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How to Talk Like a Cyclist in Malaysia

cycling-lingo

Paceline.  Groupset.  Magic spanner.  Aero.  Sticky bottle.  Bike throw.  Road rash.  Endo.

A small sample of the English words and phrases likely to come out of the mouth of a cyclist.   Throw in the French, Flemish, Dutch and Italian terminology common to the sport, and it is no wonder that most non-cyclists are baffled by cyclospeak.

Not to be outdone, Malaysian cyclists have a few cycling terms of their own.  Such as:

Bojio
A Hokkien phrase which means not inviting someone along to an event or activity.
Often used in Facebook comments in response to postings of Strava ride summaries.

Ceria rider
The Malay word for “cheerful.”  Refers to someone who rides purely for fun.
“No lah.  I don’t want to do a century ride.  I am a ceria rider only.”

FFK
The abbreviation of Fong Fei Kei.  A Cantonese phrase which means a betrayal or breaking of a promise / deal made with another party.
In this case a person who did not turn up for a group ride as promised.
“Next time you FFK, you have to buy everyone breakfast.”

Hantu / Ghost rider
The Malay or English word referring to an unregistered, non-paying rider in an organised event.
“The registration damned expensive.  So just be a ghost rider lor.”

Just buy a new bike
The standard advice given to any cyclist who has even the slightest thing go wrong with their bicycle, or who muses about buying a new component or upgrading an existing one.
“Eh.  Your shifting quite noisy.  Just buy a new bike lah.”

Kaki besi
A Malay phrase meaning “iron legs.”  Refers to a strong rider.
“That guy kaki besi one.  I can’t follow him.”

Kaki jelly
The opposite of kaki besi.  Literally means “jelly legs.”
“So much climbing today.  I got kaki jelly now.”

Kena conned
Refers to being tricked into riding further / faster/ higher than anticipated.
“She said we are riding about 50km today.  Ended up riding for five hours.  I really kena conned.”

Kena racun / Got poisoned
This Malay or equivalent English phrase is used to refer to a person who was persuaded to upgrade an existing, or buy a new, bicycle component.
“He kena racun and bought a set of Zipp 404s.”

Nubis Kubis
A term for a newbie.  If anyone knows why the Malay word for cabbage, “kubis,” is part of this phrase, let me know.
“I am a nubis kubis.  Dare not use clipless pedals.”

Pancit
A Malay word that is most likely a corruption of the English word “punctured.”  The equivalent of “blowing up.”
“I have to stop for a while.  Pancit already.”

Santai ride / Chillax ride
The Malay word for “relaxed,” and the English portmanteau word combining “chill” and relaxed.”
“Don’t worry.  It will be a santai ride.  Average speed less than 25kph”  (See Kena conned above)

Smoke me
What a kaki besi does to a nubis kubis.  Leaves them in the dust.
“That girl smoked me.  After a few kilometers I couldn’t see her anymore.”

Tarik me
The Malay word for “pull.”  With the same meaning in a cycling context.
“You got kaki besi mah.  So you tarik me lah.”

 

I’m going for a santai ride in the morning.  I’ll be alone, so no one to tarik me.  Hopefully none of my friends complain that I bojio them.

Build an Ark – Or Read Some More

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Some of of my cycling books are about epic rides.  Tim Moore’s book about riding the 2000 Tour de France route for example (see Still Too Wet to Ride?)

Closer to home, Sandra Loh circumnavigated Peninsular Malaysia, together with Mak Shiau Meng, in 2009.  I have a signed copy of Loh’s “Pedalling Around the Peninsula:  A Malaysian Girl’s  Two-Wheeled Adventures.”  Perhaps the most amazing statistic is that she cycled 2,664 km / 1,655mi without a single flat tire.

