Monday, August 8, 2011

The sweeper...

No one gets left behind: That's the job of a sweeper...

THE sweeper has the most important job in pack riding.
He ensures that everyone is accounted for during a re-group.
When I rode with the Bentong riders, I found one flaw and it was clearly seen that they were not interested to sweep.
As a result, a 70-year-old dude was left way behind.
During lunch, I raised the issue and one of the guys said: "Aiya! I taught him how to change gear already la,normally, his son will ride alongside..."
I found that to be a lame excuse as the lack of experience clearly showed. All the guy wanted to do, was to show off how fast he can ride on this bike.
On a middle-distance ride, a million things can go wrong.
If the old man's bike had broken down, he had to fend for himself.
Similarly, I was the last guy to hit the lunch table during a trip to Serendah, Selangor.
Some riders on their fancy-schmancy folding bike had a burst tire.
He had to change his inner tube and it took nearly half an hour to complete the task.
When I reached the makan table, everyone had their meals. Except me.
One of the master-gurus said: "Aiyah, riding sweeper is like that la..."
I've also rode with other people who are more organised. The last man in is always treated with respect.
As a sweeper, I made sure that I am fully equipped to mend things on the go.
I always carry spare inner-tubes, a patch kit and bicycle tools to provide support.
In short, middle and long distance rides, there are no excuses like: "Ah, I left my gear at home la.."
Even when I ride with my wife, we always pack some spare gear and our two-way radios have been proven useful on the trail.
In the eyes of a seasoned long-distance rider, the sweeper may have a minor standing in the pack, but he or she had a big responsibility to shoulder.
Like it or not, the accountability is something that people would not want to bear...
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