Monday, October 27, 2014

My Bicycle Shop Charity Ride 2014 - Part 02

The changing landscape of Old Klang Road..

A bridge crossing leading to Old Klang Road

Doing the headcount
Reaching the first home
Our destination was pusat jagaan kanak-kanak PKK in Old Klang Road.
Now, given the apparent danger of riding on this part of the city, I would think twice on moving around the area.
The roads have been widened to a four-lane carriageway and frankly, I was not too comfortable with children riding along for this event.
Mike, the ride leader asked if it's wise to use the overhead pedestrian bridge to get across to Overseas Union Garden.
That was the right thing to do.
The care centre is located in the heart of OUG and we had to take a ride behind Pearl Point Plaza.
I used to travel to this area in the mid-80s and could barely recognize some of the roads.
By 10:00am, we reached the care centre safely and were shown around.
This home houses some children who are physically and mentally handicapped.
The guys went on to set up the storage shelves while I waited for the process to be documented in photographs in stages.
At the centre, I met James Chen, a Siberian Husky owner whom I have lost contact for more than eight years.
He is a jack of all trades and is in the graphic design business. The man is responsible for designing the corporate identity of a high-end folding bike shop in Kg Tunku, Petaling Jaya.

Setting up the storage shelves

Ah Fatt, Ricky, Ah Fatt Jr and Randy at work
Cikgu Chin handing over a treat to one of the boys at the centre

Mike getting a hug and a kiss from one of his benefactors

Taking shelter from the Sun.. (pix: MH Chye)
Touching moments.. 

I was watching the entire thing from a distance.
Them, a mentally disabled teenage boy took a piece of snack from Mike Kium, he returned with a hug and a kiss.
The moment was captured on camera.
Mike, despite looking nerdy with his park charm kai (white chicken) legs, is a man with a big heart. He continued to interact with the children while the rest constructed the shelves.
While the folks were hard at work, some cyclists rode down to a coffee shop nearby to fill their water bottles as well as to catch up on a late breakfast.
I joined my old kaki Swofinty Yik and Mr Cheng for some food and hydrated with some isotonic drinks.
The day was unbelievably hot and after a good fill and a great conversation, I made my way back to the care centre to continue documenting the process.
There, I sat down with Mr Chin, the ex-teacher and talked about his future touring rides.
As a cyclist, he's pretty accomplished. He said that he would one day pursue his dreams of cycling around the Karimun island in Indonesia.

One of the inhabitants at the car centre..
Adding the final touch to the completed storage shelves..
From the PKK II care centre, we rolled out towards another privately-funded centre just down the road.
There, a welcoming party awaits the cyclists.
A Lion dance troupe, finger food truck was among the highlights at the event.
The Sun was out in its full glory, sapping ever bit of our energy, but the enthusiastic folks who cycled all the way from Bandar Utama was not easy to deter.
Despite the heat, they waited patiently and as the drums started to roll, a simple ceremony began to usher the centre's guests and beneficiaries..

Rolling out to the other home.. 
An important guest..

Carried with pride: My Bicycle Shop's Flag!
The cyclists

Mission accomplished: Johnny is a happy man.. 
Doing what's right..

The cyclists spent some time at the centre with the children.
Some hung out at a children's playground, avoiding the strong rays of the Sun.
As soon as the simple ceremony ended, everyone was treated to food and beverage.
I took the cue to fill up my water bottle from a coffee shop nearby..

The Lion Dance troupe performing 

Guests treated to food (note the girl giving evil eye!)

Finger food

One for the road.. 
After the formalities were done, Johnny led the riders to another home before heading back to Bandar Utama.
We stopped by but were told that the children, some who are bed-ridden, were moved to another centre.
As the main sponsor for the event, Johnny left some goods in kind behind before we rode off towards Old Klang Road and Petaling Jaya..

At the last care centre

Albert and Johnny handing over goods in kind to the caretaker
Beginning the ride back to Bandar Utama..
My cue to break off from the main group..

We rode back towards Petaling Jaya Old Town and proceeded towards Jalan 223.
By this time of the day, some of the cyclists were already tired.
When we re-grouped near Assunta Hospital, the back-enders were still far behind.
And at the Jalan Templer intersection, Mike told me that he is going to lead the group onto the Federal Highway motorcycle lane.
I told him that I am going to give a go at the opposite end, heading to Subang Jaya.
We parted ways as I waved the cyclists goodbye.
From there, I continued my ride and clocked in at 68.1km to reach the gate of my home.
It was a satisfying ride and knowing that the good deeds were performed without question had prompted Johnny to organize another ride next year..

My Bicycle Shop Charity Ride 2014 - Part 01

A good deed.. 

