Monday, March 28, 2011

Bicycling magazines

Popular: Bicycling

Contemporary: Bicycle Times

Local flavour: Cycling Asia
I've been reading and buying bicycling magazines for quite some time.
My preference is pretty much biased to the North American publications like Bicycling. These are sold at RM14.50 an issue and is available at most bookstores and magazine stands.
What I like about specialised journals as such, is the wealth of information it provides. So, here's the rundown.

Bicycling (published monthly)
This magazine covers a lot of industrial news in North America. Mostly catered to roadies, there's quite a lot to read about cycling personalities (not relevant here), new products, gear reviews, columns and short stories.
Occassionaly, some of the articles like the '12-month bicycle maintenance schedule' does ring a bell and is relevant of you own a road bike.
As far as quality is concerned, Bicycling is in the forefront.

Bicycle Times
I came across this title while browsing at a back-issue magazine store in Amcorp Mall.
What surprised me was the content, which is catered towards commuting, town riding, touring and occassionally, road biking.
While its not as serious as Bicycling, Bicycle Times offers a unique perspective on urban riding, commuting and custom town bike makers.
There's even articles on folding bicycles which struck my raw nerve.
And since these are pretty rare on the shelves (published once every two months), I was lucky enough to score a few copies.
What I like about this magazine - is the humble approach in tackling issues like bike lanes, cyclist's rights and so on...

Cycling Asia
At RM15 a pop, this publication is a premium item.
Its pretty localised with plenty of news on events, columns, gear reviews and articles lifted from foreign publications.
Best of all, I know the present Editor of this journal.
After flipping through the pages, I don't think I would be a regular reader as pricing is a factor.
For what's worth and the information given, its simply overpriced.

2009 Dahon Curve SLBE - Brutal Edition

The latest incarnation: with a Minoura Space Bar and twin LED lights
The twin lights

GPS navigation, hydration, safety air horn and the twin lights
Finally, I've added a Minoura Space Bar to my Dahon Curve SL's handlebar.
Right now, its the most evil little bike in my neighbourhood.
Not exactly super lightweight as compared to bikepacking guru TT Siang's Curve SL, this little fella is ready to take on the streets as a town bike.
While the Curve series lacks the punch when it comes to going the extra distance, its distinct advantage is its size and weight.
I've added the time-proven Minoura Space Bar to fit a pair of Cateye HL-EL530 which is said to be 50% brighter (2010 models).
They fit like a glove on the Space Bar and with a little alignment, the ligths would shine on a single beam.
Sadly, due to bad Quality Control, the LED beams are not consistent in colour. 
One is off-white, almost yellowish and the other is blueish. 
I think I might give the Roxim lights a try.. If they are as good as they claim to be.
Or, the Princetontec Push, which is not available in our country. Well, maybe a trip to REI in the US would sort this out.
I'm pretty happy with the lights on the space bar.
With the Minoura water bottle cage adaptor integrated with a Topeak two-timer hand pump, the rig is complete.
I'm not so concerned with the extra weight as the Curve SL could take it.
The real test, is a night ride around Putra Heights.. And that is just what I need!

Enter the Flo..

The Flo is a full-sized mountain bike that comes with its own carrying case

Since it was backordered, only two are available for the Malaysian market.. 
I was chatting with Le Run Industry's Chanson Lau who told me that two Dahon Flo mountain bike had made it into Malaysia.
A post by Rodalink's Jimmy Tan on Facebook confirmed the existence of this fabulous high-end super extreme bike. 
This afternoon, I had a face-to-face with the Flo and its one amazing piece of engineering.
For 2011, the  bike has been upgraded with the lightweight Ashima disk brakes.
It uses a SRAM X-9 groupset and if I were to hit the trail, the Dahon Flo would be a good choice.
All good said and done, the 2011 Flos that are now on display at Rodalink Desa Hartamas and Bangsar are not the first to make it into the country.
At least one was sold at a staggering price tag of RM12K a pop!
This time round, Rodalink had adjusted to the price due to the lower US Dollar.
The pricetag for the 2011 Dahon Flo is around RM9K.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dahon Curve SL ride update