Pedalling Around

Mark Beaumont took a somewhat longer ride.  And he did it alone.  He cycled 29,446km / 18,297mi to circumnavigate the globe in 194 days in 2008.  That was a  world record at the time.  Achieving it required cycling an average of 160km / 100mi per day, no matter the weather, the terrain or his physical condition.  He did have a few flats along the way, as recounted in “The Man Who Cycled the World.”

The Man Who Cycled

The most tragic ride story is told by David Herlihy in “The Lost Cyclist:  The Epic Tale Of An American Adventurer And His Mysterious Disappearance“.  This is also a story of a man attempting to circumnavigate the globe by bicycle, but in a very different age to Beaumont’s.  Frank Lenz started his ride in 1892, on the then innovative safety bicycle, complete with new-fangled pneumatic tires.  Lenz makes it most of the way around the world before disappearing in eastern Turkey.

The Lost Cyclist

Now onto the books that don’t fall neatly in one classification or another.  Like “Bicycle Love: Stories of Passion, Joy, and Sweat” edited by Garth Battista.  A compilation of 60 or so essays on the many varieties of bicycle love.

Bicycle Love

Another compilation of improbable, silly, crazy and absurd, but all true stories is in “Cycling’s 50 Craziest Stories.”  It is written by Les Woodland, a doyen of British cycling authors with eighteen books on the subject to his name.

Cycling's 50 Craziest

The tell-all book that shook the sport in 2012 was “The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups and Winning at All Costs” by Tyler Hamilton and his co-author Daniel Coyle.  This book came out as the Lance Armstrong story was coming to a head.  It talks about all the significant doping scandals of the past 15 years with a level of detail not seen before.  The sport of professional cycling will never be the same.

The Secret Race

A book that doesn’t talk about doping but is otherwise an all-one handbook of cycling is “The Complete Bike Book” by Chris Sidwells.  He writes about the history of the bicycle, the essentials of riding, choosing the right equipment and clothing, riding technique, and bike maintenance.  There is something here for beginner and experienced cyclist alike.

The Complete Bike Book

At the other end of the spectrum is a book that does just one thing, and does it very well.  The “Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair” by Park Tool.  Park Tool makes bike tools, so the company knows a thing or two about bicycle maintenance and repair.  This was the recommended text at the bicycle maintenance course I took.  Enough said.

Park Big Blue

This next item is on the left side of the shelf and sticks up above all the other books.  It is not a book in the traditional sense.  I had to look up what a leporello book is.  “Bicycle,” created for the London 2012 Olympics, is Ugo Gattoni‘s vision of a madcap bicycle race through the streets of London.

Bicycle

The last book in my collection is also a picture book.  Graham Watson is a renowned cycling photographer.  Organized by season, this book takes readers around the globe, from the Australian championships to the Tour de France, always showing the peloton against a backdrop of exquisite, compelling scenery.

Landscapes

Just the thing for a rainy day.

Still Too Wet to Ride?

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Yesterday I listed the biographies and autobiographies in my collection of cycling books (see Too Wet to Ride?).

Today I will start with a memoir and a more general review of the cycling stars from the golden age of the 1940s, 50s and 60s.  Tim Hilton wrote “One More Kilometre and We’re in the Showers.”  Hilton’s breadth of knowledge and interest is evident in this scrapbook of cycling lore.

One More Kilometre

Tony Hewson of “In Pursuit of Stardom” fame wrote another book about the era of UK cycling in the aftermath of World War II.  “A Racing Cyclist’s Worst Nightmare:  And Other Stories of the Golden Age” is a collection of short stories written in a variety of genres:  autobiography, biography, discourse and fiction.

A Racing Cyclists

Now onto books about major races.  They don’t come any bigger than the Tour de France.  There are countless books about the Tour.  I have “Blazing Saddles:  The Cruel and Unusual History of the Tour de France.”  Matt Rendell complements his vivid storytelling, sometimes of the unsporting and unsavoury underbelly of the Tour, with more than 100 classic black-and-white photographs.

