Sunday, April 24, 2011

Kayuhan Kesihatan MPSJ series 1 - April 24, 2011 Part 2

Cockpit view of the ride

Ex-national cyclist Kumaresan (right) perparing to shed his riding gear after the ride

Michelle, riding back after a 30km route in Subang Jaya...
In the second-part of my article on the Kayuhan Kesihatan, I will wrap up by breaking my observation.
I must say that I had really enjoyed myself, sweating it out and completing the 15km ride around Subang Jaya.
The ride was well organised. Here are some highlights of the ride..


There were ride Marshalls and enforcement officers blocking the road and clearing a path for the participants. This is one of the better organised rides around. MPSJ is the second municipal council in the Klang Valley to do so.


I must say that the MPSJ was backed by some experienced riders. They have former National cyclist M. Kumaresan who proved to be a hit among the young riders. Light meals and water was give to the cyclists which came straight from the council's coffers.


Solid ride along the long stretches in Subang Jaya. Good enforcement although some motorists had managed to slip past the line. The organisers capped the maximum speed to 20km/h. They stuck to their 'Kayuhan Kesihatan' not 'Kayuhan Kesakitan' at the 50km challenge organised by the Ministry of Health last year.


There were potholes and uneven road along the route. We paid assessment, this should not be the case.


Hahaha! Some middle-aged moron on a Merida road bike tried to block Michelle when she was riding her Dahon Curve D3. He nearly fell off the road. We were also mocked by some roadies who have never seen a fast 16" wheeler on the road. To put it simply, even when you have a full carbon or titanium road bike, if you are not fit, you are done. Just pull over to let others pass.


We had fun and since this is a once-a-month event, we will take part whenever time permits..

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Kayuhan Kesihatan MPSJ series 1 - April 24, 2011 Part 1

Beamshot of my twin Cateye HL-EL530s

At the Municipal Council's gate before flagoff

Enthusiastic cyclists at the starting line...
Our municipality council had launched a health ride every last Sunday and this weekend, they launched their first-ever ride.
Michelle and I were excited about this and had our Dahon Curve D3 and SL serviced at a Rodalink outlet in Bukit Tinggi, Klang yesterday.
So, we woke up early this morning, rigged up our bikes to the Majlis Perbandaran Subang Jaya's sports complex in USJ5, whic his roughly about 7km away from our home in USJ23.
The only way to get there without ending up as a roadkill, is by taking a flover on the LDP highway to USJ 20 and cross the the three-lane Persiaran Tujuan.
We made it to a Dimsum restaurant for an early breakfast in USJ21, but if was not open.
So, the next best thing, is McDonalds in USJ10, which is about 5.6km from our home.
Even at 06:30am the drivers were speeding like maniacs.
We had our Cateye Auto Reflex light and Topeak helmet blinkers to stay visible in the dark.
Breakfast was a breeze as we made our way to the sports complex.
We were among the early birds who had arrived at the starting point of the ride.
The distance is about 15km and the route took us to four of the Council's major 'Boulevards'.
Other than rodies and mounties, we were the few foldies at the scene.
We met a couple from Puchong who rode more than 11km on the LDP.
I told them to be very careful as the route is laden with heavy traffic.
Leading the ride were some former athletes and ex-national cyclist M.Kumaresan.
We were told that the average speed is 20km/h which is something that the foldie would do.
After the airhorn blared, we were on the road..

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The plan

After working out a decent route, this seems to look like a plan that will work..
I've given much thought about the killer stretch in Kuala Selangor leading to Sekinchan.
This is roughly about 25kms in a single line, but its treacherous with loads of heavy vehicles speeding past a two-lane trunk road.
The terrain is rather flat in this part of the Peninsula and some of the most gruesome road accidents were reported here.
My plan is to leave our home in USJ 26, ride into Klang and turn off to Kapar.
From there, we will cycle to Kuala Selangor.
Riding early in the morning would be an advantage and since we plan to cycle about 100km a day, reaching Sabak Bernam wouldn't be an issue.
The journey will be made in three stages.
First, get to Sabak Bernam, then off to Teluk Intan and the final leg of our mini tour would end in Bidor, Perak.
Let's see how it'll go..

Ready to roll..

