akmal's bike park

akmal's bike park

Sunday 28 June 2009

Offroad 21.06.09 - heroes

Quite a few mishaps along the 26km offroad ride last weekend. Every time, heroes emerging among the 13 riders, lending helping hands for each other.

We went in from Cafe Ruza without our usual guide Inche Panjang, who went back to his kampung to see his folks and a friend coming back from the Middle East. So, we had to rely on our agak2 guide - Atuk. The first hero of the day.

hah... ini laa Atuk

On road from Ruza to Nusa Damai, then to Seri Alam via palm oil plantation. Up to the Galaxy Tower (aka Bukit Love) near Cactus Inn (aka Kandang Kuda). Took a breather following the uphill, enjoying the Seri Alam scenery, and deciding where to go next.

view of Seri Alam

From the vantage point, we saw the hill (and the downhill) of 'Bukit 9G'. The group decided to scale it, to savour the speed afterwards. And yes, we decided to call it 'Bukit Sembilan G'. No, not sembilang the fish.

I took the half climb route, then went down. So that I could have a good view of people bombing downhill. This is the second time, and the condition was quite good. Quite controllable compared to before. So I decided to go easy on the brakes. Man, what a thrill speeding downhill.

stronger and able men pedal up all the way. the rest, well...

*actual slope. image not tilted

superb skill, going downhill backwards. get in touch with Amir for lessons.

no, not the wild one like in Chenulang.

taking a breather after Bukit Anjing, before going downhill.

We climbed from halfway up Bukit Anjing af terwards, and went down. The first mishap happened. Amir somehow banged his knees on the pedals. Bruises on both knees, and could not continue the ride. Bob helped with the scratch wounds.

Called up his dad and agreed to meet up at Cactus Inn. Jamal assisted by giving a push while Amir pedaled on his bike. About a few hundred meters later, we heard the rumble of a motorbike. The man agreed to help send Amir to Cactus Inn. Another hero. Unfortunately I didn't ask for the man's name, and tak sempat amik gambar aney tu.

Another hero needed, to bring out Amir's bike. I'm not sure what's the distance, but Kadafi did superbly going both up and down the terrain out to Cactus Inn. On foot, and on the saddle. Lu memang champion la bro!

Kadafi - twin bike riding.
on foot...

...and on the saddle

Reza broke a chain link while going to Cactus Inn, and I helped with the 'longer time but cheap' way. Used for the first time my chain cutter on the Topeak Mini 18+. Man, it is now rusted a bit, although I had oiled the whole of the unit. Oit Reza, apesal kau tak amik gambar aku haa?

Hafiz suffered a flat tire. Bob, EG and Budiman to the rescue and offered help.

We moved in again, and off to the 'badminton' rubber tapper hut. Then to Mashi Maro, another hut. After that we went back through the sand desert, exiting at Flora Heights.

Hafiz, Jamal and I were at the back end. Jamal asked me to take a video of him jumping up a mound, so Hafiz went by himself to group up with the others. When Jamal and I arrived, we came to know that two falls had taken place at the downhill towards FH. Hafiz and EG were involved, in two separate accidents. No heroes needed, as the guys could take the fall, and the ride nearing end already - you know how charged up you could be when the ending is near.

So, that's my coverage for last week's ride. We had those basic mtb emergencies and injuries. Hats off to all the heroes. Spirit of Biking Brotherhood alive. Been 2 weeks for me, and I enjoyed it tremendously.

Thursday 25 June 2009

RTW 25.06.09 - puasa mode with flat tire

Went out at 0651 hours. Reached office at 0749 hours. Close to an hour.


Stats today (to):

Ride time: 39m 55s

Dist: 12.63 km

Ave: 19.0 km/h

Max: 35.0 km/h

Odo: 2110.7 km

Mangy doggies: 3 :)


I'm riding in puasa mode today. Slow and steady, no rush. I went out of the house early for that. The roads are not busy. Looking at my stats, yes, I was really taking my time. 19 km/h average, and max 35.0 km/h.


