Sunday, July 22, 2012

Crossing the Causeway

Sometimes you just run out of space / roads to cycle in SG. Go next door!

How did we do it?

We met up at Old Woodlands Town, which is practically next to the Singapore Immigrations. Most of us car-pooled with our foldies in tow. Parking from 10 am to 7 pm cost each vehicle less than $10 (on a weekday).

From here on, it was cycling all the way! We took the motorcycle lane at the immigration booths, and cruised past many cars jammed up on the causeway. For the uninitiated, I must give you a little warning - the slope leading up to the immigration booth on the Malaysian side is quite a killer. Nothing else quite like it to say, "Selamat Datang Ke Malaysia"!

First stop. Danga Bay is undergoing a lot of development. 

Touring bag, helmet, water, speedo - check!

Friendly roadside stalls.

Wan Tiger presenting his newly acquired Bike Friday

No worries - lots of space for cyclists

Checking out our neighbour's LBS

At Khass with lady boss

Aeon Bukit Indah. Park where you eat

Tune your bike in aircond comfort

Nothing like a flat tire to make a trip with friends memorable

Non-stop pit-stop for drinks and makan!

Hardy's secret weapon

Someone jammed his brakes just to get this photo opportunity
Overall, it was a really great experience. We basically made a loop from Singapore - Taman Perling - Bukit Indah - JB Town area and back. The distance was really short - just about 30 km, but there were quite a bit of slopes to deal with. I'd say this ride is suitable for an intermediate cyclist who is confident on the roads. Your mileage on the slopes may vary :)

Friday, March 30, 2012

CarryMe Upgrades

There are many things you can do to 'upgrade' your bike, even the dinky little carry me which I had posted about earlier.

In any case, this little bike is somewhat of a plaything, a social bike, a small-run bike, but also sentimental due to the nature of purchase. I have no delusions about turning it into a 'performance' bike, but there are some things that I have done to the bike, here's the what and why.

This sticker came with the Bern Watts helmet that I got from LifeCycle (the bikes too!) and I finally found some use for it. I'm really happy with this no-cost add on. It not only adds to the aesthetics of the bike, I've also gained about 10 Horsepower just by putting the sticker on (if you've been to car forums you'll get the joke :) It also gives me some street-cred, now those kids won't laugh at me when I pull some tricks at the skate park. Next year, X-Games!

To put a bottle cage on the CarryMe, you actually need to put on an adaptor (which I forgot to photograph but will hopefully update). And so I ordered this bottle cage with quick-release clamp from Bicycle Spa. Now I can put a bottle anywhere! After I had placed my order, by some fortune, Steven from Diginexx knew that I had gotten the CarryMe(s) and had very generously given me and my wife the bottle-cage adaptor and a dust cover each! Much appreciated! Now we can drink lotsa water and bring our bike around stealthily during peak hour...

Of all the things that you can do to your CarryMe, I feel that the most essential one will be to replace the stock roller wheels. I really can't explain how much better the new ones are, but rolling is butter-smooth and effortless! Here are some pics for comparison:

For a bike like the CarryMe, the original rollers really aren't that bad, but certainly can't compete with it's replacement which houses Abec7 bearings! If you do only one thing for your CarryMe, this is it!

I have other plans for this bike, nothing grand, but all fun, so stay tuned for further updates!

Disclaimer: I have not been solicited to promote nor do I gain anything from mentioning any shops or service providers in my blog. I am a paying customer and I support local businesses, big and small. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Return to Cycling

I do believe that the main reasons I did not consider cycling or owning a bike for the longest time, either consciously or subconsciously, are these two things:

1. I had grown accustomed to cycling as a purely leisure activity (in Singapore, as I had been cycle-commuting in Melbourne).

2. There is no space to properly store a bike at home.

I find it amusing now, that up till last year, I had been blind to the existence of the foldable bicycle. I guess this is also something that happens when you drive all the time. You are (and rightly so) occupied with the demands of driving, that aside from the necessary attention you are giving to the road / traffic / pedestrians, you are cut off from the world.

By chance, whilst sitting in my office, being frustrated at how dormant my lifestyle had become, I chanced upon an article in a magazine about cycle-commuting. It featured an interview with mrbrown and also some bikes like the Brompton, Dahon Curve and Strida.

After much scouting and deliberation, I got myself the Brompton. The first ride was a pain-in-the-butt, but oh-so-magical at the same time. The feeling of human-powered motion, liberation, independence, the wind against my face... It had been a long time since I experienced a feeling so child-like. I knew that cycling is here to stay.

I have plenty to say about cycling at this point, but I will save that for another post. For now, the foldable bike has negated the two points that I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

1. Cycling is now a very practical choice for me, and I believe it can be for most people. Here is my set-up for errands. The Touring bag easily holds a 1.8kg tin of milk for my boy, take-away lunch for me and my wife and other miscellaneous items.

2. Foldable bikes are the perfect choice for apartment-dwellers. As you can see below, two Bromptons take up less space than a double-stroller. We are making use of the dead-space under our bookshelf.

If you are thinking about cycling and are having the same concerns, why not consider a foldable bike?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Farewell Ride

Last Saturday, just before midnight, I went out for a ride with my neighbour who also happens to be a friend from secondary school. We now live two blocks apart in the same estate.

Aside from the above, we also share another thing in common: we are both fathers of two young children. What this means is that, rides are always somewhat pre-arranged, but always tentative. There is always the likelihood of it being cancelled, though so far I think I've managed to proceed 99% of the time. The main condition: kids must be asleep - this means that rides are always arranged to start past 11 pm.

