Monthly Archives: February 2015

Grinding out an RTI

Writing RTI is surprisingly like riding at times. Wednesday – our form was dreadful and nothing was going right. We had literally no articles and the mental muscles, no power.

A good nights sleep and Thursday was suddenly a different story. Caviar Cyclist Bjorn Engelhardt came through with a great article on his experience travelling the world with his bike. This stirred the rest of the team into action and we ground out another 3 articles duirng the day to get us a solid, respectable issue today.

We also received another guest article last night from an unnamed source – this one talking about the ongoing pestilence of upside down bikes at Coffee Bean. Rather than being a rant, the artlce actually comes forth with a stylish alternative to dumping your beautiful steed upside down on her arse. Rounding the issue off, we have the return of “Not Another Kranji” talking about the badlands of Tuas and  another bit of clickbait on Strava apps.

Cobbled-climb-630x420The real classics start this week with Het Nieuwsblad and KBK. Send the partner off for a night out and enjoy.

Keep it safe out there – there’s been too many incidents in recent weeks.

 

 

 

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The Traveling Cyclist Goes from Cold to Hot and Back Again

Traveling CyclistThe Traveling Cyclist
– Bjorn Engelhardt

Chinese New Year passed again whilst I was away and while the bike stayed home to celebrate there were plenty of opportunities for remote riding in both the absolutely freezing to the extreme heat.

Since the last post i managed to complete a 160km Melbourne beach ride with the last 60km into a blistering northerly that had me searching for train stations to take the Boston1intelligent but maybe soft option back. Several weeks later I took the challenge to get out on a bike in Boston in the midst of one of their blizzards and gave up after a few minutes in -17c. In between there was rental bikes in Austin , scenic laps of Centennial park Sydney and actually a few rides in Singapore.

Mellow Johnnys1Having never been to Austin before I was looking forward to a few days PTO before our customer conference and had booked a fancy Trek Edmondo from Lance’s Mellow Johnny’s bike shop. Despite all the controversy it is still an amazing experience to see all the “Maillot Jaune” hanging on the wall and downstairs a collection of nearly every bike he has ridden in his controversy filled career. MJ’s is geared for the visiting cyclist and they have me a series of routes from 40km through to 100km including joining some of their club rides. Even better they are open at 7am each day including Juan Pelota (google it to understand the full meaning) Coffee car which makes the best macchiatos I have had. Someone please tell Singapore the we need a bike shop open early and a great coffee shop with “real” coffee.

Austin1First ride in Austin I had mapped out 70km course with around 700m of climbing. Little did I know that the climbing came in short, steep bursts averaging 16% !!! Lessons learnt… read the fine print. An incredibly cycling friendly city with many bike paths / lanes within the city and drivers who actually waited for cyclists with some patience. Throughout the next few days I managed a bunch of interesting rides around Lake Travis which wasn’t a lake as such rather an empty hole in the earth courtesy of the drought.

The week prior I had to be in Sydney and Melbourne and as we know riding summer in Australia is just great. Sydney has a bunch of great rides including La Perouse, Bondi etc however if you are short of time and not keen to explore the suburbs then nothing beats a series of laps around Centennial Park. Its about 4.8km in distance with a dedicated bike path and a bunch of very fancy tri-looking athletes on equally fancy equipment.

I ventured out one night at dusk and tried again the following morning with different crowds it felt like a completely different place.

Same trip also includes a visit to Melbourne and for those of you familiar with that region would know that the place to be seen is Beach Road. Huge peletons numbering in excess of 100, great roads, clearways between 6am and 10am for cyclists… what could be better. I headed down to Blackrock early one morning and joined a peleton and i think i only turned the crank over once in 5km so decided to hang back and actually get some exercise. You can easily push out 40km early morning and be back 7.30am ready for work and more importantly having enjoyed a coffee or two… plus some good tales all in a mornings journey.

