Category Archives: Bike Tech

What’s in your kit


It seems that I have developed a bit of a reputation for mechanicals either stand alone or brought on through the rapid and unexpected impact of bike and rider with the ground.  So much so that for last Christmas’party, I received the following nomination “for his inability to complete more than 10km of a club inter country ride without some form of mechanical or incident”.  Now this all started on the trip to Mersing where within 10km of getting off the bum boat, my Di2 started misbehaving causing me to have to disconnect the rear and ride the 180km on 2 gears, a feat I’m actually quite proud of!  However the crash on the way back from Mersing which bent the rear derailleur hangar was not such a proud moment.  Once I’d cleared up the blood, or rather once auntie Neridah had cleared up the blood, I was all up for finishing the ride and since I have for some time packed a spare hangar as part of my away kit, thought this would be relatively straightforward.  Unfortunately, one of the 2 small screws was seized and the hangar would not budge.

A couple of weeks later whilst No1 bike was still incapacitated, I took the ever trusty cable operated No2 bike to Bintan for a day trip.  Unfortunately half way into this ride the read gear cable snapped again leaving me with a 2 gear ride until the hills got the better of me and I hopped into the van to be official photographer.

This had me thinking about what we should all be carrying around with us when we ride and what I would want to take along on a longer trip whether car supported or not.

Let’t get started then with what you all should be carrying on every ride in a back pocket, attached to the bike, or in a small saddle bag, and by small

I don’t mean one of these…

saddle bag1I mean one of these…

saddle bag2


So for the basic bare necessities of cycling life you should all be carrying one tube, 2 levers, although some may prefer 3 particularly if you have tightly fitting brand new tyres (that’s tires for the Australians and Americans out there) a pump which can live in your back pocket if you don’t want to disfigure your steed with unnecessary pieces of plastic and a multi-tool which at a minimum should have a 4mm hex for the saddle and handle bar bolts and a cross-head screwdriver to adjust your derailleur screws.  For the time conscious NIK_6547among you, a CO2 cartridge and applicator are handy but given the 50% failure rate of the liveware application of CO2 that’s a purely personal choice.  I won’t put a cost on these as you should all have them, so its a sunk cost already.

That lot should have you sorted for any local rides and of course failing that there is the universal tool kit here in Singapore of $50, a phone with the local taxi company number and a credit card, well,  just in case!

So, why just one tube, what if there is a piece of glass in the tyre (that’s tire for the Australians and Americans out there)?  Well normally we ride in groups and I like to think of tubes as common property so a NIK_6546group of 8 riders = 8 tubes and there is no way the group is getting 8 punctures in one ride.  Remember folks pay it forward, you give a tube today, you get a tube tomorrow.

Right so now we’re starting to stray into the realm of away trip.  There you are cycling in the middle of Japan 50km from Tokyo and civilisation and you rip the sidewall of your tyre (that’s… oh you know where I’m going) you’re royally screwed!  Well not if you have one of these little beauties, a Park Tyre Emergency Boot ($7 for 3).  I know you’re all saying that a $2 note does the same, but believe me it doesn’t, it just doesn’t.  And while you’re ordering these, you might as well get that extra piece of protection and buy the pre-glued patches ($3 for 6) just in case you’re a tri-athlete or you happen to be riding alone and get 2 punctures.

NIK_6548Now, there we were on out theoretical away trip to Japan 50km from Tokyo with a side wall ripped and we’re looking around for who is carrying the spare tyre (that’s… oh never mind I’m never going to win this one in a club called ANZA am I) A quick counting session and we worked out we had somewhere in the region of 18 tubes between us but not one tyre so what should one person in the group be carrying, yes you guessed it, a spare tyre.  Where are you going to put it?  Well with a couple of cable ties they fit very easily under the saddle neatly out of the way, but oh so easily accessible when the inevitable happens.  While you are at it, you might as well carry this little miracle as well ($18), it’s a mini chain tool and will get you out of a sticky situation if you snap your chain.

