Archive for the Blogroll Category

A Good Fold

Posted in Blogroll on Monday, May 22, 2017 by Colin Quek

Try to buy a foldie (folding bike) and a consumer is assaulted by a slew of choices and might I add, “each brands only 1 or 2 points of uniquely but trumpeted loudly”, so loud it clouds one’s reasoning and decision making.

So began my search, from Bromptons, to Crius, to Tern, to Dahon, to Tonino?. Interestingly nothing caught my fancy. Not that they were no good, on the contrary, some brands are very top-end with top-end $$$ of course 🙂

On the 5th of May this year, I bought my first folding bike. After having considered various brands and their even more varied options.

My main, top, high consideration for this bike was… the color, yes, ROFL, the color.
(nooo, there were other considerations)

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The color is something which I don’t see around too often.

There were other considerations:

***Buy from a shop that sells predominantly foldies. They know what to look out for. As in the case of the seat post. The shop was very nice to change the seat post for me FOC. The stock post was a nightmare to adjust. Saddle is from my old bike 😛

  1. Color – as mentioned, this rakes up 50% of my decision. I wanted something out of the usual Black, Silver, Red, Yellow… I know, it gets boring…
  2. Folding – compact when folded, so 26″ folding bikes are out. I needed 1min to fold this first time, by the 3rd try, I took 30secs.
    So you see, it is a matter of practice.
  3. Along with folding, comes “how often in a trip am I going to fold/unfold?“, for me: 1x, 2x per trip per day…
    I can’t justify the cost a “fast fold-er” for just folding 2x a trip yes?
  4. Availability of parts – when things break, or needed upgrading, can I find them easily and cheaply?
    This Raleigh fit the bill perfectly, I can even install a HollowTech bottom bracket should I fancy.
  5. Gearing – I’ll be using my foldie the way I use my road bike, the folding is the added feature to get me onto multi-modal should I decide to.
    So 8 speeds is the way to go. Easier to find cassettes than freewheels.
  6. Wheelbase – I prefer a long wheelbase bike, more stable and rolls better.
    This Raleigh has a wheelbase that is 1.5cm longer than my road bike.
  7. No disc brakes – ever hear squealing discs, they get on my nerves.
  8. Price – at $369. You can’t beat this, considering the above have been fulfilled.

IMG_20170522_140210Check out the Union Jack decal on the chain-stay.

Some things I didn’t bother to consider too much:

  1. Weight – lighter than a Brommie, but heavier than my road bike. But hey it is for riding, not lifting you know.
  2. Components class – this comes with a Claris.
    Want speed, distance?
    Ride more, ride faster, ride HILLS.
    <Engine more important than gears>
  3. What speeds can this hit?” – 70% rider specs, just change to slick tyres later on for some help.

 

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Good old-fashion cup and cone hubs. I.e. easy bearing upgrades.

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I’m a bit fussy with ringer color, but managed to get one that matches perfectly.

How does it ride? << most importantly

Disclaimer: I am not the most qualified to review bikes, so my comparison is vs my road bike (a Shimano 105, fitted with Continental GP4000s ii).

I must say Raleigh didn’t get the good points they deserve in this bike. Trial ride in the shop, it is stable (I trial rode a B, and a Crius, this foldie is the most stable of the lot).
I am a bit fussy on “too twitchy” as it wastes latent energy on long rides.

IMG_20170522_141826.jpgI believe those are for rack? With standard V-brakes.

Out of the shop and I managed to top roughly 30kph on the road (the sky threatened rain lah). I reckoned I maintained that for a junction.

  • The ride is smooth, gears shift well. It is Claris vs 105s after all. And I attribute shifting to proper indexing and tuning more than components, in this case the shop did a terrific job.
  • On the pavement, traffic junctions, the stock Kenda KWest was easy to roll off, or accelerate.
  • I actually fitted my Duranos (P) the next day to compare… no diff. In fact I can drop PSI significantly in the Kendas with minimal impact on the rolling resistance.
    Dropping PSI is for comfort 🙂

I joined my usual bike group and we went for a “relaxed” ride… with some climbs. Easy to climb with. And I even skated 33km the day before mind you. I actually struggled those hills in my road bike… I am still puzzled.

