Want To Be An Easy Rider?

Let’s be completely honest here; there are few things cooler than a motorcycle.

The idea of sailing down the open road at high speed, the wind rushing past you, ducking and weaving between cars that can’t hope to keep up. There’s no denying the appeal of a motorcycle of any sort, whether it’s a classic chopper or something a little more modern.

But how realistic is it?

Surely if running a motorcycle was simple, there would be just as many as on the road as there are cars right?

Well, that’s the thing!

Unlike their four-wheeled counterparts, motorcycles come with a few more things to worry about.

That’s not to say that these things might be enough to put you off completely, but they are the sorts of things that it’s important to think about if you’re considering sinking a pretty solid amount of cash into one. To help you figure out if one is right for you, here are some important things that you need to think about when you’re considering getting a motorcycle.

Safety

Motorbike, Helmet, Motorcycle, Helm, Shoei

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With any vehicle, safety should always be your main concern, but that is only made even more significant with a motorcycle.

Unlike in a car, you’re very exposed when you’re on your bike; and when you’re at high speeds, that can be a pretty dangerous idea. That’s why it’s so important to invest in some high-quality safety gears. Your helmet is likely to be the most obvious thing that comes to mind when you think about safety but far too many people forget about how important their armor is as well.

Check out http://www.bikersbasics.com/armor-reviews/ to find the perfect armor for you. It’s hardly the most exciting element of getting ready to head out on your bike, but it could also be the thing that makes the difference between life and death.

Power

Not all bikes are created equal, and it’s important to figure out how much power you can handle. When you’re first starting out, it might be tempting to get a bike with as much get-up-and-go as possible, but be careful. Some bikes can be seriously tricky to control because they are so easy to open up and hit high speeds with. If you’re a beginner, then you might be better off with something a little bit less power in the engine until you fully get your bearings.

Where will you ride it?

Motorcycle, Road, Motorbike, Biker, Travel, Speed

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As tempting as the idea of getting out on the open road and riding off into the sunset must be, you need to remember that the kind of riding that you can do is going to be pretty heavily dictated by where you live.

If you’re in a busy, heavily populated city, then you’re probably not going to get the chance to really use a chopper to its full potential, and likewise, if you’re somewhere particularly rural, a city bike is probably not going to handle the uneven roads too well.

Think about where you live and what kind of riding you’ll be doing and that’s going to have a big impact on the kind of bike that you want to look out for.

The Unofficial Guide To Obtaining A Powered Pleasure Craft Driving License (PPCDL)

This is not the first time that someone has blogged about this topic. In fact, a Google search reveals a number of bloggers who have also shared their first-hand experience of obtaining a powered pleasure craft driving license (PPCDL) and what I am about to write is my own experience of obtaining a PPCDL.

There are 3 requirements that one must fulfill in order to get a PPCDL.

1. Attend A PPCDL Course

There are a number of centres that conduct the PPCDL course and most courses will require you to set aside 2.5 days. Typically, 1.5 day is set aside for theory lessons and the remaining 1 day is for the practical lesson. Just so you know, I took my PPCDL Course at Marina Country Club in Punggol with Maritime Education and Training Services Private Limited. The price for a PPCDL Course will vary and it will cost between $300 to $400 depending on the centre that you are taking the course from. Occasionally, I do chance upon some special deals on Groupon for the PPCDL Course so do keep a lookout for it!

The PPCDL Course will cover Nautical Terms, Equipment & Usage, Emergencies, Mechanical & Electrical Equipment, Pleasure Craft & Singapore Port Regulations, Regulations for Preventing Collision at Sea, Coastal Navigation, General Hints, Relevant Port Marine Circulars & Notices and Practical Boat Handling.

2. Pass the PPCDL Theory Test

You can only book for the PPCDL Theory Test upon completion of the PPCDL Course and if you want to pass the theory test on the first attempt, you have to prepare for it way in advance. To prepare for the PPCDL Theory Test, your PPCDL Course Instructor should have given you some theory test papers and if they haven’t, there are some online sites like Singapore Tests or PPCDL Guide that will be able to give you some sample test questions for you to attempt.

If you will like to have additional theory questions to practise on, you can refer to PPCDL Practice Paper and PPCDL Practise Paper With Answers (courtesy of Captain Hilbert from METS) that I have uploaded to help you in your preparation for the PPCDL Theory Test.

The PPCDL Theory Test costs $21.40 (inclusive of GST) per sitting.