My Dahon Speed P8 is touring-ready..
There is a long weekend looming ahead and Michelle is pretty excited about the prospect of taking our bikes for a tour.
I've outfitted the Dahon Speed P8 and TR with a set of Ortlieb backroller and frontroller including a rack pack.
This means, we can haul our gear for some extended ride across the stateline.
That said, my biggest headache now: is to search for a decent route and survive the ride.
We don't want to get killed or maimed, so, careful planning is the key.
Initially, I was thinking of Bikepacking to Kota Baru in Kelantan and roll our way towards Kuantan in Pahang.
Roughly, the distance is about 330km and the only rough patch is near Kijal where the roads are narrow, hilly and windy.
There has been a lot of mention about this route by touring riders on and I've been enjoying their journals.

The route from Kota Baru, Kelantan to Kuantan, Pahang
The idea of cruising the East coast was shot down as Michelle didn't take a liking to to bikepacking with public transport.
My plan is to take a bus to Kota Baru, ride down to Kuala Terengganu. We will spend a night there and ride early in the morning - averaging at 100km per day.
There's plenty to see and a few decent places to stay along this route.
Instead of doing the East coast cruise in four days, she suggested a follow-up ride from Sekinchan to Sabak Bernam.
Then, a bright spark came to mind.
We can actually cycle from our home to Klang and work our way to Sabak Bernam in one day.
But both Michelle and I concur that the route is dangerous as heavy vehicles have no respect for small two-wheelers.
We've experienced this in Sekinchan.
The distance would chart about 100km and this is ideal for our Century ride. From USJ26, I think it would clock about 150km one-way.
Our plan is to get to Bidor from Teluk Intan and jump into the ETS to head home.
Since I have a week to bash this one out, its time to get back on the drawing board and work out an equipment list.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

You can't please them all..

The Laksa shop in Lrg Brunei

Here's a feedback from a 'Dato Zaki Razak' on an article I wrote today:

"Dear Sam,

You know very well that on the day you wrote this article on how great the food was at the stall 168, DBKL has been fighting a war to get rid of dirty restaurants and dealing with those food operators who violated city hall rules like cleanliness, pedestrian obstruction etc. Just look at the restaurant at 168, how they have extended their business beyong the boundaries of the shoplot well into the pedestrian walkways. It is because of people like you who glorifies these dirty restaurants that is making them continue to be a nuisance to the entire city dwellers. What a shame the sight would be when it is seen by tourists.

I hope as a STAR reporter , you should also play a role to promote what is good for the country and our city specifically. Besides, for such a dirty looking restaurant, the public should not be patronising such outlets."

Zaki Razak
I gave a standard reply, the usual stuff that is diplomatic:

"Hello Zaki,

Thank you for your feedback.

You comments have been noted."



Well, there you have it. Street food is not for everyone. If the stall was run by a Malay owner, would he mention his concerns on the similar lines? Over the years, I have dealt with some really nasty people. This guy, he's diplomatic. But what is his ulterior motives? Is he with the City Hall advisory board? Is it wrong to promote street food? I leave that to the readers out there. But as it is, I'll keep on truckin'! Hahaha!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Broga Ride

The long undulating terrain towards Nottingham University's campus in Broga

At the Selangor-Negeri Sembilan border

Having a warm glass of Chinese tea during lunch
Michelle and I have been talking about Broga and riding in the area for some time. 
We put this idea into full swing this morning by driving to Semenyih town and setting up our 16" Dahon Curve D3 and SL bikes.
Since my wife had encountered a busted valve two weeks ago, the bike has been plagued with problems.
Just barely minutes into the journey, we pulled over near an orphanage to adjust the rear wheel of the Curve D3.
Seems that the chain was loose and this causes the internal hub gear not to engage.
So, throughout the ride, Michelle was only riding with two gears.
I can say the same with my Curve SL as the rear derailleur kept jumping.
I tried tweaking this a bit and it kinda held up.
We rode into Broga at 10am which is kinda late for our cycling tours.
By mid-day, the sun was up and the weather was very hot.
At the last kilometre before reaching Broga Hill's trail head, we took a break by the roadside. 
This shaded area provided relief from the sun.
After a good rest, we rode into Broga town and circled the area before taking a refreshment break at a coffeeshop.
The main attraction here is a Chinese temple at the edge of town, roughly about 1km away.
We rode there and checked out the temple before heading down to a makan place for an ealry lunch.
A good meal made up for the ride, which is roughly about 9.5km from Semenyih.
After filling up our tummy, we rode back to town, packed our bikes and headed home.

