Monday, July 25, 2011

The Superjetstream

The Shimano XTR rear brake and SKS fenders

A priceless shot: the top-end Shimano brake lever and shifters
I thought I've seen it all, but one bicycle lover had proven me wrong.
Dead-centre that is. 
He had his 2011 Dahon Jetstream EX souped up with Shimano XTR components.
That's easily RM4K worth of hardware and this guy had it rigged up without any hesitation.
Jimmy Tan of Bangsar's Rodalink told me that his team spent half the day fixing up the bike and was finished after the store closed at 9pm.
Speaking of major overtime, the Super Jetstream EX was born.
One thing that sets it apart is the SKS fenders on the front and rear wheels and I guess I will be seeing the proud owner with his new super foldie someday.. hahahah!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Riding the 2011 Dahon Jetstream EX

Parking the bikes on a ditch

Rolling downhill with the Jetstream EX at 49km/h was effortless
The 2011 Jetstream EX is the last of its kind.
I'm glad to have been able to procure on and took it for a downhill roll from Genting Sempah to Bentong yesterday.
At speeds up to 49km/h, the Jetstream EX is stable as the front German A and Kilo shocks are able to take the rigors of our badly maintained country roads.
Everything down to its VRO handlebar steering system and ergon grips were precision-made and this made handling on the long and winding stretch along the course very solid.
The Ashima PCB disk brakes gave superb stopping power and as I pumped the brakes, I can hear the rotor sound slowing down my descent.
On certain stretch, the brakes did not cease.
As for the 3x9 SRAM Dual-drive II drivetrain, I must say that it worked well to my expectations.
The front and rear suspension were not wobbly at all, it took most of the hard bumps and riding this bike, for a big guy like me, was really comfortable.
That said, there are more challenging rides ahead and as long distance guru Mr TT Siang would put it: "Hulu Langat is Jetstream country.. "
I hope he would be able to restore his Jetstream XP back to its riding condition so that we could explore the hills of Hulu Langat as team Jetstream..

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The conformist

I was having a chat with by buddy Billy over tea last week.
In the midst of our conversation, I told him about a bunch of cyclists where one of the old timers are going around heavily promoting Brompton bicycles from the UK.
These town bikes are by far, one of the most expensive rides to hit our shores.
If you have relatives in England, it might save you a bit to get them.
But I don't buy any of the hype at all.
I am a non-conformist in that way.
I don't believe in having a British-made bike as a status symbol, and hanging around cafe's sipping a cup of coffee with the bike, just like how some Siberian Husky owners would parade around with their dog, hoping to gain attention and acceptance.
As far as I am concerned, I never force my opinion on people.
I ride my Dahons because its the only folding bike I could afford and make full use of.
In any way, I never preach on how great the Dahons are. The crowd out there is mature enough to decide and pay for what they want.
If they end up with a piece of Lemon, its for them to regret. Nothing to do with me.
Also, rumours have surfaced about me writing a review on the 2011 Dahon Jetstream EX. 
That's rubbish. 
I paid for the bike with my hard-earned money, if there are losers out there who couldn't stomach that, its just too bad. 
Way I see it, the Jetstream EX was bought fair and square.
I know that somehow, this message would find its way to its origin, so, to the person who went around dragging my name into mud - Fuck you!

The legendary Heinz Stucke

Folding bikes work and its good: Mr Stucke's Bike Friday pocket Llama

Mr Stucke has traveled the world and is currently touring with a Brompton
One man who proved it that folding bikes can be used to tour the world is Heinz Stucke.
The 71-year-old's Bike Friday pocket Llama is now a showcased item in BF's factory in Oregon.
With an 8-speed folding bike, Mr Stucke had proven the fact that you don't need those fancy schmancy super wide-ranging gear to see the world.
He is now currently touring with a Brompton folding bike, and is currently being sponsored by the British company.
You can visit Mr Stucke's homepage at:

