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Vélocity Café

Chon introduced me to an alternative starting point for the ride to the Sungai Tekala Recreational Park.  Every other time I have ridden to that park, I have started from the police station at Batu 18, Hulu Langat.

This time seven of us met at the Challenger Sports Centre in Taman Dagang Permai.  17 km / 10 mi away from Batu 18.  More significantly, there was 150 m / 490 ft of climbing over 3.2 km / 2 mi to overcome almost from the start.

Hulu Langat Route

There was more climbing between Batu 18 and the recreational park.

Photograph courtesy of Mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark

By the time we made it over the longer 4.2 km / 2.6 mi return climb at 11am we needed a cold drink or two.

Fortunately for us the Vélocity Café had opened last October in The Challenger Sports Centre.  A cycling-themed café catering for the rider who regularly do the Jalan Hulu Langat climb.

There is a large outdoor seating area in the front.

Photograph courtesy of YHien Ting at peaceonearth-poe.blogspot.com

Photograph courtesy of Yien Ting at peaceonearth-poe.blogspot.com

And a larger air-conditioned room with a variety of seating.

Velocity Cafe Interior 2

You order from a fairly extensive menu and pay for your order at the counter at the back of the café.

Velocity Cafe www j-e-a-n com

Photograph courtesy of Jean at http://www.j-e-a-n.com/

I like the tags they use to identify whom ordered what.

Photograph courtesy of Mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark

I ordered a variety of cold drinks:  An Iced Latte, a Passion Fusion, and a Banana Milk.  All were excellent.

We all eyed the food that other patrons had ordered.  The Big Breakfast in particular looked good.

Photograph courtesy of Yien Ting at peaceonearth-poe.blogspot.com

Photograph courtesy of 

While enjoying your drinks and meal, you can look at the bicycles for sale.

Photograph courtesy of Vélocity Café

Photograph courtesy of Velocity Cafe

The Vélocity Café was very nice,  I think we will be back.

Velocity Logo

Velocity Coffee | Bicycle Shop
The Challenger Sports Centre
Jalan Taman Putra
Taman Dagang Permai
68000 Ampang, Kuala Lumpur

Mon-Sat 11.30 am – 10.30 pm

Sun 10.30 am – 10.30 pm

Pump It Up

At the Shah Alam Enduride 2015, Marvin, Justin and I came upon two people with flat tires.  Not unusual.  What was more unusual was that neither was carrying a pump.

This post is about my chosen tire inflation devices.  What I carry with me, and what I have at home.

I used to carry CO2 canisters and a chuck, either in a jersey pocket, or more often in a saddle bag.  Much like this set from Genuine Innovations.

Genuine Innovations Chuck

This combination got the job done, but at the risk of freezing a thumb and perhaps a finger or two in the process.

I graduated to an inflator like this one, also from Genuine Innovations.

Genuine Innovations Ultraflate

This type of inflator protects hands from getting frozen, and also has a large trigger that is easier to use that the ‘press to inflate’ chuck.  The disadvantage is the additional bulk.

I was happy with my inflator and CO2 cartridges until I moved to the Netherlands.  I read an article about the wastefulness of discarding empty CO2 canisters.  The Netherlands has a strong recycling ethic, and the combination of the two convinced me to switch to a hand pump.

I read some reviews, and Lezyne pumps got good scores.  So I looked at their website, and made my choice.  A medium sized Lezyne Pressure Drive.

Pressure Drive

I chose the Pressure Drive because it can inflate a tire to 120psi / 8.3 bar.  It also comes with a hose that has a threaded Presto valve connection on one end, and a Schrader valve connection on the other.  I also like the flexible hose because it puts less stress on the valve stem while pumping up a tire than a direct-connect pump does.  The threaded connector is easier to attache to a valve than a hose that attaches with a lever.

Pressure Drive Hose

The medium sized Pressure Drive is 216mm long, and it fits in a clamp that attaches to the frame together with a bottle cage.

Pressure Drive Bracket

 

The Pressure Drive works very well on the road.  So well that I have given away my CO2 canisters and collection of inflators.

But it does take some effort to inflate a tire to 90psi / 6.2 bar and above.  So for home use I bought a Lezyne Classic Floor Drive.

Classic Floor Drive

The Floor Drive will inflate a tire up to 220psi / 15bar, although I don’t fill my tires beyond 90 psi.

The Floor Drive comes with a large gauge, so it is easy to tell when you have achieved your desired tire pressure.

Classic Floor Drive Gauge

It also has a threaded Flip-Thread Chuck that fits both Presta and Schrader valves.

