akmal's bike park

akmal's bike park

Sunday 16 December 2012

Night DH in JB

A: Psst... Psst... Have you heard about it yet?
B: Heard what?
A: DH event in JB.
B: That's normal la bro.
A: This one's different, bhai...
B: How different? Open to fixed-gear only?
A: Yeah, right... Well, this time it's a night DH.
B: OK...
A: And it's gonna be 1km DH trail.
B: When la?
A: 03/2013
B: Where?
A: Seri Alam Bike Park
B: Eh, itu dekat benor dengan rumah Akmal kan?
A: Akmal who?

Bangga aku dok kat Bandar Seri Alam...

Tuesday 11 December 2012

09.12.2012 Sunday Short Ride

It was only about 20km of tarmac and offroad ride with 1½ hour saddle time.
With Ziyad.

We started from my house and pedaled to a mamak restaurant at Suria area for breakfast.

home > Suria > Flora Heights > Fort William > Rodeo > UniKL/MRSM > Bike Park > home

I love the tranquility of the morning's ride on Sunday.
Rolling through the rubber estate, there was a sense of serenity.
The weather was nice, not humid just crisp. And the trail was dry.

There were lots of climbing, especially during the initial ride going to Flora Heights and Fort William.
The payback down FW and Rodeo was really rewarding. Also at the Bike Park although just a short one.

But most of all, was being able to be at home before noon. And not having to wash the bike.

Enjoy your ride!
Thanks for coming over, dude.

Wednesday 28 November 2012

11.11.12: solo ride around localities

at UniKL MITEC Seri Alam/MRSM JB

I had a very limited saddle time during the last few weeks due to various reasons, the major one being rainy evenings/nights. That's why I tend to cherish any rides that I manage to do. More so when the ride is coupled with an objective other than spinning the crankwheel.

Helmy, an avid freebies collector (and a reader) of MBUK asked me to get him a copy of Nov 2012 issue from KL. He's riding in Plentong that day, so I delivered the mag by riding on road with my RTW Machine. Heck, it's only a 2km ride from home.

So, after chat over nasi lemak(!), I went off pedaling home. Noticing that it was still early and the distance covered was not that far, I decided to stay on saddle and charted a longer route in my mind. I covered various places, hills and a little bit offroad (mud!) thrown in the overall distance. Not too bad, alhamdulillah I covered about 30km that morning. Enough endorphin over less than a couple of hours of spinning around the localities. No bad doggies.

Route: Plentong > Bandar Seri Alam > MRSM JB > UniKL MITEC Seri Alam > Flora Heights > Nusa Damai > Taman Cendana > Taman Bukit Dahlia > KIP Mart Masai > Masai > Bandar Seri Alam (Suria) > home.

Oh, and for the first time I used the Raleigh panniers bought from Amir Syafiq who got it from Bristol during his years there.

Bila lah nak buat short/long distance touring daa...

Distance: 28.6km
Route map in herehttp://bit.ly/T2x7Qo

Thanks for coming over.
Have a good ride!
And take care of your solat.

Thursday 15 November 2012

Seri Alam Offroad 14.10.2012: Leading the Pack

multiple Yad

It's only a week to Burung Hantu 2012 event, and I needed so badly some dirt time. The last offroad was at PCP two weeks back and that followed by an 8.6km Fun Ride on tarmac with the family, participating in Mega Ride 2012.
Highly motivated, I pedaled to Ruza Taman Scientex on that Sunday morning. There were only 5 of us: EG, Wak Amm, Yad, Apau and myself. It was a small group, and the level of fitness & skills are about the same, hence I decided to ask EG if I could lead the ride that morning; with him as a guide whenever we got lost of course. And yes, he guided me quite a number of times!
The trail network in Seri Alam is quite confusing for me all these while; and I've been tailing the riding group whenever we rode in there. There were numerous occasions before this when I got lost, and not knowing which part of the area I was. It is quite scary, especially when it is close to the afternoon when water supply depleted and the body is exhausted. During the last 2 rides, we had been going through the same trail, so I could remember a certain (sumptuous) parts of the trail. This time, I took the lead.

Destination points: Flora Heights, Fort William, rodeo, Mashi Maro, and Badminton; and then Seri Alam Bike Park on the way home.
I tell ya, when you're in the lead, the trail's various branches opened up. Paths on the sides which were not noticeable suddenly become very, very visible. In many occasions I did steered the group to unfamiliar routes and we had to retrack to jalan yang benar. EG had been helpful in correcting the way, all the way. Thanks, deh!
Anyway, I felt confident to lead a group from Nusa Damai up to Badminton now, insyaAllah. Still a bit blur to get back to Bike Park, though. Hehe...

Photos in herehttp://bit.ly/ZpG3lT (action shot overload!)
Route map (Nusa Damai --> Seri Alam) is herehttp://bit.ly/TDA2eF

Thanks for coming over.
Ride on!
Jangan tinggal solat ye.

Ronda Riadah Mega Ride 07.10.2012: Family Fun Ride II

The people in the family was quite excited when I told them that we are participating in the second installation of Mega Ride's Fun Ride. The advertised distance this time, however, is triple than the first's 5km. That got me a bit worried, especially for Adam's single speed BMX. For Marsya, I built her a 9-speed mountain bike 2 weeks before her birthday, so no problem there except for her handling of it.
We did about 4 training sessions with the kids, and once with the missus and Umar. It made a lot of difference, really, and I think they are fit enough for up to 10km ride on tarmac. I sensed that they enjoyed the small victories whenever we finished our training sessions. And I think more rewardingly the family bond is better when we go out cycling together. Getting the kids to get ready on time is still an area that we could greatly improve on, though.
So, the D-Day arrived. I managed to load the Innova with 3 mountain bikes and 1 BMX while still having comfortable space to sit in (Umar as usual would hop around front and back, regardless). We got up early and drove out to Bandar Dato' Onn that Sunday morning. Such an awesome spectacle it was, a carnival of cycling enhusiasts gathering on a big open space of the grass hill.

As usual, the eventual flag-off was preceded by formailities of short speeches, safety briefing and anthems. We the Fun Riders had to wait from 8.00am to 8.50am before our turn arrive. By that time, Umar was a bit restless and sleepy. I managed to keep him interested although he refused to wear his helmet all the way.

I kept track of the distance and kept watch on Adam's condition. The gentle slope heading to Seri Austin was a bit tough for him, but he managed to pull through after a short rest for water halfway. The weather was nice and bright, but by the time we reached the turning point at Seri Austin, it was already a little bit hot. Nothing to complain, though, as it is much better than if it is raining. The total distance was only 8.6km according to my cyclometer. Well, I think it is just about the right distance for us, with the amount of training that we had.

After getting our meals and drinks, we went off. Not bothering too much on the lucky draw at all. We had what we wanted, and it was more than the measly RM50 entrance fee for the whole family. The goodie bags itself worth more than that (a good quality jersey with back pockets); plus the meal, free-flow drinks and satay provided. The family outing: priceless.

Looking forward for the next Fun Ride, and preferably with shorter waiting/idle time and suitable ride distance.

Thanks for coming over.
Have a good day!

