Monday, December 21, 2009

UV protection for eyes

UV radiation from the sun can damage not only the skin of your eyelids but also the clear outer parts of the eye — the cornea and conjunctiva. UV exposure also contributes to the development of certain types of cataracts.

When you're choosing sunglasses, look for UV protection details on product labels. Choose sunglasses that block at least 99 percent of UVB rays and at least 95 percent of UVA rays. This level of UV protection is in accordance with guidelines established by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Skip sunglasses that are labeled "cosmetic" and those that don't offer details on UV protection.

Of course, UV protection isn't the only consideration when it comes to selecting sunglasses. In addition to UV protection — which, again, is a must for any type of sunglasses — here's the lowdown on other options:

  • Blue-blocking lenses. Blue-blocking lenses — which are typically yellow or orange — are thought to make distant objects easier to see, especially in low light. Blue-blocking plastic lenses may make it difficult to discriminate the hues in traffic lights, however, and not all blue-blocking lenses offer adequate UV protection.

  • Polarized lenses. Polarized lenses reduce glare. Unless they're specifically treated with UV coating, polarized lenses don't offer UV protection.

  • Photochromic lenses. Photochromic lenses reduce glare and help maintain clarity, although they may take time to adjust to different light conditions. Not all photochromic lenses offer adequate UV protection, so be sure to check the product label.

  • Polycarbonate lenses. Polycarbonate lenses offer protection from impact injuries that may be sustained during physical activities. Polycarbonate lenses also adequately shield the eyes from UV radiation.

  • Mirror-coated lenses. Mirror-coated lenses help block visible light, but they don't necessarily block UV radiation.
Standard prescription eyeglasses can also be treated with a material that provides UV protection while retaining a clear, nontinted appearance. Most rigid contact lenses also provide UV protection — but because contact lenses don't cover the entire eye, it's still important to wear sunglasses when you're outdoors.

Source : Dennis Robertson, M.D. Mayo Clinic Emeritus Opthomologist

Caffeine limits blood flow to heart muscle during exercise

In healthy volunteers, the equivalent of two cups of coffee reduced the body's ability to boost blood flow to the heart muscle in response to exercise, and the effect was stronger when the participants were in a chamber simulating high altitude, according to a new study in the Jan. 17, 2006, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

"Whenever we do a physical exercise, myocardial blood flow has to increase in order to match the increased need of oxygen. We found that caffeine may adversely affect this mechanism. It partly blunts the needed increase in flow," said Philipp A. Kaufmann, M.D., F.A.C.C., from the University Hospital Zurich and Center for Integrative Human Physiology CIHP in Zurich,.

The researchers, including lead author Mehdi Namdar, M.D., F.A.C.C., studied 18 young, healthy people who were regular coffee drinkers. The participants did not drink any coffee for 36 hours prior to the study testing. In one part of the study, PET scans that showed blood flow in the hearts of 10 participants were performed before and immediately after they rode a stationary exercise bicycle. In the second part of the study, the same type of myocardial blood-flow measurements were done in 8 participants who were in a chamber simulating the thin air at about 15,000 feet (4,500 meters) altitude. The high-altitude test was designed to mimic the way coronary artery disease deprives the heart muscle of sufficient oxygen. In both groups, the testing procedure was repeated 50 minutes after each participant swallowed a tablet containing 200 milligrams of caffeine, the equivalent of two cups of coffee.

The caffeine dose did not affect blood flow within the heart muscle while the participants were at rest. However, the blood flow measurements taken immediately after exercise were significantly lower after the participants had taken caffeine tablets. The effect was pronounced in the group in the high-altitude chamber.

Blood flow normally increases in response to exercise, and the results indicate that caffeine reduces the body's ability to boost blood flow to the muscle of the heart on demand. The ratio of exercise blood flow to resting blood flow, called the myocardial flow reserve, was 22 percent lower in the group at normal air pressure after ingesting caffeine and 39 percent lower in the group in the high-altitude chamber. Dr. Kaufmann said that caffeine may block certain receptors in the walls of blood vessels, interfering with the normal process by which adenosine signals blood vessels to dilate in response to the demands of physical activity.

"Although these findings seem not to have a clinical importance in healthy volunteers, they may raise safety questions in patients with reduced coronary flow reserve, as seen in coronary artery disease, particularly before physical exercise and at high-altitude exposure," the researchers wrote.

Although caffeine is a stimulant, these results also indicate that coffee may not necessarily boost athletic performance.

"We now have good evidence that, at the level of myocardial blood flow, caffeine is not a useful stimulant. It may be a stimulant at the cerebral level in terms of being more awake and alert, which may subjectively give the feeling of having better physical performance. But I now would not recommend that any athlete drink caffeine before sports. It may not be a physical stimulant, and may even adversely affect physical performance," Dr. Kaufmann said. "It may not be as harmless as we thought before, particularly if you suffer from coronary artery disease or if you are in the mountains."

Dr. Kaufmann noted that this study was not designed to measure athletic performance.

Although the participants were all healthy, Dr. Kaufmann said that the results raise concerns about possible effects of caffeine in people with heart disease.

"Any advice would be based on results of healthy volunteers and would be a bit speculative; nevertheless, my advice would be: do not drink coffee before doing physical activities. We hope to be able to provide data soon on the situation of patients with coronary artery disease," he said.

