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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Let’s Get Ready To Rumble *

Ladies and Gentlemen . . .
Van’s Urban Bicycle Co is running a three-part cycling event: The Rumble Cycle Challenge.

Photo courtesy of Van's Urban Bicycle Company

Photo courtesy of Van’s Urban Bicycle Company


The first segment was the Alley Cats Race. Ten teams of three riders each arrived at the Van’s shop at 3 Two Square to register for the race. We all received cool t-shirts for turning up.

Photo courtesy of Van's Urban Bicycle Company

Photo courtesy of Van’s Urban Bicycle Company

Everyone paid close attention as Amril gave us a briefing about how the race would work.

Photo courtesy of Van's Urban Bicycle Company

Photo courtesy of Van’s Urban Bicycle Company

Each team had a sign off card and a list of five checkpoints. Once all three riders were at each checkpoint there were activities to be completed to the satisfaction of the marshals before they would sign the card.  The winner would be the team that brought a completed sign off card back to the start in the fastest time.

The first challenge was to figure out the order in which to visit the checkpoints, and more importantly, how to get to them. Google Maps to the rescue.

Photo courtesy of Van's Urban Bicycle Company

Photo courtesy of Van’s Urban Bicycle Company

Chon and I were fortunate that Mark was on our team. He was the only one amongst us who knew his way around that part of Petaling Jaya.

Our first stop was just around the corner at K3K Benta Kaya.

Chon volunteered to do the first activity, not knowing what he was getting himself into. Which was eating three pieces of you char koay, without drinking anything to help wash the fried salted dough down.

Photo courtesy of Van's Urban Bicycle Company

Photo courtesy of Van’s Urban Bicycle Company

It was apparently a bit of a struggle (Mark and I had to wait outside the restaurant,) but Chon got through it. He didn’t want to see another you char koay that day!

Our next stop was 1.3 km away at a small restaurant across from the AMWAY Malaysia headquarters.

Can you guess what the task was?

Alley Cats Pic 06

Photo courtesy of Van’s Urban Bicycle Company

PSY has a lot to answer for. That’s all I can say.

Having done the horsey dance we headed off in search of the Kampung Tunku Primary School. Once there we had to give a tree a group hug while declaring our love for it. Then we had to pick a mathematics problem out of a hat. We picked a particularly complicated problem. It is a good thing smart phone calculators were allowed.

Photo courtesy of Van's Urban Bicycle Company

Photo courtesy of Van’s Urban Bicycle Company

There was more Oppa’s Gangnam Style required at the Wisma FAM checkpoint.

Photo courtesy of Van's Urban Bicycle Company

Photo courtesy of Van’s Urban Bicycle Company

More in keeping with the headquarters of the Football Association of Malaysia, we also had to answer some questions about the national football team.

Our last checkpoint was at the Auto Amcar showroom. Our task was to find the car marked with a Van’s logo, and to get one of the Van’s stickers from inside that car. There must have been a hundred cars to search.

Photo courtesy of Van's Urban Bicycle Company

Photo courtesy of Van’s Urban Bicycle Company

Chon found the Van’s sticker. Then came part two of the tasks. Count the number of yellow cars on the lot.

Photo courtesy of Van's Urban Bicycle Company

Photo courtesy of Van’s Urban Bicycle Company

This checkpoint had a third task. I now know what the Harlem Shake is.

Photo courtesy of Van's Urban Bicycle Company

Photo courtesy of Van’s Urban Bicycle Company

We had the five signoffs that we needed. Mark took us back to 3 Two Square by the shortest, but steepest route.

Photo courtesy of Van's Urban Bicycle Company

Photo courtesy of Van’s Urban Bicycle Company

Though not as steep as the route some teams took to get back to the start point.

Photo courtesy of Van's Urban Bicycle Company

Photo courtesy of Van’s Urban Bicycle Company

Mark’s excellent route selection and Chon’s ability to eat quickly got us back to the start in the fastest time of the day. Which earned us bike swag.

