The honk

On Saturday morning, I headed out on a solo bike ride. I took the route to Changi, which I had not done in a while.

The ride overlaps several bus service routes. Cycling on weekend mornings mean that I often play a game of leapfrog with a few buses along the way.

This particular morning, it was a 53 going from Bishan to Changi Airport.

Along Ang Mo Kio Ave 1, we played out the leapfrog. Bus stopped at the bus stop for passengers, I went past. The bus eventually overtook me. But at the next bus stop, I went past the stationary bus again.

Sometimes, I reach the bus as it is about to pull out of the bus bay. At this time of day, bus drivers usually let cyclists through. Always good to give friendly wave to the bus driver!

This happened on Saturday, so I waved and he waved back. The bus driver seemed to be a young, cheery fellow.

Our routes diverged at some point. I continued on Boundary Road, left to Upper Serangoon Road, then right to Tampines Road.

I stopped at a red on Tampines Road. There was a vehicle ahead of me, so I couldn’t get close to the traffic island. I kept to the left rear of the vehicle in front. I heard a vehicle coming to a stop behind me.

*honk*

I turned around, expecting to see an irate bicycle-hating motorist, gesticulating at…

Instead, a wave, a smile, pedalling motion and a thumbs up.

It was the 53 driver I had been leapfrogging earlier. Our routes had converged.

A great way to start the day!

A video posted by Kenneth Pinto (@acroamatic) on Sep 5, 2016 at 6:24pm PDT

 

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Fly12 – Watching your front

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My Kickstarter-backed Cycliq Fly12 arrived on Saturday morning, in time for See and Be Seen. Here’s my review.

The Fly12 is a combination front bike light (up to 400 lumens) and safety camera (1080p).

I had previously backed Cycliq’s Fly6 – the rear light and camera combo – and purchased the Fly6 version 2, so I am familiar with Cycliq’s products and will make reference to them.

During the See and Be Seen ride, I ran the Fly12 on various light settings (medium/low, constant/pulsing + cam) and it lasted four hours. Cycliq claims it will last 10 hours of it is camera-only. That’s probably an accurate assessment.

Let me start with the conclusion first: the Fly12 is a big step up from the Fly6.

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NTU Bike Rally 2016

Bike Rally History

I took part in my fifth bike rally on Sunday 6 March.

This year was different. I took the shorter option, 98km. I also had more kakis, despite registration being filled in less than half an hour.

Two days to the event, I felt my semi-regular runny nose and sore throat coming around. Lots of hot honey lemon didn’t prevent it from getting worse on Saturday.

I went to bed quite early, just after 9 pm. The plan was to wake up at 4.30 am, and see how I felt then.

These things rarely go according to plan.

I woke up at 2 am and spent an hour blowing my nose. I thought there was an 80% chance I wouldn’t be riding.

I couldn’t go back to sleep.

Between 3 am and 4 am, I hardly blew my nose. Half an hour before I was supposed to wake up, I felt that I might actually be up for this.

So, change of plans.

Cycle down to the start point – F1 pit, about 10km from home – and see how I felt. If I was ok, I’d stay and ride. If not, I’d ride or fold up to head home.

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Support me in the Ride for Rainbows

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I love cycling.

And I’ve been on many rides.

I have cycled all over Singapore and overseas too.

I have benefited from all the rides: better health, great scenery, fantastic food and lovely people.

So, I figured that I can ride to benefit others too.

I signed up for Ride for Rainbows, organised by Club Rainbow.

Club Rainbow supports kids who have chronic or life-threatening illnesses – and their families – providing emotional, informational, educational, social and financial assistance.

To take part in the 150 km night ride – that will cover the whole of our little island – on 9-10 October this year, I will have to raise at least $1,500.

I am very sure that you can help me do this.

Please support me with a donation (by 31 August)!

I will write the names my backers on my arm sleeves (the yellow ones in the photo above), to acknowledge and remind me of your fantastic support.

Cycling gives me great joy, and I hope to share a little of that joy by helping the kids of Club Rainbow.

Thank you! 😀

March Mania

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I had was supposed to have a sports event every weekend of March:

  • Sun 1 March – Men’s Health Urbanathlon
    Kallang Practice Track. Running + obstacles, 14 km.
    Completed: 2h 45m 58s (nett time). Runkeeper.
  • Sun 8 March – NTU Bike Rally
    F1 Pit Building. Cycling, 168 km.
    DNF: Stopped at 119 km, 5h 46m 42s (time on the move). Runkeeper.
  • Sun 15 March – Metasprint Duathlon
    F1 Pit Building. Running + Cycling + Running, 3 km + 20 km + 3 km.
    Completed: 1h 34m 19.17s. Run 1 – 17m 17s, Cycle – 50m 56s, Run 2 – 21m 59s. Runkeeper.
  • Sat 21 March – (Re)Cycle 350
    Sports Hub. Cycling, 16 km.
    DNS – I was ill.
  • Sat 29 March – 2XU Compression Run
    F1 Pit Building. Running, 21 km.
    Postponed due to LKY’s Funeral.

