akmal's bike park

akmal's bike park

Saturday 29 November 2008

ride pics - plentong hash trail (half of it)

bikes not for sale

ride date 23.11.2008 (Sunday)

I missed the Plentong Hash the week before. As a consolation, Panjang brought us to enjoy the trail (half of it). We started from a new rv point - Cafe Ruza Jalan Kijang, for a change. New faces joined our ride this time.

Went to Flora Heights and into the foray of rubber plantation in Seri Alam. A reverse of what used to be the end of trail when I started riding in Seri Alam.

Started with a climb, then ascending rodeo style. It was terribly awesome!

(a bit lazy to report about the ride this time)

group photo after a few strokes of badminton, and adjusting my handlebar sweep.

Total route was 20+ km that day. And we went home quite early.

What's different this time is that I rode my new hardtail offroad. A whole lot difference that I can feel, especially when climbing up. I dare say that climbing hills are fast and easy, except that I have to learn my seating position during climbing with a hardtail.

Overall I enjoyed this outing - the route particularly, plus my new sweet rig.

Dafi with his new pair of shoes (and clipless CBs) admiring his own Merida

Wednesday 26 November 2008

akmal's new hardtail

Bianchi Mutt 7800 Reparto Corse
17" hardtail pearl white

Mavic XM719 double wall rims
Formula hubs
Panaracer Fire XC Pro 26/2.1 tires

Rock Shox Revelation 409 U-Turn Air 100-130mm travel

Truvativ Stylo Team 3.3 crankset with GXP BB
SRAM X-9 rear derailleur
SRAM PG 970 cassette
SRAM PC 971 chain

Shimano Alivio front derailleur

Avid BB7 Mtn mechanical disc brake caliper
Avid 185mm roundagon rotor
(front and rear)

for the butt:
Thomson Elite Ø27.2 laidback seatpost
WTB Pure V saddle
Amoeba Ø31.8 seatpost clamp

Truvativ XR Ø31.8 680mm riser handlebar
Cateye Velo8 cyclocomputer
SRAM X-9 trigger shifters
Shimano XT brake levers
headlight bracket
also Cotton the cat in the background

Truvativ XR Ø31.8 60mm 5° 3D forged stem
Ritchey WCS sealed bearing threadless aheadset
Amoeba stem lock
stub of the steerer tube serves as a holder for plastic bag from the grocery store.

The overall concept is basically Powered by SRAM build, with exception of a couple of Shimano components.
Colour scheme: black/white/grey/silver

Monday 24 November 2008

night riding in the rain pasir gudang

19.11.2008 Wednesday

We have been night riding from Plentong to Danga Bay once a week for 2 weeks in a row. Time for a change in scenery. Also, considering that most of our riders come from Pasir Gudang area, I proposed to ride around Pasir Gudang this time. With Panjang's help (as always), we charted the route. A change in scenery indeed, we had a short offroad section this time. Riding in the rain. And with few new faces.

Jai has always been the earliest rider to arrive at our rv point (even earlier than me, though the rv point is at my own house). Partly enthusiasm, partly discipline, but mostly because of his personality. The rest of us have to catch up in this area. However, he was waiting for us at the different Ruza. He went to Restoran Ruza in Nusa Damai, while we have agreed to meet at Cafe Ruza in Taman Scientex. Not too far the distance between the two, anyway. But a relief for me, as I was 5 minutes late. So technically I'm earlier than him this time. Yay!!

View Larger Map
Cafe Ruza Jalan Kijang Taman Scientex

6pm when I was driving home from office, the road was dry. By the time I hopped onto the Pasir Gudang highway, the road was already wet. And as I parked my car in the parking lot, it began to drizzle. Errkkk... no wonder Yad who lives in PG texted me asking whether the ride is still on.

As I walked up to a table at Cafe Ruza, I saw 2 new faces - Wan and Shahrul. Wan is a roadie, but rides mtb to work in Pusat Bandar Pasir Gudang. Shahrul is on a short stint in Pasir Gudang, working on a project site only next to my workplace. He bought a new bike very recently, and was looking for riding mates. He searched on the internet and found this blog. Aha... so there is a good use of this blog.

Other riders came one by one - Mizi, Panjang, Yad (and Jai, arriving from Restoran Ruza). While waiting and hoping the rain to subside, we filled our time with a round of teh tarik, limau suam, otak-otak and stories.

