akmal's bike park

akmal's bike park

Sunday 25 December 2011

18.10.2011 - Ronda Riadah Mega Ride 2011: My Family Ride

the family
As the curtain closer for my biking calendar this year, I registered the family in what was targeted to be a record-breaking cycling event. It's been a week since my last offroad event in Melaka. Definitely it would be tiring for me to go for another long offroad, and I'd like to spend the day with the family. So it is befitting to have a 5km slow ride with my family instead of 50km offroad with thousands of brothers and sisters.

There are 5 of us in the family and I sorted out the bicycles so that everyone would be able to ride, except Umar. He'll be my pillion rider. Come to think of it, we used different types of bicycle for each of us. I'm riding my RTW machine - a 27 speed MTB with slicks and v-brakes - with child carrier on the rear for Umar to relax and enjoy the breeze. Naza riding her underused mountain bike. Marsya with my single-speed folding bike and Adam with his BMX.

It's not an easy task to load the 4 bikes into the Innova, with room for all of us. Thankfully, because the bikes are detachable and foldable (except the BMX of course), they fit in the MPV just nice. Well, I thought if we won the Viva for the lucky draw then it would be a huge relief for the Innova.

Early morning we went off to Bandar Dato' Onn. The weather's nice, with a bit of drizzle along the way. When we arrived, the place was already wet but with no rain. Overcast sky, just perfect for a family ride. People have been filling in the parking lot when we arrived, and we found our own spot.

Naza and the children were excited with all the buzz around us; people with their bikes, cars with two-wheelers atop, tents on the field with music in the air, typical of a cycling event; an atmosphere they have never experienced before. And they love it.

unloading and getting the bikes ready
Unloading and assembling the bikes took me about 15 minutes and with ample time to collect our goodie bags (with t-shirts). Meanwhile, the rest of the family had their breakfast that Naza prepared from home. I've got t-shirts for everyone to wear except Umar. I thought XS would be suitable for him, but still he has to wait for few more years to fit in. Ready with our bikes and t-shirts, tummy filled, we went off to the field for the Family Ride flag off.
Umar among the crowd
I see many familiar faces from Pasir Gudang and around JB at the field. However, the focus is on the family. This is my family ride. We're going to have a good time rolling with thousands of others, albeit for only about 30 minutes completing the 5km. Looks like I'm the one who's very excited.

Adam and Marsya
The flag off was a bit hectic with everyone trying to get their way through the bottleneck going out to the tarmac. I was a bit worried about Marsya and Adam, so I rode with them and guide them out to the road. Naza was already in front, but she waited for me to roll alongside.

Our pace was quite slow, a very relaxed one averaging at 10km/h. Not only for safety, but I want to savour the moments riding/dating with her (with Umar on my back). Marsya and Adam? Lost in the front pack, both speed demons.

happy riders
It all seems too short, time and distance; we were back at the field in no time. But I think the memory of it lasts longer. For me, the Family Ride is clearly a good move by the organizer to get everyone riding. And for that, the family and I thank you. I know not only for me but for many of my friends as well. They brought their family along and I guess they had a good time doing what they love with their families. Hopefully there'll be some more of this around JB next year insyaAllah.

Naza riding happy
In the mean time, Marsya needs her own proper bike, with gears. I'm thinking of a strider bike for Umar and his own helmet, too. Perhaps the Innova needs a proper bike rack on her top as well.

Lucky draw? We didn't get any, but all of us went home feeling happy. Plus, there's no room for the Viva on the front porch anyway (yeah, right... sour grapes).

photos in facebook photo album

Saturday 24 December 2011

KSRP MTB Jamboree 2011 - 10.12.2011

Taman Scientex Riders

This event is special in many ways.
1. I participated under MMHE Cycling Club's flag
2. ...for free
3. Exclusive event - open only for Petronas fraternity (under KSRP)
4. I finished the ride with 6 km extra :P (albeit, managed to be top 100 finisher; #99 to be exact)

It all started with an email in my inbox from the good people in MR MoBiC (Melaka Refinery, Wahid and his gang). At around the same time, MMHE Cycling Club was newly formed. Thus, it fits perfectly for the club members to represent MMHE as our maiden activity. However, the road to that is quite tough, red tape and all. Alhamdulillah, it is over now and I'd say it's a successful one for everyone. Our big thanks to people in MR MoBiC especially Wahid and Iwan for their never-ending assistance to us. Right from the beginning and even continued until we were back in Pasir Gudang.

I don't want to dwell on how we got there, but rather on the event itself. The 'how' is actually quite a story, surely.

Long story short, we got all things sorted out - the fee, lodging, transport, meals; plus some extras to boot - club jersey, isotonic, Hammer gel and bar for all 19 of us - riders and chaperons.

We gathered at PPMSB Training Center on Friday night for the ride briefing, goodie bag and plate number collection, with dinner provided by the organiser. Right after that, we went off to the huge homestay bungalow in Cheng for the night's sleep (well, for most of us).

Before we departed from the house, we had a breakfast of nasi lemak and teh 'o' delivered to the homestay. At 7.00 am we hit the SPA highway from Cheng to Sungai Udang and entered PPMSB some half an hour later. Unloaded the bikes upon arrival, and we proceeded for rider's check-in. The usual, photo session and warm up before the flag off at 8-ish.

The total number of riders is actually very small - 145. I think the one held in July 2009 was with bigger crowd. Anyway, not a big issue at all. No congestion on the trail, guaranteed.

