Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Carrying a child with your Brompton

Saw this interesting product at My Brompton Malaysia Facebook. It's a kiddo passenger frame that mounts to the main Brompton frame. I think this is going  to be popular in Singapore if the product is not going to cost an arm and a leg. No news on who produces it and if its coming to Singapore.
What do you think? Would you want to get one?

Monday, November 24, 2014

A platoon of Bromptons and Vincita bags

After posting the new Vincita Sightseer bags on Facebook... I got a msg reply by my friend Tiger wan who went cycling with their Bromptons. 
It was an awesome display of Bromptons and Vincita B132 bags!!!  His comments was this " The best bag for travels. Sleek, Strong and Simple. Oh...and it protects too."
Check out his platoon of bikes and bags! Oh wow! 
Vincita B132 bags sitting outside Tao Yuan Airport 

Vindicate bags being loaded up the lorry 

B platoon ready for inspection, sir! 

Vincita Sightseer Brompton Bag first review

Vincita motto. 
First thing first and to get it out of the way. 
The bags were provided by Vincita for my review and I did not buy them. They have asked that I do a review and share my thoughts on their bags. 
They also very kindly sponsored a set of B132B and B206 garment bag to readers of Smallwheelsbigsmile.  
I will select one lucky reader who will share on their ideal travel adventure on a Brompton using this bags. Leave your comments on the blog entry.  It will be limited to Singapore readers. So send me your ideal travel adventure K? 
Just riding along, the sun, the sky and the sea! 
Cycling in a foreign land is one of the coolest and nicest thing to do to see a country. It feels daunting at the first time, then you would wonder why you never considered bringing your foldie for ur next holiday. 
It happened to me too. After some encouragement from my friend Francis, I finally did my first trip with a Brompton back in 2010. 
It was awesome experience where you really saw more off the beaten track.... even in a city like Tokyo.  Like this gem of a place tucked away in one of the numerous side street. 
Vincita B132 with my brompton.  The silver tab is just duct tape with my particulars and contact number
My first attempt on bike travel using card board box strapped to a portable trolley. Boy that was fun....   
I started off my bike travelling adventure using a cardboard box and then got a Lojel hardcase which was offered good protection but on the heavy side. To make it easier for air travel, I got a Vincita B132 Softcase bag(thanks Woo sister!). It was very roomy and I could dump my clothes (in a plastic bag)and helmet and all with no stress. For added protection I put cardboard on the side. 
Notice the cardboard support at side... not sure if it works but it makes me feel better :) 
B132 fits a Bike Friday pocket rocket too.
Other than the Brompton, I realised that the B132 bag could also fit a Bike friday Pocket rocket nicely with quite a lot of room for clothing and stuff. Something which you can consider if you are looking to get a bike bag for travel. 
Earlier Oct this year, Vincita released a updated model of the B132. It's called the  B132B Soft Transport Brompton Bag- Sightseer. 
It is slightly smaller compared to the B132. The idea is to make it easier for short trips and be able to deploy directly from the Airport/ train station. In addition, they also created a internal bag (for your clothes and stuff) which would fit nicely into the B132B. Frankly I was quite skeptical their idea would work. So I was glad to have the bag and I did a trial test to see if it would all work out.  
The construction of the bag is quite good (similar to the B132 I had previously) and as what you would expect from a bag manufacturer who have done bike related products for a while. 
Below is a size comparison of the old and newer model. 
Left is the older B132 and the right it the B132B Sightseer
Closer to you is the newer B132B and you can see that its smaller. And fits the Brompton just as well
The B132B fits the Brompton much tighter. Same padded and durable fabric construction. The pack on the right is the "internal sleeve"  aka B206 Garment bag  

The Vincita 132B also have an improved bigger roller wheel that is great for moving around the train/ airport 
Internal garment bag fit into the frame of the Brompton. This helps to reduce overall bulk. 
After ensuring the Brompton would fit into the bag, I also simulated a 2 day trip worth of clothes and stuff. It is all fits in very nicely. 
Lastly, I watched their youtube link to see how to fold/compact the bag and carry it via the Brompton rear rack.  It took a bit of fudging as you need to fold it in a certain way. However I am sure with more practice, that could be done easily.  
My biggest concern was will it be too wide to ride? I strapped it on the Brompton and rode around my neighbourhood. It's worked!  Here's how it looked when on the Brompton. 
The idea is to fly to another country. Roll up the bike bag and straight go exploring! 
If you use the side hook on the Brompton. There will be no heel strike.
The bag sticks out some what, so do cater for the clearance esp on crowded side paths 
Final conclusion
I did not have a overseas trip to really test it out in actual airport condition. When I have a chance, I will try it and update how it fared. 
The B132B bag is targeted specifically to those who want to pack their Brompton with no dismantling. Fly in to location and ride with minimum fuss. Explore and sightsee... pack and fly home.  With the explosion of cheaper budget air fares, I can see more would try to bring their bikes for their next holiday. Try it one day, you will be glad you did. 
So what would be the ultimate short trip experience u like to do with the Brompton? 
Update by Vincita on 25th Nov2014:  
"The B132B brompton bag is now available @ Urban Transporter, 985 Bukit Timah Road. #01-16, Singapore(589627) Phone: (+65)83663521

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Trek 930 upgraded and ready to roll

This bicycle happened really by fluke. I rescued one old Trek 830 which was dumped outside a house during one of the sunday ride. 
True Temper frame by Trek 
You can see more of it from this Facebook link. 
After cleaning it up and test riding the way too big frame. I was amazed by the way True temper chromoly steel rode. Straight as an arrow but super comfy. The way I like it. A bit sad it was too big but still glad I rescued a bike from the Dump. I passed the big frame to Desmond, hopefully it gets converted to a Xcycle to bring joy to her daughter and friends. And join my Surly dummy when we do family rides. Hint hint haha. There's some magic in long bikes but thats another story. 