9.30 it looked that the rain has subsided (or going to subside), so we went on to our cars and got our gears ready. It seemed that as soon as we were getting ready, the rain started pouring again - a bit more than drizzling. But we moved on. Isaac and Dafi joined us too, they cycled from their house nearby.

So the 9 of us rolled out in the rain heading to Flora Heights. In doing so, we have to cut through an offroad section - a shortcut from Nusa Damai to FH. A few hundred meters, we had the first casualty - Shahrul's front Tektro IO brake caliper a goner. The excess cable apparently is a bit too long, and it was caught between the rotor and the brake pad, bending the outer arm of the caliper inwards. So that's why Avid's BB7 manual warned about leaving not more than 3cm of excess cable, I thought. Still usable, but I guess he was a bit concerned about the safety of riding his bike. Perhaps more so about the $ that he's about to spend for a new caliper - or a new set of hydros?

After battling the climb uphill at FH, we rolled down and reached Seri Alam at Jalan Tasek area. Cut through Jalan Suria area and dashed another climb en route to Masai. Went to Pasir Gudang from there via a couple more climbs - the one next to Masai Bus Station towards Jalan Masai and also beside TNB at Pusat Bandar Pasir Gudang. My bike and I seem to like this ride.

We made a stop at Ontot's burger stall, and after the briefing by Naz about the bike to parliament thingy over burgers and drinks, we continued. Still raining. Time to go home, as we were already about halfway the total route.

We rode through Jalan Keluli and turned right to Taman Pasir Putih, to go to Kota Masai. Another long, hilly climb awaited at Kota Masai on the way to Taman Scientex. As usual, Dafi and Yad would battle and left us trailing them. Reached Cafe Ruza shortly afterwards, and we headed home - past midnight.

Total distance 32km.
Riding time 2 hours.
Riders 9 pax.
Nobody remembered (or bothered) to snap any photos.

I liked the ride. Hilly, cool, not too long, and more riders than our usual.

Wan & Shahrul - nice riding with you guys. Join us for the next one.
And bring yer headlights, matey!

Thursday 20 November 2008

night ride - jb with the missus

18.11.2008 Tuesday

1. School holiday - no school for Naza.
2. Getting a bit tired from house chores during the day, she was contemplating whether going for a short roll around Seri Alam or around JB from Danga Bay (the original plan). We came at the junction - left to Seri Alam, right to Danga Bay. We swerved to the right. That's the spirit!
3. About 10pm we reached Rumah Limas at Danga Bay. Parked and got our bikes ready, we rolled. Naza now an expert in putting on the front tire, and then flipping the bike upright.
4. We crossed Jalan Skudai towards Istana Bukit Serene. Quite some time waiting at the roadside for the traffic to clear. Perhaps because of the school holiday, already 10pm but still the traffic is quite heavy.
5. Cruised along Jalan Straits View - secluded hilly road beside Istana Bukit Serene. Pace was slo-mo. Not much vehicles on this side of JB. No dogs, either. Cool and breezy.
6. Turned left and went down Jalan Kapten Mohd Amin, then took a left on Jalan Mohd Amin until the end. Another left on Jalan Sungai Chat to get to Jalan Kolam Ayer. Proceeded to Jalan Linkaran Dalam towards Stulang.
7. Nope, didn't ride to Stulang. Earlier intention was to go to Bukit Timbalan via Jalan Mahmoodiah and Jalan Yahaya Awal. Scraped that - I was not that brave to ride beside the graveyard. Instead, we turned left and took Jalan Abdul Samad.
8. Jalan Abdul Samad is a long hilly ride. Naza kept a steady pace and went up without much problem. Took a left and went down the hill on Jalan Nong Chik. Usually, for my normal Danga Bay night rides with the guys, we would go up the hill. I savoured the downhill that night. Woohoo!!
9. It's already 11pm by that time and Naza urged to go back to the car. 7km so far. Okay, I guess. A bit longer than our usual rides together nearby Seri Alam's lake.
10. Intimidated by the traffic along Jalan Skudai, we opted to tread along Jalan Straits View from Jalan Tengku Puteri. Some time later we were back in Danga Bay to the awaiting Avanza.
11. I asked her if she wants a teh tarik session, and she replied "dah penat-penat kayuh bakar lemak, taknak lah...". Well... we went back to Plentong.