My ride was quite sluggish during the first 10 km. I have never felt that worse before this. To get to checkpoint 1 which is less than 10 km is quite taxing. Every small hill that I would usually blast uphill was a torture to climb; was reaching for the lower gear but I was already at the lowest and struggling. Upon arriving at the CP, I regrouped with fellow MMHE riders who were also having the same problem with me. What being concluded was the nasi lemak to be blamed. To think about it, yes, I never take nasi lemak for breakfast before a ride all this while. One lesson learnt there.

The effect of NL began to fade after about km 13, after which only I get to enjoy the ride. Coincidentally, the trail from CP2 to CP3 and CP3 to home are very nicely laid. The biggest hill (max 90m elevation) was before CP1. I really enjoyed the section from CP2 to CP3 especially where it is practically downhill most of the way. There's also a singletrack downhill where you could blast down and enjoy bumping over the roots. Pure bliss.

Well, it was also from CP2 to CP3 that I overshot the trail and missed the left turn. I saw ahead of me after the wide wooden bridge shredded paper markings; hence I followed, not noticing that there were no arrow or caution tape (white/red) accompanying the paper. I met with fellow (lost) rider and we tracked the bogus trail. It brought us to a section of the trail which I knew I had ridden before. Knowing that I have to ride the same trail twice was a mixed feeling. It will eventually bring me back to one of the CPs with extra mileage, but I get to enjoy the slalom like trail for the second serving.

Thankfully I met the marshalls who said that I am the last rider in the trail - some motivation, eh. Anyway, they escorted me back to the point where I went astray - about 6 km away. So I continued on towards CP3 and savoured the trail along.

I was already tired riding from CP3 to home. Muscle cramp on the thighs creeping in, but I didn't give in. Continued on spinning and enjoying the trail as much as I could. The finale was quite nice - a blacktop slope towards the main gate at PPMSB under the hot sun. Reached the finishing point and signed out at about 12.20pm, being the #99 finisher.

I like the trail very much. Of course, some of us cursed at Sulong for cutting short the downhill section and having to veer to the right midway of what was a nice slope. Well, we blasted downhill anyway, only noticing that we lost the marking and had to go uphill to get to the trail proper. It's a fun trail, very much suitable for beginners up to intermediate riders. Seasoned riders would have no problem at all. Kadafi, the fastest in our group arrived at the finish line at about 10 am, together with a newbie in the group. Well, if only I didn't overshoot the trail. And what if I had something other than nasi lemak for breakfast...

I'd say the 38km fun trail was nicely thought of - loaded with nice uphills and rolling downhills, some technical sections, technical downhills, flat sections too. CPs were adequately manned with enough water and bananas, and trail markings were ample. I would like to think that the 'extra' shredded paper that I (and few others) followed was by other group for their other event (running hash, maybe). Bike wash stations were also provided. Lunch and lucky draws completing the event. Kudos to MR MoBiC and KSRP Selatan for an event well organized and executed. Typical of them.

Well, what's also nice is that the event was on a Saturday. I spent half of my Sunday on bed, recovering.

MMHE: Malaysia Marine and Heavy Engineering
PPMSB: Petronas Penapisan Melaka Sdn. Bhd.
MR MoBiC: Melaka Refinery Mountain Bike Club
KSRP: Kelab Sukan dan Rekreasi Petronas
Petronas: Petroliam Nasional Berhad

Tuesday 13 December 2011

MMHE Cycling Club

We had our first meeting on Thursday 17.11.2011, 12 members present and with Hasamuddin from Young Executive Club (YEC) Sports and Recreation unit.

The formation of the club is under the YEC banner for now, and once it is strong enough it would then fly (pedal?) by itself (read: bigger fund).

I'm hoping for a good future for this club, and insyaAllah it will as our brothers from Sime Darby Engineering will be joining MMHE next year. Familiar faces from PG Gerek, actually.

President: Akmal
Vice President: Pak Din
Secretary: Yad
Treasurer: Zaid

Wednesday 30 November 2011

RTW: 30.11.2011 - 4th monthlong

Just to share with you, I have completed the year's 4th monthlong this morning. That's 1 above my target, which is to have a monthlong for each 4 months this year.

Albeit, the monthlong started late which is during July, followed by August, September and November. Sadly it would have been  a 5-months back-to-back monthlongs if it were not because of the broken streak on October 5th. Never mind, as long as target is achieved, and now going beyond that. InsyaAllah in December too.

However, I have to say that November is a relaxed RTW because for the 30 days in Nov, my actual RTW is only for 15 days. This is due to annual leave, MC, public holidays, and outstation work in KL.

The odometer has gone beyond the 9,999 km mark now, and to my surprise it is continuing to 10,000. This morning it went to 10,134 km. Because of the extra digit in front, the meter dropped the decimal point. While it would be nice to see the odometer reaching 20,000 km, I prefer to have the decimal point displayed. Resetting soon.
Note: the odometer started from November 2007

Have a good ride, y'all.
Thanks for coming over.

Monday 21 November 2011

Upcoming Event: 18.12.2011 Ronda Riadah Mega Ride 2011

it is a cycling event, not a car show; the Viva is the lucky draw prize

I've registered for the family fun ride just now, and am excited to participate this event with the whole family at Bandar Dato' Onn insyaAllah.

There are a few categories for the mega event, namely:
MTB Offroad Jamboree 50km
Fixie Fun Ride 30km
Family Fun Ride 5km

I opted for the family ride, not because it is cheap (undeniably), but this time I want the family to join in the fun too. Including 2yo Umar. No regrets on not being able to take part in the offroad category. Really looking forward for the family ride.

You can register online here, after you transfered $ through Maybank to Ronda Riadah's account. Yes, that's a proper organisation account.
I did mine in a few minutes during lunchtime, a convenience of having a Maybank account. 