NIK_6551That has all the cycling certainties out of the way, so let’s move onto the slightly less frequent (you hope) and again, we’re not looking for a complete workshop of tools here, just enough to get you home in most circumstances.  So what do I have here.  Well first there is the brake($1.30) and gear cables($3.30).  If you have them, they take about 2 minutes to fit with your trusty multi-tool.  Don’t worry about the end of the cable, you can coil that up and keep it out of the way.  Next, what if you have 18 tubes all 60mm stems and you have an 80mm wheel, well top left you’ll see a couple of valve extenders ($11 for 2) which will sort you out nicely.  These ones from Fast Forward come with a little tool for tightening the extenders properly.  Middle bottom are a couple of chain links just in case you have to split your chain or can’t trust the tool to put it back together again.  In fact Shimano chains insist on a special link pin, so if you break the chain, you’re going to want one of these babies to sort you out ($4 for a universal chain link or $12 if you want a shiny KMC one)  You’ll see the ubiquitous CR2032 in the middle bottom there.  Not such an essential, but I know some of you out there just cannot ride without your power data and my PowerTap runs on CR2032s.  Top middle you’ll see a pair of brake shoes, just in case one falls out, breaks, you fit it the wrong way around or you’re a timid descender and you simply wear out your blocks.  I also bought a pair of carbon rim blocks.  Again not so essential but you don’t want to get home with a large bill for damaged rims all for the want of a pair of ($6 for 4) carbon pads.  The final item top right is a real gem!  An emergency universal derailleur hangar.  It fits through your quick release skewer at NIK_6552one end and then the derailleur screws into the other end.  It’s not a replacement but it gets you a handful of gear and so will get you home on your bike.  What I like best about this one however is the fact that it doubles as a bottle opener to crack open a couple of cold ones at the end of the adventure! ($32, and worth every cent)

We’re nearly there troops.  The chain is a little heavy but if you have support, why not ($20, remember its an emergency kit, I don’t need the lightest or shiniest).  Cleats just in case, there is nothing more annoying than spending a day not being able to clip in because you forgot to change your worn out cleats, and of course the ever useful roll of electrical tape.  Remember I said just coil up the end of the gear or brake cable, well the tape will make sure it doesn’t come undone again mid ride, get stuck in the wheel and catapult you into an altogether worse situation again.NIK_6553

Finally, and yest I really do mean finally, for those of a delicate disposition who really don’t like to get yourselves greasy, The Gentleman Cyclist recommends a pair of these.

Now I’m keen to know if anybody thinks I’ve forgotten anything, so please leave comments if you think I need to add to the kit, but let’s be honest I’m hoping I never have to use any of it again.

Happy trouble free riding!


Pitstop – Does it ever work?


Since the invention of pneumatic tires the cyclist’s bane has been the flat tyre. The history of the bicycle is filled with gadgets designed to keep air inside the tyre and, once it leaks out, how to get it back in. The ideas range from zany to ingenious. One of the most readily available & easiest to use (in principle) is Vittoria’s Pit Stop.

For those that have never experienced Pit Stop it’s a pressurized cylinder filled with compressed gas and polymer foam sealant. You carry the cylinder with you in a bike bag or jersey pocket. When you have a flat tyre you simply open your valve stem, press the nozzle on the Vittoria Pit Stop canister onto your valve stem and press toward the tyre to release the compressed gas and the liquid foam sealant.  The gas inflates the tyre while the foam sealant flows into the puncture and instantly dries, sealing the hole and fixing the flat. It’s like spray cheese but for flat tyres…

That’s the theory anyway. However, in my 4 attempts to use it, I’ve never actually got it to do anything except disappoint me. My experience has been that the marketing blurb is great but all I’ve ever managed to do is get white foam sprayed all over my carbon rims….

This failing might be due to my ineptitude but I’ve also observed statesman riders – including ANZA’s male rider of the year 2015 – struggling to get any worth out of that little can of Hope. The only time that I’ve ever observed Pitstop exceeding expectations was when it was accidentally sprayed bukkake-style into the face of a rival racing team member whilst being soaked on a Malaysian road hard shoulder!

I love the idea of the product which is why I seem to keep giving it one more try. Interested to see if anyone has had success with it & whether the fault lies in me. Give us your experience below.