As I crossed the road after Stadium Pasir Gudang, my tire went flat. I managed to be calm and composed. Took out the fresh spare tube (note to self: patch the punctured tube, and put it back in later) and hand pump (or is it actually ‘compressor’?) and looked at my watch.


I have ample time for replacing the tube. Luckily my semislicks are of those folded type, easy removal and putting them back in. Pumped in air just enough to carry on, and I’m back on the saddle again. That took me 8 minutes. I don’t know whether that’s considered fast or slow, but I think that’s the fastest I’ve ever done changing tubes.


The culprit? A shard of glass. Quite a big puncture. Oops, I threw it away. Usually I’m a bit sentimental about it. You know, how that shard of glass presented me the challenge, bla bla blah… I kept the tiny thorn that ‘helped’ me learn how to change tubes, but I lost it now. So I thought for this glass, just rather move on and fahgeddaboudit. I keep the lessons, good enough for me.


Wednesday 24 June 2009

RTW 24.06.09 - simply late

Went out at 0716 hours. Reached office at 0755 hours.

Stats today (to):
Ride time: 36m 47s
Dist: 12.60 km
Ave: 20.5 km/h
Max: 41.4 km/h
Odo: 2088.2 km
Good doggies: a lot! Lost count. Everyone seems to be up already by the time I pass by their spots.
Simply late.
Fed the cat, and took my time.
And ride ultra-leisurely. Don't want to get too sweaty. Also I wanted to see how it would fare, in preparation for tomorrow's fasting ride (as in 'puasa', not 'speedy').
I think this is the most late arrival at the office of all my RTWs. Still it is before 8 o'clock. I don't quite like it. The roads seem to be much busier, and vehicles are speedier when it is 0740 hours. Everyone is racing for the punchcard (or swipe machines). Quite challenging to cross the roads, although it is quite easy when pedaling uphill towards the Masjid Jamek Pasir Gudang's traffic light - cars are jam packed and static, giving me comfortable room to needle through.

Monday 22 June 2009

find the rider

can you find EG in all these photos?

EG in full camo suit, from top to toe, including water bladder.

Friday 19 June 2009

RTW 19.06.09 - puasa yang yok mode

Went out at 0656 hours. Reached office at 0735 hours.

Stats today (to):
Ride time: 35m 43s
Dist: 12.59 km
Ave: 21.1 km/h
Max: 37.7 km/h
Odo: 2039.0 km
Good doggies: a lovey-dovey couple and another who seems to care about his poo more than anything in the world at that moment.

I'm riding in puasa mode today. That though actually came about after a I was a few kms on the road this morning, after I have sipped a few short gulps of water. Yes, why not. Ramadhan is nearing, and it has been quite some time since my last puasa sunat.

Pedaling slow and steady is the trick. The results: a bit faster, not much sweat and heat. Also a little less tiring. The thing is, I can only try it out first time next Wed or Thu.

Explored a route yesterday evening for riding back home. It's alongside the Pasir Gudang highway. On grass and gravel. No more riding along that short distance where I have to go head-to-head with vehicles on a narrow path.

Thursday 18 June 2009

RTW 18.06.09 - kayuhan malas

Went out at 0656 hours. Reached office at 0739 hours.

Stats today (to):
Ride time: 36m 06s
Dist: 12.58 km
Ave: 20.9 km/h
Max: 36.1 km/h
Odo: 2013.8 km
Good doggies: 3

mode: leisurely (read: malas kayuh).
Been a week since my last ride. Phewww...
As usual I enjoyed it, nonetheless.

I started with my odometer at 2001 km this morning. On to the next 1000 km! Err... in a few months time, perhaps? Not really targeting my distance, but 80 km a week would be marvellous enough for me. That would take me 12.5 weeks. 3 months or so.
Hmm... not bad.

Tuesday 16 June 2009

octalink crankset removal - the solution

I noticed that local readers and from faraway lands visiting this humble bike blog are looking for solution on a problem posed by Shimano: how to remove octalink crankset.

You need a special tool for it. Shimano's TL-FC15.

