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My Local Bike Shop (LBS)

Wikipedia defines local bike shop or local bicycle shop as a small business specializing in bicycle sales, maintenance and parts.

To become my local bike shop, the business has to meet a few more criteria.

  1. It has to be not more than 5km / 3mi from home.
  2. The staff are there because they love it and really want to be there.
  3. The staff are knowledgeable and keep up to date on the latest technology.
  4. The staff provides exceptional customer service.
  5. The shop provides value for money.
  6. The staff do not unnecessarily upsell, when a simple repair will suffice.
  7. Points 2 to 6 come together to create a “je ne sais quoi” that makes me want to go back there.

My first LBS was West End Bicycles in Houston, Texas.  The story of how I found West End Bicycles, in 2009, is here.


Photograph courtesy of West End Bicycles

West End Bicycles has been in business for thirty one years now, and long may they prosper.  I moved away from Houston in 2010, but have been back a few times over the years to ride the BP MS150.  Most recently in April 2016.  Every time I visit Houston I make sure to call in at West End, which is my favourite LBS to this day.

I moved from Houston to Den Haag, The Netherlands.  It took me a year to find a group of like-minded cyclists to ride with.  By which time my bike needed a full service.  David Porritt introduced me to Tom Schouten Wielersport.


Photograph courtesy of Tom Schouten Wielersport

Like West End, Tom Schouten Wielersport is an owner-operated bike store.  Tom was always there to talk to and connect with his customers.

The personal touch matched the quality of service provided.  My bike felt like a new one when I got it back.  All the cables had been replaced.  The hubs, bottom bracket and headset had been cleaned and greased.  The wheels had been trued.  It had new bar tape.  It was cleaner than it had been since the day I took delivery of it.

The only downside?  It cost me €175 / USD187 / RM833.  Enough to convince me to attend a bicycle maintenance course!

There were a few other bike shops within a 5km radius of the Benoordenhout area where I lived.  Which would not be considered unusual in cycling-mad Holland.  Van Herwerden and Mammoet Rijwielen were two that I used on occasion when I needed an inner tube or a bicycle light.  Tom Schouten remained as my go-to LBS when my bike needed work that I couldn’t do myself, like replacing a broken spoke.

In 2012 I moved back home.  My first ride in Kuala Lumpur was with a group from Van’s Urban Bicycle Co.


Photograph courtesy of

It was during that ride up to Genting Sempah ride that my bike developed a nasty creak.  Read about getting that creak fixed at Van’s here.

Van’s Urban Bicycle Co. met most of my criteria for an LBS, except the “local” part.  The shop was in Petaling Jaya.  More than 15km / 9mi, through city streets, from where I lived.  Six months later the shop had moved to Kampung Tunku, which was even further away.

As time went by I gravitated to a group of road bike riders, rather than the folding bike riders that Van’s catered to.  Those roadies introduced me to Meng Thai Bicycle Centre.


Photograph courtesy of Meng Thai Bicycle Centre

Like Van’s, Meng Thai Bicycle Centre ticked all the boxes, sadly except for the accessibility one.  The shop is in Kota Damansara, about 20km / 12.5mi away.  To make things worse, the traffic on the way there is usually terrible, and once there, parking spaces around the shop are very difficult to come by.  Which is a shame, because Husher and his team at the shop have that je ne sais quoi.

About a year ago Lee and another mechanic moved to their new branch in Kota Kemuning.


Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

The drive there and parking is much easier, but the Kota Kemuning shop is 40km / 25mi away.  Though I must admit that, despite the distance, that shop is relatively easy to cycle to from where I live.  Up onto the MEX Highway, and then onto the KESAS Highway to Kota Kemuning.  Nevertheless, Meng Thai Cycle is not local.

There is one bike shop that is a 6km / 4mi ride away from home.  I went there twice.  Once to address a mechanical issue, and once to buy an inner tube.  Both times I came away disappointed.  I didn’t feel that the mechanic knew what he was talking about with respect to the mechanical issue, and I was charged 30% above the market rate for the inner tube.  I will never go there again.

They say that good things come to those who wait.  A new bike store opened 2.5km / 1.5mi away in December 2016.  The Bike Artisans.


Photograph courtesy of Adrian Goh

Jeff Liew has certainly given his bike shop a generous dose of je ne sais quoi.  Helped in no small measure by the drool-worthy bike frames, kit and accessories carried by The Bike Artisans.  Brands include Pegoretti, Stelbel, Look, Cervélo, Slide Away, Moulton, Black Sheep Cycling, PEdALED, Warsaw Cycling, Apidura, Kask, Tacx and MCFK Carbon.