Tips and Tricks for the Traveller

Bike Couriers – well maybe there’s no such thing as dedicated bike courier however on my last trip to Australia i was faced with limited time between work meetings (yes there is work somewhere in here) and flight schedules and we all know that lugging a bike box around doesn’t make for quick or easy trips. A little “googling” found a courier broking services called Transdirect (www.transdirect.com.au) who would ship my bike box from Sydney to Melbourne for AUD$76 and insured for $10,000. Before you think its some guy and truck they use all the mainstream courier company’s and simply leverage excess capacity.

Checking the company directly the price was AUD$450… go figure the huge difference. Bike was picked up at the hotel, delivered to hotel in Melbourne and waiting in my room when i checked in… amazing. When in Japan there are great services like Ta-Q-Bin which will take your sporting equipment anywhere in Japan for almost nothing. Bike boxes are generally not allowed on Shinkansen or domestic trains so for approx Y6,500 your bike (or snowboard) etc will be shipped to you final destination… just ask the hotel concierge.

Where to ride – This is probably the longest topic and everyone you speak to has a favourite ride that they say you must try. Im sure every recommendation is great however if you have to fit this in with either work or family travel requirements then you need to do some planning. My first step is always to check when sunrise is so that i can determine whether i need to stay within city streets with lighting or can take some more urban routes. For example summer in Tokyo or Gold Coast usually means 4.30ish sunrise so you can get out early before traffic, family and work calls. On my last trip to Austin I headed for Mellow Johnnys (yes i know many of you want to debate Lance’s antics but save that for a ride) and asked about group rides and also their recommendations on where to go.

Most bike shops will have maps or simple directions that you can follow or plug into your Garmin. Next edition I will go into detail on using Strava or Garmin Connect to find the popular routes and creating a series of rides for every occasion.

What to bring when your bike is at home – On this two week trip I decided that bringing the bike with was just not practical but had still planned a few rentals which means you don’t have the luxury of packing every conceivable piece of clothing or spares in the bike box. While most bike rentals come with some spares etc don’t assume they are sufficient in case of need. I have a permanently packed saddle bag Rapha Skythat includes 2 x tubes, levers, tyre patch, mini-tool and 2 x Co2 with inflator… that way i know what’s in the bag and how it works. In another bag I carry garmin, basic mount, pedals and wrench and lastly a measuring tape to ensure i get the basics of seat height and seat – bars correct. I recently found a great Rapha travel pack (see picture) that includes pockets for shoes, jerseys, cold weather gear and fits nicely inside most suitcases. Remember bring long-gloves, thermal gear and glasses… the world isn’t always and pleasant as Singapore.

Whats on the flight schedules?

If you promise not to tell the wife you might see Strava posts from Tokyo, Sydney and hopefully one or two from Singapore over the next few weeks. I love riding in Tokyo however i think March may be a little colder than I would prefer and requires a little more packing of the thermals and hoping that the snow doesn’t make a late season appearance.

In the meantime pack your gear , don’t make excuses and hope to see you out on the road.

How to stand your bike up without defiling it

image upside down bikes

Upside down bikes. A common theme of discussion, ridicule and disgust at the Coffee Bean. StyleMan2.0 already had his say on the matter in this previous post: https://cyclingrti.wordpress.com/tag/upside-down-bikes/

Now a concerned member has also volunteered his thoughts on how to eradicate this disgraceful scourge from our streets. I’ll not name our mystery contributor for fear of retribution by the gusset showing defilers.

How to stand your bike up in a classy manner- even when there’s no space at the Bean?
Use Your Bidon.

ups1 up2 ups3

Get practising in the kitchen tonight.

The only time a bike should be upside down is when you are mid-crash!

Not Another Kranji – The West Coast 100

Not another Kranji?

Well… Yes and No!

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’m on a mission to give a 100km alternative to Changi for those who might want their distance on the west coast and not on the east.  Now I know we all love Changi!  With it’s traffic lights, never has a better interval training loop been invented, but sometimes we might want to ride for more than 200m before applying the brakes and that was another part of my plan.

