Thursday, July 28, 2011

Why a foldie? This is another reason why...

trial test to fit the bikes into the van
papa mike putting his dear Dahon...
Full house
This means we can just seat back and enjoy the scenery!!! yayyy
brompton sitting nicely in front of me.. + point for Brompton
nice to just sitting and not pedalling for a while.... Ken smiling!
On our Mekong ride, we managed to cramped 8 adults(including driver), with 7 folding bikes and panniers into a 9 seated van for our way back to Nong Chiang.  Friends, I tell u.. this can only be achieved with foldies...... As they say, a photo tell a thousand words.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Mekong ride account (13th to 21st July)

Mekong riders!

The riders:
Bro Alvin Lee (Lead, Navigator, Tour guide on a BF Expedition)
Celia Tan (Joined us at Pukhet leg , BF Tikit)
Rod Withers ( Ex- Postman - KHS Capuccino) 
Ken (Showing age doesn’t matter, rides a Ventura)
Kenneth Cheok (Super newbie on a Ventura)
 Micheal Kwah (Finance minister, PR and Medical, rides a Dahon) P21
Joshua Hii (Medical Support, Dahon Mu)
Chrisopthe (German BMW on a 3 speed Dahon Curve)
Taiwoon (Photography on a Brompton)
Ground support  on a MPV  - the super duper Angkana,  Aunty and little millie
Angkana and Mum preparing coconuts for the tired riders!!! So nice of them!

Millie, our ride Angel!
The Route (see map) Singapore>>Bangkok>>Udon Thani>>Nong Khai (Start Point)
Nong Khai>> Sang Kom>> Pahchom>> Chiang Khan (following the Mekong river) 
Udon Thani>>Phuket(R&R)>>Singapore
Follow the river... 
L-R Bro AL, Mike, Rod, Joshua, Ken and Kenneth 

This is papa mike carry on luggage 
Planning for the trip
It is not easy to plan this trip with many connecting flights. Kudos to Bro Al, Angkana and Chris Wee for efforts to make this trip possible.  The planning began around early Jan and by Feb. The riders list was firmed up so that flight tickets could be bought. It was kept deliberately small as no one knew if the arrangement could pan out and there was always a risk of changes from Day 1. It was a very much hit or miss(ride a long long way) thingy…. The group was made up of people of diverse background. From a Pastor, Doctors, Maths tutor with a PHD, Designer, 2 retired “young man” and a Marketing folk. All coming together because we all love to ride. It didn’t matter which brand of bikes, be it Dahon, Brompton, Bike Friday and Ventura… .we all rolled as a team. Actually we even swapped room mates every day... haha.. that was cool!

We were all so excited... reach hotel and started to assemble bike. The dim romantic lighting did not help... hence shaky picture... 
Awesome view from Sofagallery @ nong khai

Colors musical from the Mekong river.... beautiful and free!
Packing for the flight... 
Flying by Budget airlines means that luggage have to be kept at a min. Top scorer for this was Rod’s ride(prepared by none other then Chris Wee) – KHS Cappacucino. Only 17.5 kilos! Chris used a Ikea Dimpa bag, lined with carboard.  He even included instructions to pack the bike and plenty of foam and zip ties. It was really impressive and I could see his wealth of knowledge in how he packed the bag.  For those who want an easier way to travel with a folding bike. U can chose the Bike Friday Expedition or Brompton.  Bro Al used the Bike Friday expedition which “folds” neatly into a 29” samsonite case. It takes an experienced hand to fit up the bike but once it is setup… the ride was super! For the Dahons, Mike and Joshua had to take out the wheels, racks and they all fitted into a 29’ luggage. Most impressive, the soft luggage cost under 50 bucks… and they can be found…where else…Mustafa! For my Brompton, I used a lime Green Lojel.  This is where the brompton really shines. To fit it all in, I have to remove the seat, seat post and right side roller wheels – 5 min job. A note  for those who plan on taking foldies on their holidays. Please remember to bring spare tubes, patch kit, multi tool and hand pump. Tyres should be deflated for the flight. To prevent ur be-loved bikes from being scratched. Try to wrap foam/rags on the frames and places where u think would have some movement. The best packing is to zip tie most parts so u can't feel any rattling.
Me and Brompton manning the rear... 