Photo courtesy of Van's Urban Bicycle Company

Photo courtesy of Van’s Urban Bicycle Company

Everyone had a lot of fun. More importantly everyone stayed upright on their bikes despite the wet roads. No one got hurt. Kudos, congratulations and a big thank you to Van’s Urban Bicycle Company for organising a great event. In particular Ray (left) and Amril (right), and their team of excellent volunteers who made this event run without a hitch (two of whom are shown here),

Photo courtesy of Van's Urban Bicycle Company

Photo courtesy of Van’s Urban Bicycle Company

YC (holding walkie talkie),

Photo courtesy of Van's Urban Bicycle Company

Photo courtesy of Van’s Urban Bicycle Company

Michael (on emcee duty),

Photo courtesy of Van's Urban Bicycle Company

Photo courtesy of Van’s Urban Bicycle Company

and the eponymous Vanessa (right).

Photo courtesy of Van's Urban Bicycle Company

Photo courtesy of Van’s Urban Bicycle Company

Stay tuned for the report on Part 2 of the Rumble Cycle Challenge: Hill Chasers.

* With thanks to Michael Buffer

The Ardennes Classics

The Spring classics are well underway.  Paris – Roubaix a week ago was the last of the Cobbled Classics for 2013.  The Brabantse Pijl race two days ago marks the transition from the races featuring short sharp climbs on cobbles to the longer paved climbs of the Ardennes Classics.  This weekend will see the 48th running of the Amstel Gold Race.

AGR 2012 Logo

A group of my Not Possibles friends are again riding in the tour version of the Amstel Gold this year.  I rode the 2012 version with them.  We had a lot of fun, despite the cold and sometimes wet day.

We had an 8.25 am start from the Amstel Gold Xperience building in Valkenburg.  I am a tropical boy.  I was bundled up.  Uffe is Danish.  He saw no need for a beanie hat, long-fingered gloves, a jacket, leggings and shoe covers.

AGR 2012 082255 hires

We chose the 150km / 93mi route, with about 2,400 meters / 7,900 feet of climbing.  I remember the steep ones.  The Keutenberg has a maximum pitch of 17%.  As does the Gulpenerberg.  The Eyserbosweg has a maximum pitch of 15%.  Compared to those walls, the likes of the Loorberg at 8% and the Bemelerberg at 7% maximum pitch were mere speed bumps.

Richard and I were on the Fromberg about seven hours after we started.  At 9% maximum this was a warm-up for the big one to come.

AGR 2012 153705 hires

Which rose up before us fifteen minutes later in the form of the Keutenberg.

AGR 2012 155157 hires

Richard and I got to the finish exactly eight hours after we started.  Just in time to collect our finisher’s medals and get back to our hotels before it started to rain again.

AGR 2012 Medal

Richard had driven from his hotel to Valkenberg.  So he went to retrieve his car from the field where he had left it.  I had ridden from my hotel to the start.

Which I regretted when the heavens opened on the ride back to the hotel.  I got lost to boot, so I was soaked to the skin by the time I found my way back to the Golden Tulip Apple Park Maastricht hotel.  The locals must be used to that sort of weather.  The staff at the front desk didn’t bat an eye as I dripped across the lobby and into the lift.  With my filthy bike.

I  would do it all again in a heartbeat.

Share the Road

I have a “Share the Road” sticker on my car.  It reminds other drivers to do their bit to help make our roads safer for cyclists.

During last Sunday’s ride up Genting Peres I was reminded that cyclists share roads and bike paths with more than just vehicles.  I have encountered enough birds and animals while on my bike to stock a small zoo.

Dogs are of course everywhere.  Fortunately I haven’t been chased by any.  Though I do recall a particularly ornery dog that used to lie in wait on Sylvan Road in Houston for us to ride by.  Our Taco Rides would be enlivened by this dog barking furiously as it burst onto the street.  I keep a wary eye on the feral dogs that roam the back roads of Hulu Langat and Genting Sempah, though I have yet to hear even a whimper out of any of them.