The researchers noted that other studies of coffee and heart disease have produced mixed results.

Although this study included only 18 participants, the researchers said that the differences they saw were large enough for them to be confident that the effect of caffeine on heart muscle blood flow is real. They pointed out that longer studies of people with heart disease will be needed in order to understand whether the blood flow effects have important health consequences.

Thomas H. Schindler, M.D. from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in Los Angeles, California, who was not connected with this study, said that if the results are confirmed, they could have important implications.

"In particular, this may play an important role in patients with obstructive coronary artery disease in the intermediate range between 50 percent and 85 percent narrowing of the epicardial luminal diameter. In this range of coronary artery disease-induced epicardial narrowing, the myocardial flow reserve (MFR) has been widely assumed to compensate for the epicardial narrowing and, thereby, to preserve the myocardial blood flow to the heart. A further reduction of the MFR, for example owing to caffeine intake, therefore could precipitate stress-induced myocardial ischemia, angina pectoris (reflecting an imbalance between myocardial oxygen supply and demand) or could also contribute to the manifestation of acute coronary syndromes. Consequently, as stated by Namdar et al., the current findings indeed raise safety questions in patients with already reduced MFR as seen in coronary artery disease, particularly before physical exercise and at high-altitude exposure," Dr. Schindler said.

Dr. Schindler said that further studies will be needed to answer the important questions raised by this study.

Source: amy murphy /american college of cardiology/ photo from

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Luddite, no more...

I have recently installed a GPS onto my bike, i.e. Garmin GPSMap 60CsX. It might not be as cool as the Edge 705 or the touchscreen Oregon, but this handheld GPS is super fast in connecting with the satellites. One of its advantages is its dedicated button which provide easier & faster access to its functions. I have customised the display to show the speed, trip distance, moving time, stopping time, highest speed, moving average speed, elevation & odometer. In different page, it also show the road/topo map, compass & track profile.

I really love the road map because I don't have to stop to look at the map to find my way. With the Zoom In & Zoom Out button pressed, it's so easy to negotiate my way while cycling. And after my ride, I just hooked it to my notebook and view my trip using the Google Earth.

Garmin is a reliable name in the GPS market. In fact, I have used its e-Trex handheld unit since 8 years ago which doesn't have any installed map but good in tracking & marking waypoints. I'm also using the Nuvi 255W which I think is the best car GPS navigation system! It's so easy to drive around foreign roads by just listening to the direction by Karen the Australian female voice. (love the Australian accent when pronouncing the local roads' name!)

No one can deny the usefullness and practicality of GPS when travelling whether cycling, hiking or driving. And I have no doubt that this GPS handheld will be very handy during my in-coming Manali~Leh Tour.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Manali-Leh-Khardung La Tour

For the last few weeks I have been busy gathering information about this famous route on the Himalaya. The best information I got if from Laura Sloane's Himalaya By Bike book that provides details of the route including its maps and profiles. The details in the book are so informative and updated. So I guess, I will be making only some copies to bring along on the tour to cut down the weight. ha ha..

The plan is to fly to Delhi, travel by bus to Manali, acclimatize, super slow ride to Leh for 6-7 days, ride up to Khardung La and back, and fly back to Delhi. I'm yet to study in details but hope that the whole trip/ tour can be done in 2 weeks' time. Preferably in July-August 2010 before the month of Ramadan.

So far 2 of my other buddies are keen to join me. But our main concern will be the AMS. We might have climbed few 7,000ft high mountains but we have never done any high altitude bike touring before. The Manali-Leh-Khardung La is climbing from 6,000ft to 18,000ft high over 500km of winding, narrow and some bad roads. But in July, I think the weather will be warmer and it is more suitable for us. From my past winter ride experience, I will definitely try to avoid the snow again!

It will be an unsupported bike tour on hardtail, will travel light with a bar bag & panniers.

We will sleeping in tent and accomodations available along the way as it's not expensive. The food is fine with us as we are used to eating north indian food- pakoras, chapati, chai, rice, dhal etc.

In the meantime, I will spend time getting more informations, studying the details and continue our training. So... Himalaya, Here We Come!

Source: photo from himalaya by bike, &

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Man Gets 120 Days for Shooting Cyclist in the Head

This is downright infuriating. Perhaps you recall this story: while driving down the road one day, Charles Diaz grew upset at seeing a man riding his bike on a busy street with his 3 year-old son. So he shot him in the head. Thankfully, the bullet narrowly missed his skull, instead getting lodged in the cyclists' helmet. Well, Diaz has just been sentenced for admitting to nearly murdering a man by firing a gun towards his head--and he's received a paltry 4 months in jail.

That's right. 120 days. For coming as close to killing someone in cold blood as you possibly can without actually doing so.

WTF...!!! to read more click here


Friday, November 20, 2009

Don't water down those minerals

Dissolved minerals, or electrolytes, do more work than you might think - they play the role of gatekeepers, directing the flow of water in and out of body cells.

'The balance of electrolytes is closely tied to the balance of water in the body as one affects the other," explained Ms Teo Kiok Seng, nutritionist at Nutrition Network Services.

'Very small changes in electrolyte levels in the various fluid compartments in our body cause water to move from one compartment to another," she said.

With water being a major component of organs and tissues, electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and calcium are vital for numerous bodily functions.