After multiple SMSes to Stephen, these are the additional info for the Family Fun Ride:
Family fun ride is 5km on road ride, flat route, you can chicken out anytime.
Fee is RM30, inclusive of two t-shirts and meals, plus 1 lucky draw. Additional t-shirts are at RM10 each, smallest size is XS.
For offroad and Fixie details, look for the info at the website. Or, call the people listed in the poster above.

Now that registration is done, it's time to get the bikes ready.
See you there?

Have fun rolling.
Thanks for coming over.

Wednesday 2 November 2011

RTW Macnine Downgrading - SS

syok sendiri suka suka suaiubah single speed sikal saya

'Downgrading' to singlespeed, the obvious change on the RTW Machine is that it is getting simpler. Alongwith, the weight is also shaved considerably. I'm not a weight weenie through-and-through, so I did not really bother by how many grams the bike lost with this diet.

- 9 speed SRAM PG-970 cassette
- Deore 2009 FD
- Deore 2009 RD
- XT 9 speed chain
- Deore 2010 shifters
- 28T granny ring - I still have to put on the 48T ring because I don't have spacers for the ring bolts :P
- shifter cables with hoses

+ DaBomb 16T SS kit
+ non-branded chain tensioner
+ China made chain (RM10 only)

Well, that's the physical change on the RTWM. On the riding aspect, the bike is painfully slower than usual. This is in direct relation with the choice of gearing pair, of course. That's normal, as the gearing pair has got to be catering for all riding gradient. In my case, I chose 38T in front and 16T for the rear.

Okay, not entirely true. I didn't actually get to choose the rear tooth count. The DaBomb 9-to-1 kit comes with 16T ring. It's on loan from Panjang/Atuk (together with the tensioner), so I had to make do with it; I'd go with 14T if I had it my way. The 38T ring comes from the 28/38/48 crankset.

Prior to the setup, I had a 2-weeks trial on my RTW route. I tried 38/16 and 38/14 with the 9 speed setup (heavier bike). I favoured the latter due to the speed on flats and downhills while still able to carve the two hills en-route to the office.

It has been more than a week now, and I must say that SS is not for me. Purely because I miss the speed on flats and downhill. With SS, I couldn't go more than 25km/h on flat road without spinning frantically. On flats, the normal speed would be 20 km/h, while to get to between 22 and 25 km/h it would warrant a considerable effort. Also it is rather frustrating to coast downhill while normally I could still mash the crank and get down faster.

Some would attribute simple setup, worry-free ride (due to the absence of the need to think and change to the optimal gearing) and lighter bike as being the pluses (and joy) of SS. Well, I don't really mind about the worry-free part. And as it is, I'm okay with the weight of the bike with 9 speed setup. Simple is nice, especially on the handlebar. Well, a gripshift could combat that, although I play down that option because I don't want to fork more $ to change to SRAM or get down to 7/8 speed with Shimano RevoShift. If options available, I'd shrink the 9 speed cassete to have only the first 5 rings. Not really using the rest of it, actually.

However, I'd like to point out that if you want to practice spinning/cadence, SS is good. I had to spin in order to get more than 25km/h on flats. Macam orang gila terhenjut-henjut. Of course, it would reward you with strong legs and heart also, conditioned with climbing up steep hills. That, I love.

So, it looks like I'm going back to 9 speed (or lesser), then. When? As soon as I get a new chain and if I could have a few hours to make the 'upgrade'. Until then, I'm spinning on the slow singlespeed still.

more photos here.

Have a good one.
Ride safe.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

RTW: the completed L-Route

the connecting ramp to Pasir Gudang, from Sungai Masai

I pedaled out on the Coastal Highway on Sunday evening to recce on the connecting bridge over Sungai Masai. To my delight, the bridge is now completed, with tarmac and divider proper.

What's more important is that the receiving ramp from the bridge heading to Pasir Gudang is also connected, although not yet completed. Currently it is a single lane red earth and a bit bumpy but smooth surface. Good enough for motorbikes and bicycles to pass through, although would be no problem for a small lorry too. Just that if there are two vehicles coming head-to-head, either one would definitely have to give way.

So on Monday I went home using the full L-Route from the office. Distance as recorded from Sports Tracker is 8.8km. That's more than 1km shorter than normal.

Supposed to be faster getting home now; though I'm not using it in the morning towards office - no breakfast stalls along the highway.

more photos here.

Wednesday 19 October 2011

KBC Nite Event: change of date - 03-04.12.2011

new poster for the new date


There's a change of date for the event. It's gonna be on the 3-4 December 2011.
The other details are still as what posted before.

Registered yet?

Enjoy your ride, wherever you may go.

Friday 14 October 2011

Best of British - together

Danny, Dan, Gee

Check this out:
The Athertons with Danny MacAskill.

Have a great weekend, y'all.
Ride safe.
But while you're at it, enjoy it.

Monday 10 October 2011

The Atherton Project - Season 3 on Redbull TV

The presentation on Redbull.tv is much better now, going into the 3rd season (and as usual I'm about half a year late to relay the news).
The episodes are nicely laid out, with the latest ones appearing on top of the list.

Check it out. Perhaps we could learn a thing or two.

Here's the first episode:

Upcoming Event: KBC Nite Event - 26-27.11.2011

head down south this November, people!

Scheduled to be staged 2 weeks after PER 2011, are offroad night ride (35km mtb), Fixie fun ride (21km), and night runs (21km half marathon, 10 km and 5km fun run) in Kulaijaya. The events are organised by the people who brought us the KBKK Kulaijaya Extreme Cycling Carnival held in June this year.

Registration is open now.
MTB event fee: RM50

For contact details, click on the poster above to view.