route map:

View Larger Map

no photos of the ride.
ride stats:
distance about 11km
average speed 14km/h

Wednesday 19 November 2008

quote me

It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.
~Ernest Hemingway

...and as you conquered the hills, there's a joy of triumph along with sweat (and swears).
~ Akmal Hizam

Tuesday 18 November 2008

XR cockpit

XR cockpitI've hunted for Truvativ cockpit for some time now, and found the set offered by USJ Cycles via BBS. Ahh... the bliss of internet. Transfered $ through Maybank2U, and receive the goods a couple of days later via Poslaju.

SRAM stem and handlebar application chart I opted for the XR range from Truvativ, for XC - both the stem and handlebar. This time I'm going Ø31.8 oversize. At 680mm, the handlebar is a bit wide for me. Have to cut it perhaps an inch each side.

The flashlight bracket has to be hacked to be installed on an oversized handlebar. Have to forego the supplied bolt and nut, and use a cable tie instead. Hence the bracket a permanent resident near the center of the cockpit.

Installed Sunday morning and looking neat for now. Never had the chance to have a go yet. Tonight I'm testing it on road insyaAllah, and tune it if necessary.

Truvativ XR stem
XR stem 60mm 5deg and flashlight bracket hack

Monday 17 November 2008

joy with new mini toy

During a night ride with Naza and kids, I realized that I have lost my el cheapo trusty multi tool. I got it from Tesco Ampang about a year ago for RM12 (I think). With the absence of a proper set of bike tools back then, it helped me a lot with my tinkering on my bikes.
So long my friend, wherever you may be. You served me well, and we had great time learning. Well, time to move on now...

Some time ago, knowing what I need and what's nice to have for a compact multi tool to bring along my bike rides, Crank Brothers' Multi 17 seems to fit my requirements nicely. Well, it's in my wishlist, but never actually looked for it.

Now that I really need a replacement, I went to Aunty's bike shop in Taman Universiti and pondered over the selection of Topeak tools on display. Her's is the only place in JB that I know to get Topeaks. Only one caught my attention - Mini 18+. It has 18 tools in one compact offering. Plus, a nice neoprene bag to store the mini tool (won't be needing it, though - but nice, still). Weighing at 185g (versus CB M17's 168g) and at a very good price (after haggling her to mark down further than the displayed RM98), I took it home. I wasn't really bothered with the weight, anyway.

I have a soft spot for Topeak goods. Their designs are beautiful and a lot of thoughts being put in their products, eliminating the unnecessaries while maintaining aestethics. Coupled with the unavailability of CB in JB bike shops, perhaps that's why I opted for the Mini 18+.

I don't know why the '+', but I know for me it has all the tools I need to bring along on my biking outings, plus more. Complete with a chain tool and torx-25, I don't have to bring separate tools for each, as I do now. And there's also a flat blade for disc brake pads - to press the disc pads back into the calipers if brake levers are accidentally actuated while wheels are removed. I have yet tried out my hands on wheel truing, but now I have the necessary tools for it - 14g & 15g spoke wrenches (the 14g also doubles up as chain pin breaker tool). I can do without the single tire lever, though.

I'm happy with the purchase. Although we boys like to tinker with our new toys, I hope that I won't be needing it much along the trails or on the roadside. The assurance and availability of a reliable compact multi tool are what I need, really.

tool photo taken from Topeak's website.
Topeak logo and slogan copyright of Topeak Inc.

Thursday 13 November 2008


T-Bolt before dismantled (with Michael the friendly cat)My T-Bolt has been dismantled with only a few parts essential to the frame attached to it.

T-Bolt frameset:
  • T-Bolt 18" frame (blue)
  • Fox Float R rear shock
  • FSA Orbit XL II headset
  • Standard seatpost clamp
  • UMF seatpost 31.6mm
  • Shimano Deore LX FD-M570-E front derailleur
I'm using a 17" Bianchi Mutt 7800 frame now, with SRAM/Rock Shox/Avid/Truvativ parts and wheelset salvaged from the T-Bolt.
I've decided to maintain only one hardtail for me - for both road and offroad rides.
So, right now at home: one bike each for Naza, Marsya, Adam and I.