Monday 22 October 2012

30.09.2012 - PCP Maiden Ride with Dino and Gang

Another one ride wishlist ticked off now.
Many thanks to Dino for being the ride guide and also providing the transportation.
The same goes to BC Kelolo for lending me one of his bikes.
Dino fetched me on a beautiful Sunday morning at the entrance of The Royal Selangor Golf Club at Jalan Tun Razak, which is a short distance from the hotel I was staying in at Jalan Imbi. We headed straight away to Putrajaya from there with Dino's son Irfan. At PCP, we were joined by two others, Hafiz and Kamil.
We started right off at the pump track, a short steep downhill and into the singletrack. Abruptly after, hidden from sight is a climb up upon a series of switchbacks. One word about the switchbacks at PCP: aplenty.
The trails in PCP is mostly singletrack, some tight on the ledge and some are quite wide. There are technical ones, and served with uphills matched with rewarding downhills. I failed miserably on many of the switchbacks, hence not really enjoyable - found myself hiking down most of them. I'd say 60% of the tracks are with switchbacks. Some looks gnarly, some quite tight and some are quite relaxed. So, if you mastered the skill to tackle switchbacks (both going up and down), you will definitely enjoy riding in PCP.
The trails are actually divided into 4 categories coded with colours:
Black - DH
*sorry, too lazy to look for info of the trails.
Dino brought us through a mix of the blue, green and red trails. Quite challenging at some sections, a good place to hone and practice your mtb skills (if you have a good guide). From my Sports Tracker's reading, we chalked only about 6.5km of riding but I tell ya, it was really intense.
Surely I'll be back, and tackle all those haunting switchbacks. InsyaAllah.
From Sports Tracker's reading:
Distance: 6.51km
Duration: 1h 16m 37s
Average speed: 5.10 km/h
Max speed: 22.4 km/h (couldn't be!)
Photos are in here:

Friday 28 September 2012

19.09.2012: NR with GLC - Desa Park City

me at Jalan Strachan
Another ride with GLC, and this time the destination was Desa Park City. A very nice township with the lake park Waterfront complete with a reputable bike shop. There's also a recent installation of stainless steel bike rack nearby the bike shop and 7-Eleven. How convenient (for cyclists!).
I loaned BC Kelolo's bike and kept it with me while staying in the hotel. So we agreed to meet up along the way, RV point mamak restaurant nearby Jalan Ipoh/Jalan Sentul T-junction. Not long after I reached the place, the group arrived and we moved on.
Goosebumps on my arms and I grew excited while cycling along Jalan Ipoh towards Segambut, for nostalgic reasons. We passed by SRK Sri Dhandayutapani (can you say that in one go, quickly?) and I was smiling big time as I saw Jalan Strachan across the road. I didn't go to school there, but I remember my childhood friends and I were having fun with saying the name as quick as we can. And that fun we had was on Jalan Strachan, used to be our home.
I won't say much about the route. You can view it on the maps via the links below. Suffice to say that the route is wholesome. A lot of downhills. After the necessary cranking uphills, of course.
On the way back, more downhills (and uphills!) were served. The one at Publika, and also the one leading to Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan. Awesome.
All in all, I'm happy to have joined the ride. Went to new places, and also revisit old places; some personal satisfaction during my solo rides from the hotel to Jalan Ipoh and back.
Many thanks to BC Kelolo and GLC gang for this one.
Thanks for coming around.
Have a good weekend!

Tuesday 28 August 2012

Offroad: Seri Alam 26.08.2012 - gathering of brothers

 This is ride special simply because it has been a long time since my last offroad outing in Skudai. Lond put up on PG Gerek fb page about the ride, so I set out to join in. Moreover, it is in Seri Alam. It has been a very, very long time. Being the first offroad after Ramadhan, I'm sure it would be a bit taxing.
7.30 am and I went to Ruza in Nusa Damai but no one there. Lond was waiting in Ruza in Taman Scientex. The restaurant is open, but without breakfast or even hot drinks. Bought RM3 worth of assorted kuih from nearby stall and had it in the restaurant. Washed down with plain water. Eg and Am joined us shortly after. To my surprise, Reza came too. So there we were, 5 of us. We went to the other meeting point in Taman Scientex and had breakfast over there.
Eventually, we started rolling proper at about 9.15 am.
Taman Scientex - Backyard - Flora Heights - Fort William - Mashi Maro - Badminton - 7-Eleven - Kambing - Seri Alam Bike Park - Kuil - Nusa Damai - Taman Scientex.
View the trail on Sports Tracker and here.
My stats:
Dist 31.07 km
Odo 384.7 km
Max 40 km/h
Time 2:36:29
Avg 11.8 km/h
The first 10 km was very taxing. I was out of breath, and the stomach feels uneasy. Not to the point of vomiting or nausea, but uncomfortable although yet can still endure the ordeal. However, the legs are good and didn't give any problem. Alhamdulillah. I have to note here that most of the time little granny was asked to serve and big ring was spared most of the time. Sheesshhh...
I enjoyed the ride in overall. Especially the sumptuous start of Fort William - Mashi Maro section. The boing-boing downhill was simply awesome. The downhill to Badminton was interrupted with fallen (more of chopped off) trees at the halfway point.
To our surprise, the settlement at Badminton (and all other kotais) were deserted and some were burnt. A chat with a PATI on motorbike at the trail reveals that they had moved to other places. There were multiple thefts; cooking gas tank and rice were robbed. The PATI told us it might be that the thieves came around to their places following the waypoint markings that were left after the events ended. They didn't want to take them off out of their respect to us cyclists. We agreed that they could take off the markings for their safety; the markings should be taken off by organizers after the events, anyway. So, please be warned that if you're in Seri Alam trail, do expect discontinuity or even absence of markings from now on.
We met with people from Cyclemotion at 7-Eleven for a short get together (beraya tanpa makan-makan) and rode together for a few kms before parting off at the goat farm. The five of us went ahead and that led us to the bunch of DHers at Seri Alam Bike Park - another section that I enjoyed most. The run down at Seri Alam Bike Park towards the lake was amazing. Kudos to the trailbuilders!
It's good to be back on saddle offroad, and more so getting to meet again with fellow bikers after such a long time. What's leaving a big impression to me is the Seri Alam Bike Park. It left me grinning to this day.
Anybody has a Glory (with fullface helmet, neck brace, paddings, etc.) that I can borrow?
Photos are in here.
Thanks for coming over, dude.
Have a great day ahead!

Thursday 23 August 2012

RTW: 23.08.2012 back after a month


I was yearning for a ride yesterday. And I did it today, half-obliged on my Trance with knobbies (!).

The office (and the whole Pasir Gudang) is still on extended Eid leave, except for my Filipino mates and some people who share the same fate with me - not allowed to take extended leave due to project demands.
My parents are at my home with the rest of the family still on school festive holiday. They have plans to go here-and-there with the car and so I have to RTW.

One small problem: the Kona Nunu RTW Machine is buried quite deep in the store room. Being away for the Eid holiday, I can't afford to leave it outside so I put it in there. The Trance is ever ready in the living room, though. I was too tired last night to get Nunu ready for this morning's RTW so I went out with Trance.

Stats this morning:
Out from home 0718  hours
Arrive office 0752  hours
Door-to-door 34  mins
Ride time 31' 25"  
Distance 11.5  km
Ave. speed 22.0  km/h
Max speed 36.5  km/h
Odometer 340.8  km
Good doggies 0  
Bike / Tire Trance/knobbies  

I'm happy to report that the average speed is quite good for a long absentee. However, I have to note here that I'm a bit tired after my shower and taking some time to recover. Anyway, I'm elated.