Other than helping to maintain optimal heart, brain and muscle functions, these electrolytes are also involved in oxygen delivery and in regulating the body's pH levels, said Ms Jaclyn Reutens, a dietitian at Aptima Nutrition & Sports Consultants.

The pH is a measurement of how acidic or alkaline a solution is.

'Hence, dehydration or over-hydration can result in electrolyte disturbances which can lead to life-threatening medical emergencies, such as irregular heartbeat," added Ms Reutens.

Water and electrolytes are lost throughout the day via urine, stools, sweat and breathing, and must be replenished by consuming the right kinds and amounts of food and beverages.

Ms Teo recommended eating plenty of fruits and vegetables in addition to drinking water and other beverages.

'Fruit and vegetables are particularly good sources of water so make sure that you include them in your daily diet," she said. 'For example, water makes up 90 per cent of watermelon."

However, you should not count beverages such as coffee and alcoholic drinks as part of your daily fluid intake. This is because caffeine is diuretic - it promotes urination while reducing your urge to drink. Alcohol inhibits the action of the anti-diuretic hormone, which prevents too much water from being lost through urination, said Ms Teo.

To replenish electrolytes, quick fixes such as a cheese sandwich with wholemeal bread, a chicken sandwich with a banana smoothie or a sports drink can do the job, said MsReutens.

Such replenishment is even more important after exercise, as additional water and electrolytes will be lost through sweat.

'If you exercise, drink up to an extra 1litre of water. If you sweat heavily, take 750ml of sports drinks to replenish water and electrolyte loss," she advised.

Older people should also take extra care to keep themselves hydrated. This is because people become less sensitive to the sensation of thirst as they age. Their kidneys also function less well, said MsTeo.

'A simple way to check if you are drinking enough fluid is to check the colour of your urine," she said.

'The more transparent it is, the more hydrated you are."

Source: The Straits Times/ Mind Your Body by Poon Chian Hui

How much stuff shall I carry?

Ok, I only do light touring because of my work commitment. Therefore, I can only do 1-2 weeks of bike tour.

I always remember Willie Weir said that the amount of luggage he carries for 3 days is the same for 3 weeks' tour. So, the key words here are 'travel light' and 'recycle'.

For me, a pair of medium size pannier at the rear + 1 handlebar bag is enough for my trip. Hence, there is no need for the front rack.

My bar bag is the 'tour control centre' as the late Sheldon Brown put it. It's where i keep my valuables- passport, cash, keys, camera, gps, road map, cellphone, and foodstuff e.g. chocolate bar, nuts, raisins etc. The rest of my stuff will be in my panniers. This bag is never out of my sight.

The heavy stuff will be put on the bottom (But no jeans please- it's bulky & heavy) and the lighter or things that I may need fast wil be on the top.

I usually store my stuff in large or medium size zip-on plastic storage bags for better organization & water-proof purpose. Whereas, the tools will be kept in small pocket of the pannier for easy access.

And the amount of clothing that I usually carry are:

1. cycling gear (2 sets- dri-fit/clima365 shirts, cycling thights, knee warmer) + rain jacket
2. sleeping/prayer attire (1 set- cotton t-shirt & track pants + sarong + light prayer mat)
3. sight-seeing/ casual clothing (1 set- shirt+track pants)
4. underwear (3-5 pieces- it's small & light)+ medium size towel
5. additional clothings (if required depending on the location)- sweaters/light weight jackets.No parka (thick and heavy)- i opt for layers of clothing instead.

I prefer Synthetic clothings because they are very light and easy to dry off.

So, in overall I will carry luggage of not more than 30kg (including my bike) when check-in. The heavy stuff (jacket + shoes + helmet) in small bag (exclude tools) will be hand carried (usually 7-10kg) and the rest will be checked-in- i.e. pannier + bike (in bag). So, I will board the plane with a small (but 'heavy) hand carry bag and my handlebar bag with shoulder strap (act as my camera bag- I usually carry my dslr) This is because some airlines only allow 1 hand carry bag but excluding laptop bag, handbag, camera bag, etc.

And it is advisable to carry a spare t-shirts/light pants/underware & toiletteries in your hand carry bag - I speak from my 'bad' experience after being stranded in heathrow during one winter blizzard - where all domestic fligts were cancelled and I had to spend overnight in the airport. The worst part was I only got my luggage 2 days after my arrival. I guess, this is common when you change your flight at last minute.

But hey, don't listen to me. This is just how I pack my stuff for a tour. It might not be suitable for you and your tour.

What you can do is to make your own list. Just remember not to overpack with stuff that you dont need. Actually, the less the better!

And if you tour with another cyclist, you can share some of the stuff like cooking utensils, repair tools, lubes, etc.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Touring Bike

Despite the fact that Steel Bike is more suitable for a touring bike compared to Titanium because steel is stiffer & easier to repair, we should not look at the material of the frame when looking for a comfortable ride.

Remember, Comfort & Durability is more important than Speed & Weight.

Therefore, we should focus on:

1. Frame Geometry- the more upright, the less aerodynamic but the more comfortable. Consider frame with longer wheelbase like my specialized sequoia or Surly LHT.

2. A good saddle give you comfort. Im happy with my brooks saddle. Other 'high-tech' saddle like Topeak also give you comfortable ride but less comfort when paying $$$ for it.