If you don't have it, you can machine it yourself. Atuk from Seri Alam did just that. I borrowed from him to remove my LX crankset. My problem solved.

We are not fortunate enough like Atuk, having a lathe machine at his workplace to machine bike parts during lunch hours. Heck, he also machined a metal bashguard for himself. That's another story altogether of course.

Rejoice, everyone, for we have the help of engineering marvel. And hardware stores.

You can use a bolt in lieu of the special tool. Okay, you can shout 'yay!' now.

Yes, a bolt. No, not that Disney's dog. Just a humble bolt from your local hardware store.

Go find yourself a bolt with the head diameter of about Ø16mm. No bigger, and not much smaller. Also take note that the height of the bolt head should be as minimum as possible. Height of about 13mm would render it useless - you would not be able to screw in the crank removal tool onto the crank thread.

I hope this helps. If it does, do come back here and tell us your story (in less than 100 words). This tip was given by BC Kelolo many moons ago.

Sunday 14 June 2009

CF TT session 12.06.2009

I attended OGA 2009 exhibition at KL Convention Center on Friday 12th. June 2009.
Killed 3 birds with 1 stone.
  1. Visited Ibu and Ayah at Senawang the night before.
  2. Attended the exhibition.
  3. Meet up with riders for CF TT session at Pelita Restaurant Jalan Ampang.
I went there quite early - was already there by 5:30 pm. Famished, for I didn't really had a good lunch. The sky was also getting dark, with occasional thunder. It's never a bad thing to be early, anyway. Well, I'm quite early - by half an hour for the regular once-a-month meeting on every second Friday of the month. I killed time with a plate of nasi goreng and iced tea avec lychee. Apparently I killed only 10 minutes of the time with those. Very well then, it wouldn't do any harm to me for a glass of teh tarik, though the TT session is not about teh tarik itself.

Azizan came around 6:30 pm. He was caught in a jam. Imagine being caught in a jam in KL streets even though you're riding a bicycle. That bad. Kuman came too, albeit only for a while. Thoryol Pemalu, BC Kelolo and Axy were also there that evening. Ahh, faces are now attached to familiar nicknames found in BBS. 2 other fellas joined us, before the scheduled slow ride from Pelita starts. Being a shy guy, I didn't ask for their names. *blush*

What do I think of the session? It's a social meet up among bikers. Naturally, the topics being discussed are about bicycles - bikes, gadgets, happenings, events and the likes. I got positive feedbacks about this blog from Azizan, too. Something that we need, once in a while. Azizan also told me that somehow this blog bars him from posting comments through Opera on his mobile phone. Must be some setting somewhere, which I don't really have a good knowledge of.

I didn't RTW on a CF last Friday, but I reckon attending the small gathering is much more special. So yes, it's a good monthly gathering. I'll try to make it the next time I'm in KL on the meeting day insyaAllah.

Huhu... I bet Azizan is itching to post a comment on this one. How about a short ride to the 'net cafe, bro?

l to r: azizan fixie, thoryol pemalu, ?, ?, bc kelolo, axy

Saturday 13 June 2009

classic bike bell

I was browsing the net with my daughter Marsya to help her with his school work. The subject is 'springs'.

So we googled for images of ehm ehm, full suspension bikes and also a bike bell (among other everyday things with springs of course).

This one from Zakkaliciousness' flickr caught my attention. Rustic bike bell. A visit to Søren Sögreni's website, and suddenly I was like transported to 50 years ago.

The price? 199dkk. That's about RM140. Pheww...

Anyway, a website with prices displayed is very nice website. I have always liked them.

Also from the flickr pages, I came to know that in Denmark bike bells are mandatory.

By the way, I still can't figure it out how to ring the Sogreni's bell.

Image by Zakkaliciousness

Thursday 11 June 2009

RTW 11.06.09 - addicted to endorphin

Went out at 0706 hours. Reached office at 0748 hours.

