Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Foldie's Journey - Part 2

I don't take shit from people...

Skills are built based on experience.
In the course of helping out people in social rides, I took the role of sweeper.
On my Dahon Speed's saddle bag, there's always a spare inner tube and a set of recovery kit.
If need be, I will render help to a fellow cyclist.
Even back in the days, sweepers are badly treated.
They often arrive at the destination last and by the time the get there, there's no more food or water.
So, with that in mind, one have to fend for himself. Never depend on people.
On some occasions, I ride with my wife. She's my soulmate, we click extremely well and if you are married to someone who is willing to cycle 100km with you without complaining, you can't ask for more...
In the circle, I never hero-worship other cyclists. I never try to copy them nor emulate them by getting the same bikes they ride. 
Put that together, I am my own man.
I bought Michelle her first touring bike: the Speed TR in early 2011.
We were invited by TT Siang to tour with them in Betong, Thailand.
That's where we got smitten by the touring bug.

My 2008 Dahon Speed P8 - rigged for touring

Michelle and her Speed TR at the Malaysian-Thai border

The gang in Betong, Thailand..
The learning curve..

I must say that long distance rides are fun.
Its even better if you can plan trips across the stateline.
But, the hardest thing is to find a touring buddy. In my case, I am blessed with a spouse who can cycle and loves to explore.
We did many rides on our own and despite being shunned by the fragmented group that we once rode with, nothing could stop us from hitting the road.
After the ride in Betong, Thailand, I've replaced our Topeak panniers with the much better Ortlieb front and backrollers.
Having good equipment and a desire to explore opened up doors to many other things.
From Betong, we've concentrated on the local scene and rode from Port Dickson to Malacca. 
We love it so much, we started exploring places like Tanjung Sepat, Sekinchan, Sg Besar and the paddy fields in Tg Karang.
In-between the rides, we trained. 
We spent some time doing hills and straights to build our stamina. 
And it paid off.

At Port Dickson after completing a ride from Malacca

Pit stop in Pantai Morib, Selangor enroute to Tg Sepat
If it's not broken, don't fix it..

I was inspired by the tales of Heinz Stucke who traveled to 38 countries on this Bike Friday Pocket Llama. 
It was a 7-speed bike and now, Mr Stucke is a sponsored tourist with Brompton Bicycles.
If a guy can do it with a 7-speed bike and cycled around the world on a small wheeled foldie laden with gear, surely he must be doing it right.
I hear a lot of thrash talk about modifying bikes, Dahons with butterfly bars and triple chainrings. But that is just for show, there real deal is cycling out there.
I kept my 2008 Dahon Speed P8 in its original form.
The only thing components that I replaced was the saddle and pedals.
After clocking-in more than 10,000km with the Speed P8, the bike is still fitted with its original components.
Although much of the original implements have shown signs of wear and tear, the Speed P8 is still my choice bike for touring.

The present configuration of my Dahon Speed P8
Talk is always cheap

I see people bragging about their bikes on forums and Facebook peer groups. I leave them be. 
There's nothing to argue about because time is wasted on talking.
That said, I am fortunate to have people whom I can count on in terms of planning and executing a trip.
What made it even more memorable is the fact that we successfully complete the ride and come back with pictures to share with our peers.
That is why a ride like : "Journey to Land's End" became so memorable.
I even wrote about it as a centrespread story in The Star.
Our journey inspired a new breed of adventure seekers and with the myth of small wheels being third tier bikes put to rest, more people are taking folding bikes seriously.

In Pontian during our touring ride to Land's End
The Southernmost tip of Asia

Time, our enemy..

I juggle between my day job and my hobby.
Cycling brought me closer with my spouse as well as peers.
In the years that I've invested, I made friends with some really good people and I truly value their friendship.
This is based on honesty and sincerity.We keep them close in our circle and are grateful for their contribution to the folding bike community.
There's still a lot of grounds to cover and with proper planning, I don't think we would run out of places to explore...

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