Trip summary

Total distance covered: 19.6km
Number of stops: 1
Number of punctures: 0
Average speed: 18km/h
Top speed: 32km/h

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Road to Mount Ophir part 3

The road to Muar

Refreshment break in Sungai Mati

Entering Muar

At Tanjung Emas

Muar's famous Chai Kee Kopi 434 shop

We did it!
Half the fun in a long-haul ride is getting to the destination.
The rest is getting back to the starting point.
So far, we've covered some 36.5km one-way to Tangkak.
We had our lunch, rested well and continued to cycle to Sungai Mati where we took a short break for refreshment.
This was also the time for me to refill my Camelbak podium insulated bottle.
Earlier, I've added the Camelbak Elixir isotonic tablet to the bottle. The lemon-lime flavour is overpowering and even after diluting it, the taste is still there.
We cycled to Parit Ponorogo and took the opportunity to photograph a stall selling mussels. 
The guy who runs it was very obliging as I snapped some photographs. 
While we rested at a bus stop, some 8km away from Muar, I saw a lone tourer and his bike and waved at him.
That dude smiled and I can hear him laughing. 
I think he was headed towards Malacca.
Michelle and continued to cycle to Muar and headed towards her auntie's house.
There, we caught up with the Lau clan who were down for Cheng Beng.
We spent about an hour or more at the house and made our way to Tanjung Emas.
Nothing much to see at this place except for some monkeys and the recreational area.
From the cape, we rode to Chai Kee coffee shop in town and celebrated our ride with a cold glass of iced coffee.
Our ride ended at the home of our host. 
In total, we clocked about 73.2km, which is short of a century.


Distance covered: 73.2km
Average speed: 16km/h
Fastest speed: 36km/h
Times stopped: 4
Flat tires: 0
Level of difficulty: medium. Some sections of the ride are hilly
Level of fitness for this ride: 2 (moderate)

Road to Mount Ophir part 2

Arrival in Tangkak

Kuang Fei beef soup

Michelle, pointing out a road sign near Muar
It took us some 1hour 20minutes to arrive at the outskirts of Tangkak.
The 15km of undulating terrain leading to this town had really sapped our energy. 
I used up my water bottle as I kept myself hydrated under the hot sun.
Traffic was beginning to swell up and things got a bit hairy at the intersection to the PLUS highway as heavy vehicles started to weave in and out.
We made our way towards a Petronas station in Tangkak and treated ourselves to a bottle of 100Plus isotonic drink.
Under the heat, it was a bliss.
We took a ride towards the edge of the town and decided to find a place to chill out. 
Michelle's cousins were supposed to meet up for lunch at Kuang Fei beef noodles.
So, we made our way there, found a place to park our Dahons and ordered a drink.
While we were at it, we also tried out a bowl of beef soup.
This went down really well.
As we sat and rested, a bunch of bicyclist rode past us.
Seems that the folks in Tangkak are really into cycling.
Bicycles are a common sight here.
Tourists too are flocking to the noodle shop for an early lunch.
At noon, our hosts arrived as we helped ourselves to a hearty lunch.
We parted ways and by 1.30pm, the sun was out in full glory.
This means riding back to Muar under intense heat.
My plan was to cycle in stages and our next pitstop was Sungai Mati...

to be continued..

Road to Mount Ophir part 1

Posing for the camera at a relative's home in Muar

Char Koay Teow for the soul..

