Saturday, April 24, 2010

My New Shoes

Unlike many cyclists who extol the virtues of being clipped in while cycling, I prefer a more free-style approach. Good shoes on good platform pedals, with a toe clip if I'm touring.

It was time for a new pair of shoes and I've always liked Asics. Being Japanese, they are extremely high quality, offers great support and somehow fits my feet comfortably.

I got a pair of Asics Gel-Venture recently and tested it today on my usual ride around the Canning River on my sporty Speed Pro with two friends on foldies.

Style and colour wise, it was tops but more importantly, I felt very well supported and protected with the Gel-Venture. Its sole is rather rigid which is necessary to transfer the power properly onto the pedal and yet, soft enough to make for supple walking.

I love my new shoes!

ps: My socks with a motif of rabbits mating, were chosen for me by a very cheeky friend!

Monday, April 19, 2010

A first Foldie

I cant remember exactly when I learned to ride a bicycle (maybe 8 or 9 yo)but I certainly remembered my first bicycle given to me by my Aunt Ruth. It was a red German made Cito with backward pedal braking system, a safety flag and dynamo lighting. That bike gave me countless hours of fun so I got really excited to be given the honour of getting 12yo Darryl his first new bicycle.

Just last month I have been coaching Darryl how to cycle. Christoph and I took him on a 7km ride around the Shelly Foreshore and he passed with flying colours. Then, a request from his mom to get an entry level bike for him came. It had to be a foldie of course as the abilty to be stashed in the boot of his car was essential.

Scouting around the shops in Singapore, I found a "Tahara" made in China 8 Speed 20" foldie at an unbelievable US$99 in Changi. It weighed about 13kg which was respectable and I was quite surprised it rode decently. With a rack and mudguards plus a spare tube thrown in as a sweetener, this must be the deal of the century.

I know this first humble foldie will give Darryl many hours of joy in the days to come. Who knows what he will upgrade to when he grows up? A Birdy, a Dahon, a Brompton or a Friday perhaps?
Update 24 Apr - The Tahara went for its first real ride today on Aussie soil and performed very satisfactory. Its new owner is very happy with her and I'm glad!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Yike Bike - the ultimate folding electric bike?

I've always been impressed with the design of the early Penny Farthing bicycle. High upright seating, great style, marvellous engineering (in times where gears were not invented) and one of the first human powered transportation. Some ardent PF cyclists have even toured around exotic places with them and is fascinating reading on CGOAB.
Pic courtesy of CGOAB

Fast forward 2010, Dr Grant Ryan, a Mechanical Engineer from Christchurch, New Zealand has come up with what I think is a brilliant solution to modern portable transportation.

Check it out and let me know your thoughts... a bit pricey at US$4500 but good innovations don't come cheap. Weighs less than 10kg and has a range of 10km, a bit limited but more than enough for city commutes.

ps: Thanks Elaine for pointing me to the Yike Bike!

Bavarian in Perth

Its always a joy to have my ride buddies pop in and spend a couple of days enjoying what we love best - wearing out our saddles. Christoph who hails from Bavaria, Germany but is an honorary Singaporean (speaks perfect Singlish and loves spicy food lah) managed to get time off from his family and appeared at my door recently during the *Easter period.

Beautiful flowers were not for us!

I first met CT on a trip around Northern Thailand some years back and he is an avid cyclist (has a couple of bikes including a Curve) and rugged adventurer. It was a week before his Triathlon and what better reason to ride the beautiful paths of Perth in preparation. CT loves pouring over maps and would always be planning his ride for the next day around Perth and he did nearly 300km in just 5 days.

We went together down to the fame Mandurah ride with Rod, Ken and Philip and CT was estatic at the natural beauty of the ride, skirting the rugged coastline and fine beaches of WA ending at the Peel Inlet. There, perched Pelicans greeted us when we enjoyed our delicious morning tea.

All 3 of my bikes, the Speed Pro, the Brompton as well as the Bridgestone XO5 got a good workout and it didn't matter what bike CT rode, he was always fast. No matter what people tell you about bikes, the unpolished truth is that its the engine that matters!

As a great cook with a sense of appreciation for good wines and beers (loves Hanns as well), blessed with a warm sense of humour and generousity, CT was truly the perfect foldie guest. It helped too that he had an inbuilt German punctuality that I really appreciated.

All my friends in Perth were truly enamoured to enjoy the presence of this gregarious Bavarian and we hope he returns soon for another visit.

*Easter - A celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ 2000 years ago.