Nope, no intention to sell of the T-Bolt frameset. I'm a bit sentimental about it, you see.
I learnt a lot with it, and known many people through building a bike around it.
I enjoyed the plush rides with the T-Bolt, and if the crave for some boingy ride urged some time in the future, I'll get it out and assemble a bike, adding the joy of building a bike to boot.

Monday 10 November 2008

Rvlatn Wk - Ride 2: offroad in LTM with Kelolo and the gang

25th. October 2008 | Saturday

Early morning, drove from Jalan Tun Razak to Caltex Selayang petrol station (just next to Pasaraya Warta - the most prominent landmark in the whole Selayang).
Reached the rendezvous point much earlier than agreed with Kelolo. We are going to Bandar Tasik Puteri (BTP) in Batu Arang, near Rawang. It's been quite some time since the last time I've been to Rawang. Anyway, that's not the thing I'm excited about this morning. It's been a few weeks since my last offroad ride. And I'll be riding with Kelolo in his playground.

A little bit after 8:00 am, Kelolo arrived with Ummu and their girl Farihah. Kelolo's boys are not following us, for the Unser is cramped with 4 bikes and 3 pax. Apparently, the boys were left at home, sad with the fact that they couldn't come along. I should've gone to his house and take them along in Avanza instead of meeting at the RV point.
Faris, Farhan, and Fadlan: I'm very sorry for that one. Forgive me ya.

Following from behind, we drove towards Rawang along Jalan Ipoh. Passing by Hutan Lipur Kanching, memories crept in. I had my first camping with JBS WP there. Oh, and how can I forget the hilly road, especially at the point towards the HLK entrance. Was 13, with a steel Raleigh road bike, pedalled uphill with friends on the way to Sungai Bil in Tanjung Malim. Several times we conquered this hill. Precious memories.

1.3 Avanza had a hard time following the 1.8 Unser, most of time speed was about 100km/h. I followed still, and soon reached Rawang. The only landmark that I remembered was Lafarge Cement on the left. Pretty soon, we were entering BTP in Batu Arang and reached the parking lot. A nice warm Saturday morning, the stalls lining up the brim of the parking area were full with customers, getting their breakfast. What a nice leisurely Saturday.

We unloaded the bikes out from Unser and prepped up for the four of us. I was truly amazed with how he could neatly cramp 4 bikes in there. Still there's ample space for riding paraphernalia - helmets, floor pumps, et al.

Much to my surprise, we are not going to ride with BBB riders this morning. I thought we were already late, as Kelolo were driving fast all the way from Selayang. It turned out that we were to have a leisure ride in Ladang Tuan Mee (LTM) in BTP all by ourselves. Cool, then.

waiting for Daniel

After a pack of nasi lemak and warm Milo for breakfast, we got ready for our ride. Kelolo asked Hashim Degawan of BBB for his GPS, and he lent us his. The biggest unit I've seen - in a form of a 10 year old boy. Well, the youngest guide I've known, then. We waited for Daniel to finish his breakfast, and off we went.

We cycled to the starting area called 'block 6', and waited for another rider to join us. Kelolo and I killed time practicing log hop on the tarmac while the rest were resting under the shade of a hut. Convinced that it's a no-show, we went in only the 5 of us - Ummu, Iyyah and Daniel went in a bit earlier.

The welcoming entrance to LTM is uphill an 'open naked barren rutted red earth climb', as Kelolo puts it. I wondered how do we get down this if we were to end our ride here. Nevermind, just enjoy the offroad ride for now. First destination: Teres 3. Then we'll go to the 'Playground' and to Teres 2.

Daniel the robust GPS

First revelation: riding a hardtail is cool (compared to my T-Bolt). It is light, climbs uphill steadily, agile and fast. With Marzocchi shocks on his Element, Kelolo's hardtail that I used felt awesome. I guess the 'Zocch's plushness added confidence too. This, and the responsive Quad hydros on board.

LTM is a palm oil plantation. Much of the trees are young. Fronds are put together and kept to the sides. Very neat and well kept with only little vegetation between the trees.

While going down the terraces of T3, Daniel easily cruised and jumped through, literally child's play to him. Really. Kelolo assured me that this area is Daniel's, week in and week out riding in here. I was simply amazed, still. The fall I took in February still haunted me. But that was a different kind of ride. Going down terraces requires a different set of skills - timing, agility and guts (at least for me).