Enroute to Sungai Mati, some 10km away from Muar
Michelle had suggested a ride to Tangkak from Muar during our visit to her hometown for Cheng Beng recently.
I snapped the idea and jumped straight into it as soon as we made lodging arrangements with her relatives there.
Our plan was to ride towards Tangkak, some 36.5km Northeast of Muar.
I studied the route on Google Maps and found it to be a straight forward ride with 15kms of undulating terrain towards Tangkak.
So, that in mind, we prepared our Dahon Speed P8 and TR.
Michelle and I decided to go with the 20" bikes for longhauls as they have proven its roadworthiness in Betong, Thailand earlier this year.
We packed the bikes and drove down to Muar in Johor after finishing work.
The city traffic on Fridays was horrible and it took us more than three hours to get to a relative's home in Jalan Teratai, Muar.
We spent the night catching up with our hosts and called it a day after having supper.
On Saturday morning, we woke up early to set up the bikes and departed to the town centre.
It was a breezy 3-km ride towards Jalan Yahya where we had breakfast.
From there, we rode towards the Muar bridge as traffic was not heavy.
Along the ride, we came across three guys on their mountain bikes.
These buggers weren't as friendly as some of the roadies we have met on our rides.
They remained aloof till we lost sight of them prior to arriving in Sungai Mati.
The road to Tangkak was also heavy with traffic as vehicles sped towards the tolled highway.
We kept to the left and were riding along the white line.
After 30-minutes of cycling, we made a pit stop near a school and spotted a monitor lizard crossing the road.
A few ladies who were hanging out nearby were spooked by the large lizard.
From there, we rode to Sungai Mati where some roadworks were taking place.
Traffic was at a standstill as vehicles manouvered along the crammed lane.
I told Michelle to pull over as a retard on a 4WD truck was driving too close to the road shoulder.
From there, we worked our way slowly towards pekan Bt 10.

to be continued..

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Biologic Bike Brain Lite

Biologic's Bike Brain Lite is a free application for Iphone 4 users

The Bike Brain's dashboard

You can map your ride on this apps
Biologic, a division on Dahon bikes have come up with some really cool stuff.
One of the most interesting free apps they are offering, is the Bike Brain for iphone 4.
I've downloaded this onto my ipod, but it doesn't work.
You'll need an iphone to make full use of its GPS tracking and mapping capabilities.
Since its free, and if you own an iphone, this apps is worth checking out.
I doubt it very much that I would ever own an iphone 4 because the cost of getting one and maintanining it is simply outrageous and the vendors who sells them are confirmed retards..

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Investor-grade folding knives

The C-46 Spyderco Lum Tanto was the first series of collaboration design by the late knifemaker Bob Lum, its now highly sought-after as a collector's item

There are at least 1,200 pieces of this production knife in the market where at least a first batch of 200 of them are serial-numbered..
A middle-aged knife collector approached me on appraising his collection.
Among the lot, were some CRKT Carson M4s, A Spyderco Lum Ti-handled Tanto, a few BUCK knives and several PUMA hunting knives.
He wanted to sell his CRKT Carsons for RM800 a piece.
The Spyderco Lum Tanto was a rarity.
The collector wanted RM4,000 for the knife.
Based on today's value, an original folding Lum Tanto, made by the late Bob Lum himself, can fetch between RM4K - RM6K.
This of course, is based on its condition and the year it was made.
Lum succumbed to terminal illness a few years ago in the US and was a highly-respected knifemaker.
His legacy can be seen on Seki-Cutlery's line of utility knives, Spydero and Benchmade.
When the collector asked for RM4K, I told him that his pricing was rediculous.
This was based on the condition of his knife.
It was dinged on the edge, there were scuffs on the handles and part of the pocket clip was also worn out.
There was a missing screw on the clip.
His reason: "Its been used, so,  more value.."
If you watch 'Pawn Stars' on History channel, the owner of the shop Rick would probably laugh hi head off.
The guy insisted that his collection is valued at RM40K based on today's market rate.
If the Lum is in mint condition, he would easily score about USD300 (RM1K) for it.
But based on the deplorable condition of the blade, I would give him RM200.
In reality, there is little value on used blades.
If your knives are scratched, dinged, modified, it would only get about 5% - 10% of its original value.
After appraising his collection, I found that nearly all his knives were used.
His rationale was this: the longer he keeps the knife, the higher its value.
To put a cap to what he said, if you have a limited-run item which comes with a box, serial number and a certificate, it would retain its value, or demand at least 30% more.
That said, its important to keep the box and papers in the best possible condition.
In the case of the so-called collector, he has none.
So, good luck on the sale...

