Friday, December 29, 2006

Happy New Year & Eid Al-Adha!!!

Wishing you peace & prosperity in your life.
Selamat Tahun Baru & Selamat Hari Raya Adha!

Eating While Riding

When riding one-handed because you are reaching for food or water, grip the handlebar top next to the stem. This helps you sit up, and your movements won’t be as likely to make the bike swerve.

Practice eating while on training rides. Clear your nasal passages just before eating because you have to breathe through your nose while chewing.

Eat something every 30 minutes on long rides to keep energy levels high. Preserve your glycogen (muscle fuel) by always accelerating smoothly, avoiding hard efforts on hills, and resisting all other activities that make your body switch to anaerobic metabolism to meet extra energy demands. Hard riding uses glycogen much less efficiently than evenly paced, aerobic metabolism.

From Bicycling 250 Best Cycling Tips/ photo courtesy of

Bicycling through the camera lens

Paddy field at Yan, Kedah

Facts of the Day

The average 4-mile journey in Central London, for example, takes just 22 minutes by bicycle, compared to 30 minutes by tube, 40 minutes by car, 62 minutes by bus and 90 minutes with walking - which makes the bicycle the fastest mode of transport there.

Source: photo courtesy of

Boxing Your Bicycle

Although airlines, bus companies, and railways are generally accustomed to transporting bicycles, there is always a risk of damage. Proper boxing can minimize the risk of damage or loss.

You must anticipate the possibility that your bike will be dropped, stacked in cargo bins, or otherwise handled roughly once it leaves your sight. Don't travel with your bicycle unless it is boxed!

Some airlines have boxes available. Some airlines require several days' advance notice that you'll be traveling with a bicycle. Give this notice directly to the counter where you will be departing.

You can often get used boxes from bicycle shops, especially if you call a few days ahead. While you're at the bicycle shop, get two boxes (for each bike you want to ship), preferably one slightly larger than the other. A single box can be modified to protect your bicycle fairly well, but one slipped inside another to form a double-walled container, braced internally, will give your bike better protection and give you greater peace of mind.

It takes time to box a bicycle, especially if it's your first try, so don't wait until a half-hour before your flight is scheduled to depart to begin working on it. You'll need a pocket knife, some extra strips of cardboard, some scrap wood, tape (filament or duct tape), and some light rope, twine, or stout cord.
  1. Shift the gears so that the cables are slack.
  2. Deflate the tires halfway for more shock-absorbing capability.
  3. Remove seat and post as a unit.
  4. Remove the front wheel. Cut a small block of wood to fit between the front-fork dropouts, and tape it in place. This will help prevent the fork blades from being bent.
  5. Remove the brake cables from the brake levers. If your bicycle has a very long wheelbase, it may help to completely remove the front brake so the fork can be rotated 180 degrees.
  6. Remove the handlebars and stem as a unit by loosening the stem bolt two full turns. Then, protecting the bolt with scrap wood, hammer to loosen the internal wedge, and pull the stem out of the steering tube. Retighten the stem bolt to avoid losing the wedge.
  7. Remove the pedals. Remember that the left pedal is a left-hand thread; the right pedal is a standard right-hand thread.
  8. Tie or tape the front wheel to the right side of the frame, padding between the wheel and the frame with cardboard. Turn the crank arms parallel with the box bottom and tape in place.
  9. Make two 6-inch square "washers" of several layers of cardboard with a center hole. Make them thick enough to prevent the front-wheel axle or quick-release end from puncturing the box. Tape these in place over the exposed front axle end and the end of the rear axle opposite the derailleur.
  10. Unbolt the rear derailleur (but don't disconnect the cable) and tape it to the rear wheel spokes below its normal position so it doesn't stick out past the frame. Pad the derailleur with a roll of cardboard also taped in place.
  11. Cradle the handlebars and stem over the top tube or around the fork and head tube if space permits.
    Preparing the Box
  1. Cut five pieces of cardboard, each about one foot in length, and wide enough to fit snugly across the inside width of your box. Form tightly rolled tubes and fit them inside the box. These tubes will absorb forces from the sides and prevent the box walls from collapsing into the bicycle.
  2. Place one tube inside the box near the lower end of the front fork. Place two tubes, slightly flattened to fit, through the rear wheel and tape them in place. Place other tubes where the top and down tubes meet, through the front-wheel spokes, and below the top tube, toward the front of the bike. Tape each tube in place.
  3. Lower the bicycle into the box, and add cardboard pads wherever any remaining sharp or fragile parts might contact the box. Anchor the cross-bracing cardboard tubes further by punching holes in the box sides to match the tube centers, and securing the tubes with tape, rope, or both. The rope can also be padded and used as convenient carrying handles.
  4. Wrap the saddle, pedals, and other parts in newspaper or cloth and secure them inside the box. You might also want to place the tools you'll need to reassemble the bike in an easily retrievable bag inside the box.
  5. Seal the box with tape, and clearly label it with your name, destination, flight number, and home return address.
In this illustration, holes have been punched corresponding with the cardboard tubes which will protect the bike against side loads. The tubes have then been held in place with tape. Finally, rope acts as both support and temporary carrying handles.