In any case, my friend rides a Brompton as well. This one was brought back from the UK as he was working there for a few months. There was some hassle at the airport, but worth it I would say. Oh, did I mention that it is a six-speed titanium model that he got for roughly 2K SGD? Unheard of!! Someone else ordered the bike and changed his mind, that's how he got the deal - lucky him!

This was our first ride together by the way - I have many cycling buddies who are also married / young fathers so it is all about availability. We had no specific plans but eventually decided that it would be fitting to have a relaxed ride to say goodbye to McD at ECP. I really wanted to go there one last time, without the crowd on closing day.

Getting to ECP from Tampines is really easy - 99.99% Park Connector Network. You go from Tampines towards Simei PCN, and then Bedok PCN. If you're cycling in the day it might get a bit crowded around Tampines and Simei MRT but that's about it. Entry from Bedok PCN brings you into East Coast Park somewhere near the Sailing Centre. 2 - 8- 7 and you're there!

Once we got to East Coast Park it was straight to McD. On our way to and fro I saw many foldies but couldn't really pick out anyone, nor did I hear anyone call out for me. Apparently our friend Tomorrow was there as well with some buddies.

I'm not really a big fan of McD, but this particular outlet holds a lot of memories especially of secondary school days, barbecues, cycling with my wife in our late teens, rollerblading end-to-end... For our last meal there I went with the McSpicy and my friend went with the trusty Fillet o Fish.

In any case, this is a cycling blog and I'm not going to get too sentimental or wax lyrical about fast-food, but I mainly want to highlight this particular route. 

If you have three hours-or-so, this route is excellent for a really relaxed ride (pace + can hold conversation) with a nice break (your choice of activity) in between (we were at McD for almost an hour by the way). And since we were riding at night, there were many stretches of uninterrupted cycling. The loop from Tampines Central to McD and back is around 30 km - mostly flat and a nice distance in my opinion. Suitable and doable for most people. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Tale of Two CarryMe(s)

Those who turned up for the Earth Hour Promo Ride with LCSG would have noticed that I wasn't on my Dahon MuP8 or Brompton... but rather the Pacific Cycles CarryMe!

It seems that many other folks have also taken an interest to these bikes, as you can see in the pic below.

It is somewhat of a coincidence along with the rising popularity of this particularly dinky bicycle, but I had in fact been eyeing it for a while, having also read Taiwoon's account, and trying out his bike during the LCSG Lelong at West Coast Park.

The main considerations are typical of any cyclist who is trying to justify another purchase: I know I don't really need this bike, but I like it, I can see some reasons for having it... and the list goes on.

Aesthetically, it is also a really weird bike, very comical but also very cute. So extremely uncool that it becomes cool at the same time. However, if there's one thing that won me over is that it's really quirky, and screams non-seriousness at any given time. If you ride this bike, no one will bother to race you and will probably be a little to kinder to your silly self riding on wheels smaller than your face.

Luckily for me, there came a very good (or good enough reason) to purchase this bike: Get a pair to commemorate our fourth wedding anniversary (smart right?!). The two bikes would also be a celebration of our two lovely boys :) What a way to sell the idea to your partner huh? (It works!)

In any case, she loves the bike! Here we are at Marina Bay Sands.

We also wanted to do a multi-modal test of the bikes, so what we did was loaded them up in the passenger area of our car. Two folded CarryMe bikes will fit in the space of one folded-up seat of a Honda Fit / Jazz. We still had the front seat free, two rear seats free and the whole boot!

We parked at Lavender and joined the group ride through the city to Orchard Road. We couldn't join the group for lunch as we had to pick up our boys, and to save some time, on the way back we took the train from Somerset to Lavender.

Though I love my Brompton as a complete all-around bike, after this episode, I really feel that the CarryMe might just be the perfect multi-modal bike, something for that first and last mile-or-two. Folding is non-complicated, takes up less space than a typical umbrella-fold stroller, light enough to lift using one hand, easy to roll.

I guess the best part is, at the end of it all, my wife really loves the bike.

And she has started browsing for cycling accessories.

Here is a pic of my wife with our younger boy when we picked him up after the ride. Our two bikes which you can't see, is actually on her right side. Really wonderful space-savers. Will try and grab a picture at the next opportunity.

In short, we are really enjoying these bikes. At the end of the day, it is a purchase, not really a need, but times that we get to spend together like this are priceless, especially after having our two boys.

Here's a video of the ride where you'll  get to see the CarryMe and many other wonderful bikes in action.

Earth Hour Promo Ride with LoveCyclingSG from Khairul Rahim on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Summary and Return!

It's been a while since the last post... but this is a summary of what's happened since then...

My second boy arrived on 23 Nov

Went to UK

Attended LCSG Lelong! - here is my cousin and daughter

Tampines Brommies at West Coast!

Support the fund-raising! Makes nice gifts too!

First time cycling to Punggol Waterway

Beautiful Place!

My First Helmet

Ventured West

Westside kaki and Tour Guide!

Cycled to MBS

LCSG City Ride + 2011 Summary

Pasir Ris - Yishun Loop

Bike Maintenance

Sunday, November 13, 2011

City Ride

I'd missed the City Ride with LCSG a week ago as it was Hari Raya Haji, and this was a ride I really wanted to try, so I checked out the route map on Taiwoon's blog and had a relaxing morning ride with my brother. I rode on the Brompton M2L and brought the Dahon MuP8 for my brother. All pics are taken with the iPhone using the Camera+ app.