3. Pass the PPCDL Practical Test

Upon passing your PPCDL Theory Test, you can go on to book for the PPCDL Practical Test. While the option to take up a PPCDL Practical Refresher Lesson is entirely up to you, I will suggest that you go for at least two 2-hour session of the PPCDL Practical Refresher Lesson because the 1 Day Practical Lesson conducted during the PPCDL Course is definitely insufficient.

A friend of mine recommended Uncle Dave if you want to go for the PPCDL Practical Refresher Lesson and his rate of $90 per hour is one of the cheapest around.

The key areas that you will need to focus on for the PPCDL Practical Test are the pre-launch checks, the un-berthing of a boat, man overboard recovery, berthing of a boat, and the oral interview after the practical handling test.

For the pre-launch checks, you will need to check the exterior of the boat for any cracks and damages and if you can see the engine propeller, make sure you check that there are no entanglement or debris. You will also have to let the tester know that the boat is secured at the bow, beam, and stern.

Once the exterior has been checked, you will need to get into the boat to do the interior checks. Proceed to the front compartment and check that the compartment is free from cracks, damages, and water. The front compartment will contain the anchor, anchor chain, and anchor rope.

After which, ensure that the following mandatory items are in place:

1. Anchor, Anchor Chain, Anchor Rope
2. 2 Life Buoys
3. 3 Hand Flares (check for expiry date)
4. Fire Extinguisher (check for expiry date and pressure)
5. Boat License (check for validity date, registration number, number of passengers the boat can carry)
6. Life Jackets
7. Air Horn
8. Bailor
9. Paddles
10. AIS Beacon
11. Navigational Lights (at the top of the boat towards the stern)

Proceed to the stern to check on the fuel tank compartment and the electrical box compartment. For the fuel tank compartment, ensure that it is free from cracks, damage and water. Turn open the fuel tank cap to check that there is sufficient fuel in the fuel tank and then close it back. For the electrical box compartment, ensure that it is free from cracks, damage and water and that the electrical components are all connected to the electrical box.

Once that is done, proceed to the driver’s seat and carried out the last few remaining checks as follows:

1. Check that the kill switch is attached.
2. Ensure that the gear is in NEUTRAL position.
3. Check that the steering wheel can steer to port side and starboard side by turning it.
4. Check that the hydraulic system is working.
5. Appoint a lookout.

After appointing a lookout, inform your tester that all the checks have been done and you are ready to move off. Once the tester gives you the clearance to move off, start the engine and check that the engine cooling system is working. When you see water coming out from the engine cooling system, it means that the engine cooling system is working fine.

The tester will then ask the lookout to remove the lines and when all is good, the tester will then ask you to move off. Engage your gear to reverse and ask your lookout to look for the port side to see if there are any obstacles or approaching vessel.

Once you have reversed and cleared the space, you will then proceed to the open water to do your man overboard retrieval and then lastly, the berthing of the boat. As far as possible, try to clear these two without incurring any points so that you can have a safety net for the oral interview.

Also, whenever you do anything or whenever you carry out the checks, make sure it is loud and clear! Don’t just mumble to yourself and portray confidence when you do the checks.

Image Credit to Iuboating

It took me 3 attempts to clear my PPCDL Practical Test and on my 1st attempt, I failed because I didn’t manage to berth my boat. On my 2nd attempt, everything went well except for the oral interview. For my 3rd attempt, I guess I was just pretty lucky I cleared everything without incurring much demerit points.

For the oral interview, you really have to study for it so make sure you spend some time to revise when waiting for your turn. Some of the interview questions that I gotten are as follows:

1. How do you determine a risk of collision?
2. What is an isolated mark and what light does it show at night?
3. What is the night navigational light for a vessel that is aground?
4. What is the night navigational light for a vessel that is restricted in her ability to manoeuvre?
5. What is the night navigational light for a vessel that is constrained by her draft?
6. What is the night navigational light for a vessel that is anchored?
7. What is the night navigational light for a vessel that is not under command but making way?
8. What is the sound signal that a vessel makes when she wants to stop?
9. What is the sound signal that a vessel makes when she wants to move off?
10. How do you identify a vessel that is constrained by her draft in the day?
11. How do you identify a vessel that is restricted in her ability to manoeuvre in the day?
12. What is a cardinal mark and what light does it show at night?
13. What is a special mark and what light does it show at night?
14. What is a safe water mark and what light does it show at night?
15. What is the proper scope for anchoring?

In case you’re wondering, the PPCDL Practical Test costs $107 per attempt. To get a PPCDL, it will take approximately 3-4 months on average and if you manage to clear everything on the first attempt, it will take you about 1-2 months instead.

With a PPCDL, may this become a reality! I’m definitely looking forward to attending the Singapore Yacht Show that’s taking place this April!