Was caught in the rain yesterday, and the Kendas took the wet roads like a pro. No slipping.

Braking, it brakes when you need it to. Nothing much there.

Future plans:

  1. Cycle more
  2. Cycle faster
  3. Cycle longer
  4. Cycle overseas
  5. Change to slick tyres (Panaracers maybe)
  6. Wheelset upgrade (if I don’t burst my budget with my off-road skates)

Why this post: I feel that Raleigh got a winner in this foldie. But the marketing is missing. Hope that anyone reading this gets a clearer picture of what they want in a foldie.

Focus on what you want the bike to do, not just what companies tell you the bike can do.

(nope, I’m not paid for this post, paid for the bike with my own money + bus fare to pick it up).

Finally Ride More, Ride Hills, Ride Safe 😀

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Biking Bangkok Sky Lane 2017

Posted in Blogroll on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 by Colin Quek

Like to start off by saying I planned to skate there, yes inline skate. But got turned away. Turns out that the management currently and in future has no plans for skating of any form.

So I, being me, rented a hybrid bicycle and decided to do 2 rounds.

Note that bags of any kind, and mineral water bottles of any brands are not allowed.

Yes, I cycled each round without any water. Not too sure of the logic behind this ban, as typical cycling bottles are allowed… but no biggie.

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Headwinds, strong headwinds…

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Interestingly people text and ride almost everywhere 😀

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Awaiting pickup, but I probably “missed” my flight.

But I’m glad I did it. Before they close for 7 months.

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By the way, I lodged in the Orchid Resort, a short 500-800m away. A walk, cycle is all it takes to reach the bike path.

Adventure on 2 wheels across South Korea

Posted in 4 rivers, Blogroll, busan, Seoul, Tourism on Monday, September 19, 2016 by Colin Quek

September this year was finally the time for the biggest goal of 2016.

Having spent 10 months waking up before the sun is up on each weekend to cycle, to train.

3 months to get use to a Korean diet, as I figured that my body has to get nutrients from a very different culture. Korean diet is primarily veg and carb based. While my usual diet is very protein and carb based.

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The whole route.

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Goal setting, I set this goal in 2015 and planned for it.

Yes I set the goal a year earlier to do this. And planned for it.

The wife herself (one amazing woman, decided to come along and had some training), in actual fact is only 1/4 of mine.

So we flew to Seoul, luggage and all.

On Saturday we picked up our rented bikes. Do note that in Korea only the Mugunghwa allows full sized bikes onboard, and that only the 1820pm and later trains.

We were hit with this snag as we assumed that the KTX allows bikes. So on Sunday morning we rushed to Yongsan train station to purchase the Busan to Seoul Mugunghwa tickets. The counter staff was unaware, until we told him to check the system that the train allows bikes.

The Sunday afternoon was spent walking madly looking for the start point. We should have taken our bikes along. We walked like 3 hours to locate booth 1.

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Start point.

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Notice the 633km on the other side, the end point.

Above shows the start point of the Cross Country 4 Rivers cycle-path.

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Paldang station. Our start point.

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You can take your bikes into the subway provided it is not rush hour and only the last and first cabin.

On Sunday, or was it Monday we loaded our bikes and went to the Paldang station to begin our adventure. We left the Seoul Ara Waterway for the last.

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A typical signboard telling you to go ahead on the cycle-path. Keep to these and you be fine.

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Then again, what is this? Yes, we came across many of these, thankfully we have a GPS of someone who did it before.

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A bike rest point, which was supposed to be serving some coffee, but is since abandoned.

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Our bike passports.

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The road condition, not bad.

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Typical Korean dam.

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If I’m correct, that is Ipobo dam at the back.

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Most days, we were just cycling along stretches of road.

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And if you see the sun this way, it is time to find lodging.

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This says the next stamp booth is 2.5km away.

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We actually ended day 3 with more pedaling, boy were we not aware, the fun is ending after this part.

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Somewhat iconic, after this sign, it was uphill all the way, literally.

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Our local Korean energy bar, very good and effective.

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Says Chungju dam is 8km ahead, a very boring 8km i must add.

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Korean golf

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Chungju Dam’s booth, so hard to find.