Then I stumbled on a Trek 930 frame from Vintage Bike Swap Facebook. It was a small cherry red Trek 930 True Temper frame. My Size and super good price. What to do? It was meant to be :) 
According to the Trek bible, its a Trek SHX(front suspension) made 1994. That means I got a 20 year old bike! 
Took me some time to get the bike running as I originally wanted it to be single speed and I screwed up on the tensioner... 
I took my time to think about what kind of riding and things took another turn.... So this is what I did to make the bike suit me and using what I already had left lying around. 

Here are the parts I bought for renewing Trek 930

1) Velo Orange Grand Cru Seine Bars  
This is a simple Chromoly Sweep back handle bar that is not too wide and great for just riding along.  It's made from straight gauge chromoly and dampens road vibration well. The form and geometry is similar to Jones H Bar but simpler. If you want multiple hand holds, you can try the Velo Orange Crazy Bar 

2) Velo Orange Thumb Shifter mounts  This is not for everyone, esp so in the hi tech times of trigger shifters. This is for a person who wants a simple, quality thumb shifters. Sadly the bike industries usually sell on Carbon and newest tech.  There are only 3 options if you want to do thumb shifters. 
- New old stock/ old stock of Deore XT Thumbshifters 
- Paul Thumbshifter mounts , Very nice but a bit more expensive then Velo Orange
- Velo Orange Thumbshifter mounts which looks good and cheapest 

3) Surly LHT fork. I got this from TR bikes. Lynten was nice and kind enough to help sell me and install on the bike to get it running. The gentle curve of the forks visually fits the bike and helps give it a nice damping feel.  

4) Shimano Ultegra 8 Speed bar end shifters. The bike came in 8 speed and this would do nicely... I think. I googled on thumbies and seems like just what I need.  I can toggle between Friction and SIS mode(tick tick tick, indexed) 
5) KMC 8 speed chain - I got from Changi Village aunty shop.Yes, that famous pitstop we all have to visit when we go Changi village. It cost $13.50 and comes with a quick link too.
6) Stainless steel brake cables and housing - Also from Changi Village aunty shop
7) Ergon GP1 grip - These are not retro but my hands are eternally grateful for this superbly ergonomic design. I got this from Chain reaction cycles when I bought the Shimano bar end shifters.
Yesterday I got a few hours free time and started to install the parts. 
It was quite nice and easy to install. Very therapeutic The bar end shifters worked a treat. Especially on the friction mode where I could tweak the lever to have the gears spinning very nicely. 

After 2-3 hours, I took the bike downstairs to try out. It felt like a nice old lorry. Every thing works and rolled nicely. It was raining quite a fair bit so I couldn't try riding for extended time... but I know it fits my kind of riding. Slowly and relaxed.

Many probably wonder why even bother to do this to a old bicycle frame. Wouldn't it be easier to get a nice new bike, get it all installed by your bikeshop. So leychey (troublesome) and cost so much....  
Well, perhaps I am just a retro grouch and one who likes to ride slowly and relaxed. The old steel frames just feels like a pair of nicely worn jeans. Old, faded and comfy. Maybe be its the chromoly tube or True temper material or perhaps the long wheel base which makes the bike very stable and relax. I like it a lot. 
Steel is real. If you have a chance to try an old steel frame, do try it and tell me what you think.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Lovecyclingsg 4th Anniversary 12th Oct 2014

Here's some photos of the nice folksy pot luck and kiddo ride we did to celebrate Lovecyclingsg 4th Anniversary.  More here for ur downloadP1060576
What started as a simple idea to meet up with friends and play tourist on our own back yard, turned into something more.
It became a community for cyclists in Singapore. For all kind of bicycle type and brands. Lovecyclingsg is unique where bicycle brands don't really matter. Why should it be? Why should we be judged by the bicycle brand we ride?

4 years of meeting to ride every Sunday to visit places. Its 52 week a years and 208 weekends for 4 years!  That's some commitment. Seriously, it could only be achieved by the tireless efforts of the LCSG Angels. Too many to name but here's some of them. Andy Yap, Berenda, Christine, George Kee, Encik George, Clarence, Nixs, Pierre, Desmond Chia, Jasper, Vince, who quietly run the sunday ride like clock work. Thank you. 
Thank you for believing in the simple idea of E.R.P. Thank you for understanding the magic of simply riding together and having a simple breakfast, coffee to connect with each other.
May Lovecyclingsg continue to thrive and blossom. To more happy rides and years ahead! 


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Herman's proposal for a BMX pump track in Singapore

I am totally blown away by this gentleman proposal for a pump track. Usually I see mainly rants and complaints but this is an awesome proposal by someone who obviously knows a thing or two on BMX and most importantly cares enough to do so much work and documentation. I take my hat off him. If you would like to render him some help. Pls contact him via his facebook link.

Monday, October 6, 2014

LCSG 4th year old pot luck and kiddy ride - 12th Oct 2014

Thru cycling, we became friends 

This coming sunday 12th Oct 2014, we will celebrate LCSG 4 year old birthday.  While it appears that things just happen, I assure you that it's not. Its the collective efforts of the LCSG core team that made it possible.
Andy Yap. Christine Gan, George Kee, Wendy Hoo, George lim, Nixs, Jasper, Clarence, Vince Li, Pierre, Steven Tang, Tiger wan, Desmond chia....
To you these might be just names but these are the folks who made it happen. Week after week and month after month. If you want to see selflessness and kampong spirit. This is it.