Links are here:

Having missed the June and Ramadhan offroad events, I hope to be able to join this one insyaAllah.

Thursday 6 October 2011

ECC Burung Hantu Jamboree 2011, 1 - 2 Oct 2011

at UTeM stadium, 30 minutes before flag off

The ride is over, but the exhilaration from completing it still lingers.

This is the second time I participated in ECC's Burung Hantu event. And I have to say that the event has improved very much. Partnering with UTeM as the event venue, I'd say that ECC hit the bullseye. Well, as any good event is the result of manpower, a salute to ECC for the carefully planned and executed event. One that is not easy to be topped, I would say.

They are being cheeky this year, by presenting a major uphill right at the spot  where most would have thought that they are nearing the end of the ride; but still thinking "hey wait, I still haven't got my fifth checkpoint sticker". You bet, and people were in for a exhausting surprise.

Checkpoint 5 is on top of the hill, and to get there you have to go offroad; its entrance is right next to UTeM's main gate. People coming in from CP4 would have thought that after the road route, then that's it; if last year's event were to be referred to. Well, I did. But then, that's last year's story. This year the surprise was unbelievable. I bet most have juiced out their energy on the tarmac towards UTeM, and most would have cursed about the ensuing task to get to CP5. Myself included, but not too much. Not sure what's the elevation, but I promised myself to kill it. Just so that I'd get something out of the already good ride, and something to write home about.

And victorious I was. Alhamdulillah.

But I tell ya, the climb was torturous and not easy at all. However, with the darkness and support from fellow bikers hiking uphill, I made it. The sweetest feeling ever. I don't know if I could do it during daytime. Can't see the top of the hill in the dark, so I just kept on spinning and scaling the hill inch by inch.

The rest of the ride was also good. As with the last week's ride at Setia Indah, I rode like a hare again. However, as it is a night ride, I didn't get as tired and so didn't stop except at the checkpoints to have water and bananas. Even so, the stops were no longer than 5 minutes. I wonder, too, if the can of free Red Bull before the start of the ride helped.

I enjoyed my ride tremendously. The trail was good, with enough challenges technically and physically. Good downhills, after manageable uphills. With 5" rear suspension, I bombed the trail without having to think much about a proper line, much like at Setia Indah last weekend. This means that it is doable, night and day.

Of course, with 1800 pair of tires in the trail, traffic jam is unavoidable especially for intermediate level kind of riders like me. Have to bear with the long queue in the middle of the trail to continue the ride at a few sections. What frustrated me, however, was that knowing the cause of the jam is riders trying to avoid the muddy ruts. C'mon, this is an offroad ride. You're supposed to get dirty.

The road ride was also good. I was lucky because I found a strong and fast rider in front of me. The few km at the beginning of the ride towards CP1 was a breeze. Literally. Yad and I tucked behind this guy wearing a yellow jersey and we zoomed behind him all the way to the trailhead. I shouted to thank him, but I'm not sure whether he heard me; just went ahead snaking his way among fellow riders in the trail. On the way back towards CP5, I was the one heading the sprint. I asked a guy to follow behind me, and he did, but not for long.

I'm happy with this event. Enjoyed it very much, so much so that the lucky draw event is reduced to something that does not matter anymore to me. Of course, however, I did stay right until the end of the event - just in case if I am lucky.

One aspect that I observe and applaud is how the organiser put in effort with the small details. Directions and LED markers are ample, emergency personnel are available - even with ambulance at a certain checkpoint, water and bananas are plenty, after ride food is good - with Ribena!, there's a  specially erected bike wash booth (more would be better) with high water pressure, unique goodie bag, high quality rider plate with specially printed stickers (featuring Shimano MTB groupset family. Nice!) and good quality t-shirt although I prefer it to be 100% cotton.

Kudos to the people from ECC and UTeM. You guys rock! Looking forward to next year's already.

My thanks also to Reza for using his car to get us to Melaka (and he drove us all the way... hehe...).

RTW: 05.10.11 - broken streak

58-day streak of continuous RTW since 29.06.2011 was broken yesterday.

Over that period, there were:
58 days
12 weeklongs
3 monthlongs

I'm sure it can be surpassed. Just keep on riding, while not focusing on stats.

Ride safe, y'all.
Thanks for coming over.

Upcoming Event: Plentong Epic Ride 2011 - 13.11.2011

The ride is back!
People from the south are preparing for this year's edition of Plentong Epic Ride.
Come down to Plentong for the ride on 13.11.2011.
One surely not to be missed.

Details are on the poster.
Links are here:
www.facebook.com: cyclemotion johor bahru

Don't wait, yo.
Register now, as participants are limited to 800 riders only.

More UPDATED info in the forum page here.

Thursday 29 September 2011


I felt breezy and fresh air as I passed along the road beside which there are big trees like a small forest.

One is in Taman Rinting opposite the masjid currently under construction. If you're from Cendana area going towards Tesco Seri Alam, it's on the left hand side before the crossroad and BHP station.
Another one is in Seri Alam. From Tesco Seri Alam towards Amansari. Before the small river/stream opposite The Gardens area.

The feeling reminds me of FRIM, on the climb towards the Dream trailhead.

Yes, literally.

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Millipede Green Ride 2011 - Setia Indah 24.09.2011

the bunch from MMHE at the starting point

First things first, I'd like to commend the people behind the curtain for a job well done.

Right from the start, I'd say that the event was well organized. From the registration until to the end of the event, the executions were good.

Fee: RM45 for individual registration and RM40 for group of 5 or more. Quite okay, because the goodie bag is with a good quality t-shirt, tidbits, and the check points are with bananas and drinks including 100 Plus. Still, I think the fees could be lowered down, though. I hope events such as this one are not made with the slightest thoughts of making $ out of it.

