Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Epic ride to Malacca

Some 240km away, organised by the most seasoned riders who frequent Malaysia... They decided doing it in a day was the way to do it, meeting at 2am in the morning:

12 riders set off into the night!
  Cruising at a modest pace of 26-27km/h, we cleared Johor and followed Route 1 where eventually the street lights were non existent... It made for a dangerous ride as the road quality deteriorated and visibility no more than a 20-30 metres, ave speed dropped to 22-24km/h and I moved to the front and switch my OEM Magicshine to high.

Even in high, not much can be seen, and hills were unidentifiable, playing an effective mind game where taking it easy and simply playing with the gears kept the heart rate stable.

Riding a Time Trial bike for long distances was a crazy choice and the thought was confirmed right after entering Malaysia . Trying many ways to change my riding position to as upright as possible, but doing so meant less control and I didn't want to do anything silly with so much distance to go...

After a short shower from the heavens, and what we thought was going to be a miserable ride in rain, sunrise in the horizon and we made it in to Ayer Hitam. Where there was a small coffee shop, time for food!

Circular bread toasted with Kaya and Butter... Too awesome... Gulped down 100 plus, a small packet of rice and off we went again.

Only for me to witness the most spine-chilling mechanical every cyclist should never ever witness. A rear derailleur going into the spokes.

I immediately knew a single speed conversion was the only way and the journey would get a lot tougher for the rider. A broken rear derailleur hanger was about as rare as it gets...

Looking good! But as we went on, the chain sometimes slipped and changed rear cogs, once the chain even came off.. Probably due to the damaged chain, as the chain was no longer true, bent beyond repair.

We were getting desperate for a solution, and some locals kindly showed as the way to a local bike shop:
The owner was so nice, he made a call and went off in his motorcycle, came back in a car, went off again and only came back some 45mins later where he said he couldn't find a similar rear hanger. Out of luck, the solution was for a new chain and to tension it tight!

Just like that we found new momentum, and enter the rolling hills towards Muar. On this 60km stretch, distance markers became our new found friends as the countdown began, kilometer after kilometer. One of our guys decided not to make take a rest and decided to push on all the way to Muah. Except we weren't going to Muar! We were going to turn right into the AMJ... We realized a little late, and the guy didn't have mobile coverage! I needed a rest but the others looked burnt and the fast guys were dealing with punctures.

Up to me, I sprinted for what seemed eternity and thankfully just before my limit I caught up. You know that if guy A travels at 25km/h and Guy B travels at 26km/h It would take 30 mins for Guy B to catch up with Guy A if Guy A had a head start of 500m.

During the day, hills were that more intimidating  as you look up the see where seems like a easy hill only to by spinning at granny at 10km/h wondering when the damn incline will end.

Anyway, we finally entered the AMJ (It's an abbreviation for the highway name, i think):
It was the last 50km stretch to Malacca, and it's the land of speed cars, smooth tarmac and luckily a decent road shoulder where we can ride two abreast. Probably the best/worse stretch of the whole ride depending on how you see it. Easy smooth flat terrain, or extremely boring sleep inducing road.

First it was the latter than the former, after which darkness came again but this time the body responded and I was falling asleep. Thanks to a Caffeine ball (Worked instantly), I took the lead again with my brighter lights all the way into Malacca.

Glorious food, a great ride there, lots of shopping malls, I should have stayed longer! But I guess there is always a next time!

Most of us took the bus back, but a brave four cycled back... To those four guys! I salute you!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Safe Cycling Day 17th Dec

 The scene at Long House was pretty epic, I should have shared this information to you guys sooner! But with ICT burning me out everyday, there is not much time to blog!

To cut the story short, OCBC was giving out 1000 free jerseys in conjunction with Safe Cycling Day at Long House and I went there to try my luck! I reached at 5.55am and they were started giving out the jerseys right after I locked my bike up. Although the amount of expensive bikes there would probably mean my bike is worthless! The whole process was very quick, hundreds of people infront of me yet I got my Jersey and car decal at about 6.10am, simply efficient!
Yay! Thank you OCBC Cycle Singapore!

Immediately after I had to commute to town, and I took a picture on the way!
After commuting for some 10 days (and counting) straight, I am certainly unaffected by the epic Train faults, taxi fare hikes, bus breakdowns, saving lots of $$$ and one of my friends actually rode to camp after seeing me do it day-to-day! We agreed cycling saved as time and money! Cheers all stay safe!

Tags: Safe cycling day Singapore, OCBC cycle Singapore, free jersey and car decal from OCBC Cycle Singapore

Thursday, December 15, 2011

New hoots : Aero Bars from

Ever since embarking on my time trial bike, I am loving the aerodynamic advantage aero-bars provide. So since I have been commuting daily why not install them on my commuter?

