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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble Part Three

Rumble 3

The third installment of Van’s Rumble Cycle Challenge had to be delayed.  The date for this event had been 16th June.  An unanticipated need to close the shop at 3 Two Square  took precedence.

Twenty two participants met at VUBC‘s new shop in Kampung Tunku.  The early birds had time for a teh tarik, courtesy of Michael.

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

Each team of two or three had to ride to eight pit stops.  The challenge was to find each pit stop, in order, and once there to complete one or more task to earn points.  Winning required a combination of a fast finishing time and as many of the forty points available.  Amril covered the rules, regulations and safety advice, and then sent us on our way.

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

Some got away quicker than others.  Mark and I took a while to figure out how to get to the first pit stop . . .

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

The first stop was at a McDonald’s, where any customer wearing a red t-shirt was asked to pose for a photograph.

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

At the second pit stop we had to find and photograph a particular shop lot.

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

Mark and I had our mechanical problem of the day at this stop.  Mark’s rear tire was under-inflated.  I had a pump.  The tire went from being a bit flat to being fully inflated to being completely flat after the valve core unscrewed along with the pump hose.

We got going again fairly quickly and soon got the photograph and telephone number required at pit stop 3.

Pit stop 4 involved finding the price to three items on a restaurant menu.

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

The fifth stop was at the bus stop nearby.  We had to get the full name of the stop, and figure out the fare from that stop to another stop.

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

Pit stop 6 was at a Light Rail Transit station.  I didn’t yet know what the tasks were for this stop, so was very intrigued to see this as we arrived.

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

This was a collection stop.  Three different types of leaves (which you can see at her feet), three different types of flowers, three 10¢ coins, and three strands of white hair.

I was suddenly very popular!

Mark and I got it badly wrong trying to find pit stop 7.

Rumble_3_Route Annotated

The destination was the KK Supermart, Dataran GLOMAC.  There are a number of places with GLOMAC in their names.  We elected to ride to one of the wrong ones.  A U-turn and some lost time later we arrived at pit stop 7.

We got through the task, which was to buy exactly RM1.90 worth of items, very quickly.  Mark went straight for a bottle of 100-Plus, which he knew cost RM1.90.

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

The task at pit stop 8 was to photograph a vehicle number plate that had a ‘0’ and a ‘5’ in it.  Followed by a dash back to the finish line at the VUBC shop.

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

All members of a team had to be in the shop to present their answer sheet and collected items before the clock stopped.

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

Then it was time for a cold drink and smiles all around as we waited for the results to be tallied.

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

Rumble 3 Done 2

It was a close contest.  A few seconds here and a wrong answer there separated the top three teams.  Chang Pak Loong and his team mate won the prizes for finishing first.  They got a goodie bag of Knog products and Bern helmets.  Here they are flanked by Vanessa of VUBC, and Wei Yeng of Wheeelove, who donated the Bern helmets.

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

Thank you everyone at VUBC for organizing a wonderful series of events.  We are all looking forward to the 2014 edition of the Rumble Cycle Challenge.

Velo Fit First Steps


I announced the birth of Velo Fit in early April.  I had my Retül certification.  The Retül equipment and other bike fitting tools had been ordered.  The business had been registered.  The logo was being designed.  I had a location for my fit studio.

There were still things to do.  Design a website for instance.  But I was confident that I would make my target of first appointments in June.

What is it that Robert Burns said about the best laid plans of mice and men?

I opened for business in mid-August.

Here is what happened.  The lease at Van’s Urban Bicycle Co. came up for renewal and the expected rental increase was more than Vanessa, Ray and their business partners was willing to bear.  So there was a scramble to complete the renovations at the new premises and to vacate the old shop.  That pushed the availability of space for my studio to mid-July.

Also it took longer than expected to find a carpenter to build a rotating platform.  The platform isn’t an absolutely essential piece of kit, but having it makes a fitter’s life much easier.  Retül customers in the USA get a completed platform as part of their equipment order.  It is a very heavy item though.  Not surprising as it has to support the weight of at least two people, a bicycle, and a turbo trainer.  So international customers get a box of screws, washers, casters and other metal parts, and assembly instructions.