I've been wanting to ride the Setia Indah trails for quite some time. So, when the jamboree ride was announced, I signed up for it together with riders in MMHE, under PG Gerek's flag.

I know that the network of trails over this part of south Johor could reach 90km and beyond, extending as far as to Ulu Tiram and Kota Tinggi. So, I imagined that the mix of trails chosen by the organizing team would be comprehensive within the 48km (published earlier) long. Well, the trail eventually was shortened to only 42km (much to my delight).

How was my ride?
I enjoyed the suffering. Haha...

The trail was damp, wet, and muddy due to the downpour the day before. However, the weather during the event day was excellent. Perhaps more than 50% of the trails were open, and by 11am it was hot and humid. Hot above, while you're grinding on the ground. I suffered, but the trails are enjoyable. There was also a short section with loose river sands, reminiscing the final section of Kayuhan Mesra PDRM in Plentong. I think if you have the legs (and lungs), the trail can be completed on the bike. No hike-a-bike necessary, actually.

There are a few notable killing climbs, especially the one that shows itself after a blind turn right after you have given your all nailing that long hill. Some would stop for a breather (popular excuses include "I'm waiting for my friend lagging behind"), but I managed to continue one or two long climbs. Sweet victories are often rewarded, and the rewards over in SI were gorgeous; it would be a shame not to be pinned while going the sweet downhills. With my Trance, I bombed down while thinking to myself, "I earned this, man".

There were not many singletracks, mostly dual track but I guess it is quite good, too. Faster riders are able to overtake slower ones especially on flat sections. I did, even during downhill at some point. Well, that's me. During the ride I get to know my riding style. Philosophically, I'm a hare rather a tortoise - speed demon whenever I have the momentum and energy, and stops for a long break whenever I'm out of breath or when I had to stop abruptly for various reasons (waiting for my ride buddy, most of the time... hehe...). Well, I enjoy going uphill for the victory of it, and going downhill for the sheer pleasure. With a fullsusser, it's even sweeter; I learnt that the trails at SI enable me to not bother a proper or popular line while attacking it. No problems with going through rough terrains avoided by most. Rough terrains aplenty, indeed. If not for my vibrating freewheel, I would have enjoyed the downhills much more.

Most riders would agree with me that the checkpoints are tops. Supply of Montel bananas, plain drinking water and 100 Plus seems endless at the checkpoints. The people manning them are friendly and helpful. St. John's personnel stationed at every checkpoint provides a sense of priority towards safety. This, plus the properly and clearly marked trail signs, shredded papers on the ground, cordon tapes and danger signs (which for some places are a bit exaggerated for me). Believe me, they even have km marker bunting for each kilometer of the trail, reducing your cyclometer to only a speedometer and timer.

There are a lot more good things that can be said about this event. I have only high praise for them, honestly. You guys at Millipede did an awesome job. Well done, guys! The only gripe for me (and hundreds others) is that I didn't get the sweet Trek Cruiser bike for the lucky draw.

Next up, Burung Hantu 2011 in Melaka.
See you there, insyaAllah?
Meanwhile, ride safe, buddies.

Thanks for coming over.

Friday 23 September 2011

RTW 22.09.2011 - Wet Thursday

I was just about to get out of the gate when it started to rain this morning. Out comes the rainjacket from my bag, and off I went pedaling out to the office. Really, simple as that. No, not because it's the World Car-Free Day, but because that's how I chose to commute.

Rear blinker and front light switched on (set as strobe) for the added visibility, in case people on the road still can't see me while I'm wearing the fluorescent yellow Endura Gridlock.

The gloomy weather, and me wearing a jacket in the rain brought me back to the times in Old Trafford walking out from the house to the bus stop. And strolling along the Oxford Road from Simon Building to get to Manchester city center. My hands on the handlebar grips were a bit cold, as I was not wearing gloves (have been so, since using the thick Jammy grips). However, the body feels nice, like snugging underneath a wool blanket in a cold hotel room. I don't have a pair of waterproof pants, so I had to make do with getting soaked in rainwater from waist below.

It was quite a nice journey, as it was breezy and cool. The rain makes everything dramatically different, surely. Traffic is a bit congested more than usual, the wet road makes me riding with a bit more caution and the visibility is a bit low. However, to my surprise I was actually faster by 2 minutes than my average time.

Little after midway of the journey, a nagging problem had started. Water got into my right eye and it was stinging painful. Perhaps because of the minerals from the sweat residing on the helmet's inner pads trickling with the rainwater. I had to wink and use only the vision from my left eye for the rest of the journey, about 4km (12 minutes or so). Add that to the water beads holding on to my spectacle lenses. Luckily, alhamdulillah for the vision albeit reduced to about 40%.
Note to self: wear that buff when it rains.

I arrived safely, but wet. The good thing is that I was able to get to the office a bit earlier than usual and feeling good.

Thanks for coming over.
Have a good weekend, y'all.
See you at Setia Indah for the Millipede Green Ride on Sunday?

Thursday 22 September 2011

daily cycling

my faithful RTW Machine

I remember Panjang asked a group of us a defining question while having teh tarik during a night ride at Ontort's burger stall. It was as an introduction to Nas' touring activities, actually.
Kau kena tahu, dalam berbasikal ni, mana arah kau nak tuju

Well, not really a question per sé, but it got me asking myself. Of course you can take the whole thing literally, but it actually warrants more than that.

What's the direction you're heading, in cycling?
Are you a leisure cyclist, taking it as a hobby?
Would you take it to the next level, as a part of a triathlon that you're going to participate in?
Would you train and eventually be a racer?
Or venture to other types that cycling could offer?