CrankPunk | ANZA Training Special

ANZA has an ongoing special deal with our preferred coaching partner – Crankpunk Coaching solutions. Crankpunk is ex-professional rider Lee Rodgers. In addition to his cycling training, he’s also a key part of the Taiwan KOM organisation & a well known cycling journalist and blogger.

Crankpunk has coached a number of ANZA riders in the past and testimonials from a few of the ANZA peleton are available at:

ANZA has a standard 20% discount available for members taking coaching packages with Crankpunk. To kick the year-off, we’ve secured an even better deal to help you get in form for Bintan and the plethora of upcoming events.


First up is a 12 week SPRING Training Capsule, working on stamina and endurance in the first phase, power in the second and speed in the third. It’s designed to get the rider in the best possible shape within a time frame of 8-12 available training hours per week. My training is tested and tried and will also facilitate fat loss over the 12 weeks, so you’ll be ready for your spring challenges looking mean and lean!

Cost is usually $120, Special Offer to ANZA members $90 US.

Next is a special New Year offer on my 1-2-1 Fully Personalised training package. This involves Skype calls every week, with each week’s training plans written especially for you, focusing on finding the optimal schedule. If you want to get stronger, faster and fitter in the shortest possible time, this is the plan for you.

Usually this 1-2-1 coaching pack is $50 per week, but for ANZA Members you can receive a whopping 30% off the first 8 weeks, making it $35 US per week! Thereafter will be the usual discount price of $40 per week for ANZA members.

Finally, we have the 4-week SPRING Blaster Special. Again fully-personalised, this is for those unsure about committing for a whole 12 weeks or for those with a very specific goal in mind. We chat about your needs, and then get blasting away to get your form to jump significantly in the 4 weeks. The intensity of the training is up to you, depending on your goals and present condition. Price is $25 per week with 2 Skype calls over the 4 weeks to monitor progress. After this 4 week period if you want to continue in this way, we revert to the usual In-Betweener plan, which is still personalised, cost is $30 per week with the bi-monthly catch up calls.

Feel free to email Lee at with any questions or advice. You can also read testimonials here:

Bike Fit | The perfect xmas present?

Christmas is rapidly approaching and some of you may be wondering what to give the lycra wearer of the house…  Can we suggest a proper, professional Bike Fit as an excellent present option.


A comprehensive bike fit is an investment – you can’t get one for $50 or in 30 minutes – but it is also an investment that will pay off for as long as you ride bikes. Some of the most obvious benefits including:

  • Improved Comfort & Lower Chance of Injury
    A good bike fitting takes into account your individual biomechanics and makes sure your joints and muscles are held in neutral and biomechanically “friendly” positions. Like a favorite chair that supports you well, a biomechanically neutral position minimizes joint and muscle load. This results in greater comfort and minimizes the likelihood of repetitive use injuries and muscle imbalances.
  • Improved Performance
    When your body is set in a position that encourages a full range of muscle engagement and balanced muscle recruitment, you will produce better power (ride faster) and have better endurance.
  • Improved Technique
    Have you ever seen yourself ride? Very few of us ever learned how to ride a bike beyond learning how to balance while pedaling. Cycling is as technique based as any sport and the better your technique the easier and more comfortable it is to ride. A good bike fit has a heavy coaching and visual element and can help you see and learn techniques in a matter of hours that take years for most riders to learn. This helps a newer rider avoid developing bad habits and it helps riders of all experience levels gain a better understanding of how their bike and body interact.

Toby Jones at Bike Fit Asia is known in the region as being one of the foremost experts in this field. Within the ANZA peleton, the likes of Megan Kinder, Don, Peter Bennett, Alex Robertson and ultra-rider Ned can all attest to the value of Toby’s fit.  Toby is an experienced fitter with over 8 years of bike fitting experience and one of the very few Steve Hogg certified fitters in the world.

ANZA Cycling have struck a special deal with Toby for our members.