The ride
From Nong Khai, the ride was lovely. Passing small towns and villages. Food and water stop were plenty so no worries on getting hungry or thirsty.  The thing on touring is that u got to be prepared for the bad weather. Day 2, it rained non stop… for the folks with mudguards, it was ok. But for Kenneth who did not have fenders. His tee shirt got a permanet mud decorative strip. Also with the constant splashing of mud, sand and water on the Rear D… made the equipement lock up and fail. Even with my Finishline Telfon lube(yes, I brought it along..) failed to revive it… it was just too stuck. Also please leave ur racing tyres and opt for big fat tyres. I assure you that your bums will thank you. If u have those touring tyres which are supposedly puncture proof even better. Many people think Brompton cannot do touring.. but actually any bike also can, reallyt. Just need to be gentle when u have rough terrain and it should be fine. Dun just ram across the terrain… look for the smoothest path and it will be ok. I am glad to report my Brompton M worked beautifully on the ride. Even after a full day in the rain… it had some strange creaking sound on the front crank but still can ride.  For more details of the actual ride account, pls see Bro Al version.
Advance Field medical treatment

Some where along the way, down an ordinary slope… we had our first major accident. I was riding just about 3 lengths in front of Joshua where I suddenly heard a terrifying noise. I quickly stopped and turned around, Joshua was just slowed down dragging his face on the road… the bike was lying sideways. It was damm scary… quickly rushed to his help. Luckily traffic was light and he could still stand, shaky from the impact. Moved him to a safe spot where Papa mike could look at him closely and treat him. His helmet was cracked and he suffered quite a bit of road rash all over his body. I gave him a wash down with my Camebak to get rid of all the dirt. By the way Joshua trembled and shivered… I think it was extremely painful.  Mike dressed his wounds and we figured that it was a no go to ride for Joshua. A tuk tuk came along and tried to take advantage of the situation. And again luck would have it, a kind hearted village drove along and saw our poor friend plight. Without any spoken words, he just gestured us to bring him up the lorry and drove Mike and Joshua to the nearest hospital. Such kindness in a time of need! Thanks you sir!

This helmet saved Joshua.... I think that's all there is to say. fullstop.
Team mekong lugging the bike up the lorry
As we rolled along and sweated in the heat, I took plenty of photos to document the ride. There are no shopping nor fancy cafes. Just small ordinary villages, huts padi fields and lots of greenry. We got to experience Thailand people legendary hospitality. They have a ready smiles and were very genuine. Food was great… simple food but sooooo good! I think riding is really the best way to see a country. The speed is not fast and u can really see and feel the terrain changing.  I think I will be doing this yet again…. Thailand? Laos? Malaysia? Cambodia? Oh shucks.. I want to see them all!
Oh ....Lastly I also learned that age doesnt matter. Heart does! Thanks Sir Ken and Rod for inspiring me! I love to ride with u folks someday!  Photos of the lovely adventure here 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Woof - Jakarta based fixie/design blog

"Founded by Kemalreza Gibranos & Aprilia Apsari in the beginning of February 2010, Woof is Happiness on Bicycle and it's Local Culture. We dig the scene, made our own product and art work" - Woof

Woof woof!!! I like!

Below is my fav... Pursuit of happiness!  inspired by his fav drink... go on.. check out his blog!!!
Illustration credit - Woof

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Brompton @ Pertain road

Supposed to spend a day to ride along the Train tracks but life is always present in different manner. My gal was sick and sniffling.. so mission abort and went to see Doc. After that,  I went to Diginexx to have my Brompton checked by the man himself, Steven Lim,  SG Brompton guru. My Brompton headset was abit loose, he helped tighten it in a jffy and gave my bike a look over.... good to roll!  The next appointment was like an hour away.... no problem. i am on a bike! Pottering around little india , waiting for my wife. Found this nice spots of old SG which I like to share. Lovely is it?  More photos here 
Yes, the railway tracks and train station will be gone... you know, but there are still many old spots in Singapore. Like ur very own kopi-tiam and aunty who sell poh piah... go lah kopi and savour the feeling.  Chat a little to the aunty and remember their stories, cuz this are the most difficult history to keep. ... ..........
Old building meets old bike... just like old friends
Retro design... they don't make them like this anymore
Traditional 5 footway

Crumbling buildings.. wonder how have lived in here? 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Butterflies in my belly... Mekong in 5 Days...

Going for my 2nd long distance touring with some friends in 5 days!  Yeahh! All this made possible by the tireless efforts of Bro Al (The love the fold guy) . Thank you Sir! The route is mentioned also in his blog.  This time, I will be using my Brompton M 6 speed. Why not the flamingo which I am totally comfortable and confident with. Well, it is a combination of "backside" itchy, ease of travel and wanting to try out another option to ride. I was told that the route is flattish and the gearing is enough... I pray that this will not be another "relaxing Kluang trip"....   I am going "blind" again... refuse to read about the location, distances and blog so that I will not be "tainted and influenced".   Here is a great drawing I found in the internet(forgot from whom, pls let me know) which is my approach to going for the ride.  Tick tick tick.. the clock is moving... got to pack.. 
illustration credit - someone on the internet... pls let me know if u are the painter..    