Blazing Saddles

Ned Boulting spent eight years covering the Tour for ITV.  “How I Won the Yellow Jumper” chronicles his journey from being dropped into the roving reporter role, despite having no knowledge of cycle racing, through to becoming the Tour commentating equal of the likes of Phil Ligget and Paul Sherwen.

How I Won

Bill Strickland co-wrote “We Might As Well Win” with Johan Bruyneel in 2008.  Bruyneel built an enviable reputation as a Director Sportif, winning thirteen Grand Tour championships in eleven years.  This book is about how Bruyneel, his teams, and his star riders Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador, dominated the Tour from 1999 to 2010.  My biker chick was a fan of Bruyneel’s, at least until he fell from grace after the USADA formally charged him with administering a long-running doping program.  To this day she says that he broke her heart.

We Might As Well Win

My favorite history of La Grande Boucle is “The Official Treasures of Le Tour de France” by Serge Laget and Luke Edwards-Evans.  This is a compendium of historical tidbits, 275 archive photographs and 40 removable facsimiles of posters, postcards and other Tour memorabilia.  You will love this book if you are the type who pushes all the buttons on science museum displays.

The Official Treasures

There are books about particular editions of the Tour.  Like “Tour De Lance.”  Bill Strickland had unprecedented access to Lance Armstrong as he attempted an audacious comeback to win the 2009 Tour.  With his main rival Alberto Contador for a team mate no less.  This is another book that I need to reread now that Armstrong is no longer a winner of seven Tours de France.

Tour de Lance

Tim Moore is a British travel writer who rode the entire route of the 2000 Tour.  “French Revolutions:  Cycling the Tour de France” is his irreverent diary of that trip, as well as an homage to bike racing.

French Revolutions

I have only one book about the Giro d’Italia.  Herbie Sykes‘ second cycling history book, “Maglia Rosa:  Triumph and Tragedy at the Giro d’Italia.”  This does not read like a history book though.  Sykes presents a collection of stories together with 150 images to create his tale of the Giro.

Maglia Rosa

The Giro is central to Italian cycling.  It gets a big mention in this book about the history and impact of cycling in Italy.  “Pedalare! Pedalare!  A History of Italian Cycling” by John Foot.  Foot is a Professor of Modern Italian History at University College London.  He has written extensively about Italian history, including three books on Italian soccer.  He brings with him a historian’s eye rather than a sportswriter’s take on cycling in Italy.

Pedalare

I need to add a book about the third of the Grand Tours, the Vuelta a España, to my collection.  Actually there are many books that I want to add to my collection.  Where is that Kindle?

I have books about riders. I have books about races  Naturally I have books about bicycles.  Or more properly in this case, a book about a show about bicycles.

Bespoke:  The Handbuilt Bicycle” is the catalog produced by Lars Müller Publishers for the NYC Museum of Art and Design exhibition of the same name.  An exhibition of the work of six internationally renowned bicycle builders.

Bespoke

Robert Penn takes a slightly different approach to building a bicycle.  “It’s All About the Bike:  The Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels”  is about his quest to put together the perfect bike.  He takes his readers on a journey around the world visiting the factories and workshops where the parts for his custom bike are made.

It's all about the bike

That man William Fotheringham pops up again.  This time as the author of “Cyclopedia:  It’s All About the Bike.”  An encylopedia-like collection of everything Fotheringham has learned whilst reporting on professional cycling for the past 30 years.  Something you can read from A to Z, or just dip into at random.

Cyclopedia

A true history of the bicycle is what David Herlihy produced.  “Bicycle:  The History” may sound like an overly-confident title, but this book lives up to it.  It is the definitive history of the bicycle.

Bicycle

The last book on my shelf about bicycles themselves is by Guy Andrews.  Andrews is the founder and co-owner of Rouleur, a bi-monthly British cycling magazine.  Rouleur is noted for its design and its photography.  So no surprise then that Guy Andrews’ book “The Custom Road Bike” is also beautifully designed and is full of lovely photographs.  Photographs of the very best bicycle components.  You will drool over this book so much that you might as well have gone out in the rain.

