akmal's bike park

akmal's bike park

Friday 31 December 2010

Adam Rides - straight line :)

Adam on his bike - one day after learning how to ride

Well done, only after a day learning how to ride. I was surprised when I came home from work yesterday and saw him pedaling quite fast in front of the house.

The next step: cornering, and proper braking/stopping.

More photos here.

Thursday 30 December 2010

29.12.2010 Adam Rides!

After braving himself up, and I helped with lowering down the saddle on his bike, he pedaled on two wheels yesterday evening. I can understand the feeling of falling down while learning to ride the bicycle without training wheels. Almost all of us got through that phase, hadn't we? Well, if you're learning to use clipless pedals, that's another phase, right?
It took us about half an hour going back and forth on the tarmac in front of the house. He balanced himself, me holding his saddle on the back while walking, and at last he made it. Just like my neighbour Jamsari taught me when I was 9 (yes, that's quite late), I held the saddle for a few runs. Then quietly I let go and Adam cruised by himself for a short distance.
It's nice to see him getting his confidence, and motivation ensued. When he broke the news to his Mak, he even mentioned of getting swimming lessons after this.
As a father, a tiny lesson there:
1. you have to let go.
2. you have to see him fall to get it going.
Adam as the student, I can see a few things in him:
1. he's brave enough to learn, in the first place
2. he's brave to take a fall
3. motivated after clearing a phase, and ready for the next
The missus was happy with the progress. This evening, the fun would continue. Oh, and a whole lot more, as has been drawn up by wifey. Bike excursions, etc., you know...
Well, one revolution at a time.
Have a great weekend, y'all.
And a happy new year.
May our future be blessed, insyaAllah.

Critical Mass Johor Bahru: 31.12.2010

I like the poster
They have it in cities around the world, and we have it in Putrajaya too.
And now, in JB.
Date: 31.12.2010
Time: 8.00pm (start to roll: not sure. haha...)
RV point: Danga Bay (skate park)
Route: Danga Bay - Pandan
Will you be there? Me, perhaps.
It's interesting how many of JB cyclist (and other engine-free ride machines) would gather and ride together.
More info:
Share the road.

boleh pergi ke tidak?

taklah jauh mana pun dari Pasir Gudang nak ke Adela tu, sebenarnya
Pagi semalam aku tengok kat senarai peserta yang dah mendaftar untuk GA MTB Ride 2011. Belum ramai lagi, cuma setakat 53 orang. Biasa lah tu, ramai yang akan buat keputusan saat akhir. Macam Plentong Epic Ride jugak, yang tersiar cuma lebih kurang 300, tapi masa pagi tu ada lebih 800 umat berbasikal.
Yang membuatkan aku teruja ialah nama aku dan empat makhluk yang mendaftar bersama adalah dari nombor 3 hingga 7. Dah tu, nombor 8 sampai 12 pulak kawan-kawan Pasir Gudang. Menariknya, semua tu dari nombor 3 sampai 12 tu semua brader-brader MMHE. Amacam? Aku cadangkan untuk jambori/race bermula dari tahun 2011 ni kita buat perubahan siket. Sapa yang daftar awal, ada dapat hadiah khas. Kalau boleh untuk 10, 20, bahkan 30 yang terawal mendaftar. Kalau tak dapat, untuk 6 yang terawal aje pun dah cukup bagus dah. Kan? Kann?
Tapi (ada pulak tapi tu...), aku secara peribadi ada sedikit masalah. Minggu lepas aku ikut rombongan meminang kat Pontian, pastu ada sedara belah Ayah jemput mulut, kenduri kawin anaknya pulak pada tarikh yang sama kat Plentong. Aaarrkkkk... terkesima aku kejap, sambil selamba je cakap 'aiseh... ada nak kena pergi Adela hari yang sama'. Boleh ke camtu?
Ada dua pilihan:
1. Lepak rumah, buat macam tak ada apa-apa, dan pergi kenduri pukul 12 camtu.
2. Pergi Adela, kayuh laju-laju tak hingat, besit balik rumah, mandi siap-siap semua bagai, pegi kenduri dalam pukul 3 camtu.
Untuk pengayuh tegar, semestinya pilihan nombor 2 tu la kan. Dari sekarang ni kena cargas berlatih lah nampaknya.
Harap-harap kalau ada VIP yang nak merasmikan kayuhan tu, mintak dapat datang awal dan lepaskan kami semua kayuh awal-awal ye YB Datuk/Dato'. Boleh kami balik awal. Dengar-dengar ada yang nak tuju ke gerai telur belangkas lepas kayuh tu.
Terima kasih sudi menyinggah.

