Tag Archives: cycling

The State Of Fun

Mike Sewell

So if you are looking for a ride with no traffic lights, smooth road surfaces, undulating terrain, minimal traffic, where do you head for? Malaysia, Bintan, Batam. No the answer is on your doorstep – Sentosa

sentosa2

Ride details:

  • Tuesday 0545 Ranger Station Sentosa Gateway
  • Distance – approx. 35 km
  • Speed – variable, between steady, fast & faster.

For those of you unfamiliar with the State of Fun it is the ‘catchy’ description for Sentosa, not sure how long it took those highly paid advertising executives to come up with that slogan but it was worth every dollar – right?

Prior to moving to Sentosa I had hardly ridden on the Island as I was stuck in a never ending cycle of West Coast 32,s, Eddies/Edwinas interspersed with the East Coast blast to spice things up a bit.  Sentosa being compact allowed me to explore pretty quickly & formulate a cunning plan to give me a ride that would be enjoyable but still be hard enough to make it meaningful.  This would also save me getting my arse kicked on the East Coast Blast, so a win – win situation.

The ride starts at the Ranger Station as you enter Sentosa Gateway, there is a small layby which allows a safe waiting place. We head across the Gateway & through the toll barriers, (entrance is free before 0700) & we start the first climb up to a left turn onto Artillery Avenue, heading straight we lead onto Allanbrooke Road, good rolling section with a recovery downhill before our first left turn which takes us on past our Club Sponsors Picotins premises & we do our first U turn in front of the W Hotel.

sentosa1

Retrace back to Allanbrooke Road & that nice recovery downhill becomes an uphill slog, continue along to the roundabout & a left turn puts us on a steady climb up to Sentosa Golf Club, quick left turn into the Car park, avoid the Bentleys & the Maserati,s etc  & descend back to a sharp left & down to Tanjong Beach, sweeping left turn takes us onto the flat section along the beach, avoid the barrier & the Kayakers & after a roundabout turn retrace back up the climb & back onto Artillery Avenue.

This is not a recovery section as the road rises slightly as you head towards Resorts World, following Siloso Road we turn left onto Imbiah Road, which is a short sharp climb & a roundabout at the top gives you a chance to draw breath & head for a descent down towards the Shangri La, a few speedbumps keep you focused before another roundabout U turn & climb back up the hill you have just descended. This is a tough section before a left turn back onto Siloso Road offers you a brief respite as you retrace back to the starting point at the exit road onto Sentosa Gateway.

That’s the end of Lap 1. Most weeks we do around 2.5 laps with most riders leaving the Island by around 0700. The ride has been scheduled now for around 5 months & attracts anywhere from 1 rider to around 8.

It is a drop ride (I am a witness to that every week) but as it is on a circuit you can shortcut to rejoin the group or suffer in silence off the back. There is a hard core of regulars who keep the pace up & it is perhaps the only ride midweek where you can get 75 minutes of traffic light free fun.

See you on Tuesday

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The Gentleman Cyclist – Punctures

Gentleman Cyclist 2My dearest club mates, you may not have noticed me, but I have been amongst you recently dressed incognito in my tweeds to blend in.  I have been observing the manners and behaviour of the modern cyclist so that I am up to date on culture and etiquette of the lycra clad generation.

Of course in my day, there was never any need as discuss these things as a gentleman was brought up to know how to act in public, whether on the shooting range, escorting a lady to her favourite hat shop, in the boardroom or when on the recreational bicycle.

I noticed on my foray into modern two wheeled culture that the scouts motto “Be Prepared” seems to have slipped out of common usage, and certainly is not being followed in spirit or kind.

What am I talking about?

Punctures!

Gentleman Cyclist 8Yes, the bane of the modern cyclist.  Back when I was leading the peloton, this was not a problem.  Solid wheels did not puncture.  Of course they were a little uncomfortable especially when you hit those cobbles in Roubaix but we got by without the need for pneumatic cushions.  Sadly today, comfort has taken over from practicality and you modern softies feel the need to glide along on a layer of captured air which leads to a problem when that air escapes.