Johnny Ng of My Bicycle Shop in Bandar Utama and his partners has been hatching a plan to organize a charity ride from his shop to a special needs children's care centre in Old Klang Road.
As a build-up, he has been conducting recce rides to the centre with friends and customers on his weekly night rides.
I never participated in any of Johnny's ride and had pretty much been in the background observing things.
He had conducted a sale of tee-shirts and a portion of the proceeds went to funding storage shelves, goods in kinds and bicycles for the care centre.

Ah Fatt, Ricky Ng, Randy Yap and some dude at the entrance of the shop

The very humble Brommie: Mr Cheng Fook Wah
Faith in Humanity restored.. 

Johnny's plan was simple. Invite some friends and ride off to the centre. There, they will set up the shelves and move on to another care centre where a special celebration will take place.
He set the date on Oct 26 and kept the event rather low-profile and mentioned it to only a few close friends.
This is so that primadonnas and nay-sayers would not ruin the ride.
Prior to this, I was invited by Ah Fatt, Johnny's partner to ride with the posse.
I agreed and rode off from Subang Jaya to meet the guys at BU4 in Bandar Utama.
I set off around 05:45am and reached the shop at 07:10am.
The distance from USJ26 to BU4 is roughly about 27km. Traffic on a Sunday was a breeze.
While I was cycling, I bumped into some guys on their recumbent bikes along USJ2. One of them recognized me and yelled out my name.
Then, somewhere in SS2, I roadie rode past and it was Aloysius, an old acquaintance who rode a Dahon Speed P8.
We parted ways as I made the turn to Kg Sungai Kayu Ara.
I made my way towards the Bandar Utama ramp and veered left on a slip road to reach BU4.
By the time I got there, the crowd was in full swing. Some were chatting while others were seen setting up their bikes...

An early bird..

Catching up with ex-teacher SC Chin (pix by Liliana Lee)

Groupie time!
Doing my part...

I parked my bike at the end of the shoplot and Johnny had approached me.
"Eh Sam, can you take some pictures? Cycling Malaysia Magazine wants some for this event..," he said.
I gladly obliged. No Free Ride! Hahahah..
At the starting line, I am pretty much a stranger.
But there were some friendly faces. 
I met Mr SC Chin, a retired teacher and spent some time talking to him. He said he wanted to do some solo touring.
Chin added that he wanted the "freedom" of exploring the route from Rawang to Penang by himself.
An avid cyclist, Mr Chin has been organizing rides for friends and newcomers and is pretty influential in the circle.
When the riders were ready, Johnny gave a short safety briefing and the ride leader was Mike Kium.
He blew his whistle and off they went on a 20km ride to Old Klang Road...

Johnny, giving a safety briefing to the cyclists

Rolling out..
Riding in an orderly manner

The route to SS2, Petaling Jaya (pix: MH Chye)
Keeping check and balance..

To ge things going, Johnny had engaged a couple of close friends to assist Mike Kium who led the ride.
They carried whistles and kept the flock in order while maneuvering their bicycles on the roads in Petaling Jaya.
There were a few bridge crossings and even a short-cut through a parking bay in the Tropicana City Mall..

Riding from Bandar Utama to Taman Tun Dr Ismail
Big John assisting a little rider on the ramp to Tropicana Mall

A scenic view of the greater Petaling Jaya

Since there were children in the ride, we re-grouped a few times to allow slower riders to catch up.
There were some really dangerous stretches along the route, but with the experienced riders helping out to direct traffic, the journey was rather smooth.
Even the motorists were very helpful in giving way, allowing cyclists to co-share the road.
We worked our way towards PJ Old Town and lost the ride leader who was way ahead..

First impressions: Ortlieb Office Bag

On the "want-list"

I've been cycling to work with my Tern Eclipse S18, using the Ortlieb trunk bag as my pack to haul tools and spares including a rain jacket.
On the side of the bike, I latched on an Ortlieb Backroller.
This will carry my working clothes, a towel  and some essential items.
After much thought, it finally hit me that the Ortlieb Office Bag is the best luggage to carry all my junk without giving the impression that I am going somewhere on an "overnight" trip.

The Ortlieb Office Bag Plus
Another source for Ortlieb bags..

So, there I was, I spoke o the official distributor dude. 
Waited fairly a bit and was told that he had to pack orders from other dealers before he could proceed.
Seems that his dealers are more important. So, customers gets the second fiddle.
I have waited for two months and was not going to wait any longer. So, I told the guy to cancel my order and began sourcing for the bag from another source.
Since I am not obligated to purchase from the official channel, I turned to a reliable supplier with no-frills. 
I made a small deposit for the bag and waited for two weeks before it arrived. 
What's nice about the alternate supplier was the fact that his price was very reasonable and he renders his service with a smile...

The Ortlieb Office Bag Plus is a class product
Solid with a touch of class..

