Thursday, December 31, 2015

Moulton TSR front rack

Taken off Diane FB around 2012. These photo shows how the TSR front rack works with the Ortlieb front rollers. The bike rolls as good as then and the bags are good. Rained on so many times and they work fine. 
2012. TSR with Moustache bar and front loaded pannier                  Photo Credit Diane 
I velcro my sunnies case on the handle bar                           Photo Credit Diane 

another view                           Photo Credit Diane 
Boo trying out TSR                  Photo Credit Diane 

The bags to get if u want waterproof and lasting quality               Photo Credit Diane 

Punggol waterway with Momo 30th Dec 2015

ok daddy.... let's go.
Momo ready for a ride to the park with her new scooter.  
End of the year and its a good time to clear leave, spend time with the little rascal. Momo got a new skate scooter as the old one broke(by me when I tried to stand on it...don,t ask) and its just the time to deploy Dummy. If you are looking for more local singapore content on Dummy. Here's mine for ur "research":) 
A close up on the side bag which can also serve as a carrier for bicycles, scooter and what not. Just get creative.  More photos of the ride here. 

unbuckle the clip, put the scooter in, clip and cinch tie the strap. Very easy

Part of the punggol waterway . Notice the buildings are up on the secondary water canal  towards direction of Coney island
Nice surrounding with a gentle breeze. And its free!

One of the reasons we moved to Punggol was to have the kids be near their cousins and also the attraction of the much talked about amenities (not built then) - The Punggol waterway PCN.
This was an entry I did on 2010 on the Punggol waterway and looking forward to the day it was ready.
5 years later, still a fair bit of construction going on. But its now a great place to ride, to skoot, to run or just a nice slow walk. 

She skoot and I just follow
strong kick!
I am really very happy to be living near to the Punggol waterway and its a great place to relax. 
We also saw a new "bird cage" playground along the PCN. It looks pretty cool. 
can also serve as lockup for naughty kids...

Interesting public playground
Tunnels to scaper around, all kids do
We also went past the almost completed Punggol Safra. The water pool area is crazy fun. I have a feeling it would be a very big hit with the folks. 
Almost ready!!
Then we just skooted and rolled along. For kids, 1/2 hr is quite enough and she wanted a ride on the Dummy. Daddy power. No problem and thats what its for. We ended up at the kids water play area. Lots of kids running around, screaming. We were prepared and packed additional set of clothes, so off she ran straight into the sprinklers.
Dummy is the ultimate family SUV bike

Lots of kids, nice one Nparks!

all the skooting makes u hot... lets cool down.
stepping on the water spouts and making a mess. Its ok, its just water!
Big kid and small kid
After goofing around, we dried ourselves and headed home. Mummy is on the way home, bringing dinner. Simple time but priceless memories.  
Goodbye 2015. Thank you for all the good, fun, bad, tough, sad times.  Come 201, lets remember to treasure whats truly important. Family, friends, good health and happiness.  

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Cars and its relevance in the city

On the SG paper I saw this news of having parts of the Singapore Civic Centre made car free............................................................. for a sunday morning. :) 
Screen grab from the Straits Time

There got your attention now. Well, this is really cause for being very happy about. It shows the SG approach, albeit, cautious but moving forward as a liveable and pro-cycling environment. 
I know some of my car driver friends are probably not happy, after all they have paid so much money for their car and now its one area cars are off limits. Bloody hell. 
Sadly esp in the city, the space for car and car parking are maxed out. It's not logical to keep things as it is and if you look around the major cities, everyone of them are putting in plans to make their cities car free or lite. Need another reason? Look at the space that a a car takes up.

Taken from
I saw this very interesting posting some time back that explains in detail the space a car, a bus, train takes up and what it would mean.
Not to bore the folks who like pics... do read it to understand more why cars are going the way of the dodo. At least in the City that is.

So how could a car be relevant in SG? Yes I think so. Esp for a select group of people. I feel we could do with a softer compassionate approach to the handicapped, physically disabled and young families. One small but significant news  I read sometime back was that the London cab fleet would discontinued. It impacted quite a fair bit of the physically disabled.
I would not know if I didn't have friends who are those situation. It's really tough for them to move around. Poking around on the internet, it seems that London cab is still around. BTW, Do you know how much it cost for a london cab now? 