I expected to see more cats than I did in the Netherlands.  A lot of our riding was through villages and towns, but I guess the majority were house cats and therefore weren’t out and about.

Ducks, geese and swans were another matter.  Water birds are everywhere in the Netherlands.  I had to stop frequently for various birds as they ambled across the bike path.  More infrequent were pheasant bolting across the bike paths when we passed too close to their nests.

In Malaysia we come across the occasional chicken trying to cross the road.  The challenge with chickens is that they often change their minds about the direction they want to head in.  I haven’t seen anyone hit a chicken yet, but there have been some near misses.

I’ve had a few near misses with rabbits.  The dunes along the coast north and south of Den Haag teem with baby rabbits in the spring.  The best tasting greenery always seemed to be on the other side of the bike path.  Like chickens, baby rabbits often don’t have the courage of their convictions, and turn around mid-path.  Much to the alarm of cyclists.

The dunes are also home to foxes, which don’t like to be out in the open and move very quickly when exposed.  I saw very few foxes, and when I did it was late in the evening.

The same is true of hedgehogs.  Out late in the evening I mean.  Not moving very quickly.

It was broad daylight when the Not Possibles got the shock of our lives.  A large deer  appeared out of nowhere and ran beside us for a good fifty meters or so before veering off into the bushes and trees of the dunes.

Many bike paths in the Netherlands are shared with people on horseback.  Although to be honest we spent much more time dodging piles of manure than we did skirting around horses and ponies.

I’ve mentioned the monkeys on the roads in Malaysia in previous posts.  Monkeys feature on this sign at the summit of Genting Peres.  It warns road users that this is an area where wild animals cross the road, and lists what drivers should do when animals are on the road..


I’ve yet to encounter the other two species on this sign.  It would be quite something to share the road with a tapir.

Velo Fit is Born

I mentioned in Bike Fit that I was thinking about starting a bike fitting business in Kuala Lumpur.  The seeds were planted when I decided to become a certified Retül fitter.  Those seeds, to use a spring analogy, are bursting into bloom.

Retul Certified Logo_2013

Not long after I got my certification, I decided to go for it.  I know I will enjoy doing bike fits, and I do see a need for a bike fitting service in Kuala Lumpur.  Encouragement from everyone I spoke to about my proposed venture helped a lot too.

My first step was to think of a name for my business.  All the official steps to set up a business require a business name.  I bounced a few thoughts around with my biker chick.  We settled on Velo Fit.

Last week Retül notified me that I was officially a Retül member.  That gives me access to the Members Zone on the Retül web-site.  I can create a profile that visitors will see when they search for a Retül fitter in Malaysia.  That got me thinking about a logo for Velo Fit.

I briefly entertained the thought of creating my own logo.  Then common sense prevailed and I went looking for professional help.  I started by asking my SIL Delani if she knew any graphics designers.  Delani works in advertising, so the answer of course was “yes.”  I didn’t take her long to come back with some options, and more importantly, costs.  I had no idea what a logo designer charges.  Alot, as it turns out.  Anything from RM1,000 to RM5,000 / USD325 to USD1,625.  One designer offered to select a typeface to suit a an existing logo for the bargain price of RM1,000 / USD325.  I reckon I could do that, even with my limited design skills.

I cast my net further.  I Googled “Malaysian logo designers.”  I spent a few hours looking at on-line portfolios, reading reviews and deciding on a suitable design package.  I dialed two contact numbers to find out if the design revision process would be conducted on-line or it I could speak to the designer.  The end result is that for less than it costs to have someone select a typeface, I will work with a designer from to get a logo that I like.  I will also get designs for business cards, letterheads and envelopes.

Logo Design

Now all I notice are logos!

A few weeks ago I started looking at exactly what I needed to do to register a business.  The Companies Commission of Malaysia, properly known as Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM), has an excellent website that has all the information a neophyte like myself needs.  My options were to create a Sole Proprietorship, a Partnership, or a Limited Liability Partnership.