I hope that this unofficial guide to obtaining a PPCDL will help you as you prepare for your own PPCDL journey. If you have any questions, please feel free to list them down in the comments section below or if you prefer, you can drop me an email at melvinlee@awinsomelife.org.

Cheers!

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with An Exquisite Japanese-French Fusion Gastronomic Experience

Valentine’s Day is round the corner and if you are thinking about where to bring your partner for a nice dinner, why not consider Japanese-French fusion restaurant, Lewin Terrace?

This Valentine’s Day, Lewin Terrace presents a sumptuous 5-course dinner menu designed to tantalize palates and kindle the flames of romance.

A beautiful black-and-white bungalow surrounded by lush foliage and tucked away in the heart of the historically-iconic Fort Canning Park, Lewin Terrace offers patrons respite from the hustle and bustle of the city, providing the perfect atmosphere for lovers to share an intimate evening together as they delve into a gastronomic experience that features the finest of ingredients from Japan, masterfully prepared by Chef de Cuisine Hiroyuki Shinkai.

With over a decade of professional experience working at Michelin star establishments (L’Osier in Tokyo and Beni in Singapore), Chef Shinkai is devoted to the pursuit of perfection in the culinary arts as he continues to refine his own personal interpretation of French cuisine. Armed with the strong belief that simplicity is key, Chef Shinkai’s philosophy is grounded in the importance of elevating the natural freshness of his ingredients, an ethic that complements Lewin Terrace’s produce-driven approach.

Witness the quaint and picturesque charm of Lewin Terrace this Valentine’s Day while savouring a robust interplay of textures and flavours –all the right components for a wonderful night to remember.

Dinner is priced at SGD$388++ per couple with a half bottle of champagne, with an optional supplement of SGD$120 for a 5-glass wine pairing.

Hurry and reserve a table now!
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Lewin Terrace’s Valentine’s Day Set Dinner Menu

Amuse bouche

Le ENTRÉ Froid
Duck tartare /Salad /pear
鴨と洋梨のタルタル仕立て赤ビーツ、サラダ

Le ENTRÉ Chaud
Scallop saute/sauce aromatic /pomme écrasé
帆立貝のソテー、カレー風味の野菜のソース

Le POISSON
AMADAI/Cepes Mushroom /”KOSHIHIKARI”/Fish sauce
あまだい松笠焼

La VIANDE
“Wagyu Rossini”
“Kagoshima” A4 Wagyu Beef Steak/foie gras /Madeira sauce
鹿児島和牛ステーキロッシーニ

LeDESSERT
“Chitose” Strawberry, Japanese Strawberry by Chitose

Small World

Coffee or Tea

S$388++per couple, with a half bottle of champagne

With wine pairing S$120 (5 glasses)

Evian (still) or Badoit (sparkling)

Unlimited $8 per person

All prices are subject to 10% service charge and 7% GST

Usher In The Lunar New Year On An Auspicious Note

It has been a busy start to the new year and in less than 15 days’ time, it will be the Lunar New Year and I’m pretty excited because according to multiple Fengshui Masters’ prediction, the 2017 outlook for those born in the year of the Dragon seems quite promising.

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Image Credit: Mediacock Singapore

I must admit that getting ready for the Lunar New Year is a tedious yearly affair as there are so many things to do and prepare; but it is also a good opportunity to do some spring cleaning, get some new clothes, shoes, accessories, and even a new hairdo.

Prices for Bak Kwa (barbecued sweet meat), New Year goodies, reunion dinners and even hairstyling services tend to inflate during this season and it is no surprise why most Singaporeans will choose to go to Malaysia to do their shopping since the exchange rate is rather favourable at 1 Singapore Dollars to 3 Malaysian Ringgit.

Image Credit: Whattaworld

If going across the causeway is too much of a hassle (yes, do expect long queues and traffic jams), some shopping malls like Marina Square do have special promotions and offers too.

From now till 22 January, discover some hidden pampering treats that are handpicked for you and your loved ones. Just sign up with your Facebook account and you will be given 4 sure-win scratch cards to chose from participating merchants such as Kimage, Salon Orient, Posh Wellness, Zoom Salon, Phiten, and Kenko Wellness.

Do note that you can login only once a day to try your luck and it is free to participate!

Also, you can redeem a set of Red Packets at the Customer Service Counters with a minimum spend of $80 and a $10 Marine Square Gift Voucher with a minimum spend of $150!

For more information and details, check out Marina Square’s Official Website and do like Marina Square Facebook Page for some exciting promotions and updates coming your way!

Are you ready to usher in the Year of the Rooster?