Wednesday 22 December 2010

19.12.2010 Seri Alam Offroad - retracing PER 2010 route

As usual, I cycled to Ruza Café at Taman Scientex for the Sunday offroad dose. Not many riders around. Had my breakfast, and the 6 of us went off at 8.44 am towards Seri Alam. EG as the lead, followed by Tulang, myself, Yahaya, Atuk, and Mlake. Well, generally for most of the time, in that order.
The ride objective for that day was to follow the recent Plentong Epic Ride's route, covering checkpoints 1, 2 and 3. I personally like the idea, for I haven't got the opportunity to ride through the checkpoints.
7.4 km on road with a little bit of offroad cutting from Nusa Damai towards Seri Alam, we reached Cactus Inn. It's quite devastating to see the vast clearing of what used to be palm oil plantation. The area is for the development project of UiTM Seri Alam. We went down to the rubber trees and towards Plentong. Right at the T-junction, we met Sham on his Kawasaki who ventured the Plentong offroad alone.
After a much needed breather (for Mlake, especially), we parted ways and headed to checkpoint 1 which is not too far away. Much of the pink paper markings stapled to the leaves from the last 3 weeks are still there, aiding our navigation. The plastic wrapped distance marking towards CP1 were also intact.
Somewhere along the way from CP1 to CP2, EG met with an accident. His handlebar on the left end met with a big branch of a tree while negotiating a twist, speeding through the sweet singletrack. Fear struck as initially it was suspected a bone fracture on his left hand pinky. We splint his finger with a pair of sticks and wrapped with a gauze roll. After things settled, we moved on; of course, at a much slower pace this time.
I have to say that the singletracks are amazing. There were many sections that I have never ridden before. From CP1 to CP2, we had to carve Bukit Panjang. I looked forward to it, for it has been a very long time since I last went up. The other intention is to see how good Panaracer Rampage is in scaling it, the uphill is with a thin layer of moss over hardpack in the middle.
Well, the initial climb was not good. I dismounted prematurely at a jutting root crossing, and my handlebar rotated about 70 degrees too. After that, I climbed to the top without much problem. Had a breather beneath the pylon, then towards CP2.
By the time we reached CP2 (also serves as the same spot for CP4) it was already 12 noon. Unanimously agreed to call it a day and went out to Cactus Inn.
Personally, I would very much keen to complete the other CPs. Next time, perhaps in January, before the GA MTB Ride 2011 event. For this one, I enjoyed it tremendously.
Thanks for coming over.
Relish our rides.