The Custom Road Bike

More books in my next post.

Too Wet to Ride?

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I bought my first book about cycling not long after I got my first road bike.  As with bikes I didn’t stop at one book.  I don’t have room in the apartment for another bike.  There is not much I can do about that.  I don’t have room on the shelf for another book about cycling.  Hello Kindle!

That first book was “The Rider” by Tim Krabbé.  Krabbé puts the reader inside the head of a competitor in a French cycling race, the Tour du Mont Aigoual.  Krabbé captures in tremendous detail the nuances of road-racing strategy, mixed in with snippets of cycling history.  I was hooked on cycling books.

The-Rider

I have since filled a 90cm / 35.5in shelf with cycling books.  Some are easy to classify.  Books about individual cyclists for example.  Toward the right side of the shelf sits “Put Me Back on my Bike: In Search of Tom Simpson” by William Fotheringham.  The ultimately tragic story of a man best remembered for dying on the slopes of Mont Ventoux during the 1967 Tour de France.

Put-me-back-on-my-bike

William Fotheringham also wrote the next rider biography on my bookshelf, “Fallen Angel: The Passion of Fausto Coppi.”  The life story of perhaps the greatest of Italian cyclists.

Fallen Angel

Then comes “Major” by Todd Balf.  About Marshall Walter Taylor, at one time the world’s fastest man on two wheels and America’s first African American sports celebrity.

Major

William Fotheringham appears again on my bookshelf, this time as the author of “Merckx: Half Man, Half Bike.”  Eddy Merckx is widely considered to be the greatest professional cyclist ever.  He won 525 races during his career, including five Tours de France, four Giros d’Italia and three world championships.

Merckx

Frederico Bahamontes was known as “The Eagle of Toledo” for his exceptional climbing ability.  He won numerous King of the Mountains classifications in all three major tours.  He also won the Tour de France in 1959.  His story is told by Alasdair Fotheringham, brother of William.

The Eagle

The last biography I have is about Jacques Anquetil.  Anquetil is another giant of the sport.  The first man to win five Tours de France.  His personal life however overshadowed his achievements on a bicycle.  Paul Howard recounts all in “Sex, Lies and Handlebar Tape.”

Sex, Lies

There are autobiographies as well.  The first of these in my collection, starting from the right side of the shelf again, is “Tomorrow We Ride” by Jean Bobet.  Jean is the younger brother of Louison Bobet, the first man to win 3 Tours de France in a row.

Tomorrow We Ride

Vin Denson‘s memories of his professional cycling career during the 1960s, including being the first British cyclist to win a stage of the Giro d’Italia, are in “The Full Cycle.”

The_Full_Cycle

Tony Hewson, in “In Pursuit of Stardom: Les Nomades du Velo Anglais,” tells an extraordinary tale of three British cyclists who venture into France in the 1950s to try their hands in the European road racing scene.

In Pursuit

Laurent Fignon is perhaps best known as the man who lost the 1989 Tour de France to Greg LeMond by a mere 8 seconds.  He should be better remembered as a man who won the Tour twice and the Giro d’Italia once.  These and other victories are described in “We Were Young and Carefree.”

We Were Young

Bob Roll is next.  He is a former Tour de France racer and member of the U.S. Cycling Hall of Fame.  He offers his unique perspective on the professional racing circuit in “Bobke II: The Continuing Misadventures of Bob Roll”.  There is a “Bobke:  A Ride on the Wild Side of Cycling” that I haven’t yet read.

Bobke

Then comes another American racer who crossed the pond in the 1980s to try and break into the European professional peloton.  Joe Parkin wrote about his experiences as a pro racer in Belgium in “A Dog in a Hat.”

A Dog

Parkin followed up with “Come and Gone,” his memoirs of a difficult return to road bike racing in the United States, and his subsequent rebirth as a mountain biker.