Urbanathlon

This was my first time participating. I didn’t know what to expect. Overall, the obstacles were doable. I heard lots of chatter that the organisers made things easier this year, compared to 2014. Well, I’m glad they did! The final “surprise” obstacle proved to be slightly unsafe. The drop from height must have caused a few injuries. They doubled up on the safety matress just before I reached it. Thank goodness they did!

NTU Bike Rally

This year’s edition consisted of two distances – 88 km and 168 km. I opted for 168 km. Siva, Say Lin, Aaron and Edward were with me at various points throughout the ride. It was a hot, hot, hot day. Sad to say, none of us completed 168 km! Siva’s shoulder hurt too much. Say Lin was spent. They stopped at Woodlands Waterfront. Aaron ended up on the 88 km route! After all the hard bits, my foldie gave out after Punggol Waterfront. The handlebar came loose, and there was no way to remedy on the spot. Brother-in-law Edward continued on but not for long. He stopped just before the Pasir Ris Drive 3 slope leading to Loyang Avenue. I was very disappointed. My small consolation is that I did not stop while cycling up Nanyang Avenue. 🙂

Duathlon

Another first for me. Run 3 km, bike 20 km, run 3 km. My foldie was at the shop, so I used my MTB. I was slow in the first run, couldn’t keep up with the road and tri-bikes during the bike phase and I was even slower in the second run. It was interesting, but man was I tired the rest of the day. I might do it again though.

Lack of photos

I don’t have a lot of photos from the three events.

Anticipating a surprise water obstacle, my phone was wrapped in a ziplock bag for the Urbanathlon. It was quite inconvenient to take photos. After the race, I realised that I had plenty of time to take photos – lots waiting time before the obstacles!

Bike Rally photos are here. It was a hard slog on a hot day. Photos were not foremost on my mind.

The Duathlon was the most “race” event I’ve taken part in. No time to get distracted. I did snap one or two pics while on a straight with my bike.

MTB lessons at T15

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Yesterday was my first real off-road experience at T15 (apologies to Pengerang).

Before we started, my Giant needed tuning after about 60 km last week and another 18 km before we hit T15. Chi helped to tighten the rear dérailleur’s cable, but there was another problem – my gears kept on changing randomly without my input while I was pedalling. Also, I sometimes needed to change up or down twice to get the gear to change.

Chi tried his best to solve the issues*, but my ride was afflicted with my misfiring gears. Coupled with my unfamiliarity with the course, I was often on the wrong gear, which lead to a fair bit of dismounting to push the bike.

You live and learn.

It was still fun. Very different from road riding. And it was a learning experience. Here are some off-road tips I picked up from Chi and Siva (not in any order, although I think the list is roughly chronological):

  • Release some air from the tyres when going off-road. But not too much – you can get punctures if your tyre pressure is too low!
  • Echoing Ghostbusters (don’t cross the streams), you shouldn’t cross-chain e.g. lowest front gear with high rear gears or vice-versa. The front and rear dérailleurs should used as such:
    • Front | Rear
    • 3 | 9, 8, 7
    • 2 | 7, 6, 5, 4, 3
    • 1 | 3, 2, 1
  • Use your index finger for braking. That’s all you need if you have disc brakes. The rest of your fingers should holding the handlebars – you get better control this way.
  • When going downhill, raise yourself up from saddle and position yourself rearwards. This keeps your CG low so that you don’t tumble over the bike.
  • When going uphill, push your body forward.
  • When not pedalling, keep the pedals at 3 and 9 o’clock for maximum clearance.

Updates – things I just remembered:

  • Before going on trail: lower seat post; remove all loose items e.g. lights.

Next on the to-buy list:

  • Shifters with two-way release? Chi pointed out that you can use your thumb to release… wait, you can’t do that on my bike. My shifters only have the index finger release. Inconvenient since the index finger should be on the brake lever. (Interestingly, my foldie’s shifters can – in fact, can only – be operated entirely by thumb.)
  • Pedals? Siva pointed out last week that platform pedals will be better than the ones that came with the bike. Chi also said something to that effect, but he recommended a brand of shoes to use with my pedals. The pedals I’ve highlighted is a combination pedal – one side for normal use, the other for SPDs (for when I eventually decide to try SPDs, it seems inevitable). I think it’s an upgrade from what I have, and I can progress with it.

* The thing that was causing the skipping gears was my profuse perspiration, apparently. Louis at Tay Junction (Bukit Timah) noticed white stuff on the inside of the rear d̩railleur cable Рsalt from dried perspiration! It was affecting the gear changes. Some lube and a little tuning solved the problems.

HT to Siva for the nice photo above!