On April Fool’s day I registered Velo Fit as a Limited Liability Partnership, or LLP.  The choice of date was entirely coincidental by the way.

LLPs are new to Malaysia.  The Limited Liability Partnerships Act 2012 became law in February 2012.  Registrations of LLPs began in June 2012.

The advantage of an LLP is that any debts and obligations of the LLP are borne by the assets of the LLP.  In a conventional partnership, the partners are jointly and severally liable with the firm.  In short my biker chick and I, as partners in an LLP, are not at risk of losing all our assets if we are sued.

The registration process is done entirely on-line.  Apart from a visit to an SSM office to activate a MyLLP account.  Once I had an active account it took all of fifteen minutes to confirm that “Velo Fit” was available as a business name, to complete the registration process, and pay the fee to create a new LLP.  The confirmation email from the SSM that my registration was successful came minutes later.

I have also spoken to Ray Ther about using some space at Van’s Urban Bicycle Co.  Either in their existing shop or in their upcoming new premises.  Sub letting space is ideal for me as I don’t need much.  Hopefully an arrangement with Van’s will be confirmed soon.

Van's Urban Bike

The big financial commitment to this venture went down last week.  I placed an order for the Retül Vantage system and the Levül Wheel Block.  I also ordered some other pieces of equipment from Purely Custom and Bike Fit.

Purely Custom

Bike Fit

One key piece of equipment came from the Ace Hardware shop at Plaza Jelutong.  I stopped there on the way home from last Saturday’s Guthrie Corridor Expressway ride to buy a 120 cm / 47 in box level.  An essential piece of equipment because the bicycle has to be level before readings are taken with the Vantage system.  Otherwise the reported angles will all be wrong.

Ace Hardware

Today I spent time looking at online appointment scheduling software.  The package that looks the most appealing so far is from Acuity Scheduling.  It is customizable, can be embedded into a WordPress blog, sends automatic booking reminders, and can process credit card payments.


Speaking of WordPress, my next task is to craft a Velo Fit blog page.  That is where I will list the services that I offer, take online bookings etc.  If comes through with a good logo I can always use their website design services when I am ready to have a standalone web site.


I plan to take my first Velo Fit appointments in June.  I’ll do a progress report in a month.

O Spring, Spring! Wherefore Art Thou Spring? *

My northern latitude friends, quite reasonably, expected warmer weather by the time of the March equinox.  My northern latitude cycling friends perhaps mark the arrival of spring by the running of the first Spring Classic bike race of the year.  Milan – San Remo.  Raced this year on 17th March.

Milan San Remo

Photo courtesy of Graham Watson at

Things didn’t improve through the rest of March.  It was only 3° C / 37° F in Den Haag at 10.00am on Saturday 30th March.  It was even worse for the Not Possibles on their morning ride.  Out in the 21 kph / 13 mph wind gusts it felt like -1° C / 30° F.

To the relief of cyclists and non-cyclists alike, spring seems to be finally making its appearance in Europe.  It promises to be 10° C / 50° F this Sunday for Paris – Roubaix, the last of the Cobbled classics.  My Not Possibles friends will be hoping the warming trend continues to the first of the Ardennes classics on 14th April.  The Amstel Gold Race.  They will be joining 12,000 like-minded cyclists for the Tourversion the day before the professional race.

Here in the tropics we think in terms of wet and dry seasons rather than in terms of winter, spring, summer and autumn.  However there is some evidence around of the spring concepts of renewal and rebirth.

Macaque with Baby

Photo courtesy of Rodrigo Sala at

We saw lots of mums with new babies during the ride to Genting Sempah last Sunday.

Despite being 35° C / 95° F at the foot of the climb, it was much cooler in the breeze at 639 meters / 2,100 feet.  Almost springlike!

Photo courtesy of They Wei Chon

Photo courtesy of They Wei Chon

* With apologies to William Shakespeare.