Now for most it is a few minutes, but there are definitely some in the peloton who could do with some puncture practice.  I’m not talking about old school puncture repair with glue patches, sand paper, chalk dust and all that palava, what I am talking about is the relatively simple task of changing an inner tube.

Now I know some of you have delicate hands, and the fairer sex are always welcome to stand beside their steeds looking helplessly at the gentlemen in the group who would be, well, less than gentlemen if they did not come to the rescue, but for most of you no excuses, this is a basic skill of life.

 pedrosI understand that it can be daunting and indeed if you do a googly search on the world wide interweb, one of the first pictures is a little intimidating.  Surely you don’t need to have all this to change a simple inner tube?  And of course no you don’t.  Pedro’s are just trying to sell tools, and presumably help a saddle bag company out at the same time.

So club mates I researched a little and found this:

An average joe fixing a puncture in around 49 seconds -> Average Joe changing a tube

And a look a little deeper found examples from a couple of past tour winners.

Fellow Gentleman Cyclist Greg Lemond gives us the low down here -> Greg changing a tube

And that scoundrel Lance helps us out here -> Lance changing a tube and I want you all to particularly take note of what lance says at 1 minute 7 seconds 😉

So next time you are out on a ride, you know what you need to do, and you all know you should be carrying a spare tube, levers, pump right.

innppz41Just before I leave you to go and practice your tube changing technique, one final word.  I know you all believe that cycling is all about legs and so don’t like to exercise your arms so if you have decided that pumping is just too much work for your wasting upper bodies and have invested in carbon dioxide (that’s CO2 to you) cartridges, then for goodness sake learn how to use them.  There is nothing marks you out as an amateur more than a large puff of icy gas as you waste $4 of CO2 and ask your mates if you can borrow a pump.

To help you there, there is this -> How to use CO2

 Good luck out there, and happy pumping gentlemen.

TGC

Not another Kranji | Marina Bay Easy

Somebody asked me this week where I’d recommend they go for a recovery ride. My initial response was “do the normal routes that we list in this column – just go slower….”

It got me thinking though about good recovery routes – particularly quietish ones where you can just potter around with no real traffic. Ideally somewhere with nice views and some coffee stops.

Depending on where you live, the Marina Bay area is an increasingly popular option  – particularly on early Monday and Friday recovery rides. There’s various loops that can be done incorporating the Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by The Bay, Marina Barrage, Tanjong Rhu and National Stadium areas.

This one is a personal favourite – it’s about a 12km loop with multiple turn-off options that can be modified depending whether a traffic light is red or green. It’s usually completely deserted for the majority of the ride – bar some occasional joggers on the trail.

gardens bay

Would recommend some good lights as the Gardens By The Bay stretch is a bit dark pre-dawn. However the view from the Barrage is spectacular and the Strava profile looks like a uterus/ elephant/ y-fronts depending on your mental state so it’s ripe for some good ride names.

Stop Press – after this article was written, the long awaited Park Connector from Marina Barrage was opened. Riding directly from the barrage onto East Coast Park is now a reality – bypassing all the road junctions. Crazed skaters, tandem riders and head-phoned random runners sadly still prevalent though…

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=794693693940078

The Gentleman Cyclist – Numpties

Gentleman Cyclist

It has been a while since we heard from The Gentleman Cyclist.  He has been beavering away in his workshop, having heard that cyclists today seem to like changing gear from the handle bars rather than reaching down to the lever on their down tube.  TGC has been trying to find a cable long enough to allow him to try this out, and succeeded by stripping a cable from the Austin Healey in his garage..  The result was quite a revelation and he feels the trend may catch on.  Enough of this, we need to interrupt his invention tests as we received an important question in a letter early last week and TGC has been itching to offer his opinion.

Dear TGC
I recently joined a cycling club and one of the day idea sounds attractive as it will be fast like me but it has been billed as a “no-numpties” ride.

I’m not familiar with this term but since you are knowledgable on all cycling etiquette matters I thought you might be able to shed some light on this and advise if this is a ride I should be doing.