Me and the 2009 Curve SL
I've been having loads of fun with my new 'old' 16" Dahon folding bike.
Previously, I never even took a second look at smaller folding bikes.
But after seeing them in action and how fast they can become, I slowly grew on it.
After picking up my 2009 Dahon Curve SL, I slowly outfitted it with a Cateye Velo wireless cyclometer, a light for cycling at night.
I also installed my black arclite rack on the bike. 
This proved to be useful as I am able to mount my Ortlieb frontroller panniers on it.
So, when it comes to riding this little fella, I must admit that it took some getting used to.
Compared to my Speed P8, I have to lean forward a bit as the bike is pretty low.
Its meant more for medium and small built people.
Handling wise, the Curve SL is pretty solid.
Its highly manouverable and is pretty nippy on the road.
The Schwalbe Marathon racer tires that comes stock standard is also pretty fast.
It free rolls better than by Schwalbe Big Apple.
The SL is much lighter than its popular cousin - Curve D3.
Speaking of bikepacking, now, I can look forward to lugging the Curve SL into the city centre.

Putra Heights Training Ride series 2

Training for our tour in April
We took our bikes for a spin this morning. 
It was already late and we managed to squeeze about 11km climbing Bukit Lanchong and rounding Putra Heights.
Michelle found it odd to ride her Dahon Curve D3 as there are only three speeds for her to play with.
I had no issues with my Dahon Curve SL which performed flawlessly.

Keep on Truckin'

I had a chat with an old-timer who noticed 'something strange'.
Well, strange in a way, that Michelle and I have been 'bumped' out from cycling group's internal discussion.
I was told earlier that at some point in time, people drop out from the scene.
They would find the rides either too boring or simply too hard to catch up.
The friend told me that he sensed that the group had broken up.
That don't seem to bother me as Michelle and I had pretty much held up on our own.
We've been doing our own thing of late and had moved on.
Even the guys from Le Run had felt the rift. Wow!
My take on this? Well, no point crying over spilled milk. Just pucker up and keep on truckin'
With our bikes, gear and the enthusiasm the size of planet Mars, I guess a whole new world of adventure is waiting for us out there! ahahah!

Malacca EZ ride

The gang at A Famosa's ruins in Malacca
Michelle and I drove down to Malacca early this morning.
Our mission was to lead and sweep the Dahon Folding Bike Club's EZ ride outing.
Up till 08:10am, no one had turned up.
On head-count, it was just me, my wife and Chanson Lau of Le Run Industries.
Some Dahon owners who had signed up on MyDahon's page on Facebook gave us the slip.
But come what may, the show must go on.
We led Chanson through a simple 18-km route around the city and visited several places of interest before breaking for a meal at Jalan Laksamana Cheng Ho.
We rode for two hours or more and completed the route before calling it a day.
After packing up, we took off to Rodalink Malacca's branch somewhere in Bacang.
It was an impressive outlet with plenty of gear including Dahon folding bike.
The FBC outing was a flop in terms of statistics.
But for Chanson, its pure commitment.
It didn't bother him if the turnout was bad. 
Michelle and I were the only Dahon FBC members who showed up.
Pretty poor considering the number of bikes sold at Rodalink outlet averages at a decent figure.
So, where are the regulars and newbies? 
Well, today, there were a few events happening concurrently.
There's the Putrajaya Eco Hunt and G2 Club Earth Hour ride in Penang.
As for the rest, well, I guess some folks don't like to wake up early in the morning.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Folding bicycle hinge mechanism

The hinge on a folding bike is an important part of the frame
I met and cycled with a new biker recently.
He had a dahon and his better half was cycling a bike which was made under license from an automobile manufacturer.
Since folding bikes became increasingly popular in the Klang Valley, many new riders are getting their rides from established bike shops and overseas retailers.
I noticed that the car brand bike has a hinge bolt.
This mechanism latches forwards to secure both halves of the frame.
Since its an entry-level bike, its obvious that the bolt lock had displayed some weakness in terms of lock-up.
With wear and tear, the latch can be loose and this could spell trouble for the rider.
I can't say much for the low-end components used on the bike, let alone a hefty price tag for an inferior frame locking mechanism.
On the higher-end bikes, its a known fact that the frames were OEM by Dahon.
Newcomers to the folding bike realm may not have noticed such things.
As branding becomes apparent, traders can slap a hefty pricetag on their goods, as long as there is a steady demand.
If its properly done, folding bikes are never cheap.
Why? Because the mechanism that keeps the frame locked and secure would be strong and secure.
I think its a shame to sacrifice safety for trending a brand which is made famous for their compact cars...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cycling etiquette