There are two versions of the Ortlieb Office Bag.
One's made of Vinyl and the other is produced from waterproof nylon.
Both incorporates a different mounting system.
I went for the more expensive Ortlieb Office Bag with the QL-3 mounting system.
This costs about RM650 a piece.
Straight out of the box, the office bag is impressive.
It has compartments for you to pack your laptop (well, these are slowly fading out for tablets) and working essentials.
There's also an organizer panel for you to slip in your writing instruments and notepads.
A sling strap comes standard with the bag for you to haul it into your office cubicle (lowly minions like me share my workplace with other co-workers).
The bag is waterproof and to secure its precious cargo, it comes with a roll-down flap.
Once you've folded the flap properly, there's a set of snap buckles that locks the back firmly on its side.

The roomy interior of the office bag
How the luggage looks like on my bike..
What Rocks 

The Office Bag is a nicely built luggage that you can strap onto your bike.
It uses a QL-3 mount which can be installed in most luggage racks.
No issues on getting the mount onto the Biologic Portage 24 rack on my 24" folding bike.
Once mounted, the bag is secure.
To detach the bag, simply lift the back strap and its free from the locking notch on the QL-3 mount.
Since this bag is waterproof, there's no issue on riding in any weather condition.
And out of the mount, it looks like any other briefcase.

What Sucks

The QL-3 mount is rather flimsy. A lot of weight stress is taken on the frame that is bolted onto the luggage rack.
And if you pack a lot of heavy stuff, the bag tends to sag to one side. But this is not a big issue if you know how to balance your cargo. 
To overcome the sag, a side compression strap will come in handy.

Well, there, you have it! My first-impression review on the Ortlieb Office Bag Plus. More information about this product can be sourced on-line from or

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Cool beans from Tern Bicycles for 2015 - Part 2

Big is beautiful..

The first bike that I reviewed from Tern Bicycles was the Tern Eclipse S11i.
It has a pricetag of RM7.7k and is perhaps one of the most elegant 24" bikes ever to hit our street.
One dealer actually said: "Ahhh, we don't have problem selling it, I've closed more than a dozen deals with this model.."
I find that hard to believe, coming from a guy who is barely in the business for a few years. But that's sales talk infused with false humility..
Anyway, jokes aside, I felt rather sad that the very bike that I tested and raved about so much was under appreciated.
Today, there is a 2011 Taiwan-made Tern Eclipse S11i in a dealership at Klang that seeks a new home. Hahahah!

The Eclipse S11i with a portage 24 rack
Something rather new..

Tern introduced the Eclipse P18L and the Node D16 to beef it their 24" line-up.
There's also a very elegant Eclipse Uno that is meant solely for the hipster.
Okay, let's take a look at the Eclipse P18L.
It's a departure from the minimalist Eclipse P18 that replaces the Eclipse P9.
The difference can be seen on the stem and steering system.
Instead of the VRO stem, Tern uses an Andros stem to integrate the Valo 2 headlight.
This 140-lumen light, from what I see in the official photo, might be battery-powered rather than being illuminated by a Biologic Joule 3 dynamo hub.

Eclipse P18L
Josh Hon of Tern once explained: "The Eclipse P18 is a budget version of the X20..", so, it's no surprise why it sold pretty well here in the Klang Valley.
I find it very appealing with its yellow/black (Bumblebee) and black/white (stormtrooper) colour scheme.
The P18L is packaged with front and rear fenders, making it rather "toned down".
By the looks of it, I can see that its meant for more mature cyclists who want a compact folding bike that gives plenty of comfort.
The Eclipse P18L answers to those who want to cycle to work with an option to engage in multi-modal commute.
With 2015 as deadline for the much-anticipated KL LRT line extension, the Eclipse P18L will fit in nicely.

Class, in it's element..

Tern Eclipse Uno

Tern's lifestyle advertisement shot

The Eclipse Uno in perspective
If the Tern Eclipse S11i is elegant, then the Eclipse Uno is one of the classiest 24" bike I've ever seen.
Well, it's just photos, I do hope to catch a glimpse of the bike up close and personal.
When this single-speed bike was introduced at Eurobike 2014, the Japanese went ga-ga over it.
And they are the first people to sink their claws on it. I don't envy them.
Even our neighbours across the causeway are people we envy. At the small island, they are getting the full range of 2015 Tern bikes.
Based on specs, the Eclipse Uno is a simple no-frills ride.
Price-wise, I would anticipate it to be around RM5k or more.

Node D16

For large people: The Node D16
The Node, riding alongside an Eclipse S18

Last year, two new 24" bikes were introduced.
They were the Node D8 and D7i.
One runs on the traditional chainring and cogwheel drivetrain and the other is powered by an internal hub.
The node, says Josh Hon, is meant for tall people.
Based on its sheer looks, the bike resembles a Link D8 on steroids.
And speaking of handling, it rides very well and solid.
Sadly, we won't see the Node here in Malaysia as there is little demand for the bike.
For 2015, Tern added a double chainring on the Node, giving it a 16-speed drivetrain. 
So, if you have hills to climb, it would be a piece of cake.