Tuesday 21 December 2010

RTW 21.12.2010: L-Route with RTW Machine

Yes, I'm using the lazy/lateness route with my RTW Machine - rims wrapped with slicks this morning.
It used to be 'unrideable' using slicks before a couple of weeks ago; for there's a section of the still-under-construction stretch on the parallel highway of Pasir Gudang to Bakar Batu that's not paved yet - circa 20 meters of red earth. Its condition is the worst after rain, which we had plenty of during November and December. Now, it is already paved, though only with packed crusher run and sand.
I have cleaned up my Hollowpoint after the Sunday offroad, and wouldn't want to have dirt on it. Besides, it's been quite some time the RTWM has been resting, for mainly I have been denying its duty. Much of the time it's been standing idle with a few times in the recreational mode for Umar and I riding around the neighbourhood. Time for the both the bike and I to stretch it out.
However, in getting the bike ready, coupled with my unpreparedness, I got out of the gate at 7.17 am. That's late, and there's only one way to counter that, of course: the L-Route. My initial plan of going through the normal long route with slicks changed with a somewhat joy inside - I can have that nasi lemak en route. Hehe...
The journey was smooth all the way. The roads were quite dry and I reached office safely in less than half an hour (that's including a 2-minutes breakfast stop). I enjoyed the journey tremendously.
1. It won't be long now, until the day when the highway would be open to vehicles. I don't know whether cyclists would be able to hop on it and share (even a foot or two), while being safe to ride on without much hassle (crossing, etc.). I guess I'll have to wait and see, and find alternatives or leeways.
2. It is not quite a normal thing for motorists to enjoy the drive while going to work. I know, because I don't, even if the traffic is smooth all the way which would be only under 10 minutes for me. You know, it's like, "okay, safely arrived at the parking lot, not much to be joyous about". It's not that I'm not grateful that I had a safe journey with the car, just that it's boringly normal.
Yeah, I guess that's it.
With RTW, however, it's a 30-40 minutes of adventure.
Stats today:
Out from home
Arrive office
Ride time
25' 39"
Ave. speed
Max speed
Good doggies
tesco + L route,
 Yukon, slicks
Have a great day.
May your journeys accompanied with some sort of enjoyable adventure.

Manitou Magnum

bottomed out, but there's hope for a new lease of life
From the BBS chatbox a few weeks ago, someone showed his old skool Barracuda mtb through a link of a forum. Thumbing through that, I got a link to technical manuals of old Manitou forks. I happen to have one of them - Manitou Magnum - which came with the ProFlex frame from my brother Hafiz.
It would be nice to have the Magnum brought to life again, now that is is bottomed out due to the elastomer (in lieu of coil springs) disintegrated and turned to some sticky goo.
Fortunately, Wings-Suspension caters for elastomer replacement coils, for cases such as mine. However, Magnum is not listed in their offering for old Manitou forks. I've asked if they have one, and no reply yet. Well, perhaps the ones for Manitou 4 should be okay for Magnum. The next thing is of course, whether I could afford to have the replacement kit.
Another thing, though, the travel shall be around 50-60 mm only. Compare that to the current trend of having the minimum travel of 80 mm and normally 100 mm.
Big difference. Well, the motivation for this rebuilding? Purely from the novelty aspect, the ol' skool thingy.
Waiting patiently for this side project, if it would ever take off.
Thanks for coming by.
Have a great day!

Monday 20 December 2010

Giant's Maestro Rear Suspension

how 'bout that?
hmm... deliciousss.
graphics and info taken from Giant's 2010 catalog
not available at any Giant hypermarkets or supermarkets

Hollowpoint Graphics

Rob Axford of EPX Australia finally replied my email requesting for the graphics pack for Hollowpoint, two days ago. Alhamdulillah, yay! The whole thing - photos and post script files amounted to 16 Mb of zip file.
The next step:
1. Shall I leave the frame bare, or do I paint it? If I were to paint it, gloss black seems nice, understated and relatively easier to take care of. Matches with my black Epicon, too.
2. Get someone to make the decals.
That requires $ and some time.
Definitely not Skyway, it seems then.
Anyway, thanks to Rob for the pack.

Thursday 9 December 2010

09.12.2010 BBS offline - aaaarrrrkkkk!!

BBS default page as at 09.12.2010
Sejak semalam, hingga ke waktu ini, takleh nak melayan (melayari) BBS. Apa sebabnya, tak tahu pulak aku, dan aku biarkan setakat itu saja lah.
Aku tahu, pasti ramai yang merungut lesu atas ketiadaan sementara (harapnya lah) BBS ni. Tapi apa boleh buat kan, tunggu aje lah.
Harap-harapnya Kevin dapat bantu buat apa yang patut.
Thanks in advance, dude.