Genting Sempah - Bentong Ride 230711 Part 2

With Ah Pan at the hot springs

The Jetstream EX, she clocked 71km on her maiden flight

At a waterfall along the route

Taking shelter from the rain beneath a viaduct
After spending a few hours with Farmer Wong and Ah Pan, it was time to hit the road.
Ong and I made our way towards our first pit-stop, the Bentong Hot Springs.
We rode about 16km from Bentong town and along the way, we met the convoy of bicyclists who were on their way back from their ride.
What looked flat in Bentong was an optical illusion.
The road ahead was a long and winding undulating terrain and our climb towards Genting Sempah is ahead of us.
It took us about 45-minutes to get to the hot springs where we rested.
The water was not even lukewarm and its rather strange that the Pahang tourism office would pass this as an attraction.
There, we chat about cycling and got to know each other better.
From the hot springs, we made our way to Bukit Tinggi.
This is a climb from 115metres to 660metres. Although the gradient was not steep, its gradual and we were crunching our gears.
The SRAM Dual-drive II yielded 27-speeds on the Jetstream EX. 
No issues with getting the best combination out of the low gear and some training I did in Hulu Langat really helped in the climb.
Half-way towards Bukit Tinggi, I made a judgement call. 
We took shelter underneath a viaduct along the East Coast highway as it started to pour heavily.
About 40-minutes later, we started cycling in the light evening shower towards Bukit Tinggi which is about 6km away.
I checked the GPS and we were very near the BP petrol station.
There, we took a refreshment break and proceeded towards Bukit Tinggi village and had some coffee at a restaurant.
For a first-timer, Ong did very well with the climb.
I suggested that we push our bikes on the steep hills towards the Genting Sempah junction, about 900meters away.
When we got there, police patrol car pulled over.
We made small talk with a cop and his partner who was on routine crime prevention patrol.
From the Bukit Tinggi junction, its a 5km crunch towards our finish line in Genting Sempah.
I told Ong that there is really no need to kill ourselves as the final push is a gradual climb.
We finished the ride in about 40minutes from the Bukit Tinggi junction.
For Ong, its an achievement and as for me, I've finally added this route onto my records.


Total distance - 71km
Average speed - 17.2km
Top speed - 49km
Total time - 9hrs:6min:48sec
Total time riding - 4hrs:39min:09sec
Max cadence - 179rpm
Average cadence - 56rpm
Elevation gain - 592meters
Elevation loss - 601meters

Genting Sempah - Bentong Ride 230711 Part 1

A passenger car overtaking a lorry on a double-line along the route

The long and winding roll

The route recorded by my Garmin EDGE800
My day started as early as 4:30am. 
Woke up, took my shower, dried up and applied some Hammer seat saver cream on the groin area before I put on my Zoic black market cycling shorts and my Lime Green race ready long sleeve Tee-shirt before I hit the road.
The day I have been waiting for had arrived. 
It was my 2011 Dahon Jetstream EX's maiden flight.
I've arranged to meet D.C. Ong at the Genting Sempah rest and relax area which is roughly about 45-minutes drive from my home in USJ, Subang Jaya.
I got there early and waited for Ong and McDonald's to open.
We had breakfast there and got around setting up our bikes.
Ong was riding a 27-speed Rallyart F-1 folding bike which he got from Taiwan during a family trip there three months ago.
He's a new rider and this was his fist long-distance training ride.
I punched the 'start' button on my Garmin EDGE800 gps and we were on our way.
The first leg of the ride was a smooth 25-km roll towards the Bentong Hot Springs, which is located about 26km away.
Our first stop was the Bukit Tinggi junction which is roughly about 5km away.
There, we took some pictures and proceeded to the Janda Baik junction.
All was good as we rolled the distance.
I told Ong that the journey back would be really fun.
At least 25km of steady climb.
We met Ah Pan, my buddy from Karak, Pahang at the Bentong Hot Springs.
This is a pretty rundown place that is not even on the map.
My farmer friend was all alone with his trusty Dahon Dash P18, which is by far, the fastest foldie in Bentong.
From the Hot Springs we rode to town and along the way, we met a bunch of cyclists who were escorted by the traffic cops. 
When cyclists cross paths, we greet each other.
After two hours of cycling, we clocked 37km to reach Bentong from Genting Sempah and there, we caught up with Farmer Wong, my contact and took a lunch break..

Friday, July 22, 2011

Into the unknown..

I'll be headed out to Genting Sempah tomorrow with fellow cyclists DC Ong to check out the Genting Sempah - Bentong route.
Much has been spoken about this place as it is a popular cycling route for road bikes traveling from Gombak to Bentong.
For the short distance ride, much of the terrain here is said to be hilly.
As for the ride, I will be putting my Dahon Jetstream EX to its test and with all the wide-ranging gear, I don't think I would be crunching gears too much along the way
The plan is to hook up with my buddy Ah Pan at the Bentong hot springs which is located on the outskirts of town.
I was told that this place has been renovated to meet the needs of the state's tourism standards.
We've been to Chamang waterfalls and much of the surrounding in the hotsprings remains unknown to me until I check it out tomorrow...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Bad Guy..