Regards
Numpty Dumpty

Dear Numpty

Thank you for your letter.  I was intrigued when I read it as it was not a term that we hear much down here in Oxfordshire.  It is almost certainly not a term that should be used in polite company and I wondered if perhaps your friend from the cycling club is from North of the Border.  Glasgow perhaps or Aberdeen.  Is he large, bearded, ginger haired, smells perennially of whiskey and wears one of those skirts that the Scots insist on calling a kilt?

The starting place for all definitions is, of course, that momentous tome of the English language, the Oxford English Dictionary.  The OED defines the word as follows:

Numpty: A stupid or ineffectual person.

If we start to break this down for cycling purposes, then stupid might refer to not knowing how to ride a bicycle properly, or perhaps more likely, not knowing how to ride safely in a group.  Equally possibly he is trying to highlight that  or being unaware of the protocols of riding in his group could, perhaps bring an element of danger to a fast and furious ride.  Ineffectual on the other hand is probably assessing an element of how much work an individual is willing to do to support the group, and namely, no wheelsuckery.  This therefore would seem to imply that if you are either brand new to riding with the club or you have the intention to sit on the back (cough! triathlon style) and let the others work for you, then this is probably not your ride.

On a lighter note, and entering into the spirit of our colonised neighbours, I think it important in my answer to give some guidance on the proper usage of the term as just throwing it into any sentence just won’t do.  For this guidance, there is no better place to look than the esteemed Urban Dictionary.  I know you are probably asking yourself what a Gentleman such as myself would be doing even with knowledge of such a base publication, but when one cycles to the remoter parts of  High Wycombe then, if one is to be able to communicate, then one, as the saying goes, needs to be “down with the kids”

Urban Dictionary defined Numpty as follows:
“Someone who (sometimes unwittingly) by speech or action demonstrates a lack of knowledge or misconception of a particular subject or situation to the amusement of others.”

or to be blunt

“Numpty first surfaced on the terraces of west of Scotland football grounds, many many years ago. A player who couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a shovel would be a f***ing numpty.”

In terms of using the phrase, it is important to put on a broad Scottish accent when you use it to get the full effect and some examples you might use are:

“Awww Jimmy ya numpty!! You couldnae score wi’ ma’ sister!”
“they numpties couldnae organise a pissup in a brewery.”
“Nay! That wisnae wit she meant, ya greet numpty!”

To bring this home, you might consider the following at your next club ride:

“Did ya see that greet numpty fall over at the lights, he couldnae unclip from his pedals”
“Would that numpty on the front pedal when he’s going downhill the rest of the group is up ‘is arse”
“What’s that numpty doing ten meters off the front?  Couldnae he look over his shoulder and see he’s riding faster than the rest o us”
“Ya couldnae sprint for a bus ya greet numpty, just sit on me wheel and I’ll show you how its done”

These are, of course, just guidelines to get you started, and I look forward to hearing the inventiveness of the crowd in tomorrow’s ride.

In the immortal words of that peoples cyclist Mao Zedong
“Let a hundred flowers blossom ya greet numpties!”

TGC

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.

 

 

 

Newbie goes to Frasers!

[It took me 5 years to get to Frasers, Arran has managed it in 2 months. Ed.]

By Arran Pearson

21st July, arrived in Singapore…
25th July, first road ride in Singapore (followed an ANZA West Coast Ride route I found on Strava)…
26th July, first attempt at an ‘official’ ANZA ride (bike broke!)
27th July, first MTB ride (Bukit Timah dodging monkeys)…
10th August, MTB ride with the ANZA dirt crew
17th August, first ANZA race (again with the dirt crew).

So as you might have guessed by now, when we decided to move from Sydney I had pretty much sussed out the riding situation in my soon-to-be home well before I had managed to secure myself gainful employment!  Helped of course by the number of ex (and current?) ANZA members that have ended up riding with my Sydney Club (Sydney CC).

So when facebook lit up with discussions of an upcoming trip to KL I figured that I’d just jump in the deep end – what better way to get to know a few people than go and hang out for a weekend riding bikes with complete strangers.  Having secured the approval of my darling wife all there seemed to do was actually work through the logistics of actually getting there.

