I was tired, scared and I just wanted to go home.

On the way to the Kota Tingii Waterfalls, we noticed an old man in a tattered shirt who looked like dumblerdore, Ashwin thought he had some him on TV so I just cycled after him. Meeting Grandpa Ted was definitely the highlight of my trip, one of those free spirits.

He is 72 and loves to feel his heart go ‘boink boink boink’, when he sees something out of this world. For the past 25 years, he has spent 5-6 months traveling around the world on his bicycle for the thrill of meeting diverse people, seeing new things because for him not learning something ever day is not living.

We spoke for an hour hearing about his adventures cycling in Africa, the mountains of Argentina to empty deserts of Australia. I shared that I struggled with these hills, and they were nothing compared to mountains we were training for.

Ted put things in perspective, he said the first day will be tough and at times you will get off and push your bike up, the second day may also be tough and may also push your bike as well but eventually it will easier and the most important thing is do something with heart not body.

The rest of the trip was perhaps was not as easy as I would have liked it to be, but I did enjoy it from laughing at myself, to seeing a monitor lizard as wide as a truck, cows, goats, ducks, geese, frogs and even the one of two run over snakes.


“If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!'”
– Rudyard Kipling

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