I guess that with my evil look and diabolical plans to ruin other people's intention to have some fun, I've earned myself a reputation of being the bad guy.
If its done so to make a point, no issues here. Say what you want, put a label on it, spin it around and let it go sky high. I don't give a shit.
In the real world, you must be ready for betrayal. 
Even when things are looking rosy, there are folks out there who just can't stand the sight of you.. hahahah!
Since I thrive on sincerity, I've come across very few people who are genuinely sincere about offering friendship and sharing their knowledge.
In my time-tested experience on friendship - I must say that there are people that I've held in high regards for being up front, honest and sincere.
After being screwed so many times, especially by rich people who are selfish, greedy and stingy, I am now very cautious in accepting new friends.
And once trust is betrayed, its bye-bye, because the scars are there to remind you. Each time you fall, you learn. And when you are over it, time to move on.
So, when I lobbed a grenade into the old wizard's castle with that blogpost of mine on the Southern Thailand trip, I have immediately made it to some people's shit list.
I am aware of my actions and for the price in full, I'm ready for the consequences.
At my age, life is too precious to be wasted on wannabes and fake gurus.. So, that said, its time to keep on truckin'!!!


Here's some drama:


This is rather a sad period among us buddies here.  I thought this missing out name has been clarified until some one pointed out to me a blog posted on Friday July 15, 2011 as follow:

... Quote from
.... Unquote

Fellow buddies read it and pay attention to the dates and content of respective emails appended.  It was very kind of Michelle (Sam's wife) who replied on July 11 saying they are unable to join, and Michelle name on hind-sight now, luckily not missed out, as there is never any intention to leave whoever out.

Furthermore this is a loose group of cyclists and everyone have organized their own rides without necessary inviting anyone or may invite anyone they like.  I hope the matter can rest and stop here without any further comment.  Let us all stop any further "bad blood".

This is really sad.  Anyhow we, should not let an unfortunate incidence to spoil the true & sincere friendship of the rest.

There is a saying that goes in Malay: "Siapa termakan cili api, dia lah yang terasa pedasnya.." Which translates to: Whoever that bit the pepper would feel its heat.
I received a mass-mail about the said issue as posted on the above.
And I must say that whatever that was said and done in rebuttal -- sincerity is a rarity in this case. 
You don't meet many people who are sincere these days. 
And I am not a person who thrives on dramas, nor I am a sadistic bastard who gets a kick on playing the blame game.
But I made my point, its now being heard and we are getting the other side of the story.
I must say that in all fairness, TT Siang, the ride leader is a stand-up guy. 
He took the brunt of it and admitted to his mistakes. For owning up, I lift my hat to the guy. He earns my respect for leading by setting a good example.
I stand firm on the point to the guy who sent out the email, that if you claim that you are sincere, you should be open to criticism and that you can take it as a measure to improvise the situation.
Like I said earlier and I am going to say it again, there is nothing to lose if you stand up and take care of each other because integrity is good even when no one is looking..

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Have padded shorts will cycle..

Leading in its class: the Zoic Ether shorts
I received a call from the UPS guy.
He said he had my package that came from the US.
I was beyond words when I picked it up. It contained my Zoic Ether padded shorts that came all the way from JensonUSA.
It took nearly a week for the package to arrive in Subang Jaya and I am more than pleased with what I had received.
For starters, Zoic is a well-established brand and when it comes to cycling shorts, they are leading the pack with some cool innovations.
I ordered two shorts - the Black Market and Ether which was promptly delivered to me.
I am happy with the overall built quality and finish on this product and when I tried it, it was like fitting Cinderella's slippers.
With a removable liner, I can also wear the Zoic shorts for my excursions.
So, touring will never be the same again with my Zoic shorts! Oh yeah..