Jeff is clearly passionate about the products in his shop, and he is happy to chat about all things cycling.  Lim is the in-house mechanic.  I am very happy with the shifting tuneups he did on both of my bikes.

And despite the high-end gear in the shop, an inner tube sells for the market rate.

I’ve found my Kuala Lumpur LBS.


Graphic courtesy of

Team Flipside at the Kuantan Century Ride 2014

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Kuantan Century Ride 2014 Banner

The first century ride of the year for Team Flipside was in Kuantan.  This was my second KCR, having ridden the event last year with Team 165.

Fifteen Flipsiders made the three-hour trip to Kuantan from KL.  A number of us got there late on Saturday.  We were thankful to Mark for collecting goodie bags on our behalf.  The Power Bar and granola bar came in handy during the ride.

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

I stayed with my cousin and her husband.  By coincidence they had decided to take me to dinner at the same restaurant where the other Flipsiders had made a reservation.  It was a good thing that a reservation was made.  Alor Akar Seafood Restaurant was packed with diners.  Good food at a reasonable price.  A recipe for success anywhere.

We met at the start at about 7am.  Some drove from their hotels.  I rode from Izan’s and Paul’s home.

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Once everyone had gathered we posed for the obligatory group photograph.  We need to get Griffin a Flipsider jersey.

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Evolution

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Evolution

The Flipsiders have made a habit of starting rides at the very back of the pack.  In the case of the KCR 2014 we were so far back that we were behind the police escort vehicles.  It wasn’t long before we were told to move up.

Kuantan Century Ride 2014 Escorts

Over 2,000 riders signed up for the event.  So it took a while before we back markers got across the start line.

Photograph courtesy of Faizal Shaupi

Photograph courtesy of Faizal Shaupi

The route took us north-west before curling south.

Kuantan Century Ride 2014 Route

I didn’t remember Kuantan being hilly.  I know better now.  Fortunately the climbing was limited to the first part of the course, when it was relatively cool.

Photograph courtesy of Mohamad Shazreen Arif

Photograph courtesy of Mohamad Shazreen Arif

It wouldn’t be the KCR without a portion of the ride along the beach.  It was a particularly scenic part of the ride.  Unfortunately by the time we got to the beach it was getting hot.

Photograph courtesy of Zue Rahman

Photograph courtesy of Zue Rahman

34° C / 93° F that felt like 42° C / 107° F hot.  I was so glad to see Pam, Maggie, Cindy and Van at the second rest stop.  With a van full of ice cold 100 Plus and water.  And bananas and energy bars.

Photograph courtesy of Iskandar Ahmat

Photograph courtesy of Iskandar Ahmat

They were out in support of Team Knog.  Seven friends from Van’s Urban Bicycle who completed the TCR on folding bikes.  Chapeau to those guys.

Photograph courtesy of Wan Amril

Photograph courtesy of Wan Amril

The third stop was on the grounds of the University Malaya Pahang campus.  Where ice-cold cendol was being served.  I had five servings.  Did I say it was a very hot day?

Kuantan Century Ride 2014 Cendol

The heat took its toll and quite a few starters did not make it to the finish line back in Kuantan.  All the Flipsiders completed the ride.   Marco and I finished together.  Hot and tired, but happy to get a finisher’s medal.

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

I’m not sure which was worse.  Riding in that heat, or being one of the girls who handed out the medals, waiting in the heat for the last of the finishers.

Photograph courtesy of Cyclomotion

Photograph courtesy of Cyclomotion

Speaking of medals, these were pretty impressive.

Kuantan Century Ride 2014 Medal

Everyone I spoke to who had done the ride last year agreed that this year’s route was an improvement.  The omission of the Gebeng Bypass was greatly appreciated.

We all had nothing but good things to say about the organization and planning that went into the Kuantan Century Ride 2014.  The ride strted on time.  The marshaling of the route was excellent.  All the rest stops were well-stocked with cold drinks and fruit.  Thumbs up to the organizers and volunteers for a great event.

Kuantan Century Ride 2014 JM Cycling Evolution

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Evolution

Now if only they could do something about the heat.

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!

Flying the Colors

I thinned down my collection of cycling jerseys when we came home to Kuala Lumpur.  Among the jerseys that I kept were my local club jerseys.  The camaraderie that those jerseys represent makes them near and dear to me.

“Club” sounds a bit formal.  “Group” is a better word.  My first cycling group was West End.  So named because our rides started outside the West End Bicycles shop on Blossom Street in Houston, Texas.  The shop owner, Daniel Murphy, told me about the group and the rides that they do.  There are Tuesday and Thursday evening rides that start at 6.30 pm, and Ted’s Taco Ride on Sunday mornings.

