Friday, November 27, 2009

Artsy bike-sy racks

I think the mark of a great city is the type of bike racks they provide. On that count, Perth though small in size, is great in creativity. I spotted this very interesting bike rack at Vic Park, today. Kudos to the designer for making a simple rack a real piece of art. It captures the various parts of a gentleman's bike and yet, remains so functional.

A family was walking past it and the father got so excited and tried to sit on it much to the amusement of his wife and toddler. That indeed is to me, a good design that engages people's attention, dont you think?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

LTF turns 2!

Special thanks to Shamiko Design, CA for this!

Time really flies! Its been two years since Nov 26, 2007 that LTF was berthed. I'm very humbled and surprised to get an average of over 2000 hits monthly, and about 40% from USA, the rest Asia and Europe. I hope that the stories are not just entertaining but helps to give a glimpse of the wonderful world of the good life with foldies, and cycling in general.

I'm grateful for all the new friends I have made and I cannot emphasize more, that life is worth celebrating only when you share it with others. In other words, while the "toys" are important, people to share your passion is the key to any hobby or interests. In my ride to Laos in Dec 08, I met a most interesting French cyclist who spends his retirement just cycling around the world on his trike. Michel remains an inspiration to me and is in Singapore as I write.

As expected, I only did 2 overseas trips this year compared to 8 in 2008 - one to Bintan, Indonesia and the other to Borneo. Both were tremendous fun and enriching. Different cultures, friendly people, exotic food and rich history fascinate me no end. Perth where I now live sits remotely on the Western side of the huge Australian continent. Thus, rides are limited around the city but more than made up by the scenic beauty, mild climate and outstanding world class bike paths.

I "only" added one more foldie to my stable - a Bike Friday Expedition and sort of got a "brand new" tikit (under warranty). My respect and admiration for Green Gear Company have grown leaps and bounds due to their exceptional customer service. I'm not alone when I say this!

People often ask me what is my favourite foldie and I hesistate to answer this question as its often a case of horses for courses. But if I really had to pin it down, then I would say the Bike Friday tikit. Its a bike that is such a joy to ride and even tour with, as I recently discovered. It even feels like its bigger 20" brothers. The Bromptonites will of course, disagree and I can respect that. We can still cycle together happily!

What will 2010 hold for LTF? I hope to do the Bolaven Plateau in the highlands of Laos and planning a few more rides in the pipeline. Locally in Australia, I desire to ride from Perth to Augusta, which is the southern most tip of WA and where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean.

May I encourage you to continue following LTF and journey with me as life on the saddle unfolds before us. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your support and my wish is that this blog continues to inspire all of us to explore our fascinating world on small wheels. May you enjoy many delightful moments on your bike wherever you are, and whatever you ride. God bless!

ps 1: I would love to hear from you how I can enhance this blog and welcome your suggestions.

ps 2: For those interested, my foldie stable for 2009 consists of:

2003 Brompton - Cream
2007 Dahon Speed Pro (both residing in Perth, Australia)
2007 Bike Friday tikit - White
2007 Pacific Carry Me - White
2008 Pacific Carry Me - Red
2009 Bike Friday Expedition - Black

Previously owned - Strida 3, Dahon Helios, Dahon Speed 8, Dahon D7

Non foldies
1994 Bridgestone XO5 Hybrid - Green (my son's school commuting bike)
2008 Surly Long Haul Trucker Touring Bicycle - Battleship Blue

O yes, I finally got a set of yellow Ortileb Sportpacker Plus!

Spring riding...

Life is not fair (for me). I spend literally the first half of Spring indoors due to my allergy - itchy eyes, runny nose and the only way to cure that was to stay indoors. A most miserable solitary confinement for a cyclist. Yes, the flowers need to do their thing but so do I!

Then just a few days ago, like the coming and going of mist, my allergy completely disappeared. No need for Clarinaise, and I hit the outdoors with a vengence!