Remember, on most airlines you will have to sign a waiver which will remove the airline from any responsibility for damage to your bicycle. It is to your benefit to spend some time carefully packing your bike. It's no fun to get to the trailhead of your long-awaited tour only to find your bicycle has been damaged.

by Adventure Cycling Staff, How-To-Department.

Do Bicycle Seats Cause Impotence?

The Washington Post's Roy Furchgott recently wrote an excellent article looking back at claims a few years ago that bicycle seats impeded the flow of blood to the penis causing impotence in male riders. Although bicycle seats designed to prevent this are new widely available, the impotence claim appears to have no scientific grounding.

As Furchgott reports, the episode was started after an article in Bicycling magazine in 1997 that cited an unpublished study by urologist Irwin Goldstein. Major media outlets such as "20/20" picked up the story and soon Goldstein was giving quotes like, "There are two kinds of cyclists: those who are impotent and those who will be."

But even today, Goldstein's study has never been published by a peer-reviewed journal. In fact when Furchgott asked Goldstein for a copy of his paper or the data behind his claims, Goldstein told him that they were unavailable, but that he would describe the results of his study over the phone.

There have been a number of studies on this published in peer-reviewed journals, but most of them appear to have had fundamental flaws, not the least of which is that the largest study to date study only 160 men.

William Steers, the chairman of the urology department at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville and a critic of Goldstein's claims, notes that if bicycles do cause male impotence it is hard to explain the continued fertility of men in countries where bicycle use is almost ubiquitous. As Steers puts it, "In China 90 percent of the male population cycles, and they don't seem to have a problem maintaining the population."

More importantly, Steers points out, it was a bit odd for the media to give such huge scrutiny to an activity like cycling which is a healthy form of exercise when behaviors like smoking, obesity and inactivity are much bigger risk factors in male impotence.

This whole episode is an almost textbook case of advocacy research trumpeted by the media despite lacking any credible scientific basis.

By Brian Carnell, Skepticism.Net. Wednesday, September 5, 2001/ photo courtesy of

Are cyclists at risk for osteoporosis?

Cycling is a great cardiovascular exercise that can spare joints from stress, but it still puts riders at risk for osteoporosis, says Mountain Bike columnist Selene Yeager, so she recommends adding cross training and calcium supplements to exercise regimens.
  • If the only time you move your body is when it's clipped into a pair of SPDs, you could be raising your risk for this bone-thinning disease.
  • Cycling is a non-weight-bearing activity, which means your bones don't have to support your own (or any outside) weight to do it.
  • That's good news for your joints, because they're spared the stress, but it can be bad news for your bones because they need stress to build.
  • Without it, the body keeps taking the calcium it needs from your skeleton without putting any fresh bone back, and you lose bone density.
  • The best thing for your bones--and the rest of your body--is to throw in some cross-training.
  • Weight training is particularly good for building bones.
  • Doing a full-body strength-training routine three days a week strengthens your skeleton as well as your muscles.
  • Adding running into your routine a couple times a week (or more in the off season) can strengthen bones as well.
  • As for calcium supplements: They're great added protection.
  • The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends getting 1,000-1,300 milligrams of calcium a day.
  • That's about three glasses of calcium-fortified milk a day.
  • If you don't eat much dairy, definitely supplement.
  • KEEP YOUR SKELETON STRONG DON'T SMOKE: Human chimneys lose bone twice as quickly as nonsmokers.
  • DITCH THE COLA: Carbonated drinks, especially colas, are high in phosphorous, which blocks calcium absorptions.
  • Plus they're a big zero in the nutritional category.
  • MODERATE BOOZE: Too much alcohol inhibits calcium absorption and bone formation.
  • Stick to no more than a drink or two a day.
Source: MountainBike/ photo courtesy of A2Z of Health, Beauty and Fitness

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Saddle sores are history!

"My bum hurts!" is probably the number one complaint of new cyclists, especially those who choose to get back into cycling by doing a 50 mile charity ride with no prior preparation!