I met Daniel not long after I started cycling.  In my days of riding my Trek 7.5FX hybrid bike in my baggy shorts, t-shirt and tennis shoes.  My first ride with the West End group was spectacularly unsuccessful.  I got dropped within the first few kilometers.  Dropped so badly that I lost sight of everyone’s tail lights.  I didn’t know the route so I had to go home.

The next ride went much better.  Largely due to a few riders hanging back to make sure I didn’t get lost again.  I can’t thank them enough for that.

The West End group introduced me to riding further than 16km / 10mi in one go, how to change a flat tube, what to bring with me on a ride, and the culinary delights of Jax Grill and Doña Maria.

West End Bicycles sold these jerseys.  I know about Frank, the dearly-loved and sadly-departed shop cat.  I don’t know anything about the dog in the shop logo though.  I can tell you that the West End group lives up to the motto on the collar.  Fast and Friendly.

West End

There have also been a series of 6.30 jerseys.  Including this one, which I no longer have.  I donated this jersey, along with others, to an aid organization in Den Haag.  Perhaps someone is still sporting this jersey somewhere in South Holland.

Photo courtesy of West End Bicycles

Photo courtesy of West End Bicycles

It took a while to find a group to ride with in Den Haag.  All the Dutch cycling clubs that I encountered were very serious.  In the typically Dutch way they were very well-organised and had excellent facilities.  They were also geared toward the competitive rather than the recreational cyclist.  Some even required that you met a qualifying time for membership.  Ride 40km / 25mi in an hour for instance.

So a year had gone by before I heard of the Not Possibles.  A group made up largely of expatriates living in the Den Haag area.  Weather permitting, the Not Possibles meet outside the DAKA sports store in the Leidsenhage shopping center on Saturday mornings.  The route for the day often depends upon the prevailing wind, and is usually about 40 to 60km / 25 to 37mi long.

Th group was described to me as one that rode at a pace between 20 to 25kph / 12.5 to 15.5mph.  I learned on my first ride with them that this was not strictly true.  They averaged about 25kph / 15.5mph for the entire ride.  Including the slow rolling start from Leidsenhage, the stops at traffic lights and the slow rolling through built-up areas.  I spent most of my first ride with the Not Possibles frantically trying not to lose sight of the tail end of the group as it sped through the trees in the dunes.  This struggling on the first ride was becoming a bad habit.

A few months after I hooked up with the Not Possibles we decided that we needed group jerseys.  This is what we came up with.

Not Possibles

The Not Possibles introduced me to routes north, east and south of Den Haag (west was not possible because the North Sea gets in the way),  riding in the rain, harnessing a tail wind for 60km / 37mi and taking the train to get home, and the delights of apple pie and coffee at the Coffee Club.

I hooked up with a group of cyclists within a few days of arriving in Kuala Lumpur.  As soon as my bikes arrived I was off on a ride with the Racun group.  “Racun” is the Bahasa Malaysia word for “poison.”  In this case the name refers to how people are poisoned by the cycling bug.  One bike becomes two bikes becomes three bikes.  Every bright and shiny new accessory becomes a must-have.

The name is especially appropriate because the Racun group are linked to Van’s Urban Cycling Co.  Where new temptations are constantly presented.  Like the new Knog Blinder Road light.  I am not the only one in the group who is sorely tempted by this light.

The Racun group has introduced me to the world of folding bicycles, urban night rides, breakfast at Sharif Roti Canai, and orange + green apple + lychee juice.

Van’s was sold out of the original yellow and black Racun jerseys.  Fortunately for the new joiners a second batch of jerseys was made up.


The jerseys may be different, but they represent the same things.  A love of cycling, fun and friendship.  I fly these colors with pride.

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble Part Two

Posted on

“Hill Chasers” was the second installment of Van’s Rumble Cycle Challenge.  We met at the VUBC shop at 7.30am to sign waiver forms and size up the competition.  After a safety briefing we headed off for our first look at the track.

Rumble Hill Chasers Briefing

Amril and his band of organisers had found a closed stretch of freshly-paved road not far from the VUBC shop.  All we had to do was clear away some loose stones and other rubble.  It wasn’t long before we could lay down a finish line and start racing.

Rumble Hill Chasers Course 2

We were in teams of two or three riders.  Each team’s result was determined by the time of the second rider across the finish line.  We had so much fun charging up the hill that we decided to ride the hill twice and take the average time to determine the winning team.