2011 Dahon MuXL - first impressions

The Dahon Valo light that fits snugly on the Andros stem

An all-black Shimano Alfine 8-speed hub gear

Handsome package: the 2011 Dahon MuXL
I made a trip to Rodalink's branch in Desa Sri Hartamas to find out more about upgrading the bottom bracket on my 2009 Speed P8.
While I was there, one of the mechanics showed me the 2011 Dahon MuXL.
This is rated as an 'urban utility' bike on Dahon's catalog.
Seeing it up close, I can feel the potential of this bike being a touring ride.
It has all the bells and whistles for a low-maintenance ride.
What's impressive, is the Alfine hub gear which is a fitting for some high-end town bikes.
The shifting was also smooth and if you are dealing with rides in wet and dry weather, there is little to worry about cleaning your drivetrain.
For 2011, the VRO andros-enable stem would make handling much better than any other bikes of its class.
I love the customizable stem adjustments. You can ride upright on in a sports position with this andros stem.
For performance, the MuXL comes with a set of Schwalbe Marathon supreme tires.
On the road, this 20" Dahon bike retails around RM4.9K, making it a premium priced item.
For the experienced folding bike cyclist, this would be an excellent second or third bike.. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Crunching gears!

The toughest 800-metres climb
Maintaining cadence plays a role in climbing.
I found out that that if you cease in the middle of a ride, you either fall flat on your face or simple stop dead on your tracks.
Last weekend's ride in Putrajaya was a good indicator as there were gears to crunch and long gradual slopes to climb.
My only worry was being half-bonked due to the lack of sleep and spending the entire day on a company trip.
With training, climbing in undulating terrain was no sweat.
I learned to drop my gears and slowly crunch it to the lowest cogwheel on my 9-speed Dahon Curve SL.
Small wheels have been proven as easy climbers and when you have the combination of the right gear setting including a steady cadence, its easy.
Like one of the foldie gurus had said: "The slowest gear is the fastest gear".
I bet with his experience in bikepacking throughout Asia, it was not a real big deal when it comes to tackling mountainous roads.
Many would fear a short climb, but the long undulating slopes are the worst. They just sap your energy and if you have a series of slopes like those in Genting Sempah and Bentong, be prepared to sweat it out.
And when all else fails, don't kill yourself climbing. 
Get down of your bike and take some time to recover.
The best way to tackle hills are a combination of training that includes strength and endurance.

Putrajaya Interparks ride series 10

My boss and I at the new age monument in Putrajaya

Mr Chan and his Dahon Speed P8

The night ride
After a day-tripper to Ipoh in Perak, I made my way to the ERL KLIA transit station in KL Sentral.
With a ticket to ride, I sat on the electric train which was only two stations away in Putrajaya.
Tired, but still fueled with enthusiasm, I met Michelle at Putrajaya Sentral's taxi stand.
She too had her day worked out as both of us had left our homes at 6am for our chores.
From the pick-up point, we made our way to Precinct 2 at the Putrajaya mosque.
There, we met TS Bok who just bought his Red Dahon Speed P8. It was his first time out riding in an event.
Bok had earlier contacted me on how to go about rustling a good deal for his new Dahon.
I suggested that he check out Mr Sam's shop in Sri Serdang. The pricing is said to be the best in the entire Klang Valley.
After setting-up our bikes, we rode down to the new age monument for registration.
Upon reaching our destination, I noticed that my rear tire was wobbling.
I realised that I was cycling with a near-flat tire and immediately went down to work.
A flat tire just moments before an event is a mood-killer.
Lucky for me, the Curve SL was easy to fix. I removed the back wheel skewers and struggled a bit with the Schwalbe Marathon Racer tire.
At first attempt, Michelle and I had failed to locate the cause of the punctre.
I even inflated the tire with my Topeak Two-timer C02-fueled pump, but our attempts to get the Curve back on the road was futile.
After popping out the inner-tube for the second time, Michelle spotted a rupture on the valve's neck.
This was the main cause and the only way to go about it is to replace the tube completely.
Since my Pedros saddlebag is armed to the teeth, a spare tube was in place. It took me less than 20-minutes to set the bike back to its running condition.
My only worry was the tire pressure, but a Marshall whom I met on the ride assured me that all is good.
By the time I was done with the repairs it was already dark.
At the fair grounds, I met riders Ronnie Soon, Mr Chan and DC Ong for the first time.
These are the guys who are active on the Google Group's Malaysian Foldies.
I've been in correspondence with Ronnie who rode a CDM Dahon Archer.
Chan, on the other hand, had a fully-pimped Dahon Speed P8 while Ong rides a Rally Art folding bike.
Michelle and I also met Wey Pang and Ming, our old-time foldie friends at the monument.
Flag-off was prompt as we rode towards the 25-km course.
I was surprised with some of the folks who had no lights on their bikes.
Lucky for me, I had my Cateye HL-EL530s and the twins had literally owned the night.
It was funny that when I rode, some fellas in front of me had taken advantage of the bright lights. As soon as I overtook them, they were riding really slow.
At one stage of the ride, I powered away with the Curve SL on its high gear and overtook a bunch of Mounties.
It was hard catching up with Michelle as she was right in front. There were a few slopes that were long stretches in this course and my Garmin's GSC10 speed and cadence sensor had picked up a peak reading of 210rpms.
At the slopes, some folks were pushing their bikes as it was too much to bear.
The night also had taken a toll on some cyclists as they fell when their narrow wheels were caught on the steel gratings.
We completed our ride at the finish-line and waited for the main event which was the lucky draw.
To sum it up, the Putrajaya interparks ride is one of the most well-organised rides in the Klang Valley and is gaining popularity. 
The total turnout was 1,700 participants.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Race Ready Alta Long Sleeve T's

