Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A very unlikely place to score a digital gauge..

The Topeak Smartgauge D2
One of the benefits of social cycling is the fact that you actually meet knowledgeable folks.
Some riders told me that the correct tire pressure would give a smooth ride and the only way to measure it is with a gauge.
There are many of these gadgets around, some with an analog display which is also mechanical where no batteries are needed.
Another notch higher is a digital tire pressure gauge and since I purchased my Dahon Speed P8, this has been my quest.
I nearly bought it off the internet via Ebay, but shipping would cost a bomb.
Then, the unlikeliest thing happened. I was at a Rodalink outlet in Desa Sri Hartamas and during a conversation with one of the senior mechanics, I mentioned about the gauge and how fucked-up it was trying to get one here.
"Eh, we have what!," he said. 
The mechanic asked his apprentice to bring it down from the display shelves and wallah! There it was! The one thing and almost holy-grail like item that I have been searching all this while.
In short, my visit to Rodalink was worth every minute and second because with the gauge, I would be able to accurately adjust the tire pressure on my Schwalbe Big Apple tires for a smoother ride.

Ipoh solo recce ride part 2

The ride at downtown Ipoh

A very solid lunch - chicken rice and taugeh at Lou Wong

The mandatory Samoshot with the Speed P8

So, there I was, alone in Ipoh with a couple of hours to burn.
What do I do?
From Bandar Timah, I rode across to the other side of the Kinta river and found myself caught in the mid-morning traffic.
Being an experienced street rider, I was on the defensive and used my trusty GPS to navigate across the city.
From Little India and part of the older Chinese heritage trail, I ended up at Ipoh Central Markert.
This is a big area with loads of cool architecture and if you are a photography enthusiasts, you'll probably end up bursting your CF card.

I took the Speed P8 to the Perak tourists information centre located near the Ipoh padang and ontained some information about the city and events happening there.
Later, I chilled out at the Old Town coffee outlet and took a break before proceeding to Jalan Yang Kalsum in my bid to locate Sunny Foong, my colleague from the Ipoh Star office.
After cruising around for an hour or so, I made my way to Jalan Hussein and found the state bureau.
Foong was on his day off, so, I didn't get a chance to meet him.
From here, I rode back to Jalan Yau Tet Shin where the famous Lou Wong restaurant is located and had my lunch: Chicken rice with Ipoh taugeh.
This was the highlight of my day as the bill came to RM5.
You can never find such a deal anywhere else!
I checked my wristwatch and it was already 12:45pm. This means its time to head back to the train station to catch the 2pm ride back to KL Sentral.
My Dahon Speed P8 held up very well and as I packed the bike back onto its stow bag, I felt a sense of achievement for doing the recce ride.
The least I can say is I won't get fucked for not knowing the route and making contingency plan.
This time, I came prepared and hoped that the weekend ride would be a smooth event.

Ipoh solo recce ride part 1

The ETS arriving in Ipoh after a two-hour journey from KL

Me, at the Ipoh Central train station

My sar hor fun breakfast

Monday was my off day and it was the only time I had to conduct a reconnaissance ride around Ipoh city before leading a folding bike ride around there on Saturday.
Proir to this, I met Zakaria, a fellow Dahon folding bike rider who told me about the Ipoh heritage trail.
I chanced upon a set of maps at Changi Airport's budget terminal last week and used this as a guide.
With little expectation, I took an ETS train ride to Ipoh that costs about RM60 for a return trip. 
Parking at the KL Sentral costs a bomb and at RM30 a day, the only fall back is safety and proximity to the train station.
Since I don't want to lead a blind ride of Ipoh with the reprecussions of getting mass-fucked by a group of riders, the best course of action is to conduct a recce of the entire route.
With Google map as one of my primary resources and my trusty bike-mounted Garmin Oregon 300 mapping GPS, I took it upon myself to check out several places of interest in this city.
The first thing that greeted my arrival in Ipoh was rain.
It poured all the way and the road was already soggy and busy with its Monday morning traffic.
From the train station, I made my way to the city centre via Jalan Seenivasagam towards Jalan Laksamana where some of the old Chinese buildings are located.
There, I found a nice and cosy corner coffee shop where I had my breakfast.
Sar Hor Fun with shrimps and chicken slices and a glass of iced Kopi-O came to RM6.40.
From Bandar Timah, I made my way to other sections of the city..