07.12.2010 - Skudai Trail Offroad Edisi Awal Muharram 1432H

Zul melayan Plastic Cup, dengan fullsus barunya
Awal Muharram 1432H, rakyat Johor bercuti.
Aku gantung basikal kat kereta (rak cap ayam kat belakang aje), dan memandu menuju ke Skudai. Sepatutnya berkumpul 7.00 pagi (awal banget!), tapi aku pukul 7.00 tu baru nak hidupkan enjin memulakan perjalanan (pemanduan), dan aku hantar SMS pada Ijat si tuan tanah Skudai Trail, bagitau on the way dah... (dah masuk kereta, kira dah on the way lah tu).
Ramai rupanya yang ada, untuk kayuhan pagi tu. Aku ingatkan cuma bertiga - aku, Ijat & Azam. Tujuh kesemuanya: Aku, Ijat, Azam, Haziq, Hafiz, Faidi & Zul. I like. Dalam masa yang sama, segan juga pasal sampai lambat.
Cuaca pagi tu memang bagus, alhamdulillah. Redup aje, dan tak ada tanda-tanda akan hujan.
Kitorang kayuh kat lingkaran luar dulu melalui projek terbengkalai, dan tak lama lepas tu dah sampai ke permulaan singletrack. Mula-mula sekali, Ijat ajak masuk ke Plastic Cup trail...
Mula masuk ke Plastic Cup, terdetik di hati bagai di alam yang lain. Dengan cuaca yang redup, ditambah rimbunan pohon getah tua, suasana di dalamnya sepanjang denai terasa nyaman dan segar. Ianya agak teknikal, tetapi boleh dikayuh jika cukup skill (bukan aku lah tu). Tak kurang mencabar juga, dengan laluan turun dan juga datar yang bersimpang siur. Aku suka bahagian cerunan turun beralun. Memang syok layan.
Habis Plastic Cup, keluar dan balik semula ke permulaan tadi, lepas tu sambung pulak ke Denai. Yang ni pun aku suka, pasal ada technical climbing. Dah tu disaji pulak dengan Drop Zone. Aku tak turun, cuma ambil laluan pintas sebab kat bawah tu ada lecak - tak nak kotorkan basikal (konon...). Pengakhir Denai: ada satu cenuram agak tinggi juga. Kalau aku tak cuba turun, tak best lah kan, datang dari jauh tapi tak cuba. Maka aku turun lah... Rasa macam laju aje, tapi tak tau lah kalau sebenarnya nampak perlahan.
Dah tu kitorang lalu Double Trouble. Aku pun tak berapa ingat, tapi ada lah juga lalu lereng-lereng bukit. Kat tepi semacam gaung, cuak juga kayuh singletrack tu.
Keseluruhannya aku suka dan akan datang berkunjung lagi ke sana kalau ada peluang, insyaAllah. Ada macam-macam, kebanyakannya teknikal, dihidang dalam pakej yang padat - kurang dari 10 km panjangnya. Ada juga beberapa laluan fast singletrack untuk pelesit-pelesit membesit. Tahniah dan terima kasih untuk Ijat, Azam dan orang Skudai (pemotong getah) kerana meneroka denai kat kawasan tu, dan sudi bawak aku kayuh sama.
Gambar apa yang ada, di sini.