So armed with a route I’d made up on Garmin Connect duly loaded on my untrustworthy garmin 800 I set forth to conquer the world, to travel to parts of Singapore that most maps say is sea water and to try not to get lost.

West Coast 100The Route – You follow a standard Kranji all the way to NTU where you go left at the roundabout and head to Pioneer Road (plenty of options for a loop or two of NTU if you feel the need).  Take a hard right and I know it looks like I’m heading onto the AYE all the way to the Tuas crossing but there is actually a road that runs parallel without ever becoming the AYE.  When you can go no further turn left and hug the coast enjoying industrial Singapore.  Get back onto Pioneer road heading east and follow it until you recognise the end of the Kranji loop you started 80km earlier.  Finish just like a Kranji but getting back to the coffee bean with 98km in your legs instead of the usual 55km.

Not many lights, and ok roads, but not for the faint hearted, and by that I mean if having big industrial lorries passing you is going to give you the shakes, probably best not to venture to the industrial west.  The only downside was I haven’t found a convenient drink stop so having solo’d 100km I was dryer than a camel’s … we’ll you get the picture.

I’ll make a call for a recce crew in a couple of Saturdays to see how it works out as a group ride, but there is no reason to think it won’t be great, as long as you’re not here for the scenery.

Next up a West Coast 110, maybe by adding in Admiralty we can spice up the early Kranji loop and stretch the legs a little further.

Let’s Be Careful Out There
Andrew

More Strava Big Data – Segment deep dive

After the beauty of last week’s StravaPlus add-on,  we look at yet another Strava analysis tool called Segment Deepdive. If StravaPlus was a visual supermodel then this one is a total dog in comparison  looks-wise – but with a very nice personality…

Strava already provides great detail on a segment – as at today’s status. Info available includes Who is the KOM?, where do I rank?, where did they beat me on the course?. Where Segment Deep Dive excels in that it enables a review of the all-time history of a segment so you can see how the KOM has changed over time and whether people (and more importantly) YOU are getting faster over the years.

It looks like crap, runs slowly and is a pain to use but is really quite interesting to those that get excited by big dirty data.

To illustrate it, lets look at the Mount Faber – West Pender to Top segment.

Strava shows that Cannasia Tim Wilkins is currently top of the KOM.  It also shows that I’m miles behind in 39th place overall 😦

260201By entering theSegment Id into the website http://www.jonathanokeeffe.com/strava/segmentDetails.php?segmentId=1447627 it gives the following horrendous UI (after a few minutes of crunching).

This table allows me to see the history of the top 3 KOM positions over the years. Lachlan McKelvie held the 1st ever KOM with a time of 4:08 in 2008 before losing it to Christopher Keisers 3:49 ride in April 2009 and so on…

260202

This continues until 2012 when Tim Wilkins takes the current KOM from Matt Kinch…

260203This can be shown visually to help see how long a KOM has endured and also how much time has been knocked off the KOM each time it’s beaten. Faber has been static for a long time but some segments are much more dynamic and ever changing.

260204You can also review any rider thats ever done the segment to see how their times are changing over the years. My own times suggested that I’m getting faster but had a shocking 2011 where my times just blew out by 30 seconds.

A good way to see which of your rivals are improving though and by how much….

260205

Seems like there’s a ton of these Strava apps out there so we’ll continue to investigate to provide some content during our quiet weeks!

 

 

Exciting Benefit For All Members

OneLife_logo_green_strap

As you all know, at ANZA Cycling we are passionate about safety, in particular your safety.  Every time we go out on the road, in the water or on the trails there is a chance that something unexpected and unwanted could happen and just because of the nature of life and work in Singapore, there is a good chance that there may be somebody in the group that is new and nobody has contact details for.

If one of these unfortunate events should happen, we want first responders to have access to your emergency contact and medical information as soon as possible.  We want your club mates to be able to get a message to anybody expecting you home to let them know what has happened and where they can find you.

But, of course, we want all this to be done in a way that is both effective and colour coordinated with the club kit!