Not much difference on the surroundings en route, except that the coastal highway was without as much vehicles. Easier for me to cross the road. Quite boring, actually. Perhaps a venture offroad on the way back?

Have a good day ahead, guys.
Thanks for stopping over.

Wednesday 22 August 2012

less RTW

Following my third monthlong RTW for this year in May, my bike commuting has since reduced quite dramatically due to change of workplace/office. I have been in a weekly outstation stint since June and still ongoing. A 3-day week in KL initially is now graduated to a full 5-day week including the whole Ramadhan. So, this year effectively there were no Ramadhan RTW at all. Heck, today is 22.08.2012 and I haven't done any RTW at all yet in August. My latest RTW was on 24.07.2012. Such a long hiatus.

The only cycling that I did to 'compensate' were few and far between. I guess that makes it more memorable, more intense and more joyful.
1. Night ride with GLC: KL Tower + Sup Dorai - with Latfy 26.06.2012

2. Night ride with GLC: Carcosa + Tasik Perdana + S'gor Mansion - with Azlan and Latfy 04.07.2012

3. Offroad: Kayuhan Amal Skudai - 15.07.2012

Oh yes, I enjoyed tremendously all those rides. The theme was all the same: strenghtening ties between friends - long lost friends, and friends found through cycling. I rode with Latfy my friend from my MLA Cheras days and Azlan (MBPS/MBS Sentul/MLA Cheras) during the GLC night rides, and reconnected with good people from JB in the Skudai ride. Also, the places were all that had been in my wishlist, too - a ride up the KL Tower (base), late night hot soup at Jalan Doraisamy, the serene Carcosa Seri Negara, a touch of offroad at Tasik Perdana, and the Skudai Trail.

I hope more of good cycling in days ahead. The bikes at home are gathering dust and cobweb. With the exception of today, I hope the 3 days in Pasir Gudang this week could see me back on the saddle again. Spare tire is growing on my waist.


Thanks for coming over.
Enjoyed your Eid?

Monday 16 July 2012

Offroad: 15.07.2012 Kayuhan Amal Skudai

Sorry, readers. No photos. Was busy enjoying my ride

There are too many events these days lining up in Johor alone, judging from the event invitations that I received through Facebook. During my initial year of mountain biking, I wished for mtb events in JB some years ago. Some wishes do come true, albeit realised after a few years. However, you better be careful with what you're wishing for; it may not be good for you. But in this case, I think it is a good thing in some aspects.

Take for an instance the recent event I took part in. A simple event, with a good cause, and kinda back to the roots. It was Kayuhan Amal Skudai, in conjunction with Festival Skudai 2012 at Masjid Zainal Abidin in Taman Sri Skudai. The mtb event was brought up by the handsomest bug in all Skudai, Ijat aka Kumbang Hensem Durjana with CTanggang Riders and Rahman KBC with KBC bros. The measly RM20 event fee goes to the masjid fund, while 200 registered riders were given a nice turquoise cotton t-shirt.

I registered as a walk-in (or pedal-in) rider that morning. The ride suits me very well in various facets. First and foremost, it is a charity ride - fii sabilillah - for the masjid's fund. And the rest, on equal ground: riding with friends, excellent trail, a short distance offroad and a closure for my offroad biking before Ramadhan (which is, not many). I noticed that my handlebar gathered dust from too much resting at home. Sheeshhh...

Alhamdulillah, the weather was fine as it was raining the day before. Mudfest expected, and more or less prepared. To get to the trailhead, 6+ km tarmac warmup required, guided by Traffic Police, on hilly Skudai Batu 10 area. I enjoyed tremendously the uphill sprint before the descend to the trailhead. The fun began as soon as we hit the dirt. Some younger fixed gear heads went in too, I guess to get a taste of offroad, but I think more of a preservation (and manifestation) of their ego. Well, you never underestimate what the young ones could do. Let them be. I went ahead to enjoy my ride.

The beginning of the offroad was quite mild, but my bike was relishing it; and so did I. I intended to enjoy every inch of the trail. Soon enough, we hit the trail junction. Rather, a secret door to an awesome technical trail loop. Magical it might seem, with the damp ground and undulating, swervy singletrack  strewn with roots in certain sections. There's also a slippery KumBerm and some drops. That's Plastic Cup. The loop is about 2km. Panjang and I enjoyed it so much, we went it for a second serving of the cup. How envious we were with folks at Skudai who regard this as their evening playground after working hours (or before iftar).

We continued to Denai Trail. Here, the magic continued further. More singletracks, with some bumps and the infamous drop, decorated with a gem of a finishing at Bukit Tergolek - a steep drop that (honestly) made my heart pounding and knees wobbling. I bypassed the first mega drop, and continued on. But I knew from my first visit here more than a year ago, that BT is the pièce de résistance not to be missed. I was a bit shaken upon descending the BT drop, forcing me to suspend right at the edge of it. It took me some time to regain my normal heartbeat and shaking knees attenuated. I redeemed myself finally, and descended not once but twice. Pure adrenaline rush. Loved it.
*ye laa... tak tergolek, boleh la kata macam-macam...

After much of a carnival at the base of BT we headed to Bukit Double Trouble before a somewhat fast singletrack with an ending at a small drop. I thought that it was over, but soon enough there was a little surprise - Bukit Che Mat greeted us. Rather a big mound than a small hill. Plus, some more small drops after that. Still, simple features like this make the playground a happy place. For the bike and myself.

We got back to the trailhead, right where we came in from and pedaled uphill on the tarmac to get back to the event base. Total distance was less than 20 km, and I finished the ride at 11.30 am.

I stayed around to cool down and enjoyed the tug-of-war match at the field. I reached home at 12.30 noon, much to the delight of my missus.

To Ijat, Rahman, Skudai folks and everyone else who made the event possible - thumbs up for you. May Allah bless you for all the good deeds done.

See y'all in the trails, local and elsewhere(!) after Ramadhan, insyaAllah.

Thanks for coming around.
Have a blessed Ramadhan.

Friday 22 June 2012

Ride a Bike

I recommend for you to ride a bicycle:

for your spiritual health - involve zikr with each pedal stroke

for your physical health - even a short spin around the neighbourhood would make you sweat and put in some exercise

for your mental health - be alone even when riding in a group






*fill in the blanks (believe me, you would be filling in many lines after some kilometers).

Have a good day.

Ride a Bike

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Merino Wool?

merino wool jersey - have ewe tried it yet?

Latfy - a reborn cyclist (and I mean a very avid cyclist at that) - was checking up on the idea of wearing merino wool shirt for his RTW. Both of us agree that in our local climate we would surely sweat when riding the bike. I had done tests myself on my RTW journeys with cotton t-shirts and polyester jerseys. No matter how cool the weather is (post rain, gloomy sky, etc.), surely I would be sweaty whenever I'm stopping at the traffic light.

The other challenge is to not be stinky because of the sweat. One of my two Sugoi jerseys would smell a bit funny when I'm sweaty - perhaps because of the polyester. The other jersey, Brooks with X-Static material is much better, with no odor due to its anti-bacterial properties.

And then Latfy gave me this link:


Two weeks with one shirt with no odor? That's something. Anybody tried any merino wool jersey in our local climate? Especially when it's hot and humid, for any types of cycling - road, offroad, RTW, touring, etc. Please share your experience. I'd like to know what you think (feel).