Come and Gone

I read Michael Barry‘s “Inside the Postal Bus,” his recollection of his time as a domestique on the US Postal cycling team, some years ago.  Since then it has come to light that he had a spot of amnesia when it came to the use of performance enhancing drugs by the team.  I’ll have to read this book again now that we know what really went on in that bus.

Inside the Postal Bus

I’ll cover the rest of my rainy days collection in my next post.

R R Go Away, Come Again Another Day

The weather had looked threatening all afternoon.  The heavens finally opened in spectacular fashion at 6.30pm.  Thunder, lightning, and lots of water.  This was the view from our hotel room at 7.00pm.  Droplets still running down the window, but the main show was over.

Emails about the weather were a common feature of ride days in Houston.  A number of online weather sites were consulted.  Screen shots of radar images went out.  Six Thirty riders looked out of their office windows and reported about the state of the roads along the ride route.  If the roads were going to be wet at 6.30pm the ride would be canceled.  The Six Thirty group never rode in the wet if it could be avoided.  I remember just one occasion where we got caught in a deluge about halfway through the ride.  Somewhere in the vicinity of the old Masonic Lodge on the corner of Brompton Road and North Braeswood Boulevard.  Whatever the weather there was one constant.  The words “rain” and “wind” were never used.  It was always just R and W.  One of those cyclists’ superstitions.  Which I will disregard for the rest of this post.

The weather featured large in Den Haag too.  Saturday morning Not Possibles rides and all other rides were preceded by a look at various weather forecasts.  The concern was less about the rain though.  It rains much less in Den Haag – 25 cm / 10 in annually than in Houston at 122 cm / 48 in per year.  Plus everyone in the Netherlands seems to be very comfortable with riding in the wet.  We often rode on wet bike paths and in the rain.  A waterproof jacket and SKS Raceblade Long fenders were essential items.

For The Not Possibles it was more about the direction of the wind.  The average windspeed in Den Haag is 28.6 kph / 17.8 mph compared to 13.3 kph / 8.3 mph in Houston.  The decision to be made prior to the start of every ride was which way to head out so that there would be a tail wind on the return leg.  The wind in Den Haag is a fickle beast though.  We had many rides where the wind seemed to be in our faces no matter which heading we were on.  On some particularly windy days we chose to sail along with the wind, spinning at an effortless 50 kph for an hour or more.  Then we would ride the train back home.

The amount of rain in Kuala Lumpur is double that in Houston.  We get 240 cm / 94.5 in a year here.  This evening’s downpour dumped a significant amount of water onto the streets.  Enough water for Albert K to call at 7.15pm to say that the Racun Cycling Gang evening ride had been called off.  The fall during last week’s ride is still fresh in the memory.  That no doubt contributed to the decision to cancel this evening.  I shall have to get used to the R getting in the way of riding here.

“Toto, I Have a Feeling We’re Not in Kansas Anymore.” *

My last urban night ride was in Houston in April 2010.  The Six Thirty West End group still does a Tuesday evening and a Thursday evening ride through downtown Houston.  I can still hear Juan R’s “Two Minutes” call at 6.28pm.  And I can still taste the Tex-Mex at Jax Grill where we had regular post-Thursday ride meals.

I was delighted to hear that Van’s hosts urban night rides in KL.  They start at 9pm so lights are essential.  Of course when I was packing up my riding stuff in Den Haag I didn’t think I would need lights right away.  My Niterider MiNewt Mini and Planet Bike Super Flash are in the sea freight, not to be seen until November sometime.  So if I was going to ride on Tuesday evening I needed lights.  When I was at Van’s on Monday, creak hunting with YC, I bought a Cateye Rapid 5 tail light.  Raymond T at Van’s kindly lent me a headlamp.  Good to go!