Some Ah Beng had added me as a friend on his Facebook.
I responded by accepting the dude.
Seems that he had bought a folding bike and have been actively riding solo around the Klang Valley.
Then, a question popped up: "How much for folding bike extra charge?"
I didn't get it at first because of the linguistic barrier and poor communication.
After trying my best to answer this dude, his response was: "I MEAN PRICE OF TICKET."
So, I told him that he don't have to be loud and his reaction was: "SORRY, MY KEYBOARD WAS BREAK. CAPS LOCK CANT FUNCTION..."
I thought I was getting punked by some retard, so, after giving it much thought and referring to some past case studies, it all came to mind.
He was referring to odd-sized luggage charges by Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) for cyclists taking their Electric commuter train service.
Now, it seems that there was a blowout between some cyclists and a station master in Klang.
This was during a trip by some foldies to savour Bak Kut Teh around the area.
Someone rolled her bike into the station ticketing machine and wanted to board the train but was stopped by the station's staff.
Instead of being allowed into the coach, she had to pay RM10 extra.
I think the Ah Beng was referring to this, or had experienced the same thing.
What I learned was that during the incident, the cyclist had blown her top.
This is where etiquette comes in.
Like a veteran foldie had put it, we have to share the train with other people and show that we too are responsible cyclists.
If the folding bicycles are properly packed in a carrying bag, things would have been different.
This also boils down to your personality and how you handle explosive situations like being confrontational.
That said, I have bags for my 20" and 16" Dahons and have never experienced any issues from the KTM staff.
In fact, I have travelled to Ipoh twice with my bikes.
Now, having said that and all, the irony is this: The Ah Beng asked: "When can I join you for touring rides ah?"
I guess that would be the next challenge. How to say 'Yes' or 'No'.


Bicycling is not about class
Roadies, Mounties, Tourers, Fixies and Foldies.
These are the lables given to different classes of bicyclists.
A funny thought came to mind as two cyclists in their hybrid bikes rode by when Michelle and I were completing our training ride in Hulu Langat recently.
They gave a dirty look on our little folding bikes and actually kept at our pace.
A young guy and an old fart were riding parallel to us, as if the foldies (that's what they called folks with folding bikes) are not fit enough to ride the mountainous roads of Hulu Langat.
This is also apparent at the Ministry of Health's 50km challenge which was held sometime last year.
It was categorised as an 'open' event, but was dominated by Roadies wearing full jerseys.
Some of them, ride marshalls were rude and condesending to other cyclists especially families and Foldies.
As a Foldie myself, I never looked at bicycling from a competitive perspective.
Cycling is a form of excercise and relaxation.
I put the bike on the road to have a good time. Not compete or make a bold statement.
The Roadies, Mounties, Tourers and Fixies can have it their way.
As a cyclist, I don't need to prove anything to any of the classes to gain their acceptance.
This is purely because we Foldies are in a class of our own.
And as the bikes becomes better and faster, its just a matter of time for the Foldies to leave some Roadies in a trail of smoke.. Amen!

Hot swapping the Garmin Oregon 300

The Garmin Oregon series bicycle handlebar mount
One of the distinct advantages of having a Garmin Oregon series handheld GPS is versatility.
I've been carrying this GPS unit for nearly three years and its been serving me well.
The large display and touch-screen feature is a far cry from my Garmin GPS72csx marine unit.
And since I started cycling my Dahon Speed P8 folding bike, I've been using the Oregon 300 to map my route.
It has a permanent handlebar mount which I had purchased sometime back.
Now that I have rigged up my Dahon Curve SL for some road trips, the only missing part is the handlebar mount.
It took a bit of effort to locate it as none of the Garmin GPS dealers here in Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur had even heard of it.
I made a trip to Plaza Low Yat and checked out a few shops there and initially, it turned out to be futile.
My last straw was a shop located on the first floor called 'Premier GPS'.
They had two mounts sold at rediculous prices.
Seeing as it is, I had no choice.
I am not going to Singapore to get this piece of plastic fastened with two cable ties.
The scarcity of such an accessory in KL had pushed prices rocket high.
Now that the issue is no longer at hand, I can ride my Dahon Curve SL with a piece of mind!