Floor Drive Chuck

 

I am very pleased with my Pressure Drive and Floor Drive pumps.  I am sure they will continue to serve me well for a long time to come.

Shah Alam Enduride 2015

Shah Alam Enduride 2015 Banner 2

The Shah Alam Enduride 2014 was the first, and so far the only cycling event, that I didn’t finish.  I struggled badly from the 60km point.  At about 100kms I packed it in.

So I came into this year’s SAER determined to finish.  Experience has taught me what to do, and what not to do.

To do:

Stay hydrated

Eat enough

Not to do:

Ride hard from the start

Go into the red on the climbs

Marvin, Liang, Justin, Mark and I took our customary positions at the rear of the pack.

Photograph courtesy of Mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark

Stephen was with us too.

Photograph courtesy of Mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark

The riders at the front were treated to some traditional gamelan music while they waited for the gun.

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

We didn’t have to wait long.  This year the VIPs were not late, and the ride started just minutes after the appointed time of 7.30am.

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

The Flipsiders, as always, took a more relaxed approach to the start.

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

The route was not exactly the same as last year’s, but it covered much of the same ground.  A clockwise run from Shah Alam through Sungai Buloh and north toward Batang Berjuntai, with a loop toward Batu Arang, before turning south again through Puncak Alam, and over the two Dragon’s Back sections on the way back to Shah Alam.

Shah Alam Enduride Ride 2015 Route

I was sure to avoid my two “Not to do’s” right from the start.  There was 1,400 meters / 4,600 feet of climbing to be done, most of it in the first half of the ride.  With the Dragon’s Back kickers to come at the end, as you can see from the route profile below.

Graphic courtesy of VeloViewer

Graphic courtesy of VeloViewer

I made sure to observe my “to do’s” as well.  It was well into high 30° C / 100° F territory by about 11am.  It was also very humid, so I was sweating a lot.  By the 75 km / 47 mi mark it was time to stop for a cold drink, a Snickers bar, and a bag of ice.  The cooling strategy I first practiced at the Kedah Century Ride had worked wonders.  It was time to use it again.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Ice under my skull cap.  Ice in my bandanna against the back of my neck.  Ice in the centre pocket of my jersey.

You can tell from the shadow that by this time the sun was beating down on Marvin and I.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

We were a trio, together with Justin, for most of the ride.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Liang, Mark and Stephen had hooked onto faster groups.  We didn’t see them again.

We did however see Marco.  He wasn’t able to participate in the ride, but he appeared beside us on his scooter as we got to the Batu Arang area.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

And look what he had with him . . .

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Fantastic.  Our own personal support vehicle, loaded with ice and cold water.  Just what we needed an hour later, as we approached the Dragon Back climbs.  We stopped at a PETRONAS station on Jalan Meru Tambahan to replenish my ice-powered cooling system, and for Justin and Marvin to top up their bidons.

Then it was 4 km / 2.5 mi more before the left turn onto Jalan Bukit Cerakah, and the start of the first Dragon’s Back.  The sensible early pace, and the ice on the back of my neck, did me a lot of good.  Last year I was thoroughly cooked after 100 km / 62 mi.  This year I could muster a thumbs up and a smile at the top of the final climb before the left right turn onto the second Dragon’s Back.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

It was hot.  It was windy.  My ice pack had melted.  But the Dragon’s Backs were behind me.  There was one last sharp little climb up to a roundabout in Shah Alam, and then it was across the line.

Marvin followed soon after.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Justin finished safely as well.  We were all pleased to have completed the ride, but perhaps none more than I.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

The Enduride lived up to its name.  Lots of climbing.  Poor road surfaces in places.  High temperatures.  Gusting winds.  Everyone who completed the ride deserves their medal.

Shah Alam Enduride 2015 Medal

Kedah Century Ride 2015

Kedah Century Ride 2015 Banner

Four Flipsiders made the trip to Alor Setar for the Kedah Century Ride.  Everyone’s bikes were loaded into Keat’s truck.  Mark’s Tommasini, Keat’s Scott, Marco’s Hasa, and my Ritchey.  Marco and Mark handled driving duties during the 450km trip from Kuala Lumpur to Alor Setar.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

My biker chick was a student at Universiti Utara Malaysia in Sintok, which is about 50 kms from Alor Setar.  When I told her I was riding in Alor Setar, she made plans to meet up with some of her university mates who now live and work in the area.  She and I decided to fly rather than drive.