I confess I signed up and sorted most of this well before I had any real inkling of what was involved or where we were going.  The banter on the facebook group gave me confidence that someone seemed to know what was happening and besides – it would add another country to my ‘list’.

As our departure loomed strava files showing the route were produced… hmm…. Now its not the distance per-se that was worrying… or the climbing really… but I was suddenly conscious that the weeks prior to my departure (and indeed since arriving) had perhaps been filtered through an amber haze that may not put me in the best shape to tackle a 36++ km climb.  Oh well… how bad could it be?

Bad.  But more on that later.

Thanks to Nico and Matt’s organization skills the coach arrived on time and our passage out of Singapore and through customs was surprisingly hassle-free.  About now I had consumed most of my snacks and was looking forward to the dinner stop that is always part of the traditional aussie road-trip.  This was not a traditional aussie road trip.  There was no dinner stop.  (at one point Nico tried to offer me some kind of substance he claimed was food but to this day I’m not convinced).  Ok.  The ‘pack sandwiches’ comment was serious advice and not banter!

It was a weary (and in my case starving) group of travelers who arrived at the KL Parkroyal to be greeted by exceptional hospitality at midnight – swift check-in and friendly staff (no doubt aided by the efforts of club member and Parkroyal GM Mark Losi) made the late night arrival bearable verging on pleasant!  It was swiftly off to sleep for me – breakfast at 6, depart at 7!

Day 1, the Queen Stage…

This was the biggie – 200km out to Bukit Fraser and back.  Strava maps were posted and for someone who had just gotten used to the lack of ‘up’… to see a real mountain was not pretty.  5 climbs – ‘The Wall’ – a nasty 1km of 10+ % to get you warmed up.  ‘Evian’ (spelling mistakes are mine alone!) – about 6% average but steadily ramping as you climb.  Bukit Fraser – 36+km of an average of around 4% but at 6% for most of the last 8km.  Then Evian (steeper) and the wall (shorter but still steep) on the way back.  All in all you are climbing for about 80km or so.

I was fine for the first two – sure not with the mountain goats but still ok and feeling sort of comfortable.  Mark had organized a couple of chase vans well stocked with liquids and other goodies so we were never short of refreshment and snacks – just as well as the temperature climbed well over 35’.

Now, the monster Bukit Fraser is really not _that_ bad – just like the climb up SBV… its just that you’re doing that for more than 2 hours.  Add in some over exuberance on the lower parts of the climb and insufficient water (and salt) intake and I was in a world of hurt.  Not the place to be when the road markers helpfully point out that there’s 30km still to go.

It was a long lonely ride for me – more or less stuck in no-mans land not being quick enough to catch anyone in front but the unwise choice of a 11-25t cassette meaning that I was not able to sit and comfortably spin.  The sense of achievement when I finally went around the last bend and saw the clock tower at the top of the climb was amazing (luckily I saw bikes thus and didn’t feel the need to do some extra climbing to the uppermost resorts like some).  Of course this was dampened somewhat by not really being able to move as my legs cried enough!

I ride 45km uphill and all I get is a photo?The banter in the group at the top was great – there’s something about a shared difficult experience that really makes a group of strangers into friends (although sadly I was not in the small group that had been reportedly offered ‘inducements’ to keep climbing by some of the ANZA women…).  A bit of food and more refreshments (sorry – its going to take a while before I look forward to fried rice as a mid ride snack rather than the traditional burger!) and we were off again.

If the ride up was torture then the ride down more than made up for it (well… once we had stopped to take care of Andrew and Phil who had perhaps chose the wrong corner to practice their late braking skills – missing skin but importantly the bikes were ok! [What are you talking about, ok?  My bike left skin on the road too 😦 Ed.]).  The descent was 50 minutes of pure fun – not so steep that you had to constantly be on the brakes but still enough downhill that pedaling was more a choice about how hard you wanted to go than necessity.  Nice!

Quick stop for refreshments (and for some refugees to flee to the comfort of the busses) and then it was back on the flat roads back to home.  Spirits were high, we had conquered the highest (and I thought toughest) mountains and it was time to potter home.