How will Tern fare in 2015 here?

Based on the brand's solid reputation, Tern is here to stay.
It's recognised that they have some of the best bikes on the 20" and 24" category and prices are really competitive.
With Dahon moving in with a new marketing strategy and other brands such as Pacific Cycle, Java, XDS, Trinx - trailing behind and a host of China-made folding bikes aggressively pushing its way in the market, Tern would have to do a bit more by raising awareness about their product.
At this point, K2 Asia is rather dormant, leaving it pretty much to their dealers to sell.
But that's not enough to move forward. Hopefully, we'll see the new bikes as they hit the shelves in January this year or by late June..

Cool beans from Tern Bicycles for 2015 - Part 1

Expect the unexpected...

Eurobike yielded some really cool bikes from Tern.
For 2015, a few new models will enter the Link, Verge, Node and Eclipse line-up. 
The head-turning bike was the revamped Verge X-20.
A new paint job, Kinetic X wheelset and top-end components made this bike a highly-sought after 20 foldie in its class.
I am going to break this down in two-parts. So, first, here are some really cool high-end stuff from Tern.. 

Faster and even more furious..

Tern also revamped its Verge X10. 
For 2015, a new colour is introduced: Lime Green.
This, in my humble opinion, appeals to those who want a performance bike which is only one notch under the Verge X-20.
The new X-10 has a completely revamped Kinetic-X wheelset and hubs.
What's amazing, is the styling.
No price was given as yet, but be prepared to fork out RM7k at the least.

Orange/White is still the trademarked colour of the Tern Verge X10

The new X-10 and its awesome colour scheme

Bye-bye X30h, enter the X18!

Tern discontinued their Verge X30h, a direct descendant of the Vector X27.
Frankly, I don't miss this bike.
And for 2015, Tern re-styled their fastest bike ever with a really kick-ass colour scheme and gave it an 18-speed drivetrain.
It figures because if you are a strong rider, perhaps in the class of an amateur athlete, you won't really need all that 30 gears on the bike.
For those with legs of steel, I think the 18-speed X18 would do the job chasing roadies on the trail.

Best, just got better: The Verge X18
Drop bar with road bike shifters

The front wheel with top-notched components

Kinetic Pro-X, setting new standards

VRO Syntace stem yields superb handling

Shimano Ultergra rear derailleur
I don't know if anyone in Malaysia will ever see the Tern Verge X-18, and price-wise, it would easily hit the five-figure mark. I am not surprised if the local distributor would not sell this bike due to lack of demand, but it will be interesting to see how things develop now that they only have one brand of folding bike from Taiwan to focus on.

The common man's Verge..

Tern's decision to 'down-scale' the Verge to a P9 (a "kit" bike for enthusiasts) and by introducing the Verge N8 ; practically a town bike with multi-modal commuting in mind, is a good move to get more people into cycling.
Based on its component package, the bike is more suited to more "mature" cyclists who do not want to spend money upgrading their bikes.
In short, the Verge P9 that was introduced this year was rather meant for the "young and restless", folks who want to pimp their bikes with high-end components to get the most out of it.
The Verge N8 would be an affordable bike for the beginner who demands for a solid bike that is there to provide some level of comfort and convenience on the road.

Link-series, ever endearing and still appealing...

Tern Link D-16
The Link-series bikes are coming into its fourth year.
We had a taste of the Link D-8 and the beginning was not a smooth affair.
A stop pin that breaks easily on the bike's handlebar latch was first of some teething issues and later there was a recall for defective frames. 
There were reported cases where a batch of bikes had sheared in half due to metal fatigue on the welded joints.
To make it good, Tern issued a voluntary recall and replaced the frames at no cost.
Five models: The Link P7i, Link P9, Link P24h, Link Uno, Link Uno/trolley rack were retired.
One of the most watched bike is the Link D-16.
This is one bike my friend Johnny Ng of My Bicycle Shop in Bandar Utama had hoped to sell.
I don't know if K2 Asia, the official distributor for Malaysia would even consider bringing in the Link D16, but it would be a sure bet especially when they are competing with the new Dahon distributor from Perak.
The Link D16 features a 16-speed drivetrain with deluxe components.


Tern's new E-bike: The E-Link

Tern ventured into the E-bike fray with introduction of its E-Link which is available in December this year.
It carries a pricetag of RM6.8k (excluding duty, sales tax, freight charges and GST) and I doubt it would be available in Malaysia.
The bike weights more than 12kgs and has a range of 50km on its electric motor and battery pack. It comes with a Shimano Nexus-8 drive train.