A special  ‘pre-fit assessment’ will be available to ANZA members. This is a ‘taster’ session where you will discover the key underlying problems/issues in your position and how they may be compromising function/movement/comfort and limiting performance. These special sessions will be made available at $150 to ANZA members for a 75 minute review.

For comparison, the actual full-on bike fit usually costs around $600 and takes a minimum of 4 hours.

In my experience, the key issues were identifying really quickly and the rest of the time was spent tinkering/fine tuning minor details. If you’re not sure if a bike fit is for you, then this might be an excellent way to try at low cost/low risk.

It’s also the perfect Christmas present if you’re struggling for ideas…

More details on BikeFit Asia’s special deal are attached in the PDF link below. Contact Toby directly at: for more info.

Anza Assessment-editmk-docx

Method in the (foldie) madness

Contemplating riding with the big boys?
Contemplating riding with the big boys?

By: Steven Wong

Strava – that piece of cycling social media that has turned what used to be a leisurely ride down to the corner shop into an all out race to beat a virtual KOM – has a function called ‘Fitness & Freshness’ which, via some unfathomable algorithm, plots your fitness based on your heart rate and/or power data if you have a power meter.


Boom and bust fitness

What you see above is a snapshot of my data going back a couple years.  The most striking thing about it is how many peaks and troughs there are, particularly in the last couple of years.  The explanation of course is that there have been periods when I’ve been off the bike and my fitness has gone to pot.

The last two big slides were caused by a) enforced convalescence after I had the temerity to go of the handlebars during a race – which required a shoulder reconstruction – and, b) a summer holiday where I didn’t go near a bike for three weeks.

In fact, it gets worse…you have to be of the cycling persuasion to understand why the mere sight of a hill gets cyclists excited and the bigger the hill, the bigger the excitement (I realise in writing this that this sentiment is not universally shared amongst all riders, but for the sake of this story, let’s assume it to be the case).  So on that holiday when we chanced upon Punta Veleno (literally, the “Poison Tip) one day, it was a case of, “A bike…a bike…my kingdom for a bike”.  It was great holiday…but for an opportunity missed.

How does 8km with an average of 12.5% and a central 4km section at 16.5% sound?
How does 8km with an average of 12.5% and a central 4km section at 16.5% sound?

I’ve learnt my lesson…flailing myself at the back of a Kranji steadfast ride and being dropped even before getting to Upper Bukit Timah Road after a layoff focuses the mind…no more prolonged absences from the bike.

The dilemma: how does one take a bike on holiday without incurring all those baggage penalties and having to book an HGV instead of a hire car to carry your standard OVERSIZE bike box.

The solution – which came to me (like the unfolding of so many of life’s mysteries) on the steep side of Mt Faber one morning – is to take a folding bike.

A folding bike you say?  Like a Brompton, which has about as much stiffness as bolster purchased from Harvey Norman’s, bedding department or even a Tern, all 11kg of it?

It is indeed a surprising fact that so many local riders are enamoured of folding bikes…not that I’ve ever understood why…could it be that one has to drive to a park connector and thus foldies are easily thrown into the boot?  The benefit of this interest is that there are quite a few bike shops that carry nothing but folding bikes or “mini-velos” and thus it is easy enough to test ride what is available.

To abridge the story, I settled on a Tyrell FX.

Note: this is not my bike…it is only a pictorial representation on my bike if it was while and had black wheels instead of mine which is black with silver wheels

My lofty aim was nothing less than to replicate the total 700c-sized bike riding experience but on a bike with 20-inch wheels; that meant building the bike rather than buying one off the shelf.  The most important thing was getting the geometry right.

As luck would have it, someone had an FX frame for sale on ‘togoparts’, the default home page website of serious DIY cycle enthusiasts.  I turned up with a wad of cash at the agreed meeting place and the seller turned up riding the bike and before I could say anything, opened up with, “But I thought you might like to see what the frame looked like with everything attached…” Grrr!!

I usually take a 56cm frame and I found that with a slightly longer stem, 175mm Shimano crank, 3T handlebars and a Selle SMP saddle, I was able to replicate almost exactly, the same measurements as my standard road bike – even if someone later remarked that it looked as if my rear derailleur was dragging on the road.