It was so good to simply be on the saddle and ride in the clear blue skies at 22c. My body was singing as I pumped the pedals with the fresh breeze on my face. The great Scottish Olympic runner/Christian missionary, Eric Liddell once said, "When I run, I feel His pleasure", and his words echoed loudly in my head.

To celebrate my freedom, I took 7 kids (mostly) from church on a 12km ride around the Canning River and the youngest was Ryo, an 8yo Jpn lad on a K-Mart $79 special that I helped put together. Kids are wonderful as their zest and excitement really rings what it means to be joyful. I was surprised that everyone was so enthusiastic and we did the relatively "long" ride in under an hour. 15km/h was the max speed that Ryo's single speed bike could do so we were all happy to cruise leisurely with him. Cycling is afterall, about having fun TOGETHER.

One of the Korean boys had a foldie that he brought from his country. It looked mighty impressive and was designed by "Jung Ho". Its a full size 26" full suspension foldie but weighed a ton. Putting it into his mom's car required 2 people but being a foldie, it fitted into the boot and thats what mattered.

Despite a few mechanical problems that I had to attend to from some of the bikes, the ride was a blast both for me and the kids. After all, helping them have fun on their bikes is a great way to spend a weekend. Viva la Spring riding!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Saved by a Foldie!

Cycling with a Brompton on one shoulder!

It was raining cats and dogs this morning, very untypical of the lovely Spring days we have been enjoying here in Perth. Jem could not cycle to school obviously and I had to drive him there.

Problem was I had to pick him up at 330pm but my car was somehow unavailable. The missus had taken mom to Burswood and the grand dame had a winning streak. That was great for them but I got stuck. How to get Jem home from school?

As I mull over the situation, a brain wave came to me. Why not carry the ultra compact Brompton in the bag on my shoulder and cycle to school? So that I did, and it was surprisingly quite manageable. Jem was quite shock to see me grinning under the tree with 2 bikes!

We rode home happily together thanks to the compactness and versatility of the Brompton. You can say the situation was saved by a foldie.

Pic fm Folding Society UK

Saturday, November 14, 2009

When you don't join the Fold...

I was driving today for a family lunch when I saw this Ford Falcon with a trailer, transporting his regular-sized bike. The first thing that came to my mind was all the trouble the driver had to do to transport ONE bike.

If only he had join the fold, life would be much easier for him. This is how I do it, and with room for 3 or even 4 foldies in one car!

My Brompton & Dahon Helios folded and ready to go places...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A "Holy" Foldy

With a population of 1.4 billion people, the smart money will want to penetrate the vast China market, foldy manufacturers included. Imagine if you had 0.1% of such a market? This works out to be over 1 million foldies you can sell! Dahon has been in there for sometime and a friend who went to Beijing came back with a very cute foldie called the Dahon Dove.

Those familiar with Dahon will know they had an entry level model for kids and women called the Sweet Pea. I think this is the replacement model and it looks like a minature version of their famed MU series. It sits on 14 wheels and is a single speed. Its also only 7.9kg! This must be the perfect "spare" foldie for enthusiasts to just potter down to the shops and for casual and easy riding.
Its white paintwork makes it look really cute too and if you look carefully, it has a decal of a small dove. For Christians, this is indeed very symbolic as it represents the Holy Spirit. I can see mass orders from churches for this model!

Best of all, Dan bought it for only abt US$200. I'll take 10, thank you.
Mark 1:9-11 (The Message)

At this time, Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. The moment he came out of the water, he saw the sky split open and God's Spirit, looking like a dove, come down on him. Along with the Spirit, a voice: "You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life."

Sunday, November 8, 2009

For downhill junkies, like me...

Pic fm CGOAB Northern Thailand

One of the joys of cycling is freewheeling downhills, particularly long and steep descents. My good friend Chris recently send me his youtube upload of a spectacular ride down Mae Salong to Chiang Rai, Thailand on his Surly LHT touring bike. I don't know how he videoed it so well and I hope he didn't do it one hand style.

Some of my best downhill experiences so far are in Laos and Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. I hope to try Northern Thailand one day real soon!

Fasten your helmet and enjoy...