Race Ready's apparels
Cotton T-shirts are comfortable.
But on a prolonged-wear during cycling, it can weigh a tonne and smell like a roadkill.
The solution is a dry-fit Tee and I have been wearing my Under Armour shirt for a while. It was given to me by my friend Mike Pendtrack of PMDC tactical some years back.
I found the dry-fit tees to be useful and lightweight. 
For touring, this would shave some weight on my panniers.
They are easy to maintain and dries very fast after a quick wash.
While researching for something suitable, I found Hammer Cool T offered on Hammer Nutrition's website.
There were not much choice in terms of colour because Hammer's corporate colours are red and white.
So, I did a quick search on the internet and was let to raceready's website.
There, the sizing options are available with some really cool colours.
My first choice were the raceready Readytech Alta long sleeve and Readytech mesh long sleeve Ts.
I ordered them and it took about a week to arrive at my office.
Fitting-wise, it was perfect.
Most of the dry-fit Tees that are made for Asians are too small.
In the case of the Readytech Mesh, it was like finding Cinderella's glass slipper.
I took this out at the Putrajaya interparks Series 10 ride and it was the perfect wear.
Soon, it will some long-distance action.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Destination - Haadyai, Southern Thailand

TT Siang, one of the leading bikepackers in Malaysia is organising a ride from Haadyai in Southern Thailand to Ko Lanta in the Krabi district.
This is a gruelling 267km ride across some rugged countryside in the beautiful South.
I came to know about this after my wife had informed me.
Initially, we were left out since the core group of folding bike cyclists are out on their own, forming an elite team of riders.
That's no issue to us as we are not rich and seek to be exclusive.
After throwing a spanner in the works, Siang clarified that the mailing list was too big to include everyone.
I knew it was not his intention to leave anyone out as he is  a reliable leader. 
The trip was planned for mid-August till early September and I don't think I could get off from work since the desk people I am working with are taking turns to expand their annual leave.
Furthermore, this is an extreme long-haul that requires plenty of planning and also regular training to experience the rigors of travel in unknown territory.
To do so, one would have to outfit their bikes with panniers to ensure that they are well-supported throughout the extended trip.
Going through the emails that went back and forth, I can also see the politics engaged by the little Napoleons in the game.
To me, I don't envy the folks who are committed in making this trip happen. As a matter of fact, they've earned my respect.
The real issue here that I see, is the fact that some of people whom I have met much earlier in the year have been 'wiped' out or 'discreetly' removed from the mailing list.
There are those in the group who felt that things are best kept in a 'hush-hush' mode.
Way I see it, I don't really need to force myself join an organised ride of such just to 'fit-in' or trying to climb back into the society's ladder as I am ready to fend for myself and set out on my own.
Michelle and I have plans and we don't want the fun to be ruined by idiots who are fueled by ambition..

Setting the good example..