Finally, the big day came…a road test on the 6.00am City West ride.  For some reason, I thought that I might be able to slip in quietly at the back of the peloton and not be noticed, but in fact, even before I rolled to a stop at Rats, my fellow-peloton-riders-to-be were rolling about in laughter.  Anothe arrived a few seconds after me with a cheeky grin even before dismounting.  I can’t think why.

However, call it the ‘new bike effect’ or a phantom tail wind, but the Tyrell was able to keep it going at 46kmh when we got to Keppel Viaduct.  And that was on a pull, not at the back of the peloton.  Except to say that when we got to SBV, the full 9kg weight of the beast (the aluminium frame and fork alone weigh 3.3kg) slowed the proceedings a bit so no KOM that day.

So how does it ride?  Actually, surprisingly normally, except to say it is somewhat top heavy.   Stiff…is it stiff you ask?  Just look at the frame…not just two but four closed triangles…and that’s only the side view, mind you.

The biggest problem though, is that with such small wheels, even with a 56-tooth crank and an 11-tooth cog, pedaling cadence is about 20% higher at any given speed than on a 700c bike with a 52 x 12 gearing set up.  Rolling resistance is obviously greater too but “running out of gears” is a bigger problem.

The best bit however, is how the Tyrell packs.

For the sake of scale, that’s a 44-cm handlebar and a 56-tooth crank

Prior to assembling the bike, I took the frame down to Mustaffa’s luggage department and tried about a dozen suitcases before I found one, a 29-inch case, which seemed to fit best.

With the aid of some foam, the removal of the handlebar, crank and wheels, the whole thing fits in neatly with space for water bottles, spare tyre, etc.

Have bike will travel…

All in the case with the bike packed into it weighs in at just over 18kg.

So to conclude, I have made my peace with the fact that I may face the slings and arrows of outrageous ridicule on a foldie but in my defence that is easier to bear than being droppedFoldie6 from a Kranji Steadfast because I didn’t take my bike on holiday with me. (As I conclude, I need to apologise in advance to any long-suffering family members who thought I’d left the bike behind…”sorry”).

SwiftCarbon Neutrogen TT bike

A common question after the exertions of Saturday’s club championship TIme Trial was ” how much time do you reckon a TT bike would give on the course”.

My view is that the TT bike alone probably gave ~2% benefit over Saturday’s course – at least a 1 minute advantage over clip on bars in the end. Plus, they just make your pictures look a lot cooler!

“Free speed” doesn’t come for free. However, club sponsor Swift Carbon offer an absolutely stunning TT bike – the Neutrogen. As with all SwiftCarbon bikes and frames, 15% discounts are available to Anza members.



ANZA Cycling members receive 15% off SwiftCarbon retail products upon presentation of a valid membership card. Contact for more info.

Click here for a review and more pictures of this beautiful bike:


New ANZA Club Socks | Its your choice…

At RTI HQ, we don’t shy away from life’s biggest questions. Good vs Evil,  Shimano vs Campy, Pussycat Dolls Vs Girls Generation – who’s hotter? etc… The BIG stuff!

Today, we ponder that eternal question – White socks or Black?

The results of this one may have cataclysmic impact on the world around us – as it will decide what those good people at Babici produce for the new club socks.

The future is in your hands – make your choice below.

socks vote

Bottles Bottles everywhere | and not a drop to drink

image31I’ve often been out on a ride and heard the question “What do I get for my membership fee?”  Well at the AGM, I think Steven comprehensively answered that by showing that for every $1 we receive in membership fees, we spend over $3 in providing benefits for the members, whether that is club breakfast, OneLifeiD’s Training programmes, or (now) the new ANZA water bottles.  On top of that, whether due to interest in taking on a role or other reasons, we sometimes get asked “what does the committee do?”, well the honest answer is we sit around a few times a year asking each other questions like:

  • What do we think the members would like to do on their bikes
  • Can we organise more social events
  • How do we get less experienced or confident members into the club
  • How can we make the rides safer
  • What should the kit look like this year
  • How can we look better and more like a club

Well after a little more trouble than I would have liked one of those has come to fruition this week so I thought I’d share what goes into being on the committee.

