Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Four bicycles in one supermini

Fred and his 2 sons, good friends from Perth, were here in Singapore and what better way to show them the beautiful Singapore River than a bike ride from end to end. Transporting four bikes to any destination would usually be a logistical challenge, needing the use of a van or a truck. However, I have neither except Toyota's smallest hatchback, the Yaris.

Fortunately, this is where the advantages of a foldie really shine brightly! I packed my Bike Friday Tikit, Expedition and 2 micro Carry Me for the boys and they fitted easily into the Yaris. We met at Lavender MRT carpark and it took me all of 5 mins to unfold all 4 bikes and we were ready to roll.


Fred's teenage boys were so excited to ride the cute Carry Me where they got used to the bikes in no time. Josh remarked that the CM rode much better than he expected and even though they had a turn on the BF Expedition, they all much prefered the CMs. For all intent and purposes, the CM was in its element at the ability to steer on a dime and ride around moving pedestrains.

I was planning a return via the ever efficient MRT but they all had so much fun they decided to cycle back to our start point. We had a wonderful time and I am grateful to my foldies for making such an enjoyable ride possible. Fred suggested I should start a folding bike tour business. Umm, I very well may...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cycling to Easter Service

Its Maundy Thursday and churches all around the world hold their Good Friday eve services. Here in Singapore, I've found traffic getting really bad especially during peak hours so I've decided to ride my Bike Friday Tikit to church. It was really fun NOT to be too affected by the heavy traffic as the bike could weave through cars stuck in traffic unencumbered.

However, cycling in the humidity was a sweltering experience even though it was supposed to be a cool 6pm in the evening. I guess I wasn't yet acclimatised to the tropics. I decided to stop at a relative's home halfway and caught a ride to church. It was good to be able to enjoy a cold and refreshing shower at his lovely home, and that was so invigorating.

Riding the world's fastest 5 sec folding bike also made for easy versatility in being able to collapse the bike, and pop the Tikit back into the car without any hassles. After church, I transferred the Tikit to my wife's car and drove back happily. Who says going to church is boring?

A little bit about Easter - Easter today is about holidays, chocolate eggs and bunnies. The true essence of Easter however, is about the cruel death of a man named Jesus who claimed to be God. He was condemned to die on the worse execution device of the Roman Empire - hanging on the Cross and death comes from suffocation. This type of death was reserved only for the most hardened criminals.

Ironically, he was put there because of a political power play between the Jewish leaders and the Romans. Pontius Pilate, the Governor, found he had done no wrong. His death on Good Friday however signaled the beginning of life. Three days later, he rosed from the dead and appeared before many witnesses. Jesus' resurrection today continues to bring hope, forgiveness and new life for many who put their faith in him. So the eggs and bunnies actually mean something - they reflect the celebration of new life offered by God to us.

My good friend I'Ching covers about Easter deeper here.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Bicycle beauties

The BBC recently featured 10 bicycles through the last 100 years or so that were brilliant in its own unique ways. I was struck with some of the ingenious designs to attain comfort and functionality.

Interestingly, 3 were folding bikes and no prizes for guessing - the Bike Friday was in the list. Its wonderful ability to disappear into a suitcase for hassle-free travelling, and then be able to ride out of the airport, still stirs the adventure streak in me even after all these years.

More about the article here.

A blatant case of bike abuse

I was checking on the state of my Bridgestone XO5 this evening, just tinkering with the bike when the relatively new Michelin Dynamic tire appeared to have uneven excessive wear. Closer inspection revealed 4 flat spots which made me fuming mad.

An investigation revealed that one of my son's more notorious "friend" took the bike one day at a basketball practice without his permission, and started doing rear wheel skids. This I presume, was to show off to the girls and the guys. What a blistering idiot! In a civilised society, one does not take things without permission and then abuse it.

I was wondering why the bike didn't roll so well lately and now I know. Bike abuse is liken to child abuse in my books.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Healing from punctures

Sometime mid last year, I experienced a spate of punctures one after another on the Bridgestone XO5. After visiting George's Bike Shop too many times, they recommended the Tioga Thorn Proof tubes which were thick and robust, with the promise to take the fight against punctures to another level. Unfortunately, after a good 8-9 months of hassle-free riding, the enemy attacked again successfully. The culprit managed to pierce through the thick armament and inflicted a flat front tire.

That got me really frustrated. Are there any other "weapons" to fight against this determined enemy? My nephew Nick, a racer, recommended Slime Lite self-healing tubes. They have a special sealant in the tube that is supposed to be able to repair any holes up to 3mm automatically. The downside is they are even more expensive than the Tioga tubes (which go for US$18). At nearly $24 a piece, its more expensive than some tires even.

But to fight a determined enemy requires a determine budget. Stay tune to see if future puncture holes can actually be "healed".

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Making dreams come true

The yearning for a long adventure on bicycles is a dream many of us have. But with responsibilities to family, job and mortgage, it stays as a dream for most of us. I came across my friend TW's blog recently and learned about this American couple who sold off everything to embark on their dream ride.

Russ and Laura took the plunge and did it! Their accounts on this blog: Pathslesspedaled. What makes it very interesting is that they are doing it on Bromptons and twinning their journey with trains. What clever people indeed! I'm officially jealous.