Monday 6 December 2010

In Praise for Plentong Singletracks

the canopy at Plentong - one of my favourite sections
Much has been said about PER 2010, and all that came to my ears are good responses (so far). However, this one thing makes me feel elated, and at the same time a bit lowly for sometimes I take for granted my offroad rides in Plentong.
The rider/writer mentioned
I was riding behind Alex McNab on one of those singletracks when I told him how nice if we could trade RRI for Plentong! Meaning we needn't have to drive 4 hours and all those fabulous singletracks would be just in our backyard!
quoted by Yellow Manta, from PCC's Spokes n Nipples Weekly Newsletter 10 Nov 2010 (Issue 521-47-2010), pages 3-5.
Plentong singletracks are close to my house, and I could ride through it from my home without me having to spend a single sen on fuel. It is rather common for people not to know what kind of a gem they have in hand and treat it like some ordinary glass. It's the case of "it's greener elsewhere". You get what I mean?
Whenever time, circumstances and (especially) $ permits, I would sample trails that other riders ride for their normal weekend rides, and this usually comes in a form of a jamboree ride. A few that I like which are unique, and unlike Plentong trails - The Dream technical descent and Steroid Hill in FRIM, and the terraces of Bandar Tasik Puteri. If I get the opportunity, I would sample more trails and repeat those I mentioned. Still, Plentong gives me much satisfaction in terms of all-in-one offroad rides. As Azman of Element Cycles put it, "Plentong is your 'license' trail. Everything is there - mud, sand, lake, river, hills, downhills, singletracks, rock garden, you name it". Heck, there's even a badminton court - right after a series of singletrack downhill.
With that, and the limited opportunities now for my offroad rides, I would enjoy as much as I can those sweet trails in Plentong. I urge you to do the same, wherever you ride.
Have you been to Plentong?
the link is not a permanent link to the newsletter, thus newsletter date and number given for reference.

Saturday 4 December 2010

Review: The Sensus Black Grips

slip-ons by the sensus.
notice the cut guide line
Designed by Cameron Zink, he obviously knows what he wants in a pair of grips.

Simple, soft and tacky grips with flange. The pair looks long perhaps because there are no lockrings on either ends. Quite slim, too, and my fingers wrap around them nicely.

Installation is quite a job, and definitely not as easy as lock-ons. The inner diameter is designed to be smaller than the diameter of handlebar ends so that it would grip securely once installed. It has to be so because these are a pair of slip-ons. Don't worry, as the installation tips are included on the reverse of the packaging cardboard. Pretty good tip, I've never thought of using zipties to install slip-ons before this. Also, the rubber compound itself is tacky, adding to the grip.

Not much twisting after a couple of months' rides on my RTW Machine. Of course, there is some, and this could be remedied by employing zipties as a DIY lock-on at both ends.

ribbed for the sensation
These are a pair with flanges, with cut lines as a guide in case you'd want them off for clearing the thumbs to shift the gears. The wavy rib patterns are like old skool BMX grips, which I like very much. My thumbs are on a high rubbing on them while riding (!). Well, the real intention for that, I presume, is the grip (what else?) that it provides and, a bit of a squingy feel without being thick overall.

I used them on road, so far, with and without gloves, full and half fingers. I like them best with half finger gloves - for my thumbs, of course.

I removed them to install on my XC rig. Because of the tacky compound, it's quite hard to get them all. Impossible to slide out, but rolling them over (like condom), did the trick. Not to roll it completely though, for it would be impossible then to return it to the normal state. Just up until near the bar end, say 10 mm or so, and then slide them off.

Zink's 360 right after the Icon Sender
Check out the vid of Zink's winning run at Red Bull Rampage 2010.
He's got a pair of these assisting his grip on his 'bar (okay, that's a bit cheesy).

slip-ons installation - on the back of the cardboard
Also, a vid from pinkbike.com for grips installation.

Skyway Decals?

Skyway TA 25th Anniversary Frame
Anyone can help me with the decals? I'm thinking of slapping 'em up on the Hollowpoint, for old times' sake.

For the record, I've never owned a Skyway. Just borrowed one from my neighbour siblings Apai, Anis & Atei. Man, I love the tubing.

I was thumbing through the Rad clips on YouTube, and watched the Helltrack race. There was a rider wearing Skyway jersey, and blam!, I think it would be nice to put the retro decals on Hollowpoint's downtube and headtube since it's pretty naked right now (yup, it's pretty as it is).