Cycling in its general sense is too broad. There are many types, and there are many disciplines within the particular type, too. Among the major types that we have are Road Cycling, Mountain Biking, Touring, Bike Commuting and many others including as a utilitarian vehicle for day-to-day living and transport.

The different types of Road Cycling may include Time Trial, Triathlon, Road Biking; for mountain biking there are Cross Country, Downhill, Trail, Freeride; and et cetera. From all these types, the bikes are of different designs as it fit for their own purposes. Not the least, the set of skills and things associated to the different types of cycling are also different.

If you're the lucky ones who could have more than a few of the types of cycling to venture into, I envy you. I simply don't have the time and $ to invest or dip my foot into the vast array of cycling types and disciplines.

I had to choose. I'm a fan of modular things and do-it-all, so I chose cross country mountain biking. With a hardtail mountain bike frame and decent parts.

Well, at first.

It soon slowly morphed into bike commuting. It happened not entirely by chance, but more of a choice. With a bit of personal circumstances that seems to put everything in place, enabling me to pursue it. Okay, 'enjoy' is the more appropriate word, rather than 'pursue'.

After 3 years since I first started to RTW on a twice monthly special thing, it is now a daily affair. And it is still special. So, perhaps this is my answer to Panjang's thought that night. AT a certain level, it defines me.

Alhamdulillah for this blessing; hope it would continue for the coming years, and getting only better.

For the record, I do enjoy my offroad rides. But with RTW, I could have my daily dose of cycling.

Have a great day, and thanks for coming.
Ride safe.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

22.09.2011: World Car-Free Day

Honestly, I was not aware about this movement or the significance of the date until yesterday when Azizan shared an article from NST in facebook.

I was elated. Albeit, from the views of others (okay, limited to my family only), there is a concern. If it is taken literally, going car-free means using a bike, motorcycle, walking, and most importantly, public transport, in order to get around places.

It led me to evaluate my family's need for the car on a normal day. My wife uses hers to go to work and ferry the children to school an back (distance: 16km one way). My MIL who lives with me would use another small car to send my youngest child to the babysitter (7 km one way). There's no safe route in the morning to commute that far for wife and children, and I'm not confident enough to bring Umar to the babysitter using a child seat even along a not-so-busy road, although I'm sure he'll be very happy with the ride. So, there's a need for efficient public transport if we are to go totally or mostly car-free. 

On the national level, cheap and efficient public transport is of the utmost imoprtace for those who don't bike (don't have one, distance too far, don't know how to ride a bicycle) and those who choose to walk. Facilities and amenities for pedestrians for those who choose to use public transport should be of a good quality and ample quantity. Extended to that, is our public transport willing to take in the concept of hybrid commuting whereby people could hop in the buses or trains with their bikes, be it foldable or full size.

My cousin in Singapore never owns a car. I envy him because he gets to use any kind of car that he wishes (within budget) to travel for a long trip with his family. They rent one. For normal days, they use public transport. Well, the public transport in S'pore is ample, of good service quality and widely connected. We don't have to look as far as London or Copenhagen or Amsterdam, dear Minister of Transport of Malaysia; just head down south across the straits and have a chat with them.

Read some:

I strongly back the points that Datuk Seri Shabery mentioned. Hope that it would materialise:
proper bicycle lanes should be incorporated in city planning
would like to see a bicycle rental service here

Also, from Datuk Naim (MNCF deputy president):
...to discuss measures to make Kuala Lumpur a cyclist-friendly city
...examine the need to create cycling lanes and bicycle parking stations
...identify safe routes for cyclists, look into the connectivity of cycling with public transport, inter-park channels and safety of parked bicycles
...a need for infrastructure for cyclists, such as changing rooms or showers, so that if an employee cycles to work, he has a place to shower in the office or in special shops

Me, as a person who commutes by bike to work:

Okay, while they are starting to look into the proposals beginning with KL, I believe the movement would be nationalised soon.
And then, we could have something to the effect like UK's Cyclescheme, eh?

Monday 29 August 2011

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri 1432H

Assalaamu 'alaikum warahmatullah.

I'd like to wish you a blessed Hari Raya, and Taqabbalallahu minnaa wa minkum.
May Allah accept (the fast and worship) from you and us.

I hope that we would foster the strength gained from our ibadah and good deeds made throughout Ramadhan; and continue on towards the rest of the year, until hopefully we could meet with Ramadhan again.

Be safe, and remember that moderation is key, in everything.

Till we meet again, hope you had a good one.

Akmal Hizam

image taken from here

Wednesday 10 August 2011

Bike license?

I read this article in the issue 10 of Bicycle Times magazine, and thought "hmmm...".
Well, when it does arrive to a certain number, things are never the same anymore.
My MIL told me that when she was working in Muar in the 60's, bikes were with license plates. And the roads were full of bikes. I can only imagine that the bike shops surely were having good business.
Get back to basics; it doesn't matter whether you're at the lowest rung of the road user, laws are to be adhered to. For the safety and harmony of everyone using the facility i.e. the road. We share, and we share it nicely. Oh, don't bring out that 'I pay road tax' card. Berbuat baik kan dapat pahala. Orang pun suka.
I agree, if we do come to that certain number in Malaysia, bike licenses would be a must. Riders should behave, and the $ should be used for bike amenities (lanes, lock posts, even lockers and showers too). If need be, riders should enroll in a certain hours of free mandatory courses for riding safely, simple repairs, etc. Of course, this would only applicable to bikes that are using the roads. And not too high a fee, compared to motorbikes ;)