I took the challenge, and succeeded going down T3. It's a set of small successive mild drops, bringing you down the hill. Not that steep, but the last drop was not that mild either. The closest to it that we have in Plentong is called the 'jongkang-jongket' (see-saw). The difference between these two is that jongkang-jongket' has mild drops over a longer distance, and not as steep. You just glide down and enjoy the fast ride downhill.

Daniel Iyyah

Ummu Kelolo

The most challenging for me in T3 was the two succesive descend off-camber carving steep terraces. I don't know what's the height, but enough to make me shiver. Daniel again made it look easy. At that point, I thought his advantage is because of his low center of gravity (COG). Anyway, if you're not brave enough, COG wouldn't matter at all. And so I gathered my mental strength and courage to take on this experience. I succeeded, and man, the feeling is out of this world!

We headed on towards the Playground. Had to climb up mossy doubletrack. This, I like very much - the triumph after the slow and steady pedaling uphill non-stop. Playground looks harmless and innocent. It provides nice gentle drops on the terraces for you to practice your riding skills. Pedaling up a small mound, going down successive drops - gliding or jumping. And like most playgrounds you see in housing areas, this Playground could be dangerous too, if you're not careful. I fell down when doing a successive drop. Minor bruises only. Well, as the Malay saying goes, 'tempat jatuh lagi dikenang' - I'll definitely remember this Playground.

Next was to Teres 2. Kelolo in front, followed by Daniel, me, Iyyah and Ummu. A mishap happened on the way. Kelolo took a tumble - fell acrobatically on a palm tree about 2 feet down aside the ledge that we rode on. His front tire flipped sideways when riding on a palm frond lying on the unkept ground. I didn't witness the accident, but Daniel gave a good account about it to all of us.

While falling, Kelolo was twisting his body a la Moero Attack (except that he's going down instead of jumping up). He's the only one with a camera, and so no photos of him crouched on the ground beneath his green ogre, flanked by the ledge and the stupidly still palm tree. Well, during that time the situation was a little bit tensed. If I do have a camera, I don't know whether it is okay to snap photos, instead of helping fellow rider. Apparently, it is not easy to witness Kelolo taking a tumble. So, woohooo! I had!

re-enactment of the bedepek

After nursing the cut, taking photos, doing the re-enactment, and a little rest, we moved onwards T2. We were actually going uphill, right to the top. And then again going downhill through the terraces. Heck, there was one descend that's actually a set of small steep staircase. Still, Daniel went through it like savoring his breakfast. I hesitated, and opted using my biceps - carried the bike down.

Back to the Playground, and then home towards block 6. Uh oh, we'll have to go down the 'open naked barren rutted red earth'. Kelolo went first and stopped midway to take photos and videos. Iyyah and mUmmu went down next, quite cautiously and in slow motion. When Daniel's time came, he went down like it's nothing. Boy, this guy should've gone to KLD. I went down last, gently reached the bottom and with Kelolo we regrouped with the earlier riders. By that time, it was already Zuhr. And time for lunch.

We went to the parking lot riding leisurely. Passing by a school, Daniel took the chance to run down the staircases of the school's bus stop. 'Pantang jumpa tempat turun'. Reached the parking lot and we sat at Hashim's stall. Savoured his plain homemade cendol and laksa Perlis. The cendol was very good, in fact, the best so far I've had - not too sweet, not too mushy, not too hard either, and the shaved ice was very fine. No, not because it was on the house by Hashim.

Helped Kelolo to pack the bikes into his Unser, and got myself ready to go. We parted our ways from the parking lot, and headed for the highway towards KL. I went straight to Crown Princess, had my shower and such. Quite tired, and it's a bit late but still managed to go to Mak Ngah's for Kak Liza's kenduri. Nubhan and Toi were there, but they already took off by the time I reached Kg Pandan. Nevermind. Mak Ngah's house would be crowded if they're there, anyway. I wanted to relax. Had a plate of laksa Johor and chat with my cousins. Next: fetch Naza, mak and kids from Puduraya and spend the night at the hotel with my family in KL.

What a day. Bike ride, adrenaline, cendol, laksa Perlis, revelations, friends, family, laksa Johor - all in a day.

Thanks Kelolo and family, Hashim Degawan and Daniel.

Pics taken from Kelolo's photo album.