AF Nikkor 24mm F1.4G

A very fast wide-angle prime lens
I would never doubt that Nikkor lenses would fail to deliver.
Having used some and still keeping them in my stash, I must say that I am a big fan of the Nikkor 24mm lens.
I have a prime 24mm F2.8 AF Nikkor which has been shelved.
The rear element on this lens was so badly scratched, its literally a write-off.
I tried to be nice by lending it to a photographer who did a good job at banging it up and didn't own up for doing so.
Fast forward to a week ago, I saw the new AF Nikkor 24mm F1.4G at the Nikon flagship showroom and asked one of their 'advisor' there on the lens.
He didn't know if the glass is weather-sealed and recommended me a dealer in Amcorp Mall.
I guess these guys are working hand-in-hand, so, having heard his explanation, I guess its a lost cause.
I never did have any luck at all with my Nikon gear as the brand itself is plagued with morons who don't know jack about their products.

From *RM990 only!

Apple's iphone 4 is now being offered as a subscriber's package deal
A vendor from Maxis has gone all out at my workplace today. 
They are offering iphone 4 deals packaged as low as *RM990.
Too good to be true? 
After snooping around, I found out that a 32GB iphone is being sold at RM1.9K after a RM600 'discount'.
The total package is about RM2.4K inclusive of some fees and charges.
If you are cell subscriber from a different operator, you will have to wait for 10 working days to get the deal which is subjected to approval.
I am not a big fan of the iphone 4, nor I am looking for a new cellphone.
So, the call I am making here: is 'Molon Labe'.
What was advertised, may not seem to be true as there are various charges and rates.
To make things worse, the people who serve behind the counter are not versed with apple's product. 
Who can blame them for being retards?

2011 Century Ride - Ipoh

The Perak Century Ride is said to be gruelling and tough
I met up with a fellow folding bike rider Johnny Ng at his pro bike shop in Bandar Utama recently.
He told me that he would take part at the 2011 Century Ride in Ipoh, Perak.
This is a 160-km ride tackling some scenic routes around the outlying areas of Ipoh.
The fastest dude completed the ride in 4 hours and some who completed the ride finished at 7 hours.
I was interested in trying it out, but after reading the fine print, no Moutain bikes and hybrids are allowed, I began to doubt the whole thing.
Maybe these bikes are slow.
Put a foldie, it may be even slower.. Hahhah!
On whether foldies are allowed in this event, I better check it out with the organizers...


I rang up one of the organisers to seek further clarification, he said its strictly for road bikes. As for registration, the guy told me that its not up as yet due to some technical glitches. So, all you roadies raring to rip apart the roads of Ipoh, get your bikes ready!

Topeak two timer

Best of both worlds: Manual pump with C02 inflator 
Better safe than sorry.
That is my motto when it comes to building up a recovery kit for my rides.
In times when you least expect a tube or valve blowout, there's always that fear of being caught off-guard.
This happened last Sunday when my wife's bike tire had a blowout.
I pack a Topeak One-timer and Two-timer on my Dahon Curve SL and this proved to be useful when we changed the inner tube and inflated it.
The C02 inflator's 'smart' valve had proven to be an asset when it comes to inflating a presta valve on the spare tube.
It sped up recovery time and inflating the tube was effortless with the C02 cartridge.
But the downside to the canned air is that you can't keep the cartridge in the inflator.
Once the C02 cartridge is punctured, air will escape.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The new era Army

The military personel in this photo came heavy under fire after the pix was published recently
I found it rather funny to watch 'My brother, Our Army' on the National Geographic channel.
The music was corny, the whole thing was a propaganda by an island republic to paint a good picture about their national service.
I guess the retardedness of the Generation Y was reflected on a photo of an Army dude walking wiht his maid carrying his combat pack trailing along.
This came under hard criticism from all quarters.
It may be an isolated case, but people are now mocking the SAF for being 'soft'.
I guess in an island where the pressure to succeed is high and there's a good standard of living, people tend to take a lot of things for granted.
The maid in this perspective, is doing more than just cleaning up the household.
Now, they are humping combat gear into the line and who knows? Maybe someday, the SAF Foreign Maid Legion may be formed to protect the island.
Like the picture had painted a thousand words: They don't produce real guys anymore, even a walk to the barracks had to be escorted by a certified combat ready maid.. Hahah!