So we have worked with the great guys at OneLifeiD [www.onelifeid.com] to design an emergency medical bracelet in club colours which looks great and allows those first responders to gain access to whatever information you think they need including medical history, insurance details, credit card details, next of kin or emergency contact etc. etc. whatever you want really.

And to make things better, not only does it look great, but for a limited number it is COMPLETELY FREE to existing members.

Flyer Page 2

How does it work?
Each paid-up member may claim one free OneLifeiD for a limited period of time.

How do you get yours?
Send an email to our wonderful Membership Director Neridah at [cyclingmembership@anza.org.sg] with your name and membership number (it’s on your membership card).

Neridah will check your membership status and issue you with a unique code which can be used to pay for the OneLifeiD

You then go to [https://www.onelifeid.com/page/anzacycling] our dedicated ANZA Cycling page and follow the ordering process to choose the version you want and enter the text you want displayed on the OneLifeiD

When will it be delivered?
To keep costs down, OneLifeiD will batch up the orders and on a monthly basis, maybe more frequent if we have a lot of orders in a short period, they will send them to Neridah who will distribute them

Anything else to do?
Once it arrives, there are instructions on how to cut the band to the right length and how to set up your lifetime account on the OneLifeiD system with all the details you want first responders to be able to see.

Can you have more than one?
Only one per member will be free of charge, but you are free to buy as many as you like in the ANZA Cycling colours or in any other colour from the main orders page

Can you use the code for another product or another colour?
No, the codes will only work for the ANZA Cycling coloured band.

More Strava… StravaPlus!

Big Data. Buzzword of the year.

It can help cure cancer. It can drive your Google car. It can find you the perfect song on Spotify or the ideal shag on Match.Com. However, all these use cases skip the most important one that matters – it can help you waste even more time on Strava!

Some geeky genius has developed a Google Chrome plug in which adds additional features to Strava. None of the them are necessary but they are pretty cool and a great way to lose an additional few minutes during the essential post-ride analysis drilldown session.

StravaPlus is free and can be found here: http://bitly.com/stravaplus . It basically adds another menu option to Strava which allows you to see more data and get some nice visualisations.

Need yet more info on your ride stats…

strava1Or to see who else you passed on the ride (with FlyBy and Veloviewer integration)…

strava3Or a global map of your KOMS…  Have it Son!

strava2It’s all there.

 

 

 

Under The Helmet | Arran Pearson

You see them on the bike but who are the people behind the helmet. Inroducing our new Mountain Bike Director – Arran Pearson.