Projek Broga

The road to Broga from Semenyih

Bob, taking snapshots of the reconnaisance trip to Broga

Bob Lew and I had started an experimental patrol from Victoria Institution in September.
We had four boys aged 14 - 15 in a single patrol whom we are grooming for their merit badges in the new National Scouting syllabus.
If they complete all the requirements including five merit badges in their Senior years, the boys would be eligible to be assessed as King Scouts.
But the road ahead is a long and winding process.
At this point, there were plenty of criticisms including some from our peers.
With or without their support, we pledged to carry on till at least one of them are entered in the King Scout camp.
Right now, we are lagging behind due to poor time management by the kids we are grooming.
On Dec 4, the boys would attempt a 6-km hike to Broga, in the outskirts of Semenyih in Selangor for their first merit badge - the lencana Usaha.
This would be followed by a Camporee in Victoria Institution where they are expected to wear their merit badges.
Next year, we would have our hands full when they progress to the Maju and Jaya badges.

Singapore swing

My ride to Singapore

With Bernard Teoh in Campers Corner

My buddy Dave and I at Handle Bar

There's few reasons for me to travel to Singapore these days.
One exception was the fact that my buddy Dave Mundell made a port of call in the island republic and another friend Sesh Anthony had celebrated his birthday on the same day I visited the country.
For starters, the exchange rate really sucks and with each RM1 I bring across the causeway, its 30cents in Singapore currency.
This is expected to get much worse.
Anyway, I also caught up with Bernard Teoh, one of my old time friend from school.
We had lunch at Waterloo street and a coupla beers in Campers Corner's new premise at the same area.
Later in the day, I caught up with Dave and had a few more beers with him before meeting up with Sesh and his lovely companion Adeline at a bar near Tanjung Pagar.
Since I was totally bushed, my day ended early.
The following morning, I chose to cruise around some retail spots and later had dinner with Sesh and his girlfriend before boarding a flight back to KL.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Serendah Ride

At Sekeping Serendah

The ride to the Serendah Golf club

The group of 22 folding bike riders

Its been a real packed month and I managed to get some time off to cycle around Serendah under the invitation of landscape architect Ng Sek San.
I also had the opportunity to meet his family and especially his wife Carolyn Lau whom I haven't seen for ages.
The ride was a breeze with a small off-road section that puts my Dahon Speed P8 to its test.
What I'm happy to report is the fact that the Speed P8 did survived the rugged countryside ride.
I also had the chance to deploy my Motorola FRS two-way radios for this assignment and assumed my role as the ride sweeper.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Taman Negara revisited

Kuala Tahan is now a small town

The last time I was at this signpost was 21 years ago when I climbed Gunung Tahan..

I was handed an assignment to cover a fun drive to Kuala Tahan recently. Without much hesitation, I accepted the job and followed a bunch of people from the media in the trip.
The last time I was at the Kuala Tahan basecamp in Taman Negara was in 1989.
Since then, much has changed around this area which was accessible only by boat from Kuala Tembeling in Jerantut, Pahang.
At the national park, I spent two days and explored the Bukit Terisik trail which led to the park's canopy walk.
This was followed by a boat ride to an orang asli village along the Tembeling river.
Since Kuala Tahan is now accessible by road, I guess there will be some follow-up trips to the national park in the future

The Tanjung Malim Ride

Michelle anb the CKC girls at a checkpoint along the ride

The foldie gang at Tanjung Malim train station

I don't think that I could spew out an excuse for a day trip to Tanjung Malim which is located at the Selangor-Perak border.
But the folding bike club people had an idea about riding to Kalumpang which is located about 15-km away from this town, so, Michelle and I decided to join them.
With a 30-km round-trip, I found that the ride was okay, its just that the timing was really out because we rode late.
Much can be improved on the riding schedule and if the folding bike club would want to push forward, the ride organisers must be disciplined and punctual.
My next project is a recon ride in Ipoh, Perak, followed by a ride in Taiping.