Friday, July 8, 2011

Frogfree - Beautiful Taiwan!

I got to know Frogfreeyoung thru a book at Taipei Eslite book store.  He wrote of the usual jaded working class, drinking at a pub... and then that moment knew, "we are probably not going to circle the globe, but what about circling Taiwan." The die was cast, he and his buddy went and just did... After which he published a book on his adventure...and then Freefrog cafe at Bali.  This guy is one of my hero! I hope one day I will visit his cafe and do some riding with the man himself.
Come, check out his blog here and be inspired! 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Illustration inspired by Prespiration - This is Lun!

This is Luncheak. My fellow colleague at Dell Experience Design (Singapore) ,good friend and fellow foldie rider. Recently he completed the ironbutt event and after which he painted this. Nice right? Check out his Lunplus FB page  to see more of his quirky and "tok kong" illustration.
Lun, Thanks for the inspiration as always and  keep rocking man!

inspiration after perspiration!

Lun and his trusty Dahon P8!

Lun flying past at Iron butt event!

"Magic stick group"  From left, Victor, Darren, Waiyuen and Lun

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Super illustrations by Joeel Lee!!!!!

Sir KC and his  rocket bike                               illustration by Joeel Lee

Adriane checking and checking again   illustration by Joeel Lee 

Me!!!! hahaha.. .uber cool           illustration by Joeel Lee

Francis and Matt                             illustration by Joeel!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

3rd 2011 July Iron butt ride feelings

Team turtle group 4 ready to roll!

Mary little lamb group 3, Rocking it!

Speedy Gonzales group 1
What drives "normal" people out of their comfort zone to ride 128km? Well, I guess is the challenge of pushing urself to the limit. And comradeship. We do it with people whom we are comfortable with, trust and able to laugh and cry together.   With the motto" we ride as team, eat as a team, suffer as a team, complete as a team" , 82 riders, split into 4 packs comprising of the Speedy Gonzales team(Lead-KC, Sweeper-GL), Ok OK speed(Lead-Clarence, Sweeper Vince Li), Mary little lambs team ( Lead - Zack, Sweep Mary), Turtle team(Lead George Lim, Sweeper, Andy Yap and Taiwoon).  I rode and saw, many selfless acts of help and leadership. Folks encouraging each other, smiling and cheering. Sharing food, drink, Deep heat. Sometimes, just a silent look, nod "hang on brudder... almost there!" Riding quietly along side the chap helps too!  I am very encouraged about the team spirit and to me this is what ride is all about!   To cap it off... I asked the riders to capture some I can keep for prosperity ....  
Thank you to all who helped in anyway and it would be impossible to pull this off without the support!  Xie xie ni! 
Ironbutt man and women, I am proud to ride alongside u! Salute! 
Papa mike giving Wey a masage... 
zipping along...

Ride as a team, eat as a team, suffer as a team, compete as a team!   Photo credits Francis Chu

exclusive Ironbuttman and women   Photo credits Matt Chia
Here are some comments from the ride...including folks from KL!