I hope we can have less "Ra Ra"/ fancy pants ideas, but simple implementable ones. Not cars per say but for example, could we have a Silver/family cab service (specific to elderly- going to see the doctors,  mummies with kids- to school, buying groceries,  families outing etc) that is more affordable(or subsidised). 
Or even a pro-family car COE certification class?? 
Crazy ideas perhaps but if you stop to think about the whole COE and ERP, it was designed to control car usage. Imagine if we can curb frivolous car usage, and focus where it matters. Example, for those who really cannot use the public transport. 
I know the concern of abusing/gaming the system but really please spare a thought for those who are having it tough. 
Ultimate Utopia dream perhaps but I hope for a country where there will be more compassion, heart and lesser of using $$ as the only lever on decisions. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Tool board made from scrap timber planks

It's the end of the year and time for spring cleaning. Man, there's really a lot of stuff to de-clutter and clear up. I spent the last week at home doing just that and the good thing is that many of the families are doing this too! This is also a good time to spot some useful "stuff" for re-purposing(collect and keep it in the most unobstructive, visually pleasing manner so as not to piss off missus) .
This is a much delayed project which I wanted to do for sometime. Essentially it was made from 2 planks I found in the bin and screwed together by wood screws. 

I arranged the usual tools which I used often and hammer in in some nails (to hold them in place). This is how it looked and as you can see, Momo is helping me get it done. I like this hack as it makes the bike spot cleaner and easier to use the tool. And makes u look really good reusing something that was thrown away. Why not try this some day? 

The wooden planks I got from the bin....really can't see good wood go to waste 
Hammer in the nails to hold and use permanent marker to line out the tool position
Momo helping to outline the tools and while u work... take out the helmets 
Its done! Just lean on a wall. 

Relaxed geometry for riding.

This is how I like my riding, slow and steady. Like my mascot on my TSR:) 
I like steel bikes 
After riding and writing about cycling for over 5 years, I have an idea of what my personal riding style and the bikes I like.
To be frank, it wasn't really a deliberate scientific rational planning but an organic free flow way of things just happening. And also ...ahemmm a very supportive wife:) 
I like Velo Orange and Rivendell approach. They are simply old skool bike geometry. Much more upright cycling with long wheel base. Key is relaxed, non-competitive and low/non tech. Recycle if possible.  We have a Chinese term for this. Its called 骑 
These are thumbies or thumb shifters. They work irregardless of whatever speeds cluster (7-10speed) as they use friction rather then SIS(index shifting)
Not a glam thing but it really helps to know whats coming from the rear. I think they are more important then helmets 
Usually the bicycles are made of  Steel or Chromoly which is heavy compared to carbon. But their defense, they dampen road vibrations pretty very well. Also they are quite robust. Some times we would experience a bike drop on the floor due to careless positioning when leaning on a curb or wall. 
Steel bikes also wear well with age and develop a patina with regular use. I am a product designer by training and this is something which I feel that most modern products have failed miserably. Modern products just don't wear well.
Now, this entry is not about dissing off the folks who want to go fast or love carbon. It's different strokes for different folks. I am just sharing what works with me. Here goes... 
My fleet of steel horses
As with all cyclists, it start with one bike and then the "fleet" will slowly grow. I don't know why but they do...else, you are not trying hard enough" ha ha. 
There are subtle ride differences in the ride quality and yet some how they feel also similar. So I took out 4 bikes in random and try to do some quantitative study. The bikes are 
1) 1990s Trek 930 with a surly LHT fork
Looking ready for a tour. Rigged up with Top Peak rear, Carradice Pendle and Tubus Tara front. 
Really nice Nitto front rack which u can put a safety kit or rain jacket
Wide bars by Velo orange  
2) Late 80s Old Road bike NOB 
My first bike I bought using my holiday work as a book shop assistant. Its being Singled speed-ed by Lynten 
You sure can touch this!
3) Tokyo Bike 
Birthday present by Wife and the basket helps me "tar bao" dinner. The front pouch holds my wallet and phone. 
Rattan basket is from some hamper which I recycled 
4) Alex Moulton TSR
Propriety front rack and Beach road canvas bag with DIY Beeswax waterproofing. 
Road bars installed by Rebound Centre, previously was a mustache bar 

As scientific as it can get from me

measure and check....

I took 3 basic measurements to understand my bikes. 
A) Reach- from Seat tip to steering stem
B)  Handle height 
C) Seat height 
What I found out is they are very similar with I measured! 

No wonder I felt Tokyo bike felt abit too short. The seat was lower compared with the rest of my bikes.
This measurements would be also very useful when u bring ur bike overseas and u need to dismantle them for easier packing. 

