akmal's bike park

akmal's bike park

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?