Don't want to be a wannabe, putting up Santa Cruz or Trek or Cannondale or whatever else on my Hollowpoint. I just want it to be personal. Why not Hollowpoint decals? Well, I've emailed people from EPX requesting for some, and a guy from Malaysia who apparently did get something from EPX, but mine still unanswered.

Anyway, I'm happy with riding an 'unnamed' unpainted mtb. Some even asked me, is that Ti frame? Hehe... I wish.

The Skyway 25th Anniv. frame story here (2008). Interesting.

Friday 3 December 2010

Video: Mash SF + Lance at Austin, TX

Don't get me wrong. I don't really support fixies entirely, but this is Mash SF riding with Lance Armstrong around Lance's town.

Thursday 2 December 2010

Danny MacAskill - Way Back Home

Starts with a front flip, and ended with another.

Breathtaking, with the background music and awesome Scottish landscape.

Danny MacAskill's Way Back Home vid, by Red Bull.

Sit back, with a cup of tea (or coffee), and enjoy the serenity. Just in case, have a hanky handy in case you salivate.

The vid's link, at Red Bull's site.

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Plentong Epic Ride 2010

checkpoints and details
I arrived at Neo's place to gather with the trail crews for manning the CPs and trail works. We went in at around 7.00 am. Atuk and I are assigned to man the first fork. Basically to get the riders to flow to the correct trail (eventhough the trail marking is adequate). The other job there is to take off the markings once the sweeper (Tarmizi EG) passes us by. That site is quite near to the finish run and we don't want the incoming rider to take the wrong turn (and complete another run of 60 km) instead of pedaling home.
Jai came by and eventually we agreed for him to man the post. Atuk and I proceeded to another junction not far ahead to station there. Again, to get the riders to flow to the right turning. The first four riders with Ali Tamago 5 in the bunch came swooping by at 8.21 am. EG came by quite late as there were 3 riders from S'pore who reached Plentong only after 8.30 am.
We proceeded to the trail en route to CP1 and stopped at a junction to re-route the trail. Cleared off the markings and laid down new ones for the Chicken Run for riders coming in from CP1. This time Fadzil and Zaid were with us too. Job done, and we headed to CP1.
We arrived at CP circa 10.00 am. I met a few familiar faces, including Fuad, Jai (again, on his motocross), Nassim, Sham Rudy and few others. Heard about a rider having a gash on his leg from a fall over there.
Not long after that, Panjang came by and we proceeded to CP5 straight away. I love the uphill towards CP5. However, there's a caveat. You have to go through some sort of a swamp before you could start climbing. My otherwise clean bike was instantly splattered with muck.
I spent quite some time up there, waiting for the first rider to arrive. At 11.33, the first rider who completed all CPs arrived. Acai had to paste the green spot on his riding passport on-the-fly, for the caucasian didn't want to stop at all. Tulang the ABS rider came by at 12.09 pm. Not bad, he's among the top 20 finisher.
At around 12.30 we went down towards the starting/finishing point and browsed around the gallery. There were a few stalls that day. Cycling Asia, Nur Ikhsan (Md Noor), GA MTB (ride registration), Angah Bike Shack, Jean Bike Shop (Jason), mj@bp's (finall, get to meet the person), Red Bull (free drinks). Did I miss any?
I lingered there until 1.00 pm and pedaled home to the house in Plentong. Not too exhausting, for I cycled only around 16 km. As always, I couldn't take the heat from the sun. It's too taxing for me. Anyway, the weather was nice all throughout the event, before it rained quite heavily a few hours after that.
Anyone could attest that the organisation and execution of the event are tops. From the few feedbacks I had from riders at CP1, they enjoyed the trail eventhough I could see their energy drained. I missed the lucky draw event. Better that way, for I would be really envious with the person who brought back a complete bike - Giant full suspension Yukon FX, sponsored by Angah Bike Shack.
Were you there? How was your experience riding the Plentong Epic?
If you've missed out the ride, make sure you free up your schedule for the next one.
Read some of the reviews and feedbacks:
photos from my camera.