Stats today (to):
  • Ride time: 35m 16s
  • Dist: 12.57 km
  • Ave: 21.4 km/h
  • Max: 39.4 km/h
  • Odo: 1988.5 km
  • Good doggies: 4
I was on MC yesterday, due to common colds. Again, I insisted on RTW this morning, since I had not done any cycling this week. For today, it's a different cause. I want to get some exercise. I want to feel good. Generally I guess, I'm addicted to endorphin - and not by eating chocolate (hmm... no wonder I found myself eating a bar of chocolate yesterday).

But wait, I also wanted to make this morning's RTW as leisurely as possible, and don't want to break sweat. Hmmm... how can I get endorphin without breaking sweat. Quite a contradictory situation.

Anyway, I pedaled on, enjoying the views as usual. Really relaxed pedaling, trying to have a constant cadence - thus played the gearings all the way.

Surprisingly, this relaxed riding again repeated the previous outcome. My total riding time is still about 40 minutes. Only added 2-3 minutes from the usual strenous pedaling.

Met a lot of dogs on the road this morning. I guess they haven't got their breakfast yet so they're not as playful (read: aggressive) as a dog would be upon sighting a bicyclist. However, the dog in my residential area barked at me as I was passing in front of its owner's house. Perhaps he's gotten his breakfast already. Perhaps...

I saw another rider from MMHE yesterday afternoon. Ramesh went home from work riding his bike. At a very relaxed pace. So that's the 2-in-1 inspiration for today's ride.

Glad to see another rider on the road. And I know there's one less car in the yard's parking space.

Oh yeah, and I was sweating as usual. Leisurely or not, it's a sure thing. Sheeshh...

Friday 5 June 2009

Today, Fri is a WED

5th June is a World Environment Day.

Haiyaahhh.. I wasn't even aware of this, until an email from Hj. Ali came into my office mailbox.

Just so it happened, I didn’t ride to work today. Conserving effort for tonight’s night ride at Danga Bay. As if…

For me, everyday and every moment, I personally consciously do whatever I can in a small way for my bit.

Haji Ali is correct in his email:

Let's at least keep the trek green...
Reduce personal carbon foot print....
More walking, cycling than driving...

More info: http://www.unep.org/wed/2009/english/content/about.asp

Wednesday 3 June 2009

Danga City Night Ride

poster by Panjang

Frame for Sale - Santa Cruz Chameleon - update: price reduced further, with options

updated 04.06.2009
[ advertisement ]
barang baek nih...

Frameset SOLD

Build: Santa Cruz Chameleon
Size: S
Colour: Orange
Includes FSA headset
Location: JB
Condition 9/10
$: RM1000
Frame + FSA headset with these items:
Thomson Elite seatpost 30.9, seat clamp, SDG USA Bel Air saddle, Easton EA50 handlebar.
$: slashed from RM1600 to RM1500.
Now *further reduced price* only RM1350

You may contact directly:
Malik 019 7178800 anmalik18[at]gmail.com

be assured that I don't take any third party fee. merely helping a friend.

RTW 03.06.09 - wet road on a school holiday

Went out at 0705 hours. Reached office at 0740 hours.

Stats today (to):

  • Ride time: 34m 40s
  • Dist: 12.60 km
  • Ave: 21.7 km/h
  • Max: 40.1 km/h
  • Odo: 1930.0 km
  • Good doggy: 1

It's school holiday. Love it. Traffic not so busy as usual.

If you've been toying with the idea of RTW, this is a good time to try it out.
I first started RTW on working Saturdays (I work on alternate Sats) due to the light traffic.
Then I tried RTW on a weekday during school holiday, to get the feel of the traffic.
Later on I braved myself for a full-on normal weekday traffic.

It has been more than 6 months now, and loving it.
By Allah's grace, I hope that this will continue on, insyaAllah.

I insisted on RTW this morning, since I had not done any cycling this week. Don't want to be lazy, and I don't like the feeling of re-starting again after a week off.

A dog gave way for me before he crossed the street in Masai. I guess he's the good doggy's husband. Another good doggy award this morning. If they're really a couple, I hope their offsprings are as courteous and polite as them.
Poor doggy, he was honked by the red car behind me for he was too slow crossing the street.