The Racun Cycling Gang met at the Decanter restaurant on Jalan Setiabakti in Bukit Damansara at 8.45pm for a 9pm start.  We were a mixed group of nine riders.  As was the case with the Genting Sempah ride the majority were on folding bikes, although Wan A was on a rather tasty looking yellow Specialized  S Works Tarmac SL3.  We headed out onto quiet residential streets with YC following behind in a car.  The roads were still a bit damp from the afternoon rain.  And my bike was still creaking!

Those were the least of my concerns though.  Here is the elevation profile for the first twelve kilometres from my last ride in Den Haag:

Here is the elevation profile for the first twelve kilometers from the Tuesday night ride:

We weren’t even two kilometres into the ride and my heart rate was pushing 150 bpm.  Which is not far short of my maximum heart rate.  The rest of the ride was more of the same.  A series of  7% to 9% gradients packed fairly together.  Those low-geared folding bikes were starting to look good.

We were fortunate to have YC in a car following behind us.  At the 4km mark we were all descending at some speed.  I heard the unmistakeable sound of a bike hitting the pavement behind me.  The damp road surface, wet leaves and speed had brought down one of our group.  Fortunately he came away with only scrapes and bruises.  YC took our unlucky rider to get his road rash cleaned up.  The rest of us looked around for my headlight, which had fallen out of its handlebar mount at about the same time the accident happened behind me.  We found the batteries and the light, less the battery cover and lens cover.  The LED was still working so I stuck it back in its mount and rode on.

We made it safely up and down the rest of the climbs that made up this ride.  We regrouped at the Decanter, loaded our bikes into our cars and drove down to a roadside stall for a lime juice and cycling chat.  Which stretched to another lime juice and more chat.  And a third lime juice and yet more chat.  I’m not sure that “I was just out for a bike ride” worked as an excuse for why I got home at almost 1am.

* Title courtesy of The Wizard of Oz.

Creak (verb): To Make a Harsh, Grating Sound When Pressure or Weight is Applied

To quote the late, great Sheldon Brown:

Aside from the whoosh of the tires on the road, and the clicking of the freewheel, a bicycle should be silent.

I subjected YC to a continuous cacaphony as I rode beside him toward Genting Sempah.  A rasping noise accompanied each and every pedal stroke.  YC was the guy I called from the McDonald’s parking lot for directions to the meeting point for this, my maiden ride in KL.  More pertinently given the noise my drivetrain was making, he is also is the technical expert at Van’s Urban Bicycle Co.

We chatted about what the cause or causes could be.  In the back of my mind I worried that my bike had taken a hard knock during shipping.  We did what little diagnosing by eye was possible whilst spinning up a 6 degree slope.  My wheels looked true.  My chainrings weren’t bent.  There wasn’t any play in my cranks.  All the while the creaking seemed to get worse.  Perhaps the boost in volume was just in my mind but I was getting increasingly embarrassed by all the racket my bike was making.

I stopped and looked over my bike.  I had to at least give the impression that I was doing something about the noise.  I checked my chain ring bolts.  I loosened and retightened the quick release skewers on my wheels.  I gave my saddle a twist.  I ran through the gears.  I poked at my cleats.  Then I remounted my bike and grated the rest of the way up the hill.  At the top of the climb YC and I, hex wrenches in hand, made another attempt to find the source of the creak.  Unsuccessfully.

The next morning my bike was on the work stand at Van’s.  YC and I took the cranks off the bike, disassembled the chain rings and cleaned all the parts.  We checked the torque on the bottom bracket cups.  We put Loctite on the bolts when we reassembled the chain rings.  We reinstalled the cranks.  I went for a spin outside the shop.

My bike went back onto the work stand.  This time we removed the rear wheel and checked the hub for play.  We lubed the spoke heads where they exited the hub flange.  We checked the spoke tension.  We greased the dropouts and axle.  I went for another spin outside the shop.

There was an improvement.  However not enough to have impressed.  But was time for lunch.  Everything stops for lunch in Malaysia.  So with the hope that lubricant would continue to work its silencing way between the various parts on my bike, YC and I went to the cafeteria next door for a rice and curry feast.