It's always easy to join a ride rather than organising one.
There's literally no responsibility involved and what you do, is follow the group leader.
Leadership itself, is another thing.
Very few are good leaders while some thought they were born to lead.
I've had my fair share in organising some rides and to be frank, there's a lot of legwork.
People expect a lot for the little that they contribute.
To me, a good trip is the result of careful planning and groundwork.
If you do it well, things would work out as planned.
There's also room for contingencies and after working with good leaders, I pick up some tricks in the trade.
Small groups are manageable and if your followers are good listeners, your day would end up fine.
But there are instances where you get retards who refuse to listen and learn.
They expect things to be done for them. Even the simple chore like taking the tire's air pressure would be left to someone else.
For these kind of people, the act is simple: just play dumb.
Likewise, you also get group leaders who are basically the chief steward.
They just bark orders and expect their followers to do all their work.
This is apparent in outings that end up as a bad experience where people fall out after one or more rides. Its normal..
To me, its always good to broaden the horizon by meeting people on the trail.
I've got no issues organising a ride or two. The rest, they would have to make a choice, sustain or move on.
To lead, you will have to be committed, persevere and be patient.
By setting a good example, others will follow.
But if you place politics in the game, your little group is as good as its numbers..

A free ride...

The Speed TR
I was having a conversation with my contact over the new Selle Royal E-bike saddles.
They are cool and have just hit our market.
Somewhere along the line, he made mention of a dude who came to him, asking for sponsorship.
The guy wanted to do a tour and had asked for a Dahon Speed TR.
Obviously, the answer was 'No'.
This brought to my attention on how lazy people can get by taking the cheap way out: asking for handouts.
In life, nothing is free.
If the guy tried to raise money through working and taking part-time job, half his dreams would be fulfilled.
Which is why I have so much respect for the average Joe who works to get what he wants.
You set a goal, hit your target and things will definitely turn out sweet.
I've worked very hard to earn my toys and I don't think I'll stoop so low as to ask for a free bike so that I could have fun.
Even if the bike is sponsored, the giver would have high expectations for big returns.
What could the dude possibly offer?
The crust to the matter is this: you set your sights on your target, eventually, you will get there.
When you ride what you earn, there is no guilt, no shame. Only pride.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Improving the Dahon Speed P8

I'm loving every single moment riding my 2009 Dahon Speed P8
There has never been a single dull moment with my Dahon Speed P8 and 2009 was a great year.
Through the years, I've improvised the bike and the first thing that I changed was the pedals. I've done away with the stock standard Suntour folding pedals and replaced it with a set of MKS EXIM Superior folding pedals.
These are the best money can buy and I'm sold on the overall built quality of the pedals.
Apart from that, I've also attached a Minoura bottle cage adapter that proved to be useful in long-hauls.
And the lesson learned here is adding another adapter on the seatpost as there are places that too far apart for refilling the water bottle.
For warning incoming vehicles, I've also added an Airzorn (Biologic has one too) horn on the handlebar.
Navigational aid comes in the form of the Garmin EDGE800 that replaced the OREGON300 and this comes complete with a speed and cadence sensor.
The Speed P8 is one of the few folding bikes that can accommodate both sensors on its pedal and spoke.
For comfort, I've changed the Biologic saddle to a Selle Royal Ergo Gel plug-in. 
This has proven its worthiness on the trail as the NNS (Numb Nuts Syndrome) is no longer apparent.
While most add-ons and accessories may contribute to the weight factor, this is not an issue when you are touring.
Even with a three-quarter load on the Ortlieb panniers, the bike is able to climb with its 52T x 35T low gear set up.


IF I am looking at some major long-hauls in the future, I would get rid of the existing drivetrain.
A viable option would be the Rohloff Speedhub 500/14 gear system. There would be a massive re-working of the bike to fit the hub and its transmission cables and shifter.
This would work even better with the Schlumpf speed drive crank system. It would give the extra push for the Rohloff Speedhub 500/14.
The next thing that I am seriously thinking of changing is the bike's handlebar stem.
On my mind, there's the VRO syntech system that is more superior to the Speed P8's existing telescopic handlebars.
Few moving parts are on this stem and its a standard fitting with the 2010 Dahon Speed TR (the present model has a Andros stem).
 And to top the icing on the cake: Ergon GC-2 grips! 

OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2011

I've signed-up for the OCBC's Cycle Malaysia 2011 event at Datran Merdeka in October.
It cost me RM49 for registering with the community ride that would take about 24km to complete.
This would be the debut of Team Jetstream at the streets of KL, but my other half Michelle won't be around.
She said she would be in China during the period, so, I had to rough it out myself.
I think my Jetstream EX would be able to slug it out as its now 'Street ready'.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

EKA Swede 8

The Swede 38 is a perfect outdoor knives for training Boy Scouts
The Swedes are know for their innovation. 
This is apparent in the cars they manufacture and being one of the most advanced countries in the Nordic states, Sweden has some credible knife manufacturers.
There's Frost, known for their rendition of Mora knives, KJ Eriksson and EKA.
My first EKA knife was a folding fillet marketed under the Normark brand who produces Rapala lures.
I bought it more than 20 years ago and its still in my keeps.
As far as EKA's other range of pocket knives are concerned, I never really paid much attention to them.
But of late, one particular model caught my attention.
The Swede 38 is a stout lockback and the one that features a kraton grip snagged me dead in the water.
It's international safety orange handles and grippy surface (kraton is artificial rubber) made it an all-rounder.
The knife has a thick spine and plenty of belly to yield some rough cuts.
Its also least intimidating and can be pocket carried.
Now, its my everyday carry knife in my coin pouch with my micro fire steel.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rise of the Centurion

Adding another milestone: our Dahons have crossed the 100km mark twice
The common road cyclist had long argued: "How can you go further with your small bike ah?"
Skeptics tend to say things they do not comprehend.
If you have the skills and physical prowess, you can do long distance with a single-gear bike.
Even some three-speed bikes have done the distance.
One example of a long-distance touring cyclist was a German dude who rode his Bike Friday pocket Crusoe around the world.
The bicycle is fitted with a Shimano Nexus 8 and its now being displayed at Bike Friday's factory in Oregon, USA.
This guy had proven that you don't folding bikes with excessive gears to see the world.
Getting started on a century ride itself is an achievement.
Whether you make it or not, that's a different story.
What's in play here are two things: mental strength and physical abilities.
Once you hit the road, the mind would be the first to breakdown when you are faced with hardships along the way.
Second thing is your body. In many ways, a million things can go wrong.
So, before starting on a long-distance haul, be sure that your body is conditioned to the rigors of pedaling hard and far.
A few key factors also plays a role. Here, I break it down for easier digestion:

1. Know your bike.

# Its important for you to understand the capabilities and the limitation of your bicycle. If you want it to take you from one point to another, make sure its roadworthy and always make it a point to know on how to maintain your ride as well as recovering it on the move.

2. Stay in shape.

# You don't just walk out of a bike shop and ride it for 100km. No sir, it doesn't work that way. The best way to prepare is by doing strength and endurance training. Not two are the same and if you want to get your legs in shape to take the punishment, climbing hills are the best option. The other is endurance. You can sprint, but can you keep it up? Going the distance can come in many forms. Some routes are filled with undulating terrain with long slopes. A combination of climbing with endurance can put you down if you are not physically prepared.

3. Be prepared.

# This is my favourite motto. I always use it to train my Boy Scouts. Like I said earlier and I would say it again: A million things can go wrong. So, when you embark on a long journey, be sure that you are equipped with an emergency kit for your bike and yourself. 

* Its simply appalling to know that some people don't even carry a bike tool with them. And at the end, they simply have to wait to thumb a ride on their downed bike. You can build your own recovery kit and its good to have a tool that can be used to repair your downed bike. Chain cutter, magic links, patch kit, a torx and hex wrench - all these comes in handy.

First aid kit
* Common things like cuts, abrasions and minor injuries can occur. Now, packing a First Aid Kit can be a hassle of you can't stash it. I ALWAYS carry on my bumbag and Camelback hydration bag. If you hit the road in a prolonged journey, be sure to pack your medication.

*Spare tubes are a must. If you travel more than 500km, a spare tire would come in handy. 

Tire protection
*When my life depends on it, kevlar-lined tires have saved my ass on several occassions. I had no fear cruising through the road shoulder and sand. This protects the tires from being punctured by road debris. 

That said, another reason to train for such an endurance ride is touring places that demands great distances.
When you pack and haul, its a different story. 
A heavier bike means more power to pedal. That's why conditioning is important.
If you are new to the distance, set your goals by starting light (10 - 20km) and gradually increase the distance and at the same time, cut the timing shorter.
There are some good applications that can help achieve this and if you own a smartphone, these are available for free.
Lastly, completing a century ride opens the door to many other things. And one way to enjoy such a ride is to do it at your own pace...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Malacca - Port Dickson ride July 11, 2011 Part 3

An unexpected find in Pasir Panjang - a decent chicken rice in  a Hainanese coffee shop