3. Fat tires like the Big Apple give you more smooth & comfortable ride. Make sure the air inflation is right by considering the load that you are carrying.

4. The right bike like LHT or my folding bike, allows me to fix the fenders. this give me comfort when riding on wet roads

5. Proper gears like the granny allows you to climb with heavy load with ease. Butterfly handlebar also give your more space to hold on during long rides.

6. Correct Riding position especially when the bike fits you, will prevent body pain. Comfort = No Pain.

So, there you go. In order to get a comfortable touring bike, make sure the bike and its equipment is suitable for touring. Enjoy your ride!

Source: Sheldon Brown

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cycling the world at 74

Not many people would swop a night's sleep in a regular bed for a snooze on grass on the side of the road in Woodlands.

Yet a 74-year-old cyclist from Italy is happy to do so.

Meet sprightly Janusz Rivers, who has been cycling solo around the world for the past nine years, getting by on the equivalent of $5 a day and sleeping rough. All this at an age when most people are sitting out their golden years in a comfy chair, not on a tiny leather saddle.

The intrepid (some would say eccentric) bachelor is visiting Singapore for the first time, having flown here from Poland on Tuesday. He is here to start the South-east Asian leg of his seemingly never-ending journey.

He aims to cycle across the Causeway, cover the whole of Malaysia and southern Thailand before returning in April for a month's rest. He will then fly to Papua New Guinea to cycle there and on through Timor Leste, before flying to Australia in early 2011.

Rivers, a retired sports manager, is being put up here by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports at the Singapore Sports School in Woodlands. Despite having a comfortable room to stay in, he reveals that he left it at midnight on Wednesday to sleep on a patch of grass he had found by the road.

"I always sleep in the open. It's quiet and natural," explains this self-described "citizen of the world" who has no home base.

Rivers hails from Poland originally but moved to Rome in 1979 until the call of the road hit on Dec 31, 1999, and he began his journey. He tours an area for about five months, rests for a month or so in one country he chooses as a base, and then continues.

He claims to have travelled to 115 countries, been kidnapped 30 times and survived a potentially deadly snake bite. What's more, he has made his epic journey on the same US$50 bike he bought when he first set out. The frame is original, but the tyres and gears are changed yearly.

Amazingly, he has not had a single puncture. He credits this to his German puncture-proof tyres, which he changes twice every six months.

Unlike some adventurers, Rivers is not undertaking his journey to raise money for charity or draw attention to himself. He says he is financially comfortable and is doing this just to stay active.

Speaking to Life! at the Singapore Sports School, he recalls the fateful New Year's Eve when he decided he wanted a change in life. "I was sitting at home, eating macaroni and sipping Italian wine, when I thought, 'I'm getting old. What can I do with my life?' "

The next day, he bought a cheap bicycle and jumped on a ferry bound for Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. He says the decision was easy because he is not married and has no children.

From Lanzarote, he went back to Europe and cycled north to Norway in five months. It marked the beginning of his love affair with the open road that he says has taken him 125,000km across the world. He reckons it is the best way to see the world.

Each day, he aims to travel 30km. Every country he visits, he ensures that he has the sanction of the local government. He obtains this by either faxing or calling ahead, and the government usually provides his accommodation and food.

He sticks to the backroads so that he can interact with locals.While traversing the desert in Egypt, he says the local tribes would follow him on their camels to give him food and water. He says he has encountered generosity everywhere, and claims it is almost impossible to spend any money. This is just as well, as his prize possessions on the road consist only of an Italian coffee maker and a small radio.

He names Cuba as his favourite country so far, where he says he was the first tourist to cycle around the island without a police escort.

Rivers' world tour was scheduled to finish at the Beijing Olympics last year, but after taking a fitness test at the Russian space centre and finding that his heart and lungs are strong, he has set his sights on the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.

Then he plans to stay in a South American village for the rest of his days. But for now, when asked why he keeps on cycling, he says: "I don't want to be found dead in front of the TV."

Source: The Straits Times/By Christian Seiersen

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I love durian.

For me it tastes like 'heaven'. Some, like the Thai's tastes sweet but for me the bitter the better, like durian 'kampung' or D24 (cloned).

Most asians like it because you can get it only in side of the world- Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, etc.

But many people especially the non-Asian hate it- some said it smells like 'shit', garbage, vomit, etc. Well, I can't blame them. It does gives a strong pungent smell. And that is why most hotels ban durians from being consumed in the rooms.

However, despite being good source in Vitamin C and dietary fibre, low in cholesterol & sodium, a slice of durian does give you 300++ calories. In comparison to 1 sachet of PowerGel (120) & Gu EnergyGel (100) and banana (200).

Ah, people will say..what the heck! it's only 300. Yeah..but ask yourself these questions- do you only eat 1 slice? How many times do you have your meal? 2? 3? What else do you eat? meat? rice? potato? nasi lemak? roti prata?

Remember that our body can only take 2000-2400 calories a day (average), so you do the math. How much calories can you take in each meal?

I'm not here trying to stop you from enjoying your durian, but due to it's high in carbohydrate (67%), fat (30%) and protein (3%).. please eat it moderately. Do not over-consume durian especially when you are lacking of exercise or sports activities.

And for those who has never try this 'king of fruit'...give it a try ok. In my opinion, it smells better that those 'smelly' cheese that you love. Or perhaps, this carbo/ fat rich fruit is the 'PowerBar' that we need before a long hard bicycle ride!