Monday 8 August 2011

Have MTB, can go to University

For real?
Riding your bike, of course.
The trend is like that, of recent years. Well, it started a couple of years back, with jamborees/races in the northern region held in universities.
To name a few that I know of:
USM Transkrian - Nibong Tebal MTB Adventure (NTMTBA)
UTP Tronoh - Seri Iskandar MTB Exploration (well, part of the checkpoint)
UNiKL Kulim (MSI) - Kulim Int'l MTB Jamboree (okay, only during the registration day)
UTM Skudai - Giant-UTM MTB Quest
Nottingham University Malaysia - PCC Presidential Ride
There are also a couple more that I know of in the pipeline for 2011, to be held in these universities:
UKM Bangi - Konvo LeRun MTB Mini Jamboree
UTeM Durian Tunggal - Burung Hantu Night Ride Jamboree
Are there any event I left out?
Ride safe, people.
Ramadhan Kareem
itulah pentingnya mtb edukesyenn...

Friday 5 August 2011

RTW in Ramadhan

3 Ramadhan 1432H
58.5km/h down the bend at Taman Bukit Dahlia on the way home
Is commuting during Ramadhan possible?
Definitely. I mean, why not? Bangladeshi bros are doing it, right?
The first week or Ramadhan, I did RTW as usual, except for Friday. The first 2 days were a bit wobbly, but perhaps due to personal reasons - I was deprived of sleep and rest due to travelling to Senawang during the weekend. Yesterday was remarkably lively and energetic, but I don't know why. Perhaps the month of Ramadhan itself which contains blessings and all.
Anyway, what I can share with you is that my rides are like normal, except for a few things. The bike is definitely lighter by about 800g, for I don't carry water bottle on the downtube. The rear bag is also a bit lighter by about 400g due to absence of packed breakfast.
The time of day plays a crucial role in making RTW in Ramadhan possible. I go to work at around 7.00am, and cycle home at about 6.00pm. No sun in sight. Well, at least not as hot as the 10.00am sun. It's breezy, and for the past few days, it has been raining at about 2-3pm leaving the rest of the afternoon somewhat overcast. Alhamdulillah.
I intend to continue with my weeklong streaks and perhaps not too unrealistic to go for the 2nd monthlong insyaAllah. But, the definition would be altered a bit. I won't be doing RTW on Fridays.
Have a good ride, and a blessed Ramadhan throughout.
Ibadah harder, bros and sis.

Friday 29 July 2011

RTW: 10th weeklong, and the first Monthlong

Alhamdulillah, I completed my 10th weeklong this morning. Well, as one good thing is a mask of another, it is also my 3rd back-to-back weeklong.
The big news is (yes, only for me), it's my first monthlong. Hope that this would continue on.
Have a good weekend, y'all.
Selamat berpuasa.

Wednesday 27 July 2011

RTW: 9th weeklong

I completed the 9th weeklong last Friday.
It's also a second back-to-back weeklong, a 3 week continuous RTW.
Now, I'm 2 days away from my first monthlong. Well, technically it's gonna be a weeklong this week although I didn't ride on Monday due to an emergency leave.
Baby steps, and hopefully it would continue for another monthlong, then a back-to-back monthlong.
In overall, I'm getting comfortable with RTW. Perhaps a full-fledge bike commuter. If I could sort out the niggles, like, getting out early from home.
Ride safe, y'all.
Have a good one.

Tuesday 26 July 2011

RTW: Small Adventures

Quoted from the Editor's note in Bicycle Times issue 10:
There are opporrtunities for small adventures whenever you travel by bike. The road to work can become a mini-tour wih some creative route planning, and the chance to ride with fewer layers as it gets warmer can make a normal ride seem like a vacation. Even just a renewed appreciation for your surrounding can turn a routine trip into a pleasant sightseeing excursion.
True. Normal routine is boring, need to have a change every now and then.
And I always enjoyed those small adventures.

Wednesday 20 July 2011

First Test - Sportourer Jammy Gel Grips

A new pair of wings for my handlebar.
I found these ugly but comfy pair at Nick Yeap's store in The Zon Stulang Laut. After a quick haggling, I parted RM85 from my wallet (the price tag was originally RM120, then slashed to RM99). It was without the box, but I can tell that they're new unused. From the info I gather, they're Selle Italia Sportourer Jammy Gel.
Yes, Selle Italia.
From Dr. Luigi Cugola:
this grip design reduces possibility of carpal tunnel pathologies
Really? You could get that from riding a bike?
I took them for the first test on my RTW on Monday with half finger gloves, and today, without gloves. First impression, they're not as comfortable with gloves as the Specialized's BG Ergo lock grips (bought RM80 during that time) that I have used for close to a year now. Or as sexy, for that matter. The grip is a bit bulky, and felt snug when used without gloves. Well, I tried it on at the store without gloves, in the first place.
There's an array of vent holes along the grip, but I think due to manufacturing technique or something else, they are not effective. I tried to blow through the end of the grip before installing them on the handlebar, but it's like blowing into a hot water rubber bag. No air vented through the holes. Anyway, the holes are really small. If your hands are greasy or with dirt, it is enough to block the pores. Well, my hands were sweaty without gloves. So, I take it as only cosmetic addition to make them look loaded with technology.
The compound is quite tacky. I've no slippage problem while using gloves or without. I could feel the tackiness of the grip while using it without gloves. The cushion is adequate, meaning that they are soft but still hard enough to retain the shape and support the palms.
I like the way how my palms and thumbs are completely supported on the grips, they are able to relax. Pure ergonomics. I actually decided to buy these because the way the thumbs are taken care of in the design. Love at the first grip.
For Specialized's BG Ergo lock grips, I feel like there's a compromise for the grip while pedalling off-saddle. Fingertips of the rest of the fingers are somewhat 'hanging', not really gripping wholly while the thumbs are fully wrapping the grip. However, these pairs aren't like that. The underneath of the grip has a brickwall textured area for the fingers to grip on.
They are made in Italy, as embossed on the bottom of the grips. However, the appearance are not as good as you would expect from all things Italian. Hey, even them La Cosa Nostra appear dapper, don't they? Anyway, looks are secondary for me as long as they're functional.
There's still another pair left at NY's shop when I took these uglies home, if you want to get yours. Come down to JB, dude.
Sportourer's Jammy Gel page for your reference.
See more quotes in Sportourer's catalog.