We've topped our previous achievement with this record

Mr Con-meow, trying to gain some attention

Crossing the Kuala Linggi bridge

We made it!
The final push was a 15km ride under the hot sun.
And man! There were many squashed lizards on the side of the road. I counted at least 20 and just gave up.
So far, we've covered around 54km without any incidents.
Traffic was a breeze with the exception of a few heavy vehicles that came really close to us.
And after climbing for 30km towards Kuala Linggi, fatigue was slowly setting in.
I can feel my left knee hurting. This was the result of a severe injury I obtained more than 10 years ago.
Despite the pain, we kept pushing. We knew that once we've past Kuala Linggi, its home-run.
Pasir Panjang was the next town and to get there, we had to climb again, some five kilometers of undulating terrain and  smooth roll towards the small town.
There, we found a small Hainanese coffee shop and had lunch.
And this became a surprise find as we discovered that they serve a decent chicken rice lunch.
After that, it was a push towards Thistle Resort in Blue Lagoon.
I was hoping that the security guards would allow us in to collect our car which we had left overnight.
Another climb looms ahead towads Cape Rachardo. No sweat. 
Happiness, is to complete a tour and as we rolled towards Thistle, I can see the sense of achievement on Michelle's face.
We snapped a quick photo at the resort's obstacle course to mark a 145.7km return trip from Port Dickson to Malacca. We did it and are proud of it!


Total time spent on the road: 13hrs20minutes
Total distance covered: 145.7km
Average speed: 18.6km
Top speed: 37.7km
Elevation Gain: 290 m
Elevation Loss: 287 m
Min Elevation:13 m
Max Elevation:55 m
Avg Bike Cadence:47 rpm
Max Bike Cadence:220 rpm
Number of stops - 12
Number of punctures - 0

Malacca - Port Dickson ride July 11, 2011 Part 2

Cruising through Masjid Tanah 
Escaping the morning heat at Klebang

Mo better hills: The road to Sungai Udang
I have plenty of respect for the rotiman on his black bicycle laden with bread and other goodies.
His range may be shorter than what I had experienced, nevertheless, humping such a load is no joke.
And my Ortlieb frontrollers and rackpacks are lighter by the day.
Its laden with recovery tools, my personal stuff, a small netbook and other essentials that puts this trip at level 3 of 'well-prepared' on this short tour.
I never liked to travel without my gear as there's a million things that can go wrong.
Anyways, we were making our way towards Sungai Udang. 
Some 9km of hills awaits us before we reached the town and move towards the Sungai Udang Forest Park.
From there, Masjid Tanah is roughly about 5km.
We rode the day before and an endurance ride that spans about 145km both ways, one better be prepared.
I've munched on a Hammer bar and swallowed two Endurolyte pills. These worked all the time in preventing cramps and lactic acid build-up.
So, there I was, my bike in its lowest gear and I worked up 65rpms to charge up a slope, then another and another and another before we reached a Shell petrol station where we rested.
Even Michelle's Dahon Speed TR, equipped with  a 3 x 8 SRAM Dual-drive transmission had proven to be tough.
What more when you ride an 8-speed bike? 
With a 52-tooth chain ring, its a monster. And when it comes to crunching the low-gear, it'll climb as long as you don't cease.
The largest cog wheel has 32 teeth, so, combine 52 and 32, this baby packs a punch.
Was it hard humping two front roller panniers and a rackpack fully laden? Yes.
I overtook Michelle on a few occassions. She never seemed to give up and I admire her fighting spirit.
The climb towards Sungai Udang's Forest park was a series of undulating slopes towards Masjid Tanah. 
From there, the nightmare seemed endless.
Our experience with slopes helped in attaining the proper rhythm in maintaining a constant cadence.
The readout on my Garmin's GSC10 and EDGE800 really helped me in taking the terrain.
Our ride to Masjid Tanah bypasses Tanjung Bidara and Pengakalan Balak.
After four and a half hours of cycling, we reached Masjid Tanah.
There, we rested at a coffee shop, had a drink and made our way to a local bicycle shop.
I met a very friendly guy there who told me about his buddy who owns a folding bike.
This guy made mention on how Malacca guys love to modify their bikes, which I couldn't agree more.
From Masjid Tanah, there are a few more hills to tackle before reaching Kuala Sungai Baru and towards Kuala Linggin and to Pasir Panjang in the Negeri Sembilan side...