I also love the quote by Velo Orange which sums up what I feel on cycling.  
Chill and ride. Learning from the best of the best how to drink kopi ( uncle KC) 
"Most cyclists don't race, yet they ride uncomfortable racing bikes and try to go too fast and so miss much of the world around them. Our emphasis is on a more relaxed and comfortable style of riding, and on refined bikes that are comfortable on a century ride, an inn-to-inn tour, or even on a ramble down your favorite dirt road.
Chris Founder-President Velo Orange"
I know this kind of riding will never be main stream as say road riding. There is simply no commercial intent big enough to do do. This is why I share my opinion on my blog and hight light this small sub-cycling culture. 
Hope one day you could also try out this relaxed type of riding someday. See yah! 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Location makers in Singapore. 5 mile markers. What does it mean?

 I used to hear the elders speaking of location like 5 stone marker and been puzzled what it all means. I googled and this might interest you. Its the reference point from all marker stones were measured. Before our postal codes were established, the marker stones are a way of location and identifying where u stay.
I wonder how many are still there. Anyone knows?
Taken from the internet

Night safety for bikes @ Kickstarter

This is an interesting kickstarter project that uses reflective adhesive sheet and a combination of printing to achieve some really cool and reflective patterns. This is a good addon options for folks who like to ride at night esp on the side visibility.

Thinking about it, wouldn't those sticker shops be able to do this locally? Does anyone have more information on this? I love to hear from you. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

LCSG life paint Trial ride 27th Nov 2015

Lets partayyyy 
Lor Harlus bridge - photo credit Terry 
The rain clouds around the evening threaten to wash out the event but we were very lucky. Pungol/lor harlus remained clear and cooling for us to do the life paint trial. 
 30 brave riders joined me at Lor Harlus at 8pm to try out the reflective paint.  It was made even more special with Terry joining us. He is a fellow designer at my work place Dell and would be going back to his home town Taiwan. Its good to finally show him a bit of our country. Hope you will come back again Terry!

Terry from Taiwan coming to experience the LCSG magic
After explaining the collaboration and what had worked for me and  not. I just let the folks get on with it. Just no spraying into the eyes... the rest of the places... all ok. 
Explaining why we are doing the collab
Its coming to Xmas, u can use this template done by Darren.... 

To make it more fun, I also created a few cardboard templates for the riders.  
Every one were really getting into it. Spraying at their clothes, shoes, gloves, even the bikes! It was quite a carnival like feeling and really nice way to spend a friday evening. 
After the spraying we went to a darker area to take a "before and after shot". Photos explain the effect better and here they are. 
Painted but no light source 
Flash light and every one is like a christmas tree decoration
Looks like a nuclear radioactive substance... 
Adrian our long long distance long boarder totally painted over
Every one is so helpful. Gracie looking cool under pressure
Now my turn haha 
Artist at work 
Main road and single formation with safety distance
Mook Sum lighted up. His shoes were black....  

Rolling and chatting on the quiet stretch 
Its nice to be riding!
Then it was a nice roll to Changi village, 40 mins away. As we rode, we could see the life paint "blinking" to the lights and its pretty visible.  We chatted as we rode, talking about every thing under the moon.  The cooling weather made it very pleasant and we gathered our bikes at the Changi village POSB atm.  
The folks went about for their night snack, some a full meal and some just a drink. 
Breaktime and dessert!
Lets tuck in!

relax and chat over drinks

So sweet!

Lots of chatter on bikes, life and more bikes. And then we retraced our route home. 
Summary of the Life paint trial
What worked
1) The cardboard templates was really good to have, so that the effect wasn't too messy visually. It could be a lot worse.. 

2) The visibility of Lifepaint really depend on the ambient lighting conditions. In Singapore, our streets are usually very well lit. So it would not be too obvious. Until its in a dark area, that would work well
3) The carnival like feeling and laughter from this trial is great for creating more awareness on night visibility and safety for driver/cyclist. 
4) Fabrics, gloves, rough surfaces are best for Lifepaint. I am quite surprised to see a black shoe become totally white when shined upon. This is something manufacturers could totally take up to improve their products night visibility. 

Whats didn't so well 
1) The paint overspray can make it look like a halloween party. Go easy to reduce the overspray. 12278823_777197582384351_984129080890694157_n
2) Life paint cannot work on painted and smooth surfaces. It would just slide off and not keep the reflective properties
3) waiting for more feedback and to add on the list. 

Lastly, thank you Volvo Singapore and 30 brave LCSG riders to test out the Life Paint. Question.... do u want to do this again? Leave your thoughts and ideas on the comment tabs. Thanks!   

Photo Credits. The photos are provided by LCSG angels, Clarence, Kevin, William and myself. 
More photos and videos below