So far I've got a pair of Smartwool socks from a Timberland store (and they're not a cheap pair of socks!). A bit thick, I've been wearing them with my sneakers only. No cycling yet.

Why Merino Wool?



image taken from here.

Friday 8 June 2012

Event: 17.06.2012 Wa Cycles XC Challenge 2012

come down to Seri Alam, y'all!

As the title suggests, it is a race. And pretty accurate timescoring at that, using timing chips system. The first MTB XC race in Malaysia utilising such tech.

Details are on the poster.

Ad: if you need accommodation (homestay) in Plentong (a few km from Seri Alam), do contact me 012.7318839.
Reasonable rate for mountain bikers.

Have a good weekend.
Train hard. And enjoy it.

Thursday 7 June 2012

X-by-10 speed: inevitable?

I'm a fan of 9 speed. That's purely because of the $ aspect. Technologically, I have never heard of 10 speed (on the rear) having issues. All three bikes at home are with 3x9 setting, so I'm keeping parts inventory low. They are interchangeable. I'm a modular kind of guy, you see.
This morning I got the news from SRAM that X5 is now offered in 2x10 config. Of course, this was following the trend as the equal stable from Shimano - Deore - has led.
So, is the transition to 10 speed inevitable, be it 3x10 or 2x10?
I'd like to try it out for my Trance. Anyone would like to sponsor me for the shift?
Pardon the pun. Can't help it.
11 speed?
I am left behind, it seems. Shimano in their XTR outfit is beginning to roll out 11 speed. SRAM is with their XX1 (1x11)
I'm game for this tech push, as long as it benefits in smoother shifting, less weight, durable and affordable.
Well, that last part I guess we have to wait a few years down the line.
Have a great day.
Thanks for coming over.

Friday 1 June 2012

Event: 02-03.06.2012 Downmall Pelangi

You might have seen it on YouTube before. Well, that's somewhere else. DH nuts are bringing it to Malaysia for the first time ever. And it is in JB. How cool is that. (Okay, only if there are no fatal injury, of course).

Head down to JB, then. If you're not participating, witnessing it would also be awesome. Parking space as usual in Plaza Pelangi is quite limited. Heck, go there by your bike, then.

Perhaps after this we can have indoor loop race in Kemayan City like the Europeans and Americans are doing.
A bit scary, I know.

p.s.: search 'downmall' in YouTube.

Friday 25 May 2012

Event: Charity Rides in JB this weekend 25-27.05.2012

Charity ride to raise fund for surgical operation of Azhar's (of Cyclemotion JB) 6 months old daughter Nur Liyana, due to heart complication.
Bring along some donation with you and enjoy the rides.

Pasir Gudang - Charity Baby Girl Nite Ride
Date: 25.05.2012 (Friday)
Time: 8.30 pm
Venue: Kolej Komuniti Pasir Gudang. Jalan Kijang, Taman Scientex. N1.495553, E103.912819
Type: Friday Nite Ride on road
Route: Kolej Komuniti - Kong Kong - Kolej Komuniti
Host: Angah Bike Shack
Note: F&B will be provided

Skudai - Ride of Hope
Date: 27.05.2012 (Sunday)
Time: 0830 start rolling
Venue: Techpro Cycles. Jalan Bakti 1, Mutiara Rini, Skudai, Johor. N1.527179, E103.631123
Type: Sunday morning offroad ride, distance about 30km.
Route: marked offroad trail - Mutiara Rini Trail
Host: Cyclemotion JB with CTanggang Riders and HSACC
Note: facebook event page link here.

Monday 21 May 2012

Muc-Off Bicycle Cleaner

caution: this awesome product might turn you into a lazy cyclist
(but you save time and energy for cleaning up your dirty bike so you can ride your heart out)

Admittedly I wanted to have something clever for the title of this entry, but there are too many to choose from. So, I just leave it in the simplest form.

I bought my first bottle of 1L from Angah Bike Shack (ABS) in Pasir Gudang for less than RM40. Roughly 1L of the pink liquid would see you through about 5 to 6 washings. Of course, it depends entirely on how mucky your bike is. Now I'm buying refills of 1L for RM25. RM5 per wash is good, given the amount of energy and time saved.

It is very, very easy to use. This is how I do it:
If the dirt on my bike is already dried up, I'll wet if with water by hosing over.
Then, I'd spray the Muc-Off onto the dirt and leave for 3-5 minutes - letting it work its way to the dirt.
Finally, I spray the water with garden water hose onto the dirty bike. Just a normal jet, no need for a high pressure jet (I don't own one, anyway).
And, the beautiful part is I don't have to use any brush or even need to touch the bike.

I keep my bike in the house, so I have to keep my bike clean after every ride - especially the tires. Cleaning the tires manually by using a scrubber would take me ages, while breaking my back doing the labour. With Muc-Off I'm saving my time and also energy. Full-sussers would appreciate it even better. I find it very helpful in cleaning the suspension link on my Trance because it gets through the tight space. I would usually scrub it by using old toothbrush, but with MO I'm getting lazy now while getting almost the same result if not better. After a tiring ride, especially. Indispensable. Plus, it is earth-friendly so I don't need to worry about damaging my lawn or the drainage.

However, do not be too lazy to clean up your drivetrain. It is NOT a degreaser. You still need to clean your 3C's - chain, crankset and cassette.

The photos in this ALBUM show the steps and before and after shots.
View to appreciate.

Muc-Off Bicycle Cleaner is available in 1L spray bottle, pressure bottle and as a kit.
If you're in JB, Muc-Off is available from these friendly bike shops (as far as I know):

Muc-Off have other products as well.
Read more: www.Muc-Off.com

this entry is written in the light of sharing; no commercial backing whatsoever.
I don't get paid for this.

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Puma Presents: Fixed-Gear 101

For Fixed heads, got something for you in case you haven't read it yet.

Interesting read, actually.
Read and ride better, for part of riding a bike is with our head.

Have a good day.
Thanks for coming around.

Friday 27 April 2012

Commuter's Bike Shop

Wouldn't it be nice if we have a bike shop dedicated for non-sportive people. The specialty bike shop would cater for the needs of daily commuters, tourers, randonneurs and the like. For people who take cycling as a means of transport, not sports. Utilitarian Human Powered Vehicles.

The shop would have decent selection of commuter bikes, town bikes, Dutch bikes, hybrids, foldables, fixed gear and even recumbents - the kind of bikes (and 'bents) that people would use for travelling efficiently from point A to B. It should also have a comprehensive spread of parts, consumables, accessories and apparels for the needs of the commuters. What should the shop stock on? Read up Bicycle Times and Momentum magazine and you'll get the big picture. Of course, it would be a strange place to sell car bike racks.

I mentioned the above to my missus, and she quipped almost without hesitation:
why don't you open the bike shop yourself?

For now it's a pipe dream. And in that dream, the shop would have dedicated musolla, shower booths, bike parking facility, repair and maintenance area, and a riders' lounge. Well, pretty much like Mellow Johnny's. Oh, and the bike shop would hold leisure rides, tours and more importantly, cycling clinics. Yes, pretty much like MJ's.

I think there's such a bike shop in UPM, run by Akmal. Not me, though.

Thanks for dropping by.
Ride safe, and have a great weekend!