Rumble Hill Chasers at the Finish Line

Here we all are after our two runs.

Photo courtesy of Van's Urban Bicycle Co.

Photo courtesy of Van’s Urban Bicycle Co.

Then it was back to the VUBC shop where Ray worked out the final results.

Rumble Hill Chasers Results Calculation

Leong and his brother were a team of two, but they had enough firepower between the two of them to win overall honours.  On a mountain bike and a foldie no less.  Here are the happy winners with the event organisers:  Ray, YC, Vanessa and Amril on the right.

Photo courtesy on Van's Urban Bicycle Co.

Photo courtesy on Van’s Urban Bicycle Co.

There was also a prize for the fastest individual.  That went to a roadie.

Photo courtesy on Van's Urban Bicycle Co.

Photo courtesy on Van’s Urban Bicycle Co.

We are all now looking forward Rumble Cycle Challenge Part Three.  The Scavenger Hunt on 16th June.

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

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.

Thirsty Work

Nineteen of us set off from outside the 7-11 at Bukit Jelutong on the Van’s Urban Bicycle Co. group ride this morning.  We were a roughly 50-50 mix of folding bikes and road bikes.  Our route to Kampung Sri Kundang was a bit different this time.  Instead of heading north on the Guthrie Corridor Expressway we took the hillier option along Jalan Batu Arang to the west.  Hillier to the tune of  200 meters / 650 feet of elevation in the first seventeen kilometers.

Kundang Route

We made regular stops to regroup and to ensure that no one got lost.  This was our first break at the bus stop outside the UITM Puncak Perdana campus.

Reverse Dragon's Back to Kundang 05

Photo courtesy of Van’s Urban Bicycle Co.

From here it was five more climbs before the right-hand turn toward Sungai Buloh and Kuala Selangor.  Everyone was relieved that the rest of the way to Kampung Sri Kundang was flat.  Hence the smiles at the traffic light at the junction with Jalan Kuala Selangor.

Reverse Dragon's Back to Kundang 02

Photo courtesy of Van’s Urban Bicycle Co.

Reverse Dragon's Back to Kundang 04

Photo courtesy of Van’s Urban Bicycle Co.

It was a warm morning, but there were lots of clouds in the sky.  So we weren’t in direct sun.

Reverse Dragon's Back to Kundang 03

Photo courtesy of Van’s Urban Bicycle Co.

Even so the humidity was high so the ride was sweaty work.  We were all glad to get to Kampung Sri Kundang.  As always the roti canai and teh tarik was worth the ride.  By the time we saddled up again the sun had come out in full force.  It was at least 35°C / 95°F during the 33km back down the Guthrie Corridor Expressway.  And a tough 33km for those who weren’t used to riding as far or climbing as much as we did today.

We were all hot and thirsty by the time we got back to Bukit Jelutong.  I had emptied both my bottles in addition to the two teh tarik I had with my roti canai.  I went straight into the 7-11.  Firstly because it is air-conditioned, and secondly to buy a 1.5 liter bottle of 100 Plus.  I had never drunk a liter and a half of anything in one go before.  There is a first time for everything.

Roll on 2013

My plan for a morning ride on New Year’s day suffered a serious blow as I sat in a traffic jam at 2am.  The injury proved fatal to my plan.  The official time of death was 5.45am.  Which was the time when I turned off my alarm, rolled over and went back to sleep.

So my first ride of 2013 was on 2nd January.  There were about twenty of us who set off from Van’s Urban Bicycle Co for an evening ride around Kelana Jaya.  Most people were riding what Van’s specialises in – folding bicycles.  I had not ridden this route before I so was very happy to stay at the back of the group and take in the sights.

Kelana Jaya

As you can see from the route this was an urban ride in every respect.  Van’s occupies shop space in 3 Two  Square, which sits in a group of commercial buildings on the edge of a large residential area.  We alternated between busy main thoroughfares and quieter neighbourhood streets.  We rode past restaurants, schools, banks, mosques, sports facilities, a park and of course lots of homes.

3 Two Square

Naturally we had to stop for refreshments at a mamak restaurant a kilometer or so before we got back to Van’s.  We parked our bikes in front of the closed pharmacy next to Al-Ehsan restaurant.


As is often the case in the evenings folding tables are set up on the sidewalks, and where possible, on the edge of streets as well.  We joined some tables together and plonked ourselves down on plastic stools.  We tucked into what else but roti canai, nasi lemak and teh tarik.

We didn’t cover many kilometers, but that isn’t the point of the Racun Cycling Gang rides. There will be time enough for kilometers and climbs this weekend.  This was a good start to the year.