In early August my cousin Yasmin put me in touch with a carpenter who could read plans.  Two weeks later my rotating platform was delivered to the newly-opened Van’s Urban Bicycle Co. shop in Kampung Tunku.

In the meantime I had accumulated the other bits and pieces I needed to equip my studio:  some chairs, a trolley to hold a laptop, a projector, tools etc., and a massage bed for the biomechanical assessments.  I was ready for business.

My first client was Mark.

Mark Lim Fitting

My second client was Marco.  Thank you Mark and Marco for setting me on my way, and bearing through all the teething troubles as I got the equipment, and myself, up to speed.

Marco Bike Fit

As you can see I changed the studio set up as I went along.  Hanging a sheet on the back wall as a screen for the projector was a bad idea.  Here’s the studio as it is today.

Velo Fit Studio

Fortunately there is just enough space for the rotating platform to actually pivot.

I am excited to finally be up and running.  My website at has already generated some appointments.  I am flashing my business card where ever I go.


Friends and family are helping me advertise.  The next few months will tell if this is a good idea.

In closing, here is a suggestion I got for a sticker that could go on each bike that comes through my studio:

Size doesn’t matter, but fit does!

The Cult of Strava

The Social Facilitation Theory argues that social evaluation has an impact on performance.

The psychologist Norman Triplett was the first to study this effect, starting in 1898.  He found that cyclists had better race times when in the company of other cyclists.  Further research demonstrated something we now consider obvious:  humans try harder when matched against others. Later work would demonstrate that the mere presence of others could inspire us to work harder.

Fast forward 110 years.   Social facilitation meets social sharing (think Facebook) and Strava is born.  Cyclists now have a way to record the details of a ride and compare those details with those of every other Strava member who has done the same ride.  Thanks to a smartphone app that does away with the need for a dedicated cycling GPS, some one million cyclists use Strava today, and that user base continues to grow.  Cyclists now have access to social evaluation on a massive scale.

Thousands of Strava users have created segments, or specific sections, of their cycling routes.  Any segments will be displayed as part of your ride data in the Strava application.

Strava Segment

The segments table shows your performance on the current ride relative to your previous efforts on the same ride.  Each segment is identified, and the segment distance, elevation, and your performance parameters are displayed.  If your latest performance on a segment is one of your better ones you get a little medal:  gold for a Personal Record, silver for a 2nd best and bronze for a 3rd best time.

Click on a segment and social facilitation comes into play.

Strava Leaderboard

Note: Rider names have been deleted

Now you see your best performance on a segment relative to every other rider on Strava who has ridden the same segment.  I see I need to ride this segment just 0.1 kph faster to be in the top 50!

If I want a hit to my ego I can view the results for men only.  Fortunately for my ego there is only one woman ahead of me on the leaderboard for this segment.  For now.

If I want to feel better I can view the results by age group.  There are only six of us in the 55 to 64 age group for this segment so I am definitely in the top ten!

The ability to virtually compete against others should be a boon, and it is for most riders.  Strava was created to encourage cyclists to train, to climb higher and go faster.  I get a kick out of achieving new personal bests, and this is true for many others as well.

I don’t have the physical gifts to challenge for King of the Mountain (KOM) status.  So there is no chance of seeing one of these, which signifies being atop a segment leaderboard,  on my Strava profile.

Strava KOM

I have been known to push hard for the fastest time in my age group for certain segments though.  Social facilitation in action.

The same social facilitation effect can be a bane as well.  There are people out there who are so competitive that every ride is a do-or-die race in the hunt for KOM crowns.   In some cases literally.  William Flint was killed when he collided with an oncoming car on a downhill stretch of road while apparently trying to reclaim his KOM status.

And in a sad reflection of the recent state of affairs in the professional peloton, riders so inclined can now even artificially enhance their Strava results by giving their data a boost with the help of the website

I’ll leave the KOM sniping to the insanely driven Type A personality riders.  But I do wonder if I can knock two seconds off my time for the Puchong Jaya climb tonight.