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Wear Your Helmet

Awwww..elmo is so cute! ..See, even elmo wear his helmet.

Ok, maybe the helmet is a bit too small for his head but the message we need to send to all kids is to wear helmet when riding the bicycle, tricycle, etc. because helmet can save lives. So, Safety First!

Source: Sesame Street/ YouTube

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Inching Around The World

This is one of the best bike travel journal I have ever read.

They are Zoe & Paul, who are in their 50s, got tired of their job, sold their home and embarked on a world bicycle tour.

What I like about their journal is that they are full of nice photos, 'interesting' information about the local foods and their accommodations. And I really envy the way they tour... slow & steady with no time constraints. This is what I call 'Bicycle Touring'!

Being a Malaysian and a bike tourist myself, their photos and stories really brought back old memories of my tour in Malaysia.

And I'm sure that they are having great time on their bikes , going places. What (I think!) they are missing is they should have taste the durians. Trust me, it tastes 'out of this world'ly great! Just ask my buddy, Steve, a 'farang', 'gwai-lo', 'ang-moh' from Canada who is a durian fanatic! (sorry Steve!)

check out their journal at Inching Around The World and their website,

Bike Helmets : Tips For Better & Safety Fit

Source :

Proper Wearing of Bicycle Helmet

As late as the mid-1980s, individuals who wore helmets while riding their bicycles were often looked at as being a bit off the beaten path and strangely overprotective of their own health. That viewpoint has changed dramatically because most people know that going on a bicycle trip of any length without a helmet is risky behavior. The key to getting the benefit from the helmet is wearing it correctly. The Bicycle Safety Helmet Institute determined that the average bicyclist has one crash every 4,500 miles and that underscores the need for a helmet.

Snug Fit

It's one thing to put on a helmet and it's another thing to wear it correctly. The helmet should cover at least half of the forehead, fit snugly and be attached under the chin. The bicycle helmet should not move more than one inch in any direction.The sizing pads that come with the helmet should be applied for critical protection around the entire head.


Make sure the straps hang down around the side of the head and nowhere near the front of the face. If the straps are in front, they can interfere with your vision. Even if you just notice them in one corner, they are obscuring your peripheral vision. Make sure you buy a helmet that does not have extra long straps so it can fit snugly and nothing obscures your vision.

Wear It Flat

Make sure the helmet is flat on top of your head and not at an angle. Many bicyclists might think they can see better or think it's cooler to tilt the helmet back at an angle. That can be a critical mistake. Many crashes come quickly and the fall can be harsh and straight down. In that case the helmet needs to be flat on your head to protect your forehead and face.

Source: eHow-by Steve Silverman/ photo from


If you watch a major bicycle race on TV, you have to be impressed by how the riders can eat enough to sustain them through races that require more than five hours of near maximum effort. If they do not get enough food during their ride, they can fall off their bikes, lie on the ground unconscious and start to shake all over in a in a massive convulsion. This is called bonking: passing out from low blood sugar.

Your brain gets almost all of its fuel from sugar in your bloodstream. When your blood sugar level drops, your brain cannot get enough fuel to function properly, you feel tired and confused and can pass out. There is only enough sugar in your bloodstream to last three minutes. To keep your blood sugar level from dropping, your liver must constantly release sugar from its cells into your bloodstream, but there is only enough sugar in your liver to last 12 hours at rest. During intense exercise, your muscles draw sugar from your bloodstream at a rapid rate. Your liver can run out of its stored sugar and your blood sugar level can drop, and you bonk.

Bonking is common in bicycle races if a rider does not eat frequently, but is rare in long distance running races. When you run, your leg muscles are damaged from the constant pounding on the roads and you must slow down. However, you pedal in a smooth rotary motion which does not damage your muscles, so you can continue to pedal at a rapid cadence for many hours.

To prevent your blood sugar from dropping too low during intense exercise lasting more than two hours, eat at least every 15 minutes. It doesn't matter what you eat: salted peanuts, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, chicken, an apple, a banana or anything else. Almost all fit people can take small amounts of food frequently during exercise without developing stomach cramps.

Source: photo from cyclejerk

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Coffee & Exercise Performance

Caffeine is part of the naturally occurring group of stimulants found in leaves, nuts and seeds of a number of plants. Common dietary sources include coffee, tea, chocolate and a variety of soft drinks and sports drinks. The caffeine content of various foodstuffs is given below.

Table 1. Caffeine content of various foodstuffs

Foodstuff Serving size Caffeine content (mg)
Coffee* 150 ml 50-120
Tea* 150 ml 15-50
Chocolate Drink** 250 ml 10
Milk Chocolate** 50g 40
Caffeinated Soft Drinks 330 ml 40-100

(from Maughan 1999)
* Values for coffee and tea vary widely depending on the source and
method of preparation.
** In addition to caffeine, chocolate contains theobromine, which has an insignificant effect compared to caffeine.

So what is the effect of caffeine on different types of exercise?

Although the mechanism whereby caffeine may aid performance is not fully understood, there is substantial research that concludes that caffeine does improve physical performance. Its effect also appears to be widespread across a diverse variety of sports and exercises. Studies have also been wide ranging and have included well-trained athletes and relatively sedentary individuals of both sexes and different age groups.