Wrong.

DSCN1639Turns out that when you’ve got over 150km in the legs that a 5km 7% climb in 40’c is actually quite tough.  This was the low point for me… as soon as the road pointed up I dropped straight off the group and resigned myself to a slow plod up the mountain.  As I suffered along my heart was lifted a tiny bit by the sight of some of my fellow riders (names withheld) stopped beside the road waiting for the bus… although the bus seemed more intent on slowly following me rather than any broken body collection!  Yes I was nice (eventually) and got the driver to turn around!

This hill seemingly went on forever – my faithful bus had rejoined me and probably the only thing that carried me forward was not knowing exactly around which bend the top was and the fear of bailing out and taking a seat some stupidly short distance from glory!  No fear though, once the summit was crested there was the smiling face of Mark and his crew ready with bottles of coke and 100+ on hand to convince the head (if not the body) that there was only one more climb to go.

After all the grinding climbs, the 800m 10% wall at the end was almost a relief – at least the short, sharp standing climb exercised slightly difference muscles!

We eventually arrived back at the hotel at 5:30 – some 10 hours or so after we left and amazingly the spirits of the group had done nothing but lift the entire day.  A quick shower and it was off to enjoy yet more of the Parkroyal’s amazing hospitality – some drinks and then out for dinner where, despite Nico’s exhortations to hit up the local karaoke bars most turned in for an early night knowing that a recovery ride was scheduled for the next day!

Day 2, the recovery.

Only after an epic we’d experienced the day before could this be termed a recovery ride.  Only one hill but it was still 15km long although once again at a relatively gentle grade.

The majority of the day was pretty uneventful – after the efforts of the day before this was just a nice ride in the countryside – KL even managed to turn on a fun run in the centre of town for us!  The climb itself was a civilized 3-4% and mostly shady.  All in all this was an ideal way to end the weekend – just enough to turn the legs over and do a little bit of work (although from what I hear there was the usual silly antics up front from the fast crowd!) without ending the day utterly destroyed.

We were back at the hotel just before lunch – just enough time for a leisurely lunch and swim beside the pool before once again boarding the bus for the 6 hour trip home.

For a new member to the club (and indeed new to Singapore) this was a fantastic introduction to both the club and the sort of riding lifestyle that I am sure I can become accustomed to.  The actual organization of the trip was flawless (thanks Nico and Matt for ensuring that the logistics of getting to and from were well sorted) and the actual riding and accommodation in KL itself is top notch (big shout out to Mark Losi).

The only thing I really want to know now is when (and where) is the next one!

Racing Calendar | 2H 2014

We’ve updated the regional racing calendar to show some of the upcoming events in the region. We’ve also highlighted any ANZA trips and local holidays that we’re aware off to enable to you seek early permission (& get the bribes in early) from the partner…

To view in full Technicolour beauty, simply click on the PDF download at the foot of the post.

ANZA racing calendar v2

ANZA Racing Calendar 2014 v2

 

The Gentleman Cyclist – Winning

Gentleman Cyclist

Still trying to get through his backlog of post, TGC has been beavering away. His butler takes him a couple of letters at breakfast with his liver, eggs and kippers, and if he likes what he reads he pens a quick reply. Of course if he doesn’t like what he sees, then your letter is just fuel for the drawing room fire.

Here is one that seems to have made the cut…

Dear TGC
A friend of mine shared with me your reply regarding trivia quizzes. I was particularly heartened by your assertion that winning is everything since as I like to say to my wife and friends at all possible opportunities “I am a cyclist”.  They often respond “You mean you ride your bike a bit?” To which I have to reassert myself “No! I am a cyclist”.

By this clearly I want them to understand that I cycle to demonstrate my superiority over other mere bike riders and that in doing this, every ride is a challenge, a competition, every bike rider a target to be caught and passed.

What I wanted to ask your sagely advice on is the right form of celebration when winning a club sprint, a local bike race, or clearly as this is coming up very soon, when I dominate the club Quiz Night.