Chill it out, man. He's just a dog trying to be an example to others.

No specific riding mode, just pedaling and enjoying the ride. I even made a stop for a couple of minutes at Taman Bukit Dahlia to take in the awesome view of the morning cloud. Red on the left, and greyish cloud on the right.
I was really stunned looking at the golden streaks lining the reddish cloud.

Earlier, at 0630 hours there were sounds of thunder. It didn't deteriorate my plan to RTW. Going out of the house, it was drizzling very lightly. Not a problem. I have plastic bags in my bladder bag.

The weather was very nice, as it wasn't actually raining throughout my journey. Coming into Masai and Pasir Gudang, the roads were already wet from the earlier rain. It is cooling, and with not much sweat on my clothes. Just that my pants were wet from the road's puddles getting up on them.

I'm glad I made the decision to RTW last night, and persistent with it this morning.

Shimano SPDs - comparison

So, what's the difference between these three Shimano SPDs?

The difference? Weight.
XTR is lighter by 25 grams than XT.
XT is lighter by 2 grams than M540.
PD-M540, well, is the cheapest of those three.

Use the comparison tool on Shimano's website.
Click any of the pedals link above. It'll get you to Shimano's website, showing the product features tab. The tab next to it - 'compare'.
You can compare up to three products. Well, just nice. Compare the three above and see for yourself.

Top tip:
To get that XTR feel when you're only using PD-M540, may I suggest using a lighter pair of socks with your riding shoes. 27 grams lighter to be exact.
Scribbling the letters 'XTR' on the pedals is optional, to get the snobbish feeling. But then you'll be labelled a wannabe/poser.
Photos from Shimano's website

Monday 1 June 2009

Labour Day present

Got me a pair of Pedals!
(okay, it is lame to tie it with Labour Day)

Thanks to Malik of Kulai for the pair. He gave me a very good price, for the 10/10 secondhand condition - cleats still sealed, with box.

Now I'm using proper pair of clipless pedals. So far I've done about 50 km on them, on road for RTW. It's a big improvement over the 2-in-1 VP 'training' clipless pedals. No more flipping on the right side up like roadies SPDs to step in the pedal.

The night before my first ride with the new pedals, I set it up to get a starting point. Both on the shoes and the pedals itself. The placement of SH-M51 (supplied together in box) cleats were quite straightforward. It was just a matter of replacing the VP's EC-01 cleats and tweak them a bit to get a better placement that I've had in mind. The spring tension settings on the pedals are quite tricky, as I don't have a starting point to go with. Hence, I put the tightening screws to get more or less halfway the spring tension max. Plus, I get to clean up the shoes' insoles, albeit forced to do so.

It was quite awkward for the first few kms testing them out. Spent about half an hour going around in circles at Seri Alam's lake - stepping in and out, to get the hang of it. It came to a point when I wanted to stop and readily freed my right foot. Somehow I tilted to the left and gedebab, I fell down with the bike. Left foot still intact on the pedal. It was nearing midnight on a weekday, so not many were around. Well, I didn't bother to look around and see if anybody were witnessing my hideous fall anyway.
Malu beb...

So, that's it. I set the spring tension to the lowest and tried again, stepping in and out. Lo and behold! It feels familiar - just like when I was using my VPs. I always start with my left foot. Getting the right foot in is now an easy thing to do. I thought I would get some float due to the low setting of the spring tension. Not that much, and only a little if it is there.

Up until today, not yet into offroad with the new pedals. Perhaps need to tighten the springs a bit due to the rough terrain. I guess after a few kms offroad, I would get a fair idea on the setup. When? Certainly not in these next couple of weeks. Wedding invitations over the weekend to be fulfilled. Meantime, RTW provides a good platform to train with the pedals.

I am happy with my Labour Day present :)

Note: Quite nice to know that riders all over the world notice that the pedals are made in Malaysia. Pekan Nanas, a small town in Pontian, Johor, to be exact.