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Review: Tires - Maxxis Detonator 26/1.5 Black


From Maxxis webpage:
One of our most popular road training tires is now available for your 26" wheels.  With its Silkworm protection for puncture resistance and a lightweight, foldable bead, the Detonator provides great traction and durability.  Perfect for road training when you only have one bike available - or for daily commuting.

Mine: 26/1.5 black, foldable.
Single density compound - a bit soft, sands get lodged in the rubber compound and tears all along the tire surface.
Silkworm protection - not good enough. I get punctures from glasses (cuts) and staples.
Weight: about 1kg for a pair is good, but at the expense of puncture protection. Not good trade-off; I'd rather go for a weightier puncture resistant tires, which spares me the time consumed and stresses that come with flat tires.

First of all, they're road training tires. Period. I won't take them for daily commuting. Not for my normal RTW route which is a combination of tarmac, loose gravels, puddles, glass littered road shoulders and a short section of red earth.

Been using them for 4 months of daily commuting, about 1000km. Bought the pair for RM120 from LBS - way much cheaper than other commuter tires. Anyway, since these are the only ones available (and cheap at the same time), I grab them as a much needed replacement for RiBMos. So those are the reasons for me getting these softies - not much choice, cheap, and quick replacements.

Unfortunately, it is true that 'good things not cheap, cheap things not good'. I should have known better. The compound is soft, such that sands would be able to lodge on the surface like whiteheads on a person's face. Upon closer inspection, there are numerous tears on the tire surface which is quite scary. I had a few punctures during the last 3 weeks for the front and rear tires, but thankfully not at the same time. However, it is really frustrating that these can't be trusted for my daily commute.

Ride quality is good, as the soft compound absorbs a bit of the vibration from the road. I put on 60psi from the max 80. Any lower, the ride is painfully slow and a bit squishy.

Puncture resistance is not good, mainly due to the soft compound.

Grip is good, and for more than 1000km now, they are in still good condition. The tread wear is quite good. When bought new, they are noticeably tacky when I hold them, early indication of their good grip. Braking is good, however I don't do skids.

I won't go back to these for my RTW unless really, really desperate and would be using them only on nicest tarmac. And being very cautious. Well, sounds like not going to be a carefree ride.
Anyway, as they mentioned: 'for road training'. Don't believe the 'or for daily commuting' bit.

Note to local bike shops:
Please stock good tires for commuting. Pretty please.

Friday 6 April 2012

Sans Casque

Period: 19~23/03/2012 (11th weeklong in 2012).

Breezy, and no helmet hair. Surely.
I've tried once before this doing my RTW without wearing a helmet. The ride was quite aggressive, my head was sweaty and trickled down to my face. Not a good feeling. Lately, I've been riding a la bike commuter proper. Relaxed ride, spinning leisurely and enjoying the breeze from the ride. Going uphill would take some time as I'm utilising the low gears in order to spin the crank at a leisurely rate. So, it is different now. And I tried a week of RTW without wearing my helmet.

It's a sin, I know. And that's coincidentally a day after the late Rafizi Hamdan met with fatal accident on the MRR2.

Here's what I found out:
1. My head feels lighter with wind on my hair
It is simpler to go out of the house and just pedal off. I can feel the breezy air on my scalp as I hit 10km/h mark.
However, I feel awkward without the helmet on my head (of course, silly!).

2. Feeling of Freedom and carefree
I feel more like a commuter ;)
Just like people in Taiwan, China, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and fellow Bangla riders in Pasir Gudang.
With helmet, I feel like a bit over the top when riding with them.
Without it though, I feel awkward and a bit 'naked'.

3. Feel more cautious
I was guilt-ridden for not wearing my helmet, in part because I feel that I'm a role model for safety of cycling on the road.
I associate the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE, helmet in this case) as a signal of being safety conscious and that I take safety as paramount in RTW.
Without the helmet, I feel that I am much more cautious compared to wearing a helmet. Perhaps because I feel vulnerable without the protective shell sitting atop my head, for I've had it all these time.
So yes, I pedaled leisurely but cautiously without helmet. And it's a bit tiring.

4. Sweaty, still
Due to humidity, my scalp does get sweaty especially when I stop at the traffic light.
With a helmet, I need to shampoo my hair due to sweat soaked on the inner helmet pads.
Without, I just need to dry the hair a bit with towel and that saves me some time getting ready for the day in the office. Quite convenient. But, only if I ride the bike at a leisurely pace, i.e. 18km/h average. Yes, slow.

So, do I like it?
Yes and no.
Yes it is nice to be free. But I don't feel safe. To think about it, I've never met with an accident during my RTW whereby I knock my head. The worst was I hit the ground with my shoulder. So, statistically over the couple of years when I RTW on a regular basis, the helmet is a 260g mass sitting on my head strapped under the chin.

However, I have to say that I have more respect to cyclists who respect themselves; wearing a cycling helmet while riding. That's the case in  Malaysia, I think. At least, for me. Well, I'm blessed so far without any head-knocking accident. And I don't want to be without a helmet when I'm in one (na'uzubillah).

Of course, there's the debate of riding the bike with and without helmet which I wouldn't dwell about in here.
My stand? I'm wearing one because of safety and other abstract reasons. Besides, my MET Falco is sub-300g (that's light) and I look good with it.
Don't I?

Don't ride without it. Have a beautiful helmet hair, you.
Thanks for coming over.
Enjoy your weekend ride.

Thursday 5 April 2012

Milestone: 50th RTW 2012

Today marks my 50th RTW for 2012.

Odometer: 1053.7 km 

Earliest out: 6.37am
Latest out: 7.21am :P

Fastest door-to-door: 27 minutes
Slowest door-to-door: 44 minutes

Shortest route: 10.34 km
Longest route: 14.36 km

Highest average speed: 26.4 km/h
Lowest average speed: 18.8 km/h

Monthlong: 2 out of 4 (50% achieved)
Weeklong: 12 out of 20 (60% achieved)

The one I'm really keen to improve is on the time I'm going out. The earlier the better.
As for the targets, currently I'm ahead of time and hopefully I can surpass it like last year.

Why the stats?
Well, it's fun to keep track on the progress. And for me to show with you that it can be done, rain and shine (I prefer if it's not raining, though).
However, I foresee that when I'm a regular commuter, the stats don't matter anymore. Just like when you stop keeping track of your baby's walking progress.
We'll see.

Thanks for coming over.
Be kind to cyclists. Share The Road.
Enjoy your ride.

Wednesday 4 April 2012

In The News: MNCF losing out despite booming industry

Read the full article in here (NST).

And yes, mtb jamborees are now more or less a weekly event; a better scene compared to only a couple of years back. Good for the riders, they can choose to their liking. Even better for those who 'cari makan', jamborees also do give out prize money, if not as the training ground or platform to gauge their performance.

I don't know if the struggling junior cyclists are taking part in the jamborees. Well, why not MNCF sanction the jamborees and make it as a talent scout or something out of it for the advancement of the sport. Just put the bureaucracy, lengthy protocols (if any) and $-raking out of the scene. I'm okay with Negaraku, 1Malaysia and state song before the flag-off.

One thing for sure they'll be very, very busy lot all throughout the year.

Riders want to ride. Period.

Thanks for coming over.
Have a good one.