Yours in anticipated glory
The Cyclist

Dear Cyclist
I admire your competative spirit! Anybody who says that it is not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game that matters has clearly either lost so many competitions that he has forgotten that the whole point is to try to win or they were brought up under the British Education system of the 1990’s and somehow think that coming last at British Bulldogs while being dumped on your head doesn’t in some way encourage you to try harder next time.

You are a kindred spirit, a brother in arms, you can be wingman to my Top Gun any time, but…

A gentleman never reveals the pleasure of the win.

While you must of course win, you must accept the victory with grace as though it was at all times a foregone conclusion. Not for the gentleman the pumping of the arms with a hearty “Boo Ya!”. Learn your lessons from Mark Cavendish when he thanks his team for their work in propelling him over the line with a “The team did all the work I was just the man who crossed the line first”

Yes dear Cyclist, when and if you do indeed dominate the club Quiz Night, Suppress your emotions my friend and stoically accept the prize with a gentle nod. After all nobody likes a terrible boast!

Last of all, hope that I am not on another team since clearly, TGC is going to win.

Yours in full knowledge of the glories to come

TGC

The Gentleman Cyclist – Quizzing Etiquette

Gentleman CyclistANZA club quiz: Thursday, Aug 28th. Picotin Bukit Timah

The Gentleman Cyclist has been overseas for a while searching for rare wines and somebody who makes the perfect Cognac, but having achieved these noble goals and taken the steam ship back to Singapore with his bounty (Import duty paid of course), he has started on the task of tackling the large pile of letters that were blocking the front door on his return.
Having discussed with with the masters of queuing theory, CBTL, how to deal with a large backlog, they reliably informed him that last in first out is the way to go so we grabbed the top letter and rushed it upstairs to the Library where we found TGC reading a strangely titled “Trivial Facts From Around The World”.

I thought about commenting that a Gentleman shouldn’t be concerning himself with Trivia, but thought better of questioning my master lest he give me one of those withering looks that makes me think I should start considering my position.

Dear TGC
I really hate to bother you with something so small, but I am in a real dilemma.  My cycling club is having something called a “Quiz Night” next thursday that aims to test our knowledge of facts about cycling and other unrelated matters. I have never been particularly good at these events but hate to lose at anything, so I wanted to seek your advice regarding the use of smatphone devices to look up the answers to questions.
Would this be regarded as a bad thing?

I look forward to hearing your advice

Lacking in knowledge
Singapore

Dear Lacking
You present an interesting question, and one that I fully understand as I peruse my copy of “Trivial Facts from Around The World”.  There are so many useless facts that one can be questioned on that it seems totally unfair that one cannot make use of all sources of knowledge and after all, the interweb thingy was created for the sole purpose of housing the totality of man’s knowledge that was not important enough for anybody to actually bother remembering.

I mean, who knew that the bicycle was actually created so that a gentleman could spend more time at the club with his associates, an aged glass of Cognac, and a fine Cuban cigar and yet still make it home in time for when his good wife has dinner on the table.

Or that the rear derailleur was created, not to assist those who do not have the strength and endurance of Maurice Garin, but to give gentlemen an excuse to retire to their garage knowing they could not be questioned “I’m sorry my dear, I can’t go with you to meet the vicar this afternoon, there appears to be a small problem with my rear derailleur that I need to look at in the garage before tackling the ride up to Box Hill tomorrow”

Or that electronic shifting was invented, not to make make an already smooth gear change system better, but to put a stop to that pesky practice of home mechanics resolving their own technical issues and cable changes, and to ensure that all issues had to be taken back to the local bike shop. Thus speeding up the process of wealth transfer from yours truly to the local mechanic.

I’m do apologise, I digress. As a cyclist, you are fully aware that winning is everything and the manner in which the win happens is secondary.

You will also understand, that you have only cheated if you get caught, otherwise you have simply demonstrated your brilliant knowledge of the modern world and beguiled all those around you as to how you can retain so much information without it leaking from your ears.

My advice to you therefore Ms Lacking is to use all the tools at your disposal, just don’t get caught doing it, and certainly do not attribute any of this advice to me.

Good luck in the quiz, I’m sure you will emerge victorious.

Best regards
TGC