- By Vin Cox
7th April. 2.4 miles cycled.
Just rode from airport to town. Most of day in Singapore with Liz; visit Doctor, bike shop, restaurant, bike shop, electronics shop, then airport with Peter too.
Singapore very pretty. Not as ‘fake’ as I had feared, but not at all messy or nasty either.
Liz must have spent a fortune on me. I owe her!
The Guinness World Records rules said the clock was stopped while I waited and prepared for my flight in the evening, but the pressure was still on for a very busy day.
Breakfast news said a serious Earthquake had hit Sumatra, with it’s epicentre very close to the town of Medan where I was due to land that evening! Simultaneously, I read messages from supporters pleading with me to stick to the faster places and make a race of it with Alan Bate.
For me, this was a key moment, and I saw it as a straight choice between adventure or racing. Alan cast himself as the racer, and although I have a racing background too, I definitely saw myself as an adventurer. I decided that unless my flight was cancelled or my seat was needed by an emergency relief worker, I was going to Sumatra. Alan and I could both set the record, but I could also have an adventure.
Liz took me to a bike shop “Rodabike” in Singapore, where rather than replace my cracked wheel rim I was given new wheels courtesy of Shimano. New tyres, brake pads, and chain all refreshed my ride too, and the team packaged it for flight double quick. My old tyres (Schwalbe Durano 28mm) had made it all the way from London – amazing when you think about that!
Next on the agenda was a doctor, who looked at my worn-out bum-skin with pity. Then I picked up some memory for my cameras and a new diary book (the old one was posted home). And finally Liz took me to the airport, where Peter joined us for a good-bye and good-luck meal.
By the late evening I was reassembling my bike in Medan airport, with a nice airport official practicing his English on me. He spoke really well, and used words which kept me thinking because they didn’t fit conventionally. For example, as I put my rear wheel in the bike, he called it the hind wheel. He gave me his phone number in case I needed any help, and he was my witness for Guinness World Records.
Medan is a rough town, where a lot of westerners apparently get mugged. I got lucky by quickly and safely finding a hotel to rest in ready for my first full day on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
That was my diary from precisely four years ago. I’m writing up each day on it’s fourth anniversary as a motivation to get this long overdue task done. These days I’m to be found spending my working days at a brewery, my leisure time cycling, and my family time with my wife and baby daughter. I hope this entertains, informs, or motivates you.