For most people, the soreness quickly recedes and after a few more day's of riding, getting on a bike is no longer painful. It's a matter of getting your bum used to sitting on a saddle, preferably an 'anatomical' one, and your back and shoulders used to the new sitting position.

Of course, there are ways to minimise this initial discomfort. Check your saddle isn't too far forward on the 'seat post' and make sure it's a decent width. Many bikes do not come ready fitted with comfy enough saddles.

If, after alteing your riding position through trial and error, moving the saddle forward a touch or fitting a wide - possibly sprung - saddle or a suspension seatpost, and you're riding in proper padded cycle shorts, you're still uncomfortable, maybe you might be on the wrong sort of bike altogether? Many of the mountain bikes in the shops are designed for racing and so sling you far forward into an uncomfortable position. Racers are used to this position and it's quite comfortable for them but for the rest of us a more 'sit-and-beg' position is desirable. Hybrids are normally more upright and so more comfy for beginners. Dutch roadsters are even more upright. But, as was made clear above, you don't want to be so upright that hardly any of your weight is being supported by the handlebars. Again, aim for a happy medium.

If all else fails, why not try a recumbent? These are laid-back cycles with comfy, deck-chair like seats. They take a bit of getting used to but have been godsends for some riders who might otherwise have had to retire from cycling.


Saddles set too high or low can lead to knee injuries. Find the right position by sitting on your bike and putting your heel on a pedal in its lowest position. The saddle and seatpost are the right height when your leg is straight (but not locked). The seatpost should not be extended above the inscribed safety limit. Buy a longer seatpost if necessary.

Most saddles have rails by which they are attached to the seat post clamp. Undoing a locknut or Allen key bolt will enable you to slide the saddle forewards or backwards. With the pedals horizontal to the ground you should be able to draw a vertical line from the front of the forward knee through the centre of the pedal spindle.

Angle of tilt
For true comfort on a bike the tilt of the saddle is crucial but is largely a matter of taste. Women tend to like the saddle nose pointing to the ground slightly, to relieve pressure on the pubic area. That's why women's saddles are shorter than men's. The Terry Liberator saddle gets round this problem by cutting a hole out of the nose.

By making just minor adjustments to the saddle's tilt you can radically improve your comfort. Try your saddle at different angles and ride about for twenty minutes or so to check which angle suits you best.

With thanks to Carlton Reid and BikeBiz, the UK cycle industry webzine for this article.

Source: BikeBiz/ photo courtesy of

Why we should all go bananas

The lowly banana is the Eddy Merckx of energy food. Today the hype goes to trendier, micro-engineered energy bars and gels, but if you bring this stalwart yellow delicacy out of retirement, you'll rediscover a classic piece of cycling perfection. The banana has loads of carbs, potassium (an important electrolyte), and ride-enhancing vitamins--it's almost as if it were designed just for us.

Bananas weren't an energy food for the first cyclists, who usually fueled their efforts with bread and cheese, washed down liberally with wine. It became a tradition for European racers to disdain the banana as difficult to digest. Andy Hampsten, the only American ever to win the Tour of Italy, says his teammates during his early years as a European pro would tease him about eating bananas.

"They'd say I was going to fall asleep mid-race because they thought the bananas would just sit in my stomach," Hampsten says. But he knew that a ripe banana is actually pretty easy to digest and makes a great, portable on-ride food because it readily converts to energy. The glycemic index ranks foods on a scale of 0-100, based on how quickly they're converted to usable energy (with 100 representing pure glucose). A banana has a glycemic index rating of 55--a quicker energy boost than other common fruits. For example, an apple has a rating of 38 and an orange is 44. The banana beats the peanuts out of a Snickers bar, which is ranked at 41, and is close to a chocolate PowerBar Performance bar at 58.

Bananas are famous for containing potassium, an essential electrolyte that helps regulate blood chemistry (particularly Ph) and improves carbohydrate metabolism by helping the muscles act efficiently. Without potassium (and sodium), your muscles stop firing correctly. Severe loss of sodium can produce really nasty complications all the way up to shock and death. (Of course, you'd stop riding before then.) Potassium also prevents the blood's Ph from _becoming too acidic. With enough potassium in your system, blood glucose is more easily transported through cell walls and used in ATP production. Translation: more energy, more quickly.

Bananas are also rich in vitamin B6, which helps metabolize more than 60 proteins and assists in red blood cell production that transports oxygen to muscles. And folate in bananas helps concentration and memory. If you get lost a lot, try eating a banana.