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Only If It Fits

Buy (or upgrade) only if it fits; both literally and in abstract.
That is, if it fits you perfectly on your body (apparel, especially) and also your riding style and discipline.

When shopping online, sometimes we'd encounter a deal that's too sweet to let it pass. Unless if you're positively sure that the items on sale would fit you nicely, then it is best to let it pass rather than having to re-sell it to your fortunate friend at a discounted price.

Your bike should fit you. So does everything else; especially things that are hugging your body - helmet, glasses, jersey, shorts, bibs, gloves, socks, shoes. Also the three parts on your bike that are in contact with your body - grips, saddle and pedals.

Take some time to study what's the correct bicycle size for you. The big frame may have enough clearance between your legs, but you may suffer from a stretchy riding position due to the long top tube distance.

That helmet on sale may look good in photo and have rave reviews over online forums, but your head might not fit nicely. That was my case, actually. 

Brand conscious (or what's popular)
Giro helmets are respectable in design and in build. However, they just do not fit my head. I've tried so many different models on - Zen, Hex, and a couple others. My temple would hurt big time. Personally, MET suits me best. Perhaps Bell, too.

Fi'zi:k Gobi is a popular saddle; many swear by it, ratings and reviews are on the high side (with few saying it's not good for them). It suits with the high asking price, starting from RM300 (I can get a nice chair with that money, but won't be nice on the seatpost). I'm up with the good reviews, and put the saddle in my wishlist. Finally I got hold of a used item; abused but still intact. However, my butt hurts on the 25km offroad all the way. Some might say that a break-in is required like Brooks saddles, but I had no such problem with WTB Pure V. So...

Those are two examples from my personal experience which illustrate that not everything would suit everyone. You just have to try them out yourself and see if it fits you.

Try 'em out?
Unfortunately, we don't have such a scheme available locally. It's a trial and error thing. Well, reviews might not help you 100% so we're on a losing side (even if it's only partially). The next best solution is to try them out on a friend's bike, or borrow from them. However, I do not recommend you borrow or lend your apparel. Except maybe your helmet, gloves, shoes and glasses.

Bibshorts? No way!

What's your product size?
It's quite perplexing when your size on a certain brand would differ from another. Take, for example the size for a jersey. For brand X, you may have it in L size, but the other brand might suit you with their XL size. Some would say it's due to European or American or Asian sizing. Perhaps it's true, and the way to be sure is to get the chest measurement right - armpit-to-armpit measurement is a good indicator.

Here's an example, and in this case the brand is the same. I find that Shimano shoes are a bit strange in sizing. For my MT41, size 42 fits me nicely. When I tried out for MT087 at the shop, I need to get size 43. So, you have to try it out in the shop to make sure of your fitting.

In all cases, ask the shop if you can try the item out on you. Buy only if it fits.

Do you know that backpacks also do come in sizes depending on your torso length? Check out Osprey.
I tried it out in the shop, and man, with the correct size I didn't feel the bag on my back.

Take care, and ride safely.
Share the road.

photo taken from here

Friday 16 March 2012

11.03.2012 - Offroad FRIM X-PPP Reunion Ride 2012

riders (L-R): Hairul from Kota Damansara, Gjoe from Changlun, Tuan Yusoff from Kuantan and the author from Masai

Gjoe tagged me in Hairul's photo a couple of months ago and long story short, we set the date 11th March to ride together in FRIM, Kepong. It turned out that there are actually a few of mountain bikers from our A-Level/NCUK batch. Most of them in Klang Valley, and a few others scattered elsewhere including myself of course.

Gjoe was excited and he's really enthusiastic about riding in KL his first time ever; also his first riding trip with the family tagging along. Hairul took it further and set an event on facebook to have a reunion/gathering for others who do not ride. Spouses of the riders are from our college as well; so, in order not to leave them behind when travelling during the school holiday... well...

We learnt that Azam could not ride along, so I took charge as the trail guide. I had a few rides before this, and I know some trails including two that should not be missed by any mountain biker riding in FRIM - Dream Trail and Steroid Hill (Bukit Hari).

So we set out from the entrance gate and went up Bujang Trail then continued the course on Balau Trail to get to Dream. Alhamdulillah, the weather that day was very nice. It's the first time I went down Dream so dry with leaves rustling while going up Balau Trail. I led to a wrong turn just before the Dream trailhead which is a considerable climb. Hehe... so much of a trail leader, me. Anyway, we made a retreat and was at the trailhead in no time. As usual, there were sections in Dream that forced me to go on foot, especially the switchbacks. It's quite amazing to watch Tuan clearing them up with ease, though. Envious.

We took a short break (after numerous breaks in Dream itself) when we exited Dream at Rover Trail and continued to conquer Steroid. Initially I planned to go up the tarmac hill towards Pacat Trail trailhead, but scrapped the plan judging from the fitness of the others. Anyway, I'm also unsure if  I could make it with Trance. Quite a job to hike up the bike on the earth stairs. Perhaps next time. So we went off and headed towards Steroid. Gaining momentum from the small descend, I found that I was questioning myself if I could do it this time. It was quite easy last November with BC Kelolo's lightweight Kelolopoint, but this time it's Trance. Believing in myself and Maestro, I pedaled on uphill little by little. To my surprise, I scaled it with ease, but not as easy as with a lighter bike. So did Gjoe, and we waited for Hairul and Tuan at the top, at Tongkat Ali Trail.

The reward of climbing Steroid is two-fold. One is being victorious with the claim for brag rights, the other is the speedy descend back to the loop starting point. We tracked back the trail that we took and went down the trail towards Taman Botani. The ride ended as we approached the parking lot at the school. We rode on the tarmac towards the picnic area to set up for the gathering soon after that.

It was quite unfortunate that a few of the riders were unable to join the ride due to circumstances arising, and lots of people also didn't turn up for the reunion due to personal matters. Anyway, it was a nice mini gathering and an enjoyable ride. At least for me, and I know that Gjoe's trip all the way from Changlun and Tuan's travel (together with unfortunate incident of bent roof rack) was well worth it. Perhaps another ride together, but different place next time. PCP? I'm in, insyaAllah.

Thanks, guys!

Ride safe, and thanks for coming over.

Some photos in here.
GPS Tracking by Tuan Yusoff
Reference by BC Kelolo on Dream Trail

Tuesday 6 March 2012

UGI II - 2013 SLX vs XT

sleek SLX

I received the article (click link above) in my mailbox this week, from Bike198.

Well, it's in line with what I've put up in here before this.
Rejoice, ye Shimano faithful.

For sure, it makes me want to try out the grouppo myself. Any bike shop out there willing to loan me out for a review?

photo taken from the article by Bike198.com

Wednesday 29 February 2012


Keith Bontrager said something like that


Once you're diagnosed with the virus infection, it's quite hard to get rid of. The virus is ever evolving by the hour; and you could only abate it with constant supply of information, or a flow of serious money. Or, just sit back enjoying whatever it is that you have and hope the itch would lessen as time goes by. It is by no means a rare disease, because there are many fellow riders infected too. Newbie, and seasoned alike.

Technology is one of the causes UGI. The mere hearsay of technology advancement currently brewing in a test lab could spur an epidemic in certain circles. Sometimes they are potent enough to cause a serious concern. But sometimes they do, in which there are no other cure except to fork out $ and go with the flow. Usually when industry-wide adoption takes place and certain parts are discontinued.