  • Bill of KL riders :" THANK YOU to everyone including those who have worked in one way or another behind the scene to make the Ride a "painful fun" of great enjoyment and success.All of us from KL/MY are very hounored to have this opportunity to be part of your overseas member team in the Ride. We look forward to ride with everyone again and again ... in Singapore or other places .. and we welcome all of you to KL/MY too."Cyclists are Crazy people ... they tortured themselves and after that .. they said they like and enjoy it .. and asking for more!"Once again our gratidute and appreciation to EVERYONE. Best regards / Bil
  • Freiversuch : "Had a blast. We need to do this again soon.Thanks for taking me on board" 
  • Dnka: "Zack, you are the man Smile"
  • Boon Yeo : " This Iron Butt 128km not only just today, but weeks and weeks before. From Road Safety Briefing (was indeed very useful...I put into practice all that Steven had told us), this forum (from prep-list to what to drink and eat during the ride), Facebook wall (all the encouragements). After today, I really ride with confident and with speed. Thank you team! Good job!"
  • Darren Siow:" I totally agree with all the praises and commendations of TW and his team. Without them, we wouldn't have such a "good time" suffering. ;-)  One call out I would like to make is to TW's wife. I realized that without her support of TW's passion, again we wouldn't have had a chance to have such a good time. Thank you, Mrs Woon! (and also thank you Momo for sharing your papa with us!) Thank you for giving TW the opportunity to do all these crazy things, not just this weekend but all the other times he prepares and plan the rides. TW is extremely passionate about cycling (sometimes we force him to change topic of conversation!) and you have given him the freedom to share his unstoppable, infectious (as well as "poisonous") passion for cycling with us. Thank you! :-D"
  • Crumpets: "all being said & done .. LET'S DO IT OVER,OVER,OVER .. & OVER AGAIN 
  • JamesA:" excellent organisation!! excellent leaders and sweeps! good safe ride and plenty of good food and drinks.....maybe tomorrow i will be able to walk and use my legs Very Happy
  • Mary:" we had demonstrated that “ We Ride as a team, Eat as a team, Suffer as a team, Finish as a team “ … Great LoveCycling spirit , Thank you mates . We should to repeat this again and again coz beri fun lai!!! wa ha ha Smile
  • Adriane Lee:" Knee pain, feel weak in the head after the ride, was so tired that in an tortoise attempt to ride to Mountbatten MRT to take train home, was overtaken by 2 aunties on rental bikes who said "wheel so small, no wonder so slow" BUT IT WAS ALL WORTH IT! Thank you organizers, thank you leads and sweepers esp GEORGE for pulling support trailer and thank you everyone for making it possible. Lets look forward to the next one!
  • GL :" Special thanks for my good buddy Matt! 
    We can see all the efforts that you put in to ensure this ride is a success and your attendance have made this ride feels like old times for me(maybe not that old since I am referring to bike rally, lol) 
    I am sure we will have more long distance cycling trips in the future
  • GCW: "I felt great after cycling round our little red dot. 
    Started experiencing ligament pain after West Coast McD. It gets worst with every slope making it a pain to bend or fully straighten the knee. Was about to give up along Yishun slopes, thought of WTH I’m doing this event crossed my mind repeatedly. Glad to have Chan (guy in cube MTB) to pace me even when I have to push my bike.Embarassed Special thanks to Mike for giving me some sain tan (pain killers), energy drinks and super hot deep heat, that kept me going to Punggol. Plus the chit chat with Francis and the cooling rain that take my mind away of the discomfort. Although I transformed from Lamb into a Tortoise, still glad to reach East Coast McD at 630pm. Clocked 122km including the short trip from home to mrt and to McD. So this is definitely been a great personal achievement, as max I cycled was <50km. 
    So thank you to all organizers, TaiWoon, Zack (lead), Mary (sweeper) and all cycling buddies along the route for this crazy event. Ensuring everyone completed the trip safely. You guys rock!
    My butt is fine, so I do have an iron butt. Just don’t have iron legs to go with it. Embarassed To reward myself for completing this event, will have to buy some new toys for my bike. Very Happy 
    My colleague who joined us from West Coast McD to Kanji left me a nice note and badge.
  • LP : "don't know what to say. Congratulation...more than that.
    Look back upon, I will never forget the 120KM trip on my 500RMB bike with Bob and such, including overcame the WuTong mountain along the way. I didn't get a badge for that. However, I will definitely treasure that experience forever.
    I guess the 128KM is the same for you. However slowly however painful, you made it happen. Someone may steal your badge but nobody can take away your memory of the g*d d**n cycling on 3rd July 2011.
    I should have thank you for bringing me to lovecycling. Thank you.
    Hope the pain of your joint leave you one day, since you keep regular cycling. May be your knee just need time to get used
    to it"
  • Wey(from KL) :" I slapped my butt at the end of the ride "kong kong kong"...ahhh sweet sound of accomplishment....
    First of all, thanks for having us. Not for a second that I felt like an outsider. Making the decision to postpone our Singapore trip to coincide with this ride was the best decision ever. I told myself, how often do I get to cycle around the island with equally passionate and crazy ppl (got this from reading your forum)? 
    When I was cycling along Kranji Way with my painful back, I was doing 11kph. Francis and Steven (Goat) were riding with me. They were encouraging me and talking to me to distract me from my pain. You guys are beyond words. Thanks!
    At lunch and after 55km, I was not going to quit. Regardless, I will finish...with or without my back, then came Michael, my lifesaver. Without him, the rest of the way would have been a great torture and the Ironbutt event will be forever etched in my head for the wrong reasons. Michael, thanks for the deep massage and medications Smile
    Thanks to Teo for the lift to Tampines and Andrew for taking care of our bikes and bags at the back of the Teo's truck.
    Thanks to the organising committee, the designer/s & sponsor/s of the stickers and buttons, leaders, sweepers and the titanium butts, esp Shareen and Patrick for sticking with us. Of course, Taiwoon....the shooting sweeper. Kudos to you guys!
    Thanks to all who came that day for the great fellowship, we sure did "we ride as team, eat as a team, suffer as a team, complete as a team"

    Not only do you have ironbutts, you have golden hearts too!!!