Riding Rants


If you ride a motorcycle often, you will be killed riding it. That much is as sure as night follows day. Your responsibility is to be vigilant and careful as to continue to push that eventuality so far forward that you die of old age first.


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New link

I no longer update my thoughts here. Go to my new blog.

Buying a car in Singapore

The first rule of buying a car in Singapore: don't.

But if you do, hold on to it as long as possible. This is generally true unless there is a big crash in COE prices, lowering of ARF or reduced dealer's margin. (The first two has happened and will not happen again. The last one will not happen.)

How long is long? We are talking about a minimum of ten years here.

However, people change cars within five years in Singapore. There's a mentality that as long as they can afford the installment, they can afford the car. They are not buying the car, they are leasing it! They never stop paying for their car their entire lives.

New aimless route

I tried a new "aimless" route today: PIE, CTE, TPE, KPE, PIE. It's around 30 km and took about half-an-hour to complete.

It is not as satisfying as the "eastern loop". There's something about Changi Coast road and ECP that's different.

Still dare to race

News: 33 speed racers nabbed

Date: 20 April 2009. Source: ST.

TRAFFIC police slammed the brakes on errant motorists speeding down Singapore's famous shopping strip of Orchard Road last weekend, issuing 33 summonses.

Of the 33 summonses issued in the six-hour late-night crackdown, 21 were for the illegal modification of vehicles. The remaining 11 were for speeding and other offences.

These racers win already. News come out big big already and they still dare to race.

Full parking on Sundays

Full carpark on Sundays

My carpark is always full on Sunday mornings. I don't know what's the attraction. There are no churches or temples nearby. Maybe there are? There are no famous stores in the hawker center either. I can only think of the market.

Now that I think of it, there aren't really many "visiting" cars. Even on a regular night, some cars need to park on the rooftop already. If 80% of the residents choose to stay home on Sundays, it explains why the parking is especially bad. This can also explain the difference for Saturday and Sunday. Rather than assuming more visitors on Sundays, more residents go out on Saturdays, so there are more lots for visitors.

Racing in Singapore

News: Too fast too furious in Orchard Rd

Date: 15 April 2009. Source: My Paper.

They tear down Orchard Road in the wee hours of the morning at breakneck speeds, with little regard for others' safety.

To them, the adrenaline rush of the race is everything.

These illegal racers brag about their exploits and have even come up with a map of their 10km racing circuit, which they dub the "Orchard Gudang" - named after the Pasir Gudang circuit, a legal, 4km race circuit in Johor Baru, Malaysia.

Usually when the news come out, it means the TP is about to do something.

It looks like Orchard road is off-limits in the dead of the night. I'll keep in mind not to pass by there and risk an accident. OTOH, I'm wondering if there are any good spots to view the "race"?

Expect parking woes at new malls

News: Parking woes at Tampines' new mall

Date: 14 April 2009. Source: ST.

The new Tampines 1 shopping centre may boast huge human traffic and new retail outlets but with only 203 parking lots and a new valet parking service, shoppers have complained it takes 20 minutes to get their car back.

Sales manager Jerry Ang took 45 minutes to park his car at the new Tampines 1 mall yesterday.

"I feel cheated, I shouldn't have wasted my time here. I'll have to think twice before driving here next time," said Mr Ang, 47, who was there with his wife.

They were not the only ones fuming.

Very simply, new malls have even fewer parking lots than before. Tampines Mall may have 680 lots, but it is still perpetually full.

I have one rule when it comes to malls: I don't drive there. I absolutely hate to wait for parking. It's silly to get stuck in heavy traffic, then get stuck queuing for parking.

Motorcycle rules when it comes to parking. For a quick errand (say less than 20 minutes), you can risk parking on the pavement, in a backlane or in hidden corners.

Replaced my gearbox

My car leaks engine oil. It is a minor problem, but it is very irritating. I finally couldn't stand it anymore and sent the car for repair. I also want to change the gearbox at the same time. The 4th to 3rd gear synchro is spoilt. It is not a big deal, but again, it is irritating.

I went to a workshop recommended by someone on the local miata mailing list. Some people were satisfied with them, but iirc, it was on the expensive side.

They could only give me an estimate upfront. It was already higher than what I expected, but they claimed to use the "newest possible" gearbox (still a 2nd hand unit, of course). Okay, I buy that.

MX5 gearbox

I didn't recognize the gearbox when I saw it lying in the workshop. I thought a gearbox is, um, like a box and fits in your hand. My first reaction on seeing that was, "Huh, isn't that the transmission?" I thought they would dismantle it to get the gearbox out, but no, they just swap the whole transmission.


  • Gearbox
  • Clutch
  • Clutch cover
  • Clutch bearing
  • Two oil seals
  • Transmission oil
  • Top up engine oil

Interestingly, the workshop didn't have the cost ready when I went down to collect my car. They offered to let me drive the car off and pay another day! I knew it was not a good sign when they have this cost-is-no-object attitude when they make the repairs.

What is even more interesting is that the shop declined to breakdown the cost by parts. I find that really fishy.

A joyride on the CB400F

At Changi Coast road

Nothing beats a good ride on Saturday morning! I want to go for an early ride, say at 7 am, before the sun is up, but I usually wake up at 8+ am on weekends.

I rode the CB400F just once this week. There are few opportunities as this is a raining season. However, I observe that it is usually sunny in the morning and raining in the mid afternoon. The sky clears up by 5 pm.

Maybe this will become a regular ride. I plan to go for a 50+ km ride every fortnight if I ride less than 200 km for that fortnight.

Driving the Honda City

I drove my brother's City to work for two days, since my car was being repaired and he was on holiday.

I'm not used to the sitting position. After adjusting the seat to the optimal position to the accelerator, I'm too close to the steering wheel.

There's no rest pedal for the left foot.

The steering wheel is big! It's not too light, however. Response is pretty good.

It's easy to adjust the powered side mirrors!

The windscreens/windows are very dirty. In fact, the whole car is very dirty, just that it's not obvious due to the ah-pek champagne color.

The windscreen already show a difference between the wiper areas and non-wiped areas. The car is just one year old and the water stains are already visible.

The car is pretty silent when the windows are closed.

The car does not seem to have much engine brake, so I often need to brake to slow down rather than depending on engine brake.

Also, I must remember to press the brake pedal when stopped. If I stopped for a long time (traffic light just turn red), I'll shift to neutral gear. The usual advice is not to do it, but I believe the auto gearbox doesn't spoil so easily.

A long walk home

A long walk home

After I sent my car for repairs at Sin Ming, I wanted to take a bus back to Toa Payoh — being too poor to take a taxi — but I ended up walking the entire way!

My route was close to optimal in Bishan, but I lost the sense of direction once I reached Toa Payoh.

It took me over 1-1/2 hours and $1.30 — because I had to buy a drink to quench my thirst along the way.

The Farrer road "long cut"

Farrer road long cut

When Farrer road jams heavily (jams way before the overhead bridge), sometimes I decide to take the "long cut". It's longer and slower, but it's more scenic. This is a very exclusive neighbourhood.