Friday, March 18, 2011

More cool bike stuff

Simple and effective: the Cateye Velo wireless cyclometer

Last piece: the Pedros blowout bag

I've outfitted my new Dahon Curve SL with a Cateye Velo (now rebranded as 'Urban') cyclocomputer that has nine basic functions.
This is a downgrade from my Cateye Adventure which I am keeping for my future ride.
It was good to go as soon as I've installed it on my Curve SL.
No hitches, no drawbacks.
What I like about the Velo is the large numerical display and its ease of use.
This is important to record my ride distance, speed, average speed.
There is a built-in odometer too which enables me to log in the mileage.
Next on the list, was the Pedros Blowout Bag.
This is a classic saddlebag made from recycled tire tubes.
I had a Black-Yellow version on my Dahon Speed P8 and thought that I would standardize the bags to carry my recovery kit.
Its good enough to hold my Topeak Ratchet Rocket, Mini-9 tool and my Chain Kit on the Rescue Box.
I am pretty happy with it as it is a no-frills saddle back that looked good on my Curve SL.
There are many other saddle bags out there, but they are just dog ugly.

Dahon Arclite rack and Ortlieb Frontroller panniers

The Dahon Curve SL, outfitted with a pair of Ortlieb frontrollers

Plenty of room for extended excursions

My 'bare-bones' Dahon Curve SL was shipped to me without a luggage rack.
Since I replaced my black Arclite rear rack with a traveller's rack on my Dahon Speed P8, its virtually lying around gathering dust.
At first, I thought the size of the rack was unsuitable for the smaller 16" Curve SL.
But after reading a lable on a silver Arclite rack which stated that the rack was meant for 20" and 16" Dahon bicycles, I changed my mind.
The first thing I did, was to get a set of screws which was intended for my larger rear traveller's rack.
It takes a bit of fiddling on the rack's front mount to get a nice fit on the bike's frame.
Getting the entire rack fitted is quite tricky.
So, I started with the rear section and the stablizers for the SKS mudguard.
When this is done, I had to bend the front mount a bit and screw it onto the side threads on the left and right side of the frame.
And at the end, it was a perfect fit.
While I was tweaking with my Pedros saddle bag, I suddenly had an urge to install my Ortlieb front rollers onto the Arclite rack.
I made some adjustments on the bags and it was a perfect fit.
The panniers were solid as the Arclite rack was able to accommodate them on both sides.
In short, it was a perfect fit.
That said, I can look forward to some bikepacking adventures with the Curve SL when I am not using the Speed P8.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cateye adventure cyclometer

The Cateye Adventure Cyclometer - premium item with altimeter and inclinometer

I must say that I was pretty pumped-up with the prospect of the Cateye Adventure cyclometer.
This is a state-of-the art cycling gadget featuring an altimeter and the ability to measure gradient which I found pretty useful especially when it comes to cycling in undulating terrain.
So, I rigged it up on my new Dahon Curve SL folding bike.
Now, before I start, let me say that this one gadget that is not easy to set up.
There are simply too many steps to set the wheel circumfrence and even the clock is harder to set compared to most of the Cateye cycling computers that I had.
Another feature that nails it in is the digital accuracy. To get the sensors working, you must first pair its frequency.
Now, when it comes to the crunch, my set had failed.
It didn't work at all, even when the maximum distance between the wheel sensor and meter is 70cm. 
Nothing worked. 
I guess I must have been doomed with a faulty set. Or the battery has gone really weak.
The transmitter was not able to give a reading.
My next course of action is to return the meter to the dealer and ask if he could look into it.
I've solved this problem of course, with the Cateye Velo, a cheaper solution.
Moral of the story: Cheap can also be good at certain times.. 

Photo Malaysia Makan & Cycle series 2

The Photo Malaysia crew at Putrajaya
I had the honour of cycling with a group of photography hobbyists and professionals last Saturday.
It was held at Putrajaya's Precinct 9 at 8:30am.
The night before was hell as I've had quite a few beers with some friends in town.
So, it was a struggle to get up early and set up the bike for a ride.
Putrajaya is roughly about 25-minutes drive from my house, so, making it before 08:30am was no issue.
I met Mr Maxby Chan who organised the event along with Eddie Putra, one of the forum moderators.
There were about a dozen other people whom I became acquainted with.
At the last stage of the ride, I saw some cyclists and their folding bikes at a cafe, some 2km before the end of the ride at Precinct 9.
They've parked their Dahons neatly in a row and was about to finish with their affair.
The ride lasted about two hours covering about 23km around the Putrajaya lakeside.
I think if there are future riders, I would be there...

Dahon 2009 Curve SL

The lastest 16" foldie in our family: The 2009 Dahon Curve SL

The older colour was not my preferred choice

Capreo shifter, one-handed operation

FSA crankset - simply badass!