aaron2

  • Where are you from and how long have you been in Singapore?
    From Sydney, we’ve been in Singapore about 6 months now
  • How long you been riding?
    Well, I grew up an expat brat in PNG and we pretty much spent every spare second on bikes… then I grew up and decided that drinking beer was a much better use of my time. I got back into MTB in about 2002 and started training ‘seriously’ in 2009
  • What’s in your bike cabinet?
    · Ummm is my wife (Lisa) on the ANZA cycling distribution list? Ok, here goes:
    – Cannondale Slice RS (Black) TT
    – Salsa Warbird Gravel Grinder (hate that term – call it an all road tourer)
    – Cervelo S5 VWD
    – Salsa Beargrease Carbon Fatbike
    – Moots Routt 45 (another all road tourer)
    – BlackSheep Custom Tour Divide Cruiser Singlespeed…In my defence I’m selling the TT rig and the Salsa (I need a ‘go-fast’ MTB and we are running out of balcony space)
  • Greatest cycling achievement?
    Ummm, completing the Tour Divide MTB Race Singlespeed 2nd place by about an hour (over 21 days of non-stop racing)
  • How many bones have you broken on the bike? Worst crash?
    Oh a lot… worst crash was mistiming a jump (actually – that in itself is nothing special… whoever the wheels leave the ground its a miracle I land in one piece) and landing hard on my back / head. Broke shoulder blade and collar bone. Since then the total list is something like Right and left shoulder blade (the left one twice), several ribs (in separate incidents) and been concussed on a few occasions.
  • Most embarrassing moment in life?
    So many to choose from… maybe the time my long suffering wife and I were on a motorcycle ride to the South Coast and I decided (against better advice) that we had plenty of fuel to make our destination. Turns out I miscalculated by about 2 km. Pushing 240kg of motorcycle for a couple of kms in the dark made a great start to that holiday.
  • Most embarrassing moment on a bike?
    Ummm… on my first bike packing ride, I got dressed in the dark and headed out… didn’t realise that I had my knicks on inside out until I reached the next town. It took me a while to work out what the sniggering was… although to be honest I was so cold that I did’t care – thank god they brought me coffee!
  • If your life was a film, what would it be?
    Secret Life of Walter Mitty
    aaron3
  • Motto in life?
    Life’s too short to put up with <insert current source of annoyance and frustration>
  • Motto on the bike?
    Eat Sleep Ride
  • Words of wisdom for the club members?
    If you’re not having fun then you’re doing it wrong.
  • What’s the last song you’d play before a race to motivate yourself?
    I’m actually not a music guy really – friggin things turn into earworms and then you can’t get it out of your head. Do you know how frustrating it is to find yourself humming ‘Let it Go’ as you’re out on a solo RTI?!?
  • If your life were a film, who would you want to play you?
    Gee I’d cast some rugged suave action type but suspect the producers would go for Seth Rogan 😦
  • Favourite SG ride and why?
    Road? Kranji – by a long way. Its basically a perfect self contained blast – enough bumps to add variety, some sections when you can go fassssssst and on a top day (or in a decent group) its over and done with in a couple of hours. For MTB then it has to be the Bukit Timah Loop – tough, technical but rideable (on a good day) and lots of soft leaves to catch you when you fall!
  • Where can you be found when not on the bike?
    By the pool at my condo with the kids.
  • Best ride in the region that you have done?
    I rate the ANZA Fraser’s weekend that I did a few short weeks after arriving as one of the best – tough but do-able and of course I was out with a great crew! But really, I’ve done a heap of riding in Malaysia now with the Audax guys (and solo) and I really get a kick out of riding into a whole ‘other county. There’s something about doing that which reaffirms everything I love about bikes.
  • Cycling ambition still to be tackled?
    Oh so many! I’m doing the Trans-continental race later this year (Flanders – Istanbul non-stop) but really want to tackle Transamerica (road based backpack across the US). I’d also like to go back to the Tour Divide and get the SS win outright and shoot for the record (currently 19 days – I think its ‘soft’). But I also like being married and there’s a balance!
  • 3 words which best describe you?
    Obsessive, Compulsive, Focussed
    aaron1
  • Why would you like to cycle from Canada to Mexico solo unsupported on a single speed?
    Ha – there is a long answer to this – check out http://www.marathonmtb.com/2013/08/07/racing-the-tour-divide/ (and do a search for my name for the other three parts!) but essentially, we now live very ordered, sheltered lives and there aren’t that many chances you get to go and put yourself well and truly outside your comfort zone to the extant that if you get things wrong then the consequences could be dire. TDR (and others of its ilk) transcend simply riding and are the sort of life experiences you’ll tell your grand kids about – I mean, who else has a tale of facing down a Cougar wearing nothing but sweaty lycra in the middle of a Montana forest?

Cycling Medicine Seminar

We don’t normally pimp other people’s stuff on RTI – unless they’re paying sponsors.

The RTI mailbox seems to be the go-to place for those that know where Saddam’s lost gold is buried or need to transfer $10M out of Uganda immediately. When the attached mail came through the virtual letterbox earlier in the week, I was shocked to see something both relevant and interesting.

It’s a seminar on cycling related injuries – led by Dr Low Wye Mun whom many will know from Tour De Bintan medical support.
OCBC and CCN pro-continental cyclist Low Ji Wen will also be talking about the life of a pro cyclist & how he manages to stay injury free during races.

It’s cheaper than a double expresso…

MOH Cycling (Uneditable)