The push factor
Well, sometimes upgrades are unavoidable. Will 9-speed system fade away and 10-speed become the norm like what 9-speed had done to 8- and 7-speeds? Are v-brakes dying, in comparison to adoption of disc brakes?
Or is it actually a technological push created by the industry itself?

I don't really know but I do know that some 'old' things still have their places, in terms of usage. We have to look into what sort of parts do we really need, and good enough for our usage. My commuter bike do not need disc brakes and even 7 speed on the rear would suffice. However, I choose to use 9 speed cog on the rear (and shifters) due to parts and compatibility factor. All the bikes with gears at home are with 9. Easy for me to swap/interchange parts between them. Also, my spares inventory is kept to minimum.

Feel good factor?
Placebo effect?

Sometimes the upgrade that we are eyeing for are not really giving a positive effect on performance. Most of the time it's the bling factor, or the notion that 'new tech are better'. Or, the hype surrounding the product makes it like a cult or a must have 'upgrade'. Thus, we tend to feed our brains that by upgrading those new grips, our riding experience would be enhanced. Well, this fares a bit like the uplifted feeling that we have upon driving the car out from the carwash.

Take my recent experience with Fi'zi:k Gobi XM saddle. I have been aiming for it for a long time since all the good riders are using it. Plus, the fact that it is expensive would equate to the performance, right? Well, to put it simply, the rule does not apply to me in this case. My butt hurts on the 25km on it offroad. I have no choice other than to resell it. Hmm... I wonder if Brooks B17 is better...

Anyway, if it would somehow make you feel better, by all means go for your cure. It's your money, right?

The waiting game
If time = $, then you have to wait for the cure to become affordable.
It takes some time for the technology from the highest caste of a product line to trickle down to their humbler brethren. However, I'm happy to report that in recent cases the period is short. In not more than a year, the XTR tech would be seen on XT's. The same goes to XT curves would eventually show on SLX, Deore, etc. So, weight aside, to have the upper end tech available on your budget parts would need you to be patient.

Of course, if you have money, anything goes.

The real cure
It's not the bike, it's the rider.
The real defense against UGI is to develop yourself. Your strength, both physical and mental. While technology is needed to get the best machine possible (and lightweight), your strength is the core of it all. You're the engine, to get the machine works, above all. So build up strength and then only the best machine that you could afford would be much more enjoyable. Even if you're using 8 speeds, or singlespeed for that matter.

Sure, technological advances would always churn out better products and new ideas unleashed as offerings. However, they might not be necessary for you. This is where mental strength is required, to resist the temptation to UGI (especially when $ is of no object). Truthfully, you have to look at yourself (and your bike) and think honestly and deeply, do I need those upgrades?

When to upgrade
Bike parts are subject to wear and tear; that's the beauty of it for UGI sufferers. The best time to upgrade is when you're replacing your worn out parts. Start looking in advance what parts needed to be replaced; and if there are opportunities for upgrading.

One example is the drivetrain. When replacing the chain, it is imperative to change the cassette as well. And the crankset. Might be as well upgrade to 10 speed (if you see it as a necessity), if you're using 8 or 9 speed system, especially if the price for your favored 'old tech' would be more or less the same as the new ones.

Sometimes, the problem is solved for you whereby the parts you're looking for is now obsolete requiring for a necessary upgrade, or parts for your old system is now becoming rare and costlier than going for a newer system. In other words, no choice for you.

In any case, do not overdo it. Spending on bikes is not a profession for a weekend warrior. If you're starting to eat only rice and fried eggs for lunch in order to cure your UGI, it's a sure sign that you're in a critical stage. There are other things in life other than biking.

A friend would always ask:
Akaun Tabung Haji hang dah cukup?

Thanks for coming over, and have a good day ahead.
Ride safe, bros! 

Friday 17 February 2012

RTW 14.02.2012 - flat tire

fellow cyclists

It has been quite some time since my last post on my RTW adventures. Well, perhaps mostly because they're now considered normal.  Which, I consider as a good thing.

Note: I'm happy to report here that my goal for this year is going great so far. 5 weeklongs so far (another 15 to go), but no monthlong yet (4 to be completed).

The morning's ride was a bit different because my front tire gotten flat from hitting something on the road. I was riding swiftly on the Coastal Highway, and suddenly the front tire gave weird noise before getting totally flat in 5 seconds. I'm not sure what, but it caused a laceration about 3-4mm wide on the tire which went through to the inner tube.

I timed myself, and the tube change complete with pumping enough air inside took me about 8 minutes. Not bad. Luckily I was not in a rush (unusually!) and so I did not have to whip my ass out to recover the time. However, 8 minutes loss is quite big. I could finish my shower in 10.

This year I decided to take the safer route and had never gone against the traffic at the Pasir Gudang Highway coming out from the Coastal Highway slipway, until that morning which I took as an exception due to short of time. My (now) normal route from the Coastal Highway is to cross the main road in front of the Pasir Gudang Stadium towards the slipway to Pasir Gudang Highway then use the parallel road towards CCM Chemicals. From there, a right turn and cross the PGH heading towards MMHE (coming from TNB Generation). I consider that route to be safe as there are not as many cars and I could cross the highway safely.

On the coastal highway, I passed by a couple of casual riders on their mounties with lycra, helmet and all. It's nice to see fellow cyclists along the way. I hope that there are many more. Koh told me that he saw me on the road, too. Next time, I'll see you riding as well ya bro!

I'm using Maxxis Detonator 26/1.5 front and rear. It's evident that the tires are without puncture protection. I can vouch that RiBMo would have no problem with that. Well, you get what you pay for in the end. Now I miss RiBMo badly.

Sports Tracker entry

Have a great weekend y'all.
Thanks for coming over.

Saturday 11 February 2012

06.02.2012: Offroad in Kulai

The initial plan was to go for a touring ride to Gunung Pulai with Yad and Kadafi on Monday 6th February, taking advantage of the 4-day weekend (Maulidur Rasul, Thaipusam). I put up my status in Facebook, and there were a few responses from others on it. That includes by people from Kulai - Rahman of KBC and my schoolmate Fahmi. Apparently, they're going for a (part of Gunung Pulai) waterfall ride on the same date, riding up from Kulai. That, coupled with the absence of Kadafi, steered my decision to drop the initial plan and go to Kulai instead.

Fahmi my dormmate during my early days in Jasin, contacted me through fb a couple of weeks earlier. He's a native in Kulai all these years, hailing from Felda Taib Andak and been working and living in Kulai. Much of a surprise to me when he told me that we could have met earlier should he joined the Kota Tinggi ride. In fact, we were in the same event before this at the R&R Mega Ride; he saw me riding with Umar but did not notice that the cool guy with the baby in the carrier on bike was Akmal. Haha... am I really that different from my school days? Anyway, meeting Fahmi after 20 years is another reason to join the ride, too.

It was mentioned that the riders in Kulai are going to the waterfall in Gunung Pulai, but coming from the back route some 20km in. The plan was to go through a part of the KBC Nite Event route. Since Gunung Pulai offroad is one of my ride wishlist (see right-side panel) and I missed out on the KBC Nite Event, it seems all to fit in and reasons for me to join in the ride. Honestly, I was excited I can't sleep well the night before. The waterfall, the offroad ride on a foreign land and the reunion were constantly playing in my mind (or was I dreaming?). Yad agreed to follow along, and so we went out to Kulai very early in the morning on Monday.