Besides the less drag created, it also enables for more positions on the bike, increasing comfort levels on long distance rides.

Just one thing, Aero-bars are really hard to fit on curving, winding MTB riser bars... I tried and failed.

Time to look for a cheap flat MTB handlebar...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Featuring a friend.

I believe the picture was taken in the land of the Dutch and the best part? My friend doesn't even know how to cycle!

I cycled home in the rain today with 2 near misses... Mainly drivers not paying attention, I reacted and avoided. Need brighter lights to feel more visible...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Radical Stimulus: Wee hour commuting!

I have been commuting 3 days in a row now, and it's great! The problem about reporting to camp so early in the morning is that the frequency of trains/buses and significantly lower, and trains sometimes don't start that early either! Add to the fact that my destination is no where near a MRT station or even a bus stop, it just makes bike commuting that much more appealing!!

Public transport would probably take me more than an hour, but instead is taking me at the minimum 30mins! Crazy crazy time savings!

Traffic is light, the air is fresh, parks & PCNs are empty, I'm not paying fare-hiked taxi fares, and am independent transport wise (no need to rely on others to tom pang me!).

It's also helps that my destinations also have other bike commuters! With the help of more cyclists, more people are aware that cycling is actually a viable mainstream transport option and the are asking me for details and how to get started.

All of them so far are surprised how quick I get to places but I still get that "Woah, you cycle here ah?" comment.

Just hoping it doesn't rain during my commutes!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Radical Stimulus: Cycling Movies

I wrote a similar post on Travel Movies that you might want to check out too.

This post is about cycling movies!

Chasing Legends, about the Tour de France, a power of Team play and strategic moves in the world of cycling... If you ever wondered about the innings of the world's most well known road race, wonder no more.

It definitely spurs you on to ride more, faster and harder! Definitely recommended!

24 Solo, I watched my friend join the recent (ok maybe not that recent) 24 hour race at Tampines Bike Park and wondered who in the right mind would join such a race! After I watched this movie... I realized... Well, that I agree with the Chris's friend and manager's thoughts about people who join the race... What is that thought? Well you have to go watch it to find out!

This movie is really shows me that if you want something bad enough, you will push yourself to the utmost limit. Cheers!

Tour de France 2010 Review, not as spectacular as Chasing Legends but still worth a watch, it's a different year and different events happened... But if you only have time for one, Chasing Legends has be the one. For this particular tour it depicted an battle between the top 2 riders... Going all out to destroy each other, and boy was it intense!

Break Away, a classic that I have never heard of, from the year 1979...  More on the Life of the student who just fnished High School than just about the cycling, there are so many things that I could relate to and just taking a look at life back in the days was a real eye opener, a movie with cycling mixed in? I love it!
After every movie, I just felt like riding... If that is not a Radical Stimulus, I don't know what is!

I will be writing less this month... Got ICT ah!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Searching for an Electric Bike

Before I got my current commuter, I was considering getting an electric bicycle as an alternative... Since I tried cycling to school 3 days in a row last year, it certainly felt impossible to do it 5 days a week... 60km a day is pretty hard on the legs... And besides, if I really decided to buy one, it would become my primary means of transport...

So searching the web... I found what I think was the most suitable and good looking Electric Bike.

Behold the Tornado STA-1020 :
It has a range of 60km, which was exactly my commuting distance... And I was rather surprised that this was actually the E-bike with the longest range out of all that MKP had... The batteries were Lithium, which would mean a lighter bike, longer range and longer life. I want down to the Jurong branch and saw the actual bike, it looked good but the hefty price tag! $1299 I believe... Decent considering they come with warranty and other extras...

I eventually decided against it when I search the net and found I could "parallel import" one for about $800... And than proceeded to scrap the whole idea when I bought my current commuter. Who knows? Maybe in the future if the price tags drops...

And while searching for electric bikes in Singapore... Check out this:

I especially like the "Fusion" version... Although considerably heavier than the Carbon one...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

V-brake wear on Wheelset

If you haven't heard, once of the disadvantages of running v-brakes is that the braking surface of your Wheelset, more specifically the Rims will be worn out after extended use.

This is especially true, if you constantly go offroad (debris like mud, sand acts like a file/sand paper wearing your rims down faster), don't know when to change brake pads, and just generally cover a lot of kilometres...
Most of which I am rather guilty... Except maybe about the distance!

Well than, take look for yourself:

I put a flat metal ruler to contrast the amount of metal that has been eaten away, my iPhone camera doesn't do much justice... But it's pretty significant and put a huge dent on my confidence on the wheels after I saw the damage, I even put a pretty big dent in the rims while offroad... Probably because the rims have gone weak and have lost some integrity.

Well thankfully I have upgraded to disc brakes! Ride safe all, it's good to be back writing again.

tags: v-brake wear, bontrager race 1999 v-brake wheelest