Coincidentally we arrived at the hotel just as the guys were unloading the truck.  Once we were checked in and the bikes were safely stored in our rooms, we went looking for food.  The road-trippers hadn’t had lunch yet.

We didn’t have anything particular in mind, so we explored along Jalan Anak Bukit.  This roadside stall on the corner of Jalan Madrasah caught our attention.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

I ate lunch before I boarded the flight, but the food looked too good to pass up.  Everyone agreed that this was some of the best tandoori chicken, naan and chapati we had ever eaten.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

With blood sugar levels restored, we went to the TH Hotel and Convention Centre to collect our goodie bags.

We bumped into cycling friends, as always happens when collecting ride packs.  This time it was a group of Tyrell small wheel bike riders from Van’s Urban Bicycle Co.  Cindy and William joined Mark and I to check out what swag came along with our ride numbers.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

This goodie bag was better than some we have received in the past.  The jersey design for this ride was also one of the nicer ones.  Perhaps influenced by Garmin as one of the sponsors.

Kedah Century Ride 2015 Jersey

We noticed this place on the way to collect our goodie bags.  There were a number of road bikes leaning against trees and posts.

Kedah Century Ride 2015 Ameer Nasi Kandar

So no surprise that we were back there a few hours later for dinner.  There were a number of stalls under one roof, but Ameer Nasi Briyani was the only stall with a queue of at least a dozen people waiting to chose their food.  That queue got longer and longer while we were there.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

And no wonder.  The food was very good.  And cheap.  My plate of briyani rice, fried chicken, chicken livers and half a salted egg cost me RM8 / USD2.20.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

The next morning we rode the 10 km or so to the start of the ride at the Paddy Museum.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

The Tyrell riders were there too, resplendent in their Knog jerseys.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

As is often the case, we started late.  I do wish that event organisers and the dignitaries invited to officially flag-off these events would be on time.  Participants waste time waiting in the dark, and both riders and volunteers spend more time than necessary in the midday heat.

We got away about 25 minutes late.  Cindy and Dicky were just in front of the Flipsiders, who were in their customary position at the very rear of the group.

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

The route was a clockwise loop.

Kedah Century Ride 2015 Route

As advertised, much of it was as flat as a pancake, despite the hills in the background.

Kedah Century Ride 2015 View

We headed south through Pendang and to the first water stop after 50 kms at Bukit Jenun.  Much of that distance was spent riding in a group with these guys on their vintage Panasonics and Pinarellos.  Complete with drilled brake levers and downtube shifters.

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

The Nord Vintage Cyclismos pulled over at the water stop.  Mark was already there, and he rejoined Keat, Marco and I as we rode through the water stop.

By the 80 kms mark we need to eat.  Mark spotted a food stall in Bedong, which conveniently was near a 7-11.  Marco, Mark and Keat ate at the stall while I drank chocolate milk and ate a candy bar from the 7-11.

Bedong was where the route turned right toward the coast.  5 kms later we rode up to the second water stop.  Team Tyrell Knog’s support van was there, so we stopped and chatted and took advantage of their supply of ice-cold water.

There were some short climbs in the middle third of the ride.  The steepest came within sight of the sea as the route swung north along the coast.  The last of the three climbs at Tanjung Jaga.

After that it was flat riding through the paddy fields.

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

By the last third of the ride people were starting to wilt.  It was 36° C / 97° F with a heat index of 45° C / 113° F.

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

The constant wind didn’t help.  Mark and I were trading pulls, but my efforts were becoming shorter and shorter as I overheated.

There is very little along the road from Tanjung Jaga apart from rice fields.  After 10 kms we came across a Caltex station.  We were looking for cold drinks, but the chiller in the small shop wasn’t working.  So we made do with dousing ourselves with water to help with evaporative cooling.

At 120 kms we came across two rows of shophouses.  All the shops were closed except for a couple of car workshop, and thank goodness, the Mahsuri Mini Market.

My key purchase was a bag of ice cubes.  I wrapped some cubes in my bandanna and put the bundle on the back of my neck.  Some cubes went under my skull cap.  Some went into the middle pocket on the back of my jersey.  And some went into my bidons.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

I should have bought ice at the 7-11 in Bedong.  I was amazed at how much better I felt.  More importantly I was able to take reasonable pulls into the the wind again.

We grabbed a bottle of water as we rode through the last water station at 125 kms.  One of the impressive things about this event was that all the water stations were still well-stocked when we rode through.  The last station still had bananas on offer.