The morning saw a bunch of riders congregating at Azizah Curry House having breakfast and ready to roll. The exact number was not known, but we were later on joined by another group making the total of 32 men and boys. Riders are also of a mixed level. There were newbies, seasoned, and intermediates as well; with age ranging from schoolboys to 40+ (kot). As you can expect from an mtb ride, you'll never feel like a stranger although the first time riding along. Of course, there were a few familiar faces, but you feel accepted by most if not all of them. Unfortunately Fahmi couldn't ride with us due to health reasons. Never mind, there's always a 'next time'. InsyaAllah.

The trailhead is just a few hundred meters from the rendezvous point (and a few of the riders' houses are nearby, lucky them). In no time, we hit the dirt of the palm oil plantation. The ride was leisurely all throughout, except for the lung-busting and leg-burning excursion uphill all the way to the communication tower. Albeit, I'd say that the trail mix is quite good. There were singletrack, wide offroad, uphill, sweet rolling downhill, and river stream as well (okay, we didn't cycle into the river lah). 

I tracked the trail via Sports-Tracker, and took a few photos along. However, the apps crashed suddenly while I was busy with taking photos and videos at the stream. Too bad, it was unrecoverable and I lost it. However, the photos are geotagged and I could track the trail later if I'm not lazy.

Anyway, the return trail was tracked and the data as thus:
distance: 11.6km
duration: 37' 57"
average speed: 18.3km/h
max speed: 40.2km/h
highest altitude: 74m

There were three highlights of the ride:
1. The killing climb to the transmission tower
2. Sallehuddin (aka Jalut) met with an accident while going downhill
3. Relaxing in the stream

I managed to get up to a certain level of the climb towards the tower, and decided to take a rest before continuing again. I don't know if I was already at halfway point or two-third up or anywhere it might have been, but it must've been a long rest. The moment I decided to put my butt on the saddle, people who went up earlier were bombing down already. Well, there it went. It was one long and steep climb. My hats off to Ah Chong (with 1x10), Rahman, Rudy, Tony and others who managed to climb up all the way.

After the climb, we proceeded to the stream. While going down a mild descend, Salleh hit the ground. Perhaps his pedal hit the higher ground while the tires were in the rut. Luckily he was able to walk and we were not far from the PLUS highway. We managed to get the highway support vehicle and send him to the hospital. He sustained a broken shoulder bone from what I gathered. Hopefully a speedy recovery for him. As a name would also serve as a do'a, friends decided not to call him Jalut anymore, only Salleh from now on.

A few good samaritans chaperoned Salleh with his bike, while the others pursued to the main highlight of the ride - the river stream. It was not that far, really, with only mild climbing and relatively flat terrain. The part I like is upon entering the jungle trail towards the river. It's like being in the woods in a foreign land. Quiet, calm, shady, plus the mix of rustling leaves on the floorbed and green fresh ones on the bushes are absolutely breathtaking. It has been quite some time since I last had the same feeling (during my trekking days while in college). The waterfall during the ride in Kota Tinggi was awesome, but this one is different.

Before dipping into the cold water, I had the nasi lemak that Fahmi thoughtfully prepped for me and Yad (big thanks, der!). Of course, I learnt my lesson from the KSRP Jamboree in Melaka. But knowing that going back would only be some 6km, I dug it in and shared with Rudy. Anyway, who could resist sambal kerang and fried chicken? I could say a lot about the place, but I'll let the pictures do the talking. Scroll below for the link to the album on facebook.

Going back was refreshing, as we were out from the cold water and tummies filled. The 6km was an illusion really. My tracking showed 11+ km. Anyway, it was not as taxing as in Melaka. More than half of the journey back was on tarmac where I drafted most of the way behind faster and stronger riders.

Many thanks to riders in Kulai for an unforgettable ride that day. Keep on crankin'!

return route tracking (and some geotagged photos)
photos on facebook album

Thanks for coming over.
Have a safe ride. Enjoy it!

Wednesday 1 February 2012

Public Bike Project

the donated Kona Nunu under test ride before possible swap with Giant Yukon

Hairi of Shah Alam commented on my post, suggesting for setting up a pool bike (not 'polo', ok).

A pool bike usage is meant for those who are testing the water (hehe... can't resist the pun) to start mountain biking before committing for a bike purchase. Some sort like 'meracun'. Well, he was not merely giving a suggestion, but offering his unused items from his parts bin too. So yes, why not. I'm keen with the idea and we agreed to meet up for him to pass over the parts for me to start with.

Boy I was in for a big surprise. It was not parts, but a full bike. It's an 18" 8-speed old skool blue Kona Nunu. The wheelset is an old Mavic X139. Along with that, there were also other loose parts (and a Lerun BMX) that he parted to me. Some I'd use it myself (and will pay forward to others) and some will go to the Public Bike. It astounds me until now how people could be so generous and contribute for the benefit of public. So, I felt obliged also to give back to the masses in a small way.

Okay, back to the Public Bike. Besides serving as a newbie's poison dart, it could also be used as a foster bike for those who come to JB without a bike but would like to ride with us in Pasir Gudang/Seri Alam/Plentong. There are a couple such initiatives that I know of. One is in KL, by the venerable BC Kelolo, and there's also a bike donated by Joe (parked at Jason's shop in Masai Utama).

I can't do it all by myself to build it. It would be good if I could get the support from bike shops and other individuals to get the project running. Alhamdulillah, Angah of Angah Bike Shack offered to help build it even before I send out the plead. Thanks, Angah! Hope that the project would take flight insyaAllah, for the benefit of the masses. Aamiiin.

My vision for the Public Bike is to have it as a 3x9-speeder with disc brakes and knobbies. This is how I take it:
I deem that the size that would be considered universal would be 17".
Vee-brakes are fine, but disc brakes would make the bike looks like a proper mountain bike rig. Not to mention of course, its superior stopping power compared to vees.
8-speed won't cut it for newbies. Minimum shall be 9-speed.

The first ride out on the Nunu, it felt awkward. I guess because of the frame size, coupled with the long stem. So that's the first stumbling block. The other thing is that the frame is an old frame. That means it is without rear disc brake bracket. So, vee-brake only for the rear.

However, I'm thinking of swapping my Giant Yukon frameset for this project and make the Nunu as my RTW Machine. The Yukon is 17", with disc brake bracket and multiple hose/brake bracket complemented also with pannier rack eyelets. Quite versatile, really.

Over the last weekend, I transplanted the front of the Yukon (cockpit, fork) and wheelsets to the Nunu for a test ride for RTW. For two days already, it seems okay to me albeit a liiiiittle bit stretchy. Tiny bit. But I think I could manage it. Don't know for long distances, but for my commuting, I don't have any big problem whatsoever. A tiny niggle is that my rear beamrack would need a thicker shim to attach to the skinny Ø27.0 seatpost (yes, not 27.2 - there's a huge difference on the 0.2mm, really!). Also, there's no pannier rack eyelet on the seatstay. I'll have to improvise on that later if the need so arises.

I'm gonna give it a week or two before deciding whether to carry on with Nunu as my new old RTW Machine (hey, I love the paradox). Meanwhile, time to discuss with Angah. Stay tuned.

Update: as you're reading this, a pair of pedals are coming their way all the way from Kelantan, courtesy of Mat Yoe. Thanks, man!