I have the highest respect for cities who use the bicycle as their main mode of transportation. Which capital city in the world do you reckon tops this lists? Copenhagen seems to be the number one contender and this very well made European video shows why.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
She took her time and made it easily, enjoying the sights along the way. Not surprisingly, many faculty and students cycle to uni and she blended in seamlessly. But the advantage was she could bring her foldie into her office with no issue.
And as it was rather dark to cycle home at 6pm, I came to pick her. A quick fold and the Speed Pro fitted easily into the small hatch. No drama. While going one way with a full size bike may pose some logistical problems, with a foldy one way is ok.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
I can see many advantages using cleat style pedals. An obvious one is that you will not slip and that is especially important in wet weather. Bruised shins are not fun. Also, it will help you to "bunny hop" your bike, jumping over kerbs and obstacles. Better power seems to be a claim that many people make in using cleats and I don't disagree, though 50% better is a bit hard to digest.
My esteem ride buddy Chris of CGOAB fame feels that:
SPD cleats are so efficient, there's no turning back once you get used to it. I've used up more than a dozen and that's spread out over a few bikes. You can push and pull up on the pedals.
Disadvantages can include safety - takes skill to disengage from the pedal during emergencies and spills (I've seen friends falling like pins at traffic stops). Getting stuck with SPD shoes that hamper the way you walk when you get off the bike. Increased cost - getting the shoe/pedal set up can easily add $200 and more.
The freestyle/traditional way is the preferred method for beginner/casual type cyclist. Whatever shoes you wear will work, but a firmer sole is better to transfer the power. Which explains why it remains a favourite among the European commuter cyclists.
No drama pedalling, and easy to jump off the bike if the need arises. Of course, this can be painful when things can slippery. You can forget about jumping your bike and spinning at a high cadence is not as efficient. Also, the lycra brigade will not be caught dead with these "novice" pedals.
Grant Peterson is a strong advocate for pedalling "free" style. He writes:
The most important and liberating thing I've learned in 40 years of riding nearly daily, is that normal shoes and pedaling unconnected is the way to go... and if you're looking for an excuse to head out on a ride in your Hush Puppies, now you have it.
I don't hope to convince you either way but I guess the general rule is if you are looking for that edge in cycling performance, get cleated. If you are just cycling easy to the shops to pick up milk, then platforms rule.
So as an adventure folding bike tourer, what do I prefer? I think the best of both world solution is the Zefal mini toe clip. This is an unbelievable US$8 solution.
I have been touring with this on cycling shoes or Target Crocs sandals with total ease, confidence and comfort. It does the job of keeping my feet from slipping and yet disengages easily when needed.
However, the more important question to ask is which is more your style of riding? Get that answered and settled quickly, then go enjoy quality time on the saddle instead of endless chatting on bike forums. I suspect there is enough room in this big world to accommodate and respect two differing views. Don't you?
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
We boogie-boarded the huge waves at the beach and basically got blown away by the immense power of nature. The kids enjoyed themselves just playing around the powdery sand and building sand castles in the fresh breezes and sunshine. Throw in spectacular sunsets, no wonder Cil exclaimed that this was one of the best hols ever!
Thursday, April 9, 2009
This message may be "Greek" to some but for us who have tasted and experienced the reality of God's love and goodness through Jesus, it represents LIFE in all its fullness. He invites us this Easter to accept His gift of life.
Wishing everyone a very blessed and meaningful Easter!
Monday, April 6, 2009
I have a friend who absolutely hates bicycles. CY went on his very first bike ride with me once on a cheapo hand-me-down bike (mistake no. 1) at Pulau Ubin, Singapore many years back and went home with a very bruised bottom. It didn’t help that his pain continued for a few days. Up till today, I dare not ask him for another ride!
Indeed, how can anyone get comfortable on 3 tiny square inches of support? I will admit that when I first started cycling 30+ years ago, the first point of discomfort was my bottom especially after half an hour on that torture device called the saddle. My best friend Simon ingeniously wrapped around his saddle a whole gunny sack to lessen the pain when we were school boys in the 70s on a long ride. It was a case of comfort over style.
The technology behind Brooks goes way back to the 1866 and remains largely the same. Good old fashion leather stretched out on a metal frame. Like a good pair of moccasin leather shoes, Brooks saddle will break-in naturally into the shape of your bottom after 1000km (usually less) of riding. I got my B17 about a year ago and toured across Sumatra, Laos, Malaysia with a very happy bottom. No wonder it remains the favourite among many adventure cyclists.
More info on leather saddles can be found on this excellent article by the late guru Sheldon Brown:
Update: One of my regular readers and fellow LHT rider, Nat, adds that Brooks saddles come in different designs (racing, titanium, woman specific etc) as well. Thanks Nat!
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
A quick 500m ride to the old County Jailhouse, now turned Tourist Info Centre, for some directions and a map and we were soon on the saddle.
Its a good thing we had our bikes to explore as walking would be too long. However, the paths were not always well paved and some were pretty challenging. It was providence that I had the unequally yoke Big Apple/Supreme tire combination which could handle the sand, gravel and stones that came our way.