Kedah Century Ride 2015 Water Stop Cycling Malaysia

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

My bottle of water went straight onto my arm screens and down the front of my jersey.  Which only delayed the inevitable.  25 kms further on all the ice had melted and I was heating up again.  Mark needed a break as well so we pulled into the Petronas station at Teluk Kechai and sat in the shade of the forecourt canopy for 10 minutes.

15 kms to go.  The headwind kept on blowing, so we put our heads down and pushed on.

There was one last surprise.  The Tok Pasai bridge over the Kedah river.  It was one climb too many for a rider in front of us, who literally ground to a halt and fell over.  Fortunately not into the roadway.

Kedah Century Ride 2015 Jambatan Tok Pasai

The view looking out to sea from the middle of the bridge is worth the effort to get there.

Kedah Century Ride 2015 River View

The speedy descent off the bridge would have been more fun without the sharp right turn at the bottom.  The marshalling at that turn was excellent.  A particular highlight of this event was how well all road junctions, corners and turn offs were manned with volunteers to ensure that riders stayed on course.

I could have used this additional service from the volunteers over the last 10 kilometres.

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

Team Tyrell Knog riders finished safely.  Anyone who completes a century ride on a small wheel bike deserves a medal.

Photograph courtesy of Dicky

Photograph courtesy of Dicky

Marco celebrated his ride.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Keat finished with a smile.

Photograph courtesy of Keat

Photograph courtesy of Keat

Cindy and I were just glad to be in the shade.  I was especially glad to take my shoes off and to work on drinking as much as I could of the 1 litre bottle of ice-cold 100 Plus the organisers handed out at the finish.  There was food as well, but all I want at the end of a hot ride is cold fluid.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

My Flipside companions and I eventually got back on our bikes for the 13 kms ride back to our hotel.  180 kms and change in total for all of us.

Medals well-earned.

Kedah Century Ride 2015 Medal

東京のバイク

My biker chick and I spent the weekend in Tokyo.  She planned everything, including getting us a flat in Sendagaya via airbnb that was around the corner from the Rapha Cycle Club Tokyo.

That was the first stop for us.

Rapha 01

Rapha 02

We needed lunch, and the café obliged.

Rapha 08

Having refuelled, it was time to go downstairs into the store.  An Aladdin’s cave for Rapha fans.

Rapha 04

Rapha 03

I picked up just a few items for my Flipside friends and for myself, and a model of la voiture-balai  for my biker chick.

Rapha 05

After loading up at the Rapha store, we headed north to explore the Shinjuku and Harajuku districts.  Less than 300 meters from the apartment is Crown Gears.

Sendagaya

Crown Gears 01

Stuffed to the gills with very nice stuff.

Crown Gears 02

Crown Gears 03

The next day we headed west towards Minami Aoyama to find the flagship Hakuhodo store.  My biker chick had her list of ‘must see’ places too.

On the way we passed Athlonia.  A specialist triathlon shop established by a professional triathlete.

Athlonia 04

Athlonia 01

Photograph courtesy of Athlonia

It is not just the bike shops that make Tokyo a cycling city.  Bicycles are everywhere.

Bikes 02 Bikes 01

Bikes 03

We even ran across a childrens’ cycling event in the area around the national Olympic stadium.

Bikes 04

I am bringing my bike the next time I visit Japan.

LifeBEAM Smart Helmet

LifeBEAM Banner

Regular readers know that I am a fan of gadgets.  If it is a cycling gadget, I am truly hooked.

I read some reviews of the LifeBEAM helmet.  The technology intrigued me.  Optical sensors read pulse signals directly from the forehead, and state of the art algorithms then remove ‘motion-generated noise’, process all the data in real time and send accurate heart rate numbers to a mobile device.

The prospect of no longer having a heart rate monitor strapped to my chest appealed to me.   The fact that this technology was initially developed by LifeBEAM to monitor the vital signs of pilots and astronauts only added to it’s appeal.  I logged on to the LifeBeam site, invoked that financial facilitator known as Paypal, and ordered a helmet.

The helmet arrived with a few extras.  A cloth carrying bag, and this carry on carbon case.  Most unusual for a cycling helmet was of course the micro USB charging cable.

LifeBEAM Case

The optical sensor and electronics module are built into a Lazer Genesis helmet.  From the side the helmet looks like any other unmodified Lazer Genesis, apart from the discreet LifeBEAM logo.

LifeBEAM Side

The view from the rear reveals the dark grey electronics module, including a triangular light-grey flap that covers the micro USB charging port, and the blue status light.  Barely visible below the status light is the power button.