The Capreo hub and cassettte

The 'flight' of my Dahon 2009 Curve SL had been plagued by a few problems.
First, it was the pedal mount.
I made a mistake by assembling it too soon without realising that there was a 'dimple' on the crank arm's pedal insert.
By doing so, the quick-release MKS MT-E pedals couldn't fit properly.
The problem was solved when I attached a metal washer on the mount.
Next, I couldn't get my Cateye 'Adventure' cyclometer to work properly. Either the battery was weak or the transmitter could not reach to the receiver.
After sorting out my pedals problem, I took the bike for a quick spin.
Now, the transition from a 20" folding bike to a 16" ride seems to be rather 'odd' and needs some getting used to.
Instead of riding upright, I had to lean forward.
The ergon grips on my Curve SL worked great. The bike is really solid.
But I did experience some 'flex' during a short climb on a slope.

And with the impact and vibration, a piece of the magnetix connector came out. I didn't realise this until I folded the bike.
Later, I recovered a piece of the magnet. The mounting screw and spring was gone.
As of now, the Curve SL is far from being ready for my rides.
But I am sure as hell going to get the hang out of it...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's here!

Sir Naughty guarding my new ride...
The local Dahon distributor made me an offer I simply can't refuse.
I was in the market for a smally bike.
And having seen Uncle TT Siang and his wife with their 16" Dahons, I became inspired.
What nailed it in was the fact that my wife rode her 3-speed Dahon Curve on a 10km uphill course and made it all the way.
The new bike would certainly see some 'bikepacking' action.
But for the mean time, I would concentrate on short rides to familarise myself with the bike.
BTW - its not a current model. But something that was kept under lock and key for some time.
Now, its mine.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

More choices from the Trek bikestore..

Trek's Navigator 2.0

Specialized Sirius

American bicycle companies are setting up their concept stores here in Kuala Lumpur and their popularity is growing.
The closest ever I got to owning a Trek bicycle was 17 years ago.
I nearly pulled the trigger on an entry-level full-suspension mountain bike.
But that dream came crashing down as I lacked the funds to secure one.
Recently, I went to check out Trek's concept store in Solaris Mont Kiara with Zak, my old friend.
There is a full-range of bikes at the store covering all aspects of bicycling.
One fo the bikes that caught my attention was the Trek Navigator 2.0.
Its a town bike with a hard tail.
Comes with front fork suspension and a spring seatpost.
What impressed me was the range of gear on this bike - 24 speed.
I love the overall built, fit and finish and since its not an expensive bike, its going head-on with the specialized Sirius which is going for RM1.7K (base model).
The Trek offers much more at a slightly lower price and has a full-range of accessories to support it.
From the first impression, there's a lot to 'like' about the Navigator.
The winning factor here: is the feature and price.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Some new handlebar gadgets

Top - The Minoura Space Bar and bottom - the handlepost drink cage adaptor
With more long-distance rides on the horizon, I anticipate some upgrades on my Dahon Speed P8.
Over a period of two years, my folding bike has seen some transformation.
The latest gadgets I've added onto the handlebar is the Minoura Space Bar.
This is an extension that allows cool stuffs like a GPS console, two-way radio and other electronics to be mounted on it.
I chose an additional bike light by Cateye for the purpose of illuminating my night rides.
The Space Bar allows two lights to be mounted and this was simply amazing!
Another item I've added onto the handlebar's stem is a bottle cage adapter.
Both the accessories are made in Japan and were decently priced.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Love thy chains

Periodical maintenance of your bike chain would prolong its service life
I spent a couple of hours on Sunday under the hot sun cleaning my Dahon Speed P8's bicycle chain.
If there is a capital punishment for ill-treating the chain, I am guilty of all charges.
Since I bought my Speed P8, I have never cleaned them.
While I was pedalling the bike in Port Dickson, it made a creaky sound and it was just plain annoying.
I checked the chain which was rusty and dry.
The cog wheels on my bike's rear derailleur was clogged with pieces of black gunk.
I knew for a fact that if you water down the bike, it could only make it worse.
So, a couple of months earlier, I bought a set of degreaser and chain lube.
After giving the Speed P8 a wipe-down, I took sprayed the chain links.
Then, I gave it a wipe on a rug and repeated this process.
When I was done working with the chain links, it was back to its shiny lustre.
No more creaking noise and its much cleaner now!