One of the most comprehensive and recent reviews (Doherty and Smith 2004) looked at 39 published studies. Of these, 21 involved endurance exercise, 12 used short duration and high-intensity exercise and the remaining 6 used a graded exercise test. Including all these data, caffeine improved performance by 12.4%, relative to the placebo trials and this was shown to greatest effect in those who undertook exercise for a longer duration at any one time.

There are also a number of studies that show the beneficial effects of drinking coffee and/or caffeine ingestion on high intensity exercise. These include improved performance on a 1500 m run (Wiles 1992) and Anselme (1992) showed that anaerobic power in a cycling test was improved by the ingestion of the equivalent of two cups (250mg) of caffeinated coffee. Cycling was also the sport studied more recently by Bell (2001) when caffeine (5mg/kg) was shown to improve performance in a high intensity cycling test.

The beneficial effect has also been demonstrated in swimming trials. Collomp (1992) showed that in a swimming test (2x100m) there was improved performance after ingestion of 250 mg of caffeine.

What is the effective amount of caffeine?

Recent studies used small amounts of caffeine (1-2mg/kg). In many studies, coffee was used whilst others have used caffeine. However, they all show that small amounts of caffeine are effective in improving exercise performance significantly and these smaller amounts, as little as 90mg caffeine, are not associated with any unwanted side effects.

Caffeine and fluid requirements

The diuretic effect of caffeine is often over stressed, particularly in situations where dehydration is a major issue. This affects particularly competitions held in hot, humid climates where the risk of dehydration is high and is more important for endurance athletes where dehydration has a greater effect on performance.

Athletes competing in these conditions are often advised to increase their intake of fluid but also advised to avoid tea and coffee because of their mild diuretic effect. Current research, however, shows that, not only is this mild diuretic effect insignificant during exercise (Armstrong, 2002), but the negative effects caused by cutting such drinks from the diet may be more damaging (Maughan and Griffin, 2003). Conclusions from published studies show that intakes of less than 300mg caffeine a day will not affect levels of body's fluids.


In many of these studies, where performance was improved by the ingestion of caffeine or drinking coffee, there was the also the additional benefit of an associated reduction in the sensation of fatigue.

Given the various initiatives aimed at promoting physical activity to improve health, anything that encourages participation by reducing the discomfort and fatigue most people feel when exercising, has enormous potential implications for improving public health. Caffeine, in the form of coffee or as a pure ingredient, has that ability.

Source: positively coffee

WD-40 as lubricant

Never use WD-40 to lubricate your drivetrain.

WD-40 is meant for rust-prevention. It's a 'squeak-stopper'. It is also a degreaser as well as water repellent. It's a wonderful household item. It may be used as cleaner or 'light' lubricant for door hinges, locks, toys but not bicycle drivetrain especially the chain.

The fast-moving bicycle chain will strip away lubricant and leave the chain dry. This is bad!

Instead, use suitable lubricant that is specially made for bicycle like the one from Finish Line, White Lightning, Pedros, etc, to lubricate your drivetrain. They are heavy duty, also water-proof and great for your chain.

For degrease purpose, I personally use citrus degreaser because they did a great job & safe to use. If I am to use the WD-40 as degreaser, I will wipe it off clean before applying the lubricant. This is to prevent it from striping away the lube after applying it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Calories Burned Bike Riding per hour

Calories Burned Bike Riding per hour

140lbs 195lbs
Bicycling, 10-11.9 mph, light effort
Bicycling, 12-13.9 mph, moderate effort
Bicycling, 14-15.9 mph, vigorous effort
Bicycling, 16-19 mph, very fast, racing
Bicycling, >20 mph, racing
Bicycling, Mountain or BMX
Bicycling, stationary, general
Bicycling, stationary, very light effort
Bicycling, stationary, light effort
Bicycling, stationary, moderate effort
Bicycling, stationary, vigorous effort
Bicycling, stationary, very vigorous effort

Source : NutriStrategy

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Royal Mail's one-man competitor

As biblical levels of rain pour down on Plymouth's streets, Ken Holder still manages to have a smile on his soaked face as he cycles though the deluge with a heavy rucksack of post on his back.

He's been working since 7.30 in the morning, and won't stop until 7.30 at night, riding up and down the Devon city's notoriously steep roads collecting and delivering mail.

And while Royal Mail workers are beginning a two-day nationwide strike, Mr Holder, 39, will definitely still be working.

This is because Mr Holder is one of Royal Mail's 29 competitors, and with just one member of staff - himself - he is its smallest rival.

There is only one problem for firms or individuals thinking of switching from the Royal Mail to his services - his company, City Centre Curriers, currently only collects and delivers across three Plymouth postcodes.

In business as a courier since September of last year, Mr Holder has been in competition with the Royal Mail since March, when he was awarded a licence by postal service regulator Postcomm.

The way this works is that anyone can set themselves up as a courier firm to deliver parcels, but if you wish to deliver standard letters - those weighing 350 grams or less - you need a postal licence from Postcomm.

Armed with his licence, Mr Holder now collects, sorts and delivers 200 letters per day on average, compared with the Royal Mail's 95 million items.

But while Mr Holder is currently not likely to be giving Royal Mail bosses sleepless nights, he does have plans to grow the business.

'Word of mouth'

"Applying for a license was surprisingly easy," he says. "The application fee was only £50, and it didn't take much longer than a month.