Now as VP, I don’t really have a defined role, so it often falls to me to try to take an idea and see what it will take to make it happen.  Club Water Bottles was an idea we had which had proved difficult in the past so always up for a challenge I thought I’d give it a shot.

Bottle Design-right sizeI found Specialized did a customised water bottle line, but they never even bothered to respond to my enquiries, perhaps the thought of shipping to Singapore was putting them off or perhaps they had too much business to want to bother but you’d have thought that a 300 bottle order was at least worth an email.  So a bit more searching and I found that Polar Bottle in the USA would do custom designs and I have used Polar bottles for years so some enquiries and they were delighted to help.

The first step is agreeing the design, I took the ANZA kit design colours and put together something that the rest of the committee were happy with.  Then we negotiated pricing and shipping.  This is where it got interesting / difficult and my lack of knowledge of shipping showed.  I had 3 options. 1. Ship to dock ($370) 2. Ship to final address ($700) both 30-45 days and airfreight ($750).  Now I had researched the cost of buying Polar image21Bottles here and found the absolute best you could do was just under $20 so our manufacture cost was coming in significantly under that so I decided we could afford having the airfreight to get them a month earlier, what they didn’t tell me was that it was the air equivalent of the ship to dock option.

Not a problem you might think, go and collect at the airport.  Well that’s what I thought but that’s not what it means at all, it means that none of the customs clearance or import documentation is done.  I asked the shipping company of they could do that for me and they came back telling me that customs had put a stop on the bottles as I didn’t have an import license.

You see water bottles hold drinks and therefore you need a “food appliances” license from the AVA.  The license is free but you can’t get one as an individual, you have to be a company [getting frustrated now!].  Again, I asked the shipping company if they could apply on my behalf and they came back a day later saying that “management” had said no.  Stalemate.  Bottles stuck in a customs warehouse.

seatronicsThis is where mates come to the rescue and with thanks to Derek and Craig they offered to get their freight forwarding agents involved. and a couple of days later I was delighted (my wife was not) to find this lot in my livingroom.


So now you know, this is the sort of thing that the committee spend their time trying to sort out.

Now what do you do with 300 water bottles, well obviously, you get your kids to write ANZA with them right.


SwiftCarbon Bikes

The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed that Swift Carbon are one of the new sponsors of the club this year. We thought this a great opporunity to introduce this new brand that you may not be familar with….

SwiftCarbon  is a clean-sheet company, structured around what they believe is the most effective way to produce high performance carbon fibre bicycles. The brand is the brainchild of South African ex-professional cyclist Mark Blewett & the range covers road, mountain and TT disciplines.


The range leading Ultravox Ti  is currently ridden by Team DRAPAC in Australia and Japan’s Team Lemonade Bellmare.  Drapac used the Ultravox Ti to great effect in 2014 recording 15 wins (including the OCBC Cycle Singapore Criterium) and many more podiums in races around the world. In 2015, Drapac rider Wouter Wippert steered the Ultravox to its first ever UCI WorldTour victory when he triumphed in Stage 6 of the Tour Down Under in January as well as some podiums in the recent Tour Of California.

The unique ride feel of a SwiftCarbon frame should instil complete confidence in the rider. It’s a sensation that comes from being totally relaxed and comfortable on the bike. When a bike is predictable yet agile, stiff under power yet damps out road buzz, with spot-on fit for its intended purpose, that rider feels utterly at home on it. A relaxed rider is an efficient rider, and an efficient rider is a faster rider. Our bikes have a signature look, standing out in the bunch while remaining understated. A SwiftCarbon bike looks like a SwiftCarbon bike, whether it’s a road racer, TT bike or MTB. But the key element is, and always will be, the ride.


ANZA Cycling members receive 15% off SwiftCarbon retail products upon presentation of a valid membership card. Contact for more info.

Don’t be another face in the crowd with yet another Pinarello/Specialised/Trek …..with its good looks, race ready performance and reasonable price tag, the SwiftCarbon is definitely worth a look.

More info at :