Tire tube blowout

Michelle and her trusty Dahon Curve D3

Our first blowout, luckily, we managed to recover on the spot
We have been riding our Dahons for three years and so far, things have been rosy.
Virtually incident free.
But for Michelle's Dahon Curve D3, her bike has been plagued with tire problems. Her bike front Schwalbe Big Apple tire had a puncture earlier. 
Seems like the spoke was the cause of the problem. We got the front tire tube replaced at a bicycle shop in Sungai Way, Petaling Jaya.
On Sunday, while riding back from Berjaya Times Square in Jalan Imbi to Bangsar, I heard a loud bang and I noticed that the back wheel on my wife's back was wobbling out of control.
The previous night, I noticed that the valve on the rear tire was giving some problem.
I know for a fact that the Schwalbe Big Apple can take up to 85psi at the max.
So, with that noted, I filled the tires with air up to 65psi.
This is adequate to take the bikes around and yeild a smooth ride. 
The Big Apples are the best there is offering comfort.
Getting back to the blowout story, I told Michelle to pull over by the roadside.
There was a barricaded section where we can work on recovering the Curve D3's rear tire.
The first thing I did was to get my spare 16" spare tube out and get it fitted onto the tire.
We were fortunate to have Uncle Bil Choy, a veteran folding bike cyclist, Wey and Ming with us. 
Their presence offered some comfort in times like such.
Michelle went to work with her wrench as I prepared to inflate the tube with my Topeak two-timer hand pump.
One of the distinct advantages of having this gadget along the rides is the C02 inflator.
Pop in a cartridge and you are in business.
Bil instructed the tube change while Michelle get her hands-on the crippled bike.
We spent about 20-minutes fitting in a new tube and before we knew it, we were back on track, cycling another 5km towards Bangsar via the city centre and Brickfields.
With the new tube fitted, the Dahon Curve D3 didn't give any problems as we worked our way back to the Bangsar LRT station for a ride to our car in Taman Jaya.
So, we were lucky because I did carry a spare tube and an extra C02 cartridge on that day...

2011 Sports Toto National Charity Ride

Rented bikes for Sports Toto staff at the ride

Michelle and I at Berjaya Times Square, Kuala Lumpur

With Mr CS Wee, a fellow Dahon folding bike rider

Michelle, cruising along Jalan Pudu on her Dahon Curve D3

At Chinatown - pix courtesy of Malaysia Runners Network
Michelle and I weren't too sure about our schedule in April, so, we kinda sat and waited for things to fall in place.
Last Sunday, Sports ToTo, a betting company had organised a National Charity Ride in Kuala Lumpur's city centre.
Cycling in the city area with heavy traffic is dangerous, but since this was an escorted and planned ride, we kinda jumped into it last-minute.
I contacted Sports Toto's communications manager Emily Tan to get a clearer picture on how to join in the ride.
The first 300 participants who registered with the event organiser were given a Jersey and some freebies.
Since we weren't really interested in any of those, we just grabbed our bikes and jumped into the train to head towards the KL city centre.
Michelle and I rode from Masjid Jamek LRT station which was about 2.3km away from the event's starting point.
This reminded me a lot of those days when I cycled around KL on my Raleigh road bike.
During the ride, I encountered some problems with my rear brake line.
The Minoura space bar also gave me hell as it slipped down with the headlights.
I fixed the problem and our journey to Berjaya Times Square wasn't really a hassle.
Michelle did voice out her concern about cycling in heavy traffic, especially early in the morning.
At the venue, we met up with some old friends: Bil Choy, CS Wee, Ming, Wey, Ng Sek San, Yau Wai Leong and a long list of names.
The National Charity Ride is about 23km covering some main parts of the city area.
James Bak, the dude who put it together did a great job by caring for the cyclists of all levels of fitness.
It was a smooth ride for me and Michelle as we cruised the streets with our Dahon Curve D3 and Curve SL.
I found the SL to be really fast as I caught up with a cyclist from Thailand who was riding his Dahon Hammerhead mini Velo.
Later at the prize presentation ceremony, I was told by one of the organizers that folding bikes made up about 20% of the total number of bicycles taking part in the event.
On the whole, the 23km route was quite easy.
After we were done, Michelle and I rode with Bil, Wey, Jackie and Ming to a makan place and had a sumptous meal.
We took a train back the Taman Jaya LRT station in Petaling Jaya where we parked and called it a day..