Pushing 20s - Training in homeground - Putra Heights

I've had a great weekend ride in Port Dickson.
And after giving it much thought, Michelle and I had decided that its best for us to do our training ride in our very home ground.
The course is a simple 20km ride to Putra Heights, covering Bukit Lanchong, section 4 - 10 and over to USJ21 across the LDP highway.
Since this is a busy place in terms of traffic, we were careful in choosing the route.
Sunday rides are the best and the overcast gave plenty of reason to actually cycle late.
I rigged my Dahon Speed P8 to carry a water bottle adapter made by Minoura of Japan.
Its capable of rigging a Camelbak podium bottle and I had also attached a Topeak Mini-Morph bicycle pump for my airhorn. 
The carrying solution is to mount it onto the water bottle cage. But the original screws were too short. So, lucky for me, I've had some longer screws stashed away. This solved the problem.
We pushed off at about 8:45am, took about 20 minutes to charge up the hill, slowly make our way to the Putra Point Sunday Market. 
Lots of goods are sold here and its an alternative to shop nearby.
We made our way to Giant Hypermart, then hooked left to section 10. There are a lot of empty spaces here.
The loop covered the edge of Putra Heights and part of Shah Alam's section 27. 
From there, we climbed back to Bukit Lanchong and free rolled towards our place in USJ26. 
We rode past our home towards the LDP exit and took the rear route to USJ21 where we had some late breakfast. 
The total distance covered was 21.6km. 
Compared to Hulu Langat, the course is straight forward with some long slopes and flats. 
No technical skills are required for the short climb and I am happy to say that Michelle and I made it with ease.
Since she's shooting off to the US on Wednesday, she won't be riding much.
The next big ride is in Malacca on March 26 with the Malaysian Dahon Folding Bike Club.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Port Dickson - Cape Rachardo Ride

At Teluk Kemang, Port Dickson's popular beach area

Cape Rachardo, Malacca
Its been a week since Michelle and I did some riding on our Dahon Speed P8 and Speed TR.
So, after putting some thoughts onto a simple route, I decided to try out Port Dickson, located about an hour's drive from my home in Subang Jaya.
We took our bikes and drove to the Costa Rica resort and parked at a residential area.
By the time our bikes were rigged-up it was already 08:45am. 
We rode towards the Army Camp near the Selesa hotel which is roughly about 6km away. 
Traffic was busy and having driven past this area several time, my first impression was a tough ride.
As it turned out, the hills and climbs were short.
All that training in Hulu Langat was not put to waste. 
I have learned to pace myself, shift into low gear when there's heavy resistance and control my breathing.
My cadence and speed has also improved.
Cape Rachardo is about 20km from where we parked our vehicles, so, I did expect cycling in heavy traffic.
By 09:00am, the sun was out blazing. It was getting really hot.
We rode to the foothill of Cape Rachardo and covered nearly 18km in total distance.
By 10:45am, we reached the Ilham resort. 
Michelle and I took some snapshots at the edge of the cape. We didn't go to the lighthouse.
From our intended destination, we rode back in to Port Dickson.
By 11:45am we managed to cover about 40km and the entire ride took nearly two and a half hours. 
After a good ride, we had some refreshment in PD town, saw a bunch of cyclists who were hanging out there. 
By the time we packed our bikes and loaded them onto our car, we shot off to Kuala Lukut.
But there were no food there, so, we ended up having lunch in Sungai Pelek.

Here's my assessment on the PD-Cape Rachardo ride:

Distance: 40km
Difficulty: Moderate
Observations: Heavy traffic, lots of lorries driving very close to the road shoulder
Terrain: Mostly flat, some areas are hilly.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Ortlieb Front and Back Roller Classic Panniers

Watch out world! Here we come! 
I've upgraded my panniers from Topeak's 18L rear bags to a set of Ortlieb front and back roller Classics.
These waterproof bags are the bomb!
Straight out of the box, the overall built quality, fit and finish are simply superb.
But here in Kuala Lumpur, searching for a pair of panniers for your ride can be a nightmare.
I corresponded with veteran rider Meng Fook Cheun who pointed me the way to a shop in Bangsar. 
Unfortunately, the fella who runs it has no idea what he was selling and the stuff sold there are way overpriced.
I researched Ortlieb's website found a dealer in Singapore.
With some help from a buddy, I managed to get it across to Johor Baru where I picked it up.
The bags are easy to fit on my Dahon front and rear traveller's rack.
These are specifically built for touring with plenty of clearance for the pedal and cyclist's foot.
Since Michelle had expressed her interest for some longer duration trips, I was inspired to retrofit our bike panniers to a reliable brand. 
The Ortliebs may be pricy, but its a surefire investment as the company has been around for 25 years specialising in manufacturing travel luggage for bicycles.
Best of all, the bags are made in Germany!