LifeBEAM Rear

The optical sensor is inside the front edge of the helmet, surrounded by a gel pad.

Photograph courtesy of DCRainmaker.com

Photograph courtesy of DCRainmaker.com

The optical sensor must be resting against the skin of your forehead, not too tight or too loose.  If you wear a helmet liner or a skull cap, it must not obstruct with the sensor. You will have to find the sweet spot where the helmet fits comfortably and the heart rate is being displayed.

Animation courtesy of LifeBeam

Animation courtesy of LifeBeam

The helmet comes with both ANT+ and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity.  So it will pair with all Garmin devices, as well as Suunto, Timex, and other ANT+ enabled watches.  On the Bluetooth side the helmet will pair with mobile phones, and is therefore usable with the slew of iOS and Android cycling, running and general fitness apps.

Initial setup was simple.  Charge the battery, turn on the electronics, and pair the helmet with your device of choice.

On my Garmin Edge 705 I went into the Settings > ANT+Sport > Accessories menu and selected Restart Scan.  The Edge 705 picked up the transmission from the helmet in seconds.

Photograph courtesy of Lowcadence.com

Photograph courtesy of Lowcadence.com

The Lazer Genesis is a comfortable and well-ventilated helmet.  The fit is easily adjusted with Lazer’s Rollsys retention system.  The optical sensor is unnoticeable.  Wearing the LifeBEAM Smart helmet is like wearing any other helmet.  The only difference being the added 40g / 1.4oz weight of the electronics.  And that it transmits my heart rate to my Edge 705.

This helmet does exactly what I had hoped it would.  I can track my heart rate data, (essential for generating Strava Suffer Scores), without wearing a chest strap.  There is no discernible difference between the heart rates transmitted from the helmet and those from my chest strap mounted heart rate monitor.  And “yes” the helmet is more comfortable than the chest strap.

The helmet comes with one other useful extra that chest straps do not offer.  Lazer have developed an LED light that fits inside the Rollsys thumb wheel.  You turn the light on and off, and switch between constant and flashing modes, by pushing on the clear lens cover.

Photograph courtesy of Bikerumor.com

Photograph courtesy of Bikerumor.com

I unreservedly recommend the LifeBEAM Smart helmet.  Both for the excellent integration of optical sensor technology into a cycling helmet, and for the outstanding customer support I received when I had a problem with my helmet.

The first helmet I received worked impeccably on rides of less than two hours or so.  But on longer rides the helmet would either stop transmitting to my Edge 705, flat line at some arbitrary heart rate, or it would transmit erratic heart rate data.

An email to LifeBEAM support produced a quick response.  Over the next few weeks a regular exchange ensued as the support team troubleshot the problem.  They looked at Strava data files from my longer rides, and conducted some diagnostic tests during a Skype chat session.

Despite the best efforts of the support team, the helmet continued to behave erratically on longer rides.  The suspect was a faulty optical sensor.  So LifeBEAM quickly did what all customers would expect when equipment malfunctions right out of the box.  They provided a replacement helmet, free of charge.

My replacement helmet arrived two weeks ago.  It has performed faultlessly, no matter how long the ride.  The optical sensor has been unaffected by rain, and the copious amounts of sweat off my forehead.

The LifeBeam Smart helmet is a winner.

LifeBEAM logo

Breakfast Options

What we want for breakfast often determines where we ride.  If it is roti canai, we ride to Kampung Kundang.  A hankering for duck drumstick noodles means a ride to Kota Kemuning.  There are a few options if nasi lemak is the breakfast choice du jour.  Genting Sempah, Kampung Cempedak or Kota Kemuning are all possibilities.

Breakfast options have now grown with the discovery of Andak’s Place in Janda Baik.

The ride to Janda Baik starts with the climb to Genting Sempah.

Andak's Place View

The turn around point for most of our rides along Jalan Gombak Lama is either at the summit, or at the McDonald’s at the Genting Sempah R&R, one kilometer down the other side of the hill.  4 kms further down the hill toward Bentong is the right turn toward Janda Baik.

Andak's Place Map

There are more short but steep climbs to deal with along Jalan Cherangin before this place comes into view.

Andak's Place 01

Andak’s is definitely bicycle friendly.

Andak's Place Bicycle Rack

And big bike friendly.

Andak's Place Big Bikes

There is lots of seating, both in the main building and outside under umbrellas.

Andak's Place 02

The kitchen at Andak’s Place puts out a wide variety of food.  Including this winner.

Andak's Place Pancakes

Pancakes with butter and honey.  Worth the climbing to get there.

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