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Pushing up Ilwarheong.

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And we reached!

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Look at this view.

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And we reached!

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This stretch is after the steep slope, we continue to push to the last booth of Saejae.

We made the mistake of pushing through after our set time of 5pm. Instead of looking for lodging, we continued to push. Big mistake. The last part of Saejae path is STEEP! In the rain, and in the dark, boy the vacation is getting very tough.

We literally motivated each other to push up the hill. And after reaching the top there was no lodging.

At 8pm, we were riding down the slope and saw this campsite. I was desperate and decided to give it a shot, even if they charged us 200,000WON a night, I would have accepted.

Lesson: never break the rule of time to find lodging. If you set it to 5pm, obey it. As the next lodging may be 1 hour away. And it may be raining heavily.

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This is the inside of a camping tent. Rental at 90,000WON a night.

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Cycling in the rain is not fun, especially when there is headwind all the time.

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Another dam.

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Nice view, sometimes we really gotta stop and admire it.

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This is the top of Wuxing Temple… the slopes were VERTICAL!

We actually rode and pushed up Wuxing Temple’s hill, could have avoided it by skirting to the left of it. We were told only AFTER the attempt… 😀

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After the vertical up and steep downhill ride, we arrived at this dam.

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Crossing over to Busan

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A coffee van in the middle of ermmm, no where…

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This guy was a God-send. He appeared out of nowhere to guide us through the toughest part of the whole route. Not just because it was steep, but it was raining until we cant see the road.

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And finally we arrived.

The journey was more of a learning about each other experience for me and my wife.

It was a tough vacation and she swore never to do this again… maybe 😀

I would strongly encourage avid cyclists to give it a shot. The adventure is worth the pain.

Korea 2015

Posted in Blogroll, Places, Tourism, Travel on Sunday, December 6, 2015 by Colin Quek

A mosaic of photos from our recent trip to Korea.

(mouse over the photos to read a short description, I’ve described most of the photos.

For My Mum.

Posted in Blogroll on Sunday, May 3, 2015 by Colin Quek

It is Mother’s Day soon. Not sure how to express myself to her, but this song, written by a Chinese singer, says it all.
Now that I have my own kid, I realise the love, the sacrifices, the life my mother poured into my life.

《当你老了》(中国好歌曲现场版歌词)
当你老了 头发白了
睡意昏沉
当你老了 走不动了
炉火旁打盹 回忆青春
多少人曾爱你青春欢畅的时辰
爱慕你的美丽 假意或真心
只有一个人还爱你虔诚的灵魂
爱你苍老的脸上的皱纹
当你老了 眼眉低垂
灯火昏黄不定
风吹过来 你的消息
这就是我心里的歌
多少人曾爱你青春欢畅的时辰
爱慕你的美丽 假意或真心
只有一个人还爱你虔诚的灵魂
爱你苍老的脸上的皱纹
当我老了 我真希望
这首歌是唱给你的

You can hear the singing at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ivO3srqZeM

To a great leader. Lee Kuan Yew

Posted in Blogroll on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 by Colin Quek

Majulah

One of my favorites from one of my favorite leader.

“Our forefathers came here because they were looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Some found that pot of gold, many didn’t. They sweated their guts out and built this city out of mudflats. We’ve inherited it, we have added to it. And I say it is worth defending it.”

– Lee Kuan Yew

Before and After

Posted in Blogroll on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 by Colin Quek

PS: the photos in this post are of various quality. Reason being that I didn’t get into this health path to slim down. It was to resolve a liver issue.

I was clearing out the photos in my phone (yes, I have been using the same phone coming to 2 years), and realised I have impromptu shots of myself after gym. Couple these with some old shots and we get:

WeddingPants

Yeah my wedding pants.

2013_old

2013 – roughly when I started to change my diet. This seems to be mid 2013.

2013_end

End 2013.

2014_Apr

2014 Apr.

2014_Nov

2014 Nov.

I’m quite surprised at the transformation. But it was a 2 years journey. Of course I am not saying I have arrived. And going by my current goal of just sticking to my exercise regime, a totally fixed diet, I just want to see what 2015 will bring.

I do hope this time I will remember to take some better shots.

Till next time. To better health and enduring fitness.