Saturday 16 July 2011

RTW: 15.07.2011 - Ei8hth Weeklong

I'm happy to share with you that this morning's RTW marks the 8th weeklong for this year. That's more than what's initially planned - 3. Looks like I'm car free for most of the week nowadays, travelling to work.
Unfortunately that's all that I can claim to be, "travelling to work by bike". Sometimes my wife would offer to fetch me home by car, usually at night when she's out sending Marsya and Adam to tuition class. And, I'm not a real bike commuter whereby 100% of travelling from point A to B (and wandering off to C, D, E, Z even) done by cycling. At least not yet. What I do is I Ride To Work. Getting home by car is sometimes optional although I kind of like it, night rides.
InsyaAllah, this weeklong (and last week too) would continue to make it my first monthlong.
Now, what are the challenges of adopting a cycling lifestyle? A lot, in my case. Listing them out and see how to tackle them, insyaAllah, later.
Up to now, the odometer is displaying 8313.6 km. That's the distance I've cycled so far in total (offroad, RTW) from when I first started using a cyclometer a few years ago. Not that far for the span of time, compared to some cyclists I know. There were times when my rides were without the meter, though. Perhaps a good 100km or so.
It would be interesting to have a dedicated meter for RTW and offroad respectively. Well, looking at things nowadays, I'm sure RTW odometer would see far greater kms compared to offroad.
Anyways, the meter display would only show up until 9999.9 km afterwhich it will go back to 0.0
Oh, and my wife texted me just now that she's fetching me at 6 this evening.
Have a good weekend, y'all.
Ride safe!

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Event: OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2011 - 14-16.10.2011

Event: OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2011
When: 14 - 16 October 2011
Where: Dataran Merdeka
Type: Road cycling - on closed roads
More details:
Quite costly the fee, I'm tellin' ya. I think the most expensive so far of all biking events.

Friday 8 July 2011

RTW 06.07.2011 - in blue

me, in a coverall
Tuesday, at the gate entrance
guard: nak pergi mana?
saya: ofis design
guard menoleh pada chief guard
chief guard: design pun kena pakai (c)overall jugak
guard: esok pakai (c)overall ye
saya: :P
Wednesday morning, I wore the blue work trousers and pedaled from home. At about 600m from the gate, I stopped and took out the blue jacket from my bag. The first time I cycled to the office wearing company issued blue jacket and pants together. They're the equivalence of the said coverall, although in some aras in the yard they are not deemed so.
Even for a short distance, it was quite hot. My body heat was trapped underneath the jacket, and it wasn't pleasant at all.
The dress code for office personnel is not the coverall, unless going out to the worksite. I can't imagine all the people in the office wearing coveralls and safety shoes. But hey, at the entrance, I don't want to waste precious time arguing about this with the security guard.
Wednesday evening while I was going out of the gate, I spotted the chief guard and stopped to discuss with him about the dress code thing. Apparently, the issue is that it is deemed not proper for people to go in wearing shorts.
Well, I'm wearing 3/4 pants, but same difference to him. He cited that there were a couple of people who copied me cycling in (I could guess who they are). Also there's the question of what if the subcontractors would also get in dressing up like I do while they are supposed to wear red coveralls (no pants and jackets equivalent for them). Well, I have the answers but that would only steer away the conversation to other topic altogether.
Eventually we agreed that it would be okay if I'm wearing track bottom while cycling in. As for the jacket, it's a non-issue. I can wear my riding jersey. The coverall? Far from the real issue.
Thursday morning I'm wearing track bottom riding to work. The NiteIze Marker Band is an essential item now.

Tuesday 5 July 2011

DPM: build bicycle lanes

As a follow up to Malacca's CM Datuk Seri Ali Rustam's RTW on Fridays, the Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin commented:
Many European countries have dedicated bicycle lanes ... we should also have such a facility here
Cool! Now that we have big voices, we can have them lanes, hopefully. JKR, townplanners and such shall look into it. Err.. while at it, I recommend to also consider cycling facilities as well.
Anyway, more importantly now is for us to start be seen on the roads. With bike lanes or not. Find your safe routes for now, ya.
Read the article from thestar.com.my

Saturday 2 July 2011

RTW: Malacca CM's Cycle Friday

2km RTW would definitely permit people to ride in style
I read the news first at BaikBike.com this morning. Malacca's Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam is doing Cycle Friday. Well, 2km may not be much, but the message is there. The story was also reported in here (NST), here (The Star) and here (mynewshub.my) too.
He mentioned
I would be cycling to work from home every Friday. This would be my role in educating my employees and the people here on the importance of helping to reduce the emission of poisonous gases from our vehicles.

1.5m wide bike lanes? Super. Better yet, stretch it to be more than 4km, like in Penang.
Err... how about bike lanes for JB, Masai and Pasir Gudang?
Anyway, way to go, Datuk Seri!
Perhaps we could also ride along this October's Burung Hantu?
Jom Basikal!
photo nicked from mynewshub.my