Leaning back as I lie somewhat pensive, the powerful thrust takes me to new highs which I have never experienced before. No, I'm not on the world's baddest roller coaster but feeling the thrust of a powerful 750cc motorcycle negotiating the steep and winding roads of Beijing's outlying mountains.
After three days of holidaying recently in the Chinese capital with my girlfriend Joyce, visiting places that a friend of mine who lives there irreparably calls 'tourist traps', we decide to take a day trip outside the city centre that is a lot less conventional.
We get to know of a small motorcycle tour, K2 Sidecar Adventure, operated by Mr Ken Zhang, 32, and Mr Keith Perron, 35, two seasoned bike riders who have turned their love of hitting the roads around China into a small business.
A Canadian journalist, Mr Perron lived in Beijing for about seven years before deciding to do something altogether different.
Mr Zhang works in the advertising industry.
After years of riding to and camping in places as far as Inner Mongolia and the edge of the Chinese-North Korean border, they have used their unique experiences to come up with their own style of adventure tours.
Here's how it works.
Tell them roughly the key places you would like to see and how much time you have and the guys will draw on their know-how to map out a trip proposal.
For example, want to see the Great Wall?
They will take you to a little-known part of the imposing structure which cuts down to a sparkling lake, instead of the usual stop at Badaling, which the locals call Disneyland for its crass commercialism.
The duo not only take you there but also make sure that you get there in comfort because they have retrofitted their bikes with sidecars.
A sidecar is a single-passenger, one-wheeled cabin attached to the side of a motorcycle.
So as the duo pilot the bikes, you get to sit in comfort under snug protection and enjoy the thrills of a cross-country motorcycle ride.
Think Tintin flying down the roads, announcing his presence with the huge roar of engines and the rugged spectacle of helmets and leather jackets.
SILENT MOUNTAINS: Leow and girlfriend Joyce have the peaks of Yunmeng mountains all to themselves.
For Joyce and me, it is a day trip to the Yunmeng mountains, north of the city close to Beijing's border with Heibei province.
The mountain covers more than 2,200ha and its tallest peak is over 1,400m.
Different-shaped peaks, waterfalls, streams and ponds as well as clouds weaving through the mountains, forests and historical relics are the main attractions.
We set out in great expectation, with the excitement of seeking adventure and the lure of the road reverberating in our city-inured souls.
The rush of the wind flattening against the screen of your helmet is chilling but invigorating.
The expert manoeuvring of our bikes to zip past and around cars and tour buses (which we otherwise would have been on), the way only a small, nifty vehicle can, is deeply satisfying.
At a particular stretch of road where the cars line up bumper to bumper, Mr Zhang and Mr Perron take a glance at the situation and decide to veer off to a parallel dirt path, winding around tall pine trees to emerge at the head of the queue.
It is an eye opener getting up close to villagers going about their daily lives and chores, while schoolchildren in their bright green tracksuits and canary-yellow caps cannot take their curious eyes off us.
At a traffic junction where we stop, an old man and his grandchild, riding pillion on his bicycle, are equally taken up with what they see.
And we also wonder how it is possible that at isolated stretches of road with no sign of any houses for miles, there would invariably be that lone person sitting at the roadside or trying to cross the road.
The scenic ride to Yunmeng mountains, about 80km from the city, takes us right up to lunch time at a small restaurant.
Our meal consists of wild vegetables and walnuts plucked from the restaurant's gardens. There is also a dish where intestine-like rolls are laid across a stew of pork, potatoes and carrots.
The rolls turn out to be flour dough though, just when we think we can play adventurous foodies.
After lunch, we continue our ride across the mountain range, on a narrow winding road that twists up and down the landscape.
We pull up at a spot where we can gaze upon a vista of craggy mountain peaks. It is so quiet that a strange silent sound sings in our ears.
An MIG plane spotted in the Yunmeng mountains.
We also chance upon an old Chinese MIG fighter plane perched on a small mound by the side of the road.
The plane looks poised for take-off to repel invading enemy forces. It is believed that the Yunmeng mountains is where military strategist Sun Bin learnt his craft.
Sun Bin is considered to be a descendant of Sun Tzu, and may have helped edit the Art Of War.
We head back towards Beijing as dusk approaches, with a tinge of regret because the mountains have so much more to offer. One example is the Hanging Temple, built on a steep mountain face. From afar, it looks like it is floating on air, hence its name.
There are also numerous waterfalls, caves and historical spots in the mountain valley to discover. The mountains are worth at least two days of exploring if you are up to it.
In Beijing, we roll up to where we had started earlier - a quaint cafe located in the heart of the city's art district, 798. It is twilight by the time we park the bikes.
Feeling exhausted and cold, we take refuge in Mr Perron's cafe, Mooi, where he prepares latte and steaming apple cider spiced with a shot of whisky for the intrepid travellers.
The sensation of the nourishing liquids warming our bodies, as well as the tinkle of jazz music, glow of the orange lamps and good conversation, is a traffic-stopper.
For more information, log on to www.k2sidecar.com./ . Prices vary from tour to tour.
5 things to do
1 Do bring lots of cash. Cash is king at most places in Beijing and credit cards are not widely accepted. There are lots of places to shop, visit and eat.
2 Do wear comfortable shoes. Almost everything in Beijing is on a massive scale, from the Forbidden City to the Great Wall. You can easily spend hours walking at each spot and your feet are bound to ache.
3 Do visit the Hou Hai lake district in the evening for dinner. Apart from the many restaurants and bars there, you'll be greeted by a charming scene of couples of all ages waltzing by the lake to the tune of an old transistor radio.
4 Do spend a day wandering around the 798 Art District. It's an old decommissioned military factory district that now houses a thriving artist community. It is often compared with New York's Greenwich Village or SoHo. There are scores of art galleries, design companies and fancy cafes set up by around 30 artists with studios and offices in the area.
5 Do try the Peking duck, at least once. Sure, eating that dish in the city may sound corny but there is somehow an extra kick eating that signature dish in its namesake city.
1 Don't tip the taxi driver, even if it is just a couple of yuan. It's not that you are being tight-fisted, but for some reason, the cabbies frown on it. Be sure it's a licensed taxi you are taking, and if it does not come with a meter, give it a miss.
2 Don't be fooled into accepting a pre-arranged price. At tourist sites, drivers may come up to you and offer a price. If you are not familiar with the low cost of travel in Beijing, you may be fooled and pay more.