"The license is UK-wide, but as the business is essentially just me and my bike, I don't have the legs - or the time - to deliver outside of Plymouth."

Mr Holder now collects and delivers the local mail for 12 companies in Plymouth, ranging from solicitors to estate and travel agents, and a roofing firm.

For standard-sized letters he charges 32 pence for guaranteed next day delivery, which compares with 39p for a first class stamp with the Royal Mail.

"Business is growing slowly through word of mouth," he says. "And enquiries have certainly grown in recent weeks as more and more companies are concerned about the Royal Mail strike action."

Environmentally friendly

Back in Plymouth, Mr Holder admits he does get tired.

"It's a great job for me, as I have always been an avid cyclist, but I am shattered at the end of the week - I'm cycling 250 miles each five days, and burning 15,000 calories more than a normal person," he says.

"The bonus is that I can eat pretty much what I want."

To help ease the workload, Mr Holder now employs a student one afternoon a week to help with the collections, and his longer term plan is to consider franchising the business in other cities.

"Some people have told me I should buy a van, but I think a large part of the attraction for customers is that it is just me and my bike - it's as environmentally friendly as possible.

"I'm currently earning between £60 and £70 per day, which isn't a lot, but it is still early days.

"There is the odd day I question my sanity, but I really believe the business has a lot of potential, especially as more firms explore alternatives to the Royal Mail."

Source: BBC News by Will Smale/ Plymouth

Monday, October 19, 2009's that time again!!

The OCBC Cycle Singapore 2010 will be held on 6 & 7 March 2010 started from the F1 Pit Building near the Singapore Flyers, and ride around the City of Singapore.

This year I will participate in the 40km Individual! Yes...I am racing this time riding my slow 'touring-spec' folding bike against the super high tech pinarellos, colnagos, orbeas, trekkies, against the lance & contador wannabes, against the ironmen, and hundreds of cycling enthusiast like me, etc.. Ahh..I wouldn't miss it for the world!!

Last year I rode the 20km community ride, but was so 'kiasu' racing at the front of the pack with bunch of other kiasus. It was kinda fun to ride on empty roads when you are at the front but it was too quick (47 mins to be exact) to really enjoy the ride. So, this year, No More Kiasu, I will do the 40km race against the 'real' racers! ha ha ha!!

To those who are interested in this event kindly visit the site.

Like Pro Cyclists, Children Should Wear Helmets

It was easy to pick out Lance Armstrong at the Tour de France this year, especially from an aerial view, as his helmet was unique and stylish. But that is really not why he wears it. Fabio Casatelli’s fatal bicycle crash of the 1995 Tour de France is just an example of how helmets can save lives.

The UCI now mandates the professional rider wear helmets from the start to the finish of a race, yet there is no federal law-requiring cyclist to wear helmets. Many states require the use of bike helmets for children younger than 18 years old. Regrettably, this is rarely enforced. Although I make my kids wear bike helmets, I’m guilty of passing neighborhood children that are bicycling on the road without a helmet, and say nothing.

Swine flu is a major health concern as it has caused 76 child related deaths in the US since April of this year. However, is just one quarter of the yearly child related deaths to bicycle injuries of which most are due to head trauma. Yet look at the publicity the swine flu gets.

Apparently we cannot leave it up to the government or the parents to strictly enforce children wearing bike helmets. So I would like to commend the Professional Cycling agencies for leading this effort. Mostly, I would like to congratulate the Professional Cyclist for wearing their helmets with a flourish. Hopefully this will encourage the young riders to grab a helmet and “buckle up”. Thanks Guys!

Source: Team Radioshack Cycling News- by Rebecca Jackson, MD- staff writer

Friday, October 16, 2009

Extreme Mountain Biking

Sports Videos, News, Blogs

AHh..great stuff!

source: fandome

One angry biker..

Source: reddit

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nutrition: Boost your recovery

Recovery is the often-forgotten part of training. It’s in the periods between training sessions that the body repairs itself and, more importantly, adapts from the training you’ve just done. Nutrition plays a vital role in how the body recovers and adapts from training.

There are two nutrients essential to recovery – carbohydrate and protein. During exercise, carbohydrate acts as the main energy source and the body’s small carbohydrate stores often become depleted.

When this happens, the body is put under a lot of stress and those carb stores need to be quickly restored. The first hour or so after exercise is the optimal time to restore these.

Protein plays a major role in allowing the muscles to regenerate, repair and adapt. After undertaking hard exercise, damage is often done to the muscles. Protein is essential for them to recover. Protein also allows the body to adapt to the training by providing the fuel to build new enzymes and muscle fibres.

Source: Dr Kevin Currell, Triathlon Plus

Even cycling at relaxed pace is good for health

Wellington, Oct 12 : A new study has found that if New Zealanders increased their cycling to the modest levels of the 1980s, their health would improve significantly.

Commuters need not ride their cycles as in the Hayden Roulston-style medal-winning sprint in lycra, but at just a relaxed pace, to gain full health benefits.

Research fellow Dr Graeme Lindsay and colleagues studied the likely effects of shifting 5 per cent of urban light-vehicle trips of 7km or less to cycling and found savings in fuel consumption, greenhouse gas emissions.