This magic fruit also gives you 17% of your Daily Value of vitamin C, an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals (harmful waste products) in your body and helps produce collagen, the building block of the connective tissues such as tendons and cartilage that keep your knees strong. And the banana's magnesium (yep, the same stuff they make fork lowers out of) plays _a role in energy transport and your body's ability to keep pushing those cranks around. It's also involved in the synthesis _of protein, which helps recovery.

And, finally, the ultimate benefit: Unlike a gel container, bar wrapper, or a plastic bag holding a bunch of cookies, the banana's "container" is biodegradable: Toss it to the side of the road and it breaks down in one to two weeks.

Like Eddy (and Elvis, whose favorite food was fried peanut butter-and-banana sandwiches), the banana is king.

by Joe Lidsley, Bicycling Magazine

Source: Bicycling Magazine/ photo courtesy of MicrobeWiki

Tour de Ben (15-17 Dec 2006)

On the 15 Dec 2006, Me, Ben & Steve took an early morning AirAsia flight to Senai Airport. It took us 3 days to complete the tour which started from Senai Airport and finished at LCCT, Sepang. The total riding distance is 385km.
  • Day 1 - Senai Airport - Pontian Kechil - Batu Pahat = 137km
  • Day 2 - Batu Pahat - Muar - Melaka - Port Dickson = 200km
  • Day 3 - Port Dickson - Lukut - Sepang - LCCT = 48km
Here are some photos from the tour:

Waiting for check-in at LCCT.Re-assemblying bicycle at outside of Senai AirportSomewhere near PontianStopping at the Bus Stand for a short break
Preparing the bike before ride at Batu Pahat hotelLeaving Batu PahatTaking a break at Tanjung, Muar
Crossing the Muar Bridge
Ben changing tube near Bandar MelakaRiding at Bukit Pelanduk
On the way back to's getting near dude!Check out the map on my handlebar bagFinally, arrived at LCCT!Yes, it's time to go home!!!

Are You Hooked On Audax?

AUDAX is an international organisation geared for cyclists who like to ride long distances. Audax originated in 1897 when a group of European cyclists rode 200 km between sunrise and sunset and become known as ‘Les Audacious’.

Today, Audax clubs exist in over 20 countries. Audax Australia has clubs across the country in most capital cities and several regional centres. The club runs rides of set distances: 50, 100, 200, 300, 400, 600, 1,000 and 1,200 km for road rides. Then there are 35, 70 and 100 km off road rides, a few 24 hour endurance rides and point-to-point tours, called Raids, which range from 350 km to 1200 km.

The thing that all of these Audax rides have in common is that they must be completed within certain time limits. These are based on 15 kph for the road distances, 10 kph for off-road distances and around 80 km per day for the Raids.

Audax enables riders of any ability to set themselves a goal and achieve it. This spirit of achievement is what attracts so many riders to Audax. The rewards are personal and yet can be accomplished with a group of like-minded cyclists. As the time limits required to complete events are generous, Audax appeals to a wide variety of cyclists, whether they are from a touring, racing, recreational or commuting background.

All riders on Audax events are issued with and must carry a ‘brevet’ card. This card acts as a type of passport that riders must have stamped at checkpoints, or controls, set on the course at around 80 km intervals. Depending upon the ride, the stamping is either done by an Audax volunteer, or obtained by the rider at a police station, post office, service station or shop, etc. The time of arrival is also registered. On completion of the ride, the brevet card is returned to the ride organiser and sent for recording.

Audax Australia records distances of 50 and 100 km on road rides, all off road distances (known as Dirt rides) and Raids. Audax Club Parisian (ACP), based of course in France, records distances of 200, 300, 400 and 600 km. The ACP keeps records of all rides, or randonnees as they are known, from all member countries, on a central database.

For more information, you can visit

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

BikeTouring 101

Welcome to my weblog dedicated to all TOURING CYCLISTS and BIKE COMMUTERS.

Cycle Touring or Bike Touring is NOT for macho guys & gals with perfect bodies or fancy carbon bikes. It is for anyone with sense of adventure who is drawn to explore the back roads, highlands, countrysides, coastal roads etc... It's for people who want to discover a 'real' Malaysia with as few barriers as possible - It doesn't matter if you are 25, 45 or 65 if you are in sound physical condition and willing to take some time to prepare. You don't have to be all that athletic... gearing and patience are more important than raw strength.

As long as you know how to ride a bicycle and are familiar with the basic operation of gear shifting and braking, then you are reading for a bike tour whether it is a day ride, supported-touring, credit-card touring or un-supported will just love it man!

cyclist since 1987

Established in December 2006