Here’s wishing all our readers a Happy and Prosperous Lunar New Year! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Healthy Eating Tips For 2017

As we step into 2017, I’m sure many of you are busy cracking your heads on some worthy New Year resolutions. Wealth, happiness, travel, and many more along those lines could very well top your list but let’s be real here – we’re not accomplishing anything without health.

2016 was a year plagued by newborn diseases like MERS, Zika and strains of the Avian Influenza so it is no understatement to say our health is constantly threatened. While we put our faith in the hands of scientists and doctors to develop vaccines and cures, there is much we can do to safeguard our health.

If you’ve been exercising regularly, good on you! BUT – healthy living is not just about working out regularly.

It is a lifestyle that’s all about balance. I know it can be a real challenge to switch up your current lifestyle when you are so used to living this way. (We’re all creatures of habit after all.)

No one is expecting you to make a 360degree change overnight but we got to start somewhere and, fortunately, that somewhere starts with these simple steps. Here are some tips endorsed by dietitian Wong Hui Xin from Mount Elizabeth Hospital, to help you fulfil that 2017 resolution of eating healthy!

Spice Up Your Water

Now, we know water is great for us. But it’s tasteless, and it can sometimes be a chore to drink water. (I feel you, mate.) What do you say about spicing up that boring cup of water with a slice of lemon?

Image Credit: Paleo Hacks

Lemon water is definitely more flavourful than regular water. But it’s also beneficial in several other ways, including raising antioxidant levels, which in turns lowers the risk of several diseases, improving digestion leaving you less bloated, and helping with detoxification so you potentially save big bucks you might have spent on a detox programme elsewhere.

Lemon is just one way you can spice up your water. If you find it too much of a hassle to carry a lemon around (because it honestly can be quite the weight), teabags are a much more viable option. Apart from increasing antioxidant levels, teas like green tea also boost metabolism and kill bacteria.

Choose The Healthier Snacks

Less ice-cream and chocolate bars, more fruits.

I’m guessing you’ve heard this one too many times but fruits definitely make a much more healthier choice of sugary snacks. They’re a great source of vitamins and nutrients that help strengthen your immune system to keep viruses at bay. So the old saying that goes “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is kind of true.

That being said, we all would appreciate some variation too, right?

Bring those nuts and seeds on!

Image Credit: Michelin Guide Singapore

Instead of munching on chips and biscuits (especially during office hours when you’re desk-bound for 8 hours – let’s not even get started on how detrimental that can be for your health!), go for almonds! Almonds are loaded with all the good nutrients you need to keep maintain healthy levels of blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure. If nuts aren’t your favourite, go for sunflower seeds! They are as beneficial as almonds.

Not to mention they’re easy to buy from any convenient store!

Have A Salad

You already know you should aim to consume 2 servings of vegetables and fruits a day yet many of us don’t. Salads are the easiest way to work those into your meals.

Image Credit: Resilience Fitness

As a general guide to deciding what goes into your salad, you should always aim for a colourful bowl of vegetables to get a wide range of nutrients. As for proteins, opt for grilled options, or tofu for vegans. Finally, don’t forget some carbohydrates! Foods like corns, beans, and potatoes make for a balanced meal.

Remember that not all salads are created equal – creamy dressings are a major no-no. For healthier dressings, opt for vinaigrettes or olive oil.

The Healthier Choice Label

It’s easy to miss but products endorsed by the Health Promotion Board are lower in fat, sodium, and sugar, and some are also higher in calcium and dietary fibre compared to other options within the same food category.

Image Credit: Khoo Teck Phuat Hospital

If you absolutely have to get your sugared drinks fix, although I’d highly suggest you skip the midday bubble tea, the least you could do is to purchase those with lower sugar content. That way, you can have the cake and eat it too!

Order Only What You Can Eat

We’re all guilty of it – over-ordering. We walk into a fancy café and everything on the menu suddenly looks mouth-watering so we make a pact to order a dish each and share. But we don’t forget to pile on the dessert and appetisers as well. More often than not, we end up with more than enough food.

Over-ordering, and then over-eating, can lead to indigestion and bloat. More importantly, if you do finish all that food, you are bound to exceed your recommended daily calorie intake and all the suggested nutrients levels as well.

The best way to not do so is to opt for smaller servings. It can be as simple as asking for a smaller serving of rice or just holding off orders until you’ve cleared all the food on the table.

Now that wasn’t so difficult, was it? These are some handy tips that will make changing your lifestyle a tad easier.

So before we dive into how we want to embark on a month-long tour around Europe, or scoot on a beach holiday to Boracay, let us go forth and create a healthier us!