They also found that more than five lives would be saved through reduced air pollution from vehicles, and if there were more bikes, the “safety-in-numbers” effect progressively reduced the cycling death rate.

But the biggest health effect would be through the reduced rate of conditions like heart attack and cancer among commuter cyclists and the kilos of body fat shed.

All that pedalling would burn up the equivalent amount of energy of 40 million cans of Coke, a potential fat loss of 675,000kg, and 116 deaths would be saved by improved health.

The calculations come from a paper prepared by Auckland University researchers for the New Zealand Transport Agency.

The agency is guided by the New Zealand Transport Strategy, whose aim is that by 2040, 30 per cent of urban trips are made by bike, on foot or other “active modes” of travel.

The paper relies on World Health Organisation estimates based on large studies, which indicate mortality from all causes was reduced by 30 per cent among regular adult commuter cyclists.

“The studies, from Denmark and China, found consistently fewer deaths than expected from cardiovascular diseases and cancers, and reported this finding could not be explained by recreational activities or other lifestyle factors,” the New Zealand Herald quoted the paper as saying.

“In New Zealand, bicycles are now seldom used for commuting. Overall, bicycling makes up about 1 per cent of all trips in this country compared to 3.6 per cent in 1989/90.

“In contrast, some northern European countries have figures of 20 to 30 per cent,” it stated.

Source: photo from

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Let's Bike!

Cycling is healthy and 'green,' but city commuting requires a roads rethink

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama could have made a stronger impact at the United Nations Summit on Climate Change in New York last week had he trumpeted another environmentally laudable proposal in addition to his declared goal of Japan cutting its greenhouse-gas emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020: riding bicycles.

A national push for bicycle riding, if it succeeded in steering people away from their cars, would send a powerful message that Japan is taking environmental awareness to the next level.

Cycling burns no oil, produces no toxins and is therefore not harmful for the environment. If more people commuted to work by bicycle, it would make rush-hour trains less unbearable. It would even help cut the nation's medical expenditures by making people healthier, less obese and less prone to a whole range of lifestyle-related illnesses.

Despite these great benefits of cycling — not to mention the pleasure of pedaling along at your own pace, too — bike-friendly politicians are rare in Japan. Rare, that is, except during election campaigns, when pretty much every candidate rides a flag-fluttering bicycle to advertise his or her "ordinariness."

But on a grassroots level, Japan is definitely at the dawn of a new era in cycling, with increasing numbers of city dwellers now starting to use bikes for 5- to 10-km commutes or for recreation in the suburbs on weekends.

While hard statistics are difficult to come by, besuited cyclists jostling with cars and trucks and indicating their intended maneuvers with smart hand signals are an increasingly common sight on even the busiest of Tokyo's roads. On weekends, meanwhile, such routes as the 25-km Tamagawa River Cycling Road, which connects Tokyo's residential Setagaya Ward and Kawasaki, in Kanagawa Prefecture southwest of Tokyo, are often crowded with cyclists on fashionable and colorful bikes enjoying a leisurely and scenic ride.

To read further, click here.

Source: The Japan Times Online/ by Tomoko Otake

Monday, October 5, 2009

Tips of the day

This is one of the most practical tips that I have learned, practised and always pass it on to other cyclist-

"Always quickly change to lower/smaller gear before you stop your bike. This is to ensure that you are in easy gear before you starting out again"

When starting out and you are using the clipless pedal (e.g SPD), you will need to push the pedal with one leg so that the bike will move forward before you insert the cleat of the other leg into the other pedal. And you can only easily push the pedal when the gear is low. How low is the gear is really depends on your preference.

The common mistakes by the novice rider is that they try to push the pedal in high/big gear. And when they are out of balance and unable to insert the cleat, the fall down.

Go try it yourself and you'll see that this is very useful.

source: photo from

Andreas Kloden joins 'The Shack'

Seem like Andreas Kloden is set to join Lance Amrstrong & 'The Shack' (previously known as 'RadioShack'). Being one of the best 'team rider', with Leipheimer & Zubeldia, it shows that Lance really wants his No.8! Maybe Contador is stronger but he will be better prepared this time.

With Johan, Ekimov as sportif directors and maybe Popovych & Landis joining him too, I guess, Team 'The Shack' is a reunion of Team US Postal Service!

source: Team Radioshack Cycling News


Just got my brand new pannier which I recently bought from wiggle. It's ALTURA DRYLINE 56, a waterproof rear pannier with 56 litre capacity.

Pannier is (in my opionion) the most important bike accessories (with rear rack) for a bike tourist like me to have. I need to carry stuff when touring, so the best option is to carry it in the bag and hang it on the rear/ front rack.

What I like about this bag is that it it better looking than other waterproof panniers, it has small pocket with organizer, lighter construction, rubber pads at bottom & sufficient reflectors. I have been using altura bags for at least 5 years until now, so I know it is a reliable bags for bike tour. Unfortunately, it doesn't come with shoulder strap like my 'old' altura panniers have.

And to get this bag is not easy. You can't just buy it off shelves anywhere but in UK. So I bought it online. And buying it via online means expensive shipping charges!

With this brand new panniers, I guess, I will have to start planning for my next tour. Probably in December as I already got my leave application approved by my company. Great!

source: photo from

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fully Collapsible Folding Bike

Mexican industrial designer Victor M. Aleman has developed a concept fully collapsible, folding bicycle.


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