Friday, August 14, 2015

Family trip to Penang...with a brompton in a bag

For the SG jubilee week, we took a relaxed trip to Penang. Naturally I had to bring my foldie along.  Not for the campaign for a lane event but basically as a effective way to get around to see the sights. This was how I did it using the bag by Vincita. Deflate abit of air from the tyres.. put the brompton in. Zip up and go. 
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packing my Brompton in the Vincita Bag 
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hand pump, cage and multitool kit
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Cayla and Momo posing with SG favorite food - Chicken rice @ Changi airport 
It took us 1 hr flight time from Singapore to Penang. Flying via budget air was uneventful but pleasant. Landed in Penang and we went searching for a late lunch. 
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Desmond and Cayla leading the way
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Penang street has lots of art that shares with u the information of the street in a art/fun way
This was our 2nd visit to Penang. What I like about it was the street food and also the electic art murals that are spread around the old historical area. Old and grity but it somehow draws me closer to it. Anyway, here's some photos of the street food.
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a typical roadside stall @ Penang
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Food tastes best with company dont u think?
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Char kway tiao - sorry for the blur photo ... I was shaking with excitment
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so lovely kway tiao soup. 
Needless to say, we stuffed ourselves silly with CKT, wanton noodle and many many goodies. Reflecting on the food, I felt the one that was most memorable was actually the simple Kway tiao soup at Bangkok Lane.
It's really hard to have a simple dish that can stand out among so many good food. I felt it did because it was simple, honest cooking. We asked the lady what was the "magic". She told us, they had to put the pig bones, and whole duck to make the soup base. It will take several hours and later on, shred the duck meat. The fish ball was also manually made. Not bought off the super market."Alot of work but ok lah.... " The lady said. 
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Look out for this stall at Bangkok lane
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shy owners when we gave them a thumbs up for the super noodle soup. They were smiling ear to ear!
There is really a lot of pride in what they do. And this is sadly not the case in Singapore local street food. I think our reputation for having best street food paradise in Asia have been overtaken by cities like Penang. Really.
Coming back to cycling bit in Penang. 
When you go on family trip, one of the way you can get some cycling is to wake up early. Do an hour or so and by the time you come back, it's just nice for breakfast. Easy and relaxing. 
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The early morning light also gives the town a nice tone
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Stay lighted on the rear
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beautiful art that complements the gritty rundown environment. 

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trishaw for carry goods. Eco and cheap.
Best of all if you want to earn more brownie points for your next bicycle or bike adventure, offer to pick up all the stuff your missus wants and carry it back via the bicycle. Its really effective!
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uncle painting over the old coffee tins
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Local kopi brand
carrying coffee orders for the missus - photo credit Desmond
Looking at the town, I also noted that there were more and more hipster cafe sprouting up like wild mushrooms.... like this one. 
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cafes like this can be found all over Penang....
Frankly, I am not sure if this is a good thing. I feel that alot of the original Penang lifestyle is being hollowed up, making way for yet another hotel or cafe. As I admired the creativity of the art mural
pieces and nice fancy cafes, I could see many elderly sitting in a corner, looking dazed and empty. They must be wondering...."what the hell is happening to my community"  
The irony of me writing this is that I am also guilty of intruding to their space and lifestyle. :(
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old uncle trying to get by collecting cardboard and drink cans. 
What would be a good balance of keeping the old and introducing the new? I hope the people of Penang would be wise enough not to milk the golden goose too much. And this is something we should also reflect on for our sunny island. Are we also going to fast too soon? What are your thoughts? I love to hear from you.
My photos link of the nice experience here 

Friday, July 31, 2015

Personal mobility for all

Sharing a few photos I took a few years ago while I was in Taiwan, riding my bicycle. This is an image of my friend Nick "racing" with an ah Ma. At that moment, I simply thought it was just an cool and hilarious moment. 
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Recently, in Singapore we are seeing some encouraging progress on active mobility. This was in the news yesterday.  Once again another survey. This was a Singapore National strategy being discussed for cycling way back in 2012. 
in the news

It feels it's taking forever.. however I do understand its a rather complex issue as it involves many parties. I really wish the rules or rather the forming on code of conduct can be accelerated. My biggest fear is given the popularity of cycling currently, the odds on a cycling related accidents would likely to increase if its a "status quo". 
Personal mobility devices mentioned in the news.   Screen grab from Chanelnewasia
But taking a step back and looking at the progress, I do agree that it is going in the right direction for a more livable city.
As I reflect on the news article, my thoughts drifted to the above images. I thought of the elderly and the use personal mobility devices. They also serve to give mobility back to those who might not be able to do so. The ah Mas and ah Gongs, who we see at times just sitting at the void decks looking emptily into space. Imagine if they have the personal capacity to move around. Even if its just around the neighborhood. How much difference in their life it would make. 

Yes, I also know that there are many of  E-bike, E-scooters who are creating a nuisance on our pavements, zooming too fast in high human traffic areas. That aside, they are really nifty and useful. Esp to closing the last mile issue. I wrote my thoughts here some time back too. 
While the latest news talk about rule and code of conduct. I also hope that the infrastructure can be made more friendly and considered for the elderly and handicapped. For once, I hope our LTA mobility team perhaps try a wheel chair for a day. Or a bicycle user for a day. Try cycling to work. Not just plan/ design in office environment.  I feel that this would really help them to understand the issues the users face.  
These are not glamorous topic and the journey for improvement would be a long and ongoing one. In the meantime, let's also do our part to feedback if we see obstacles and if we have ideas to make our environment more connected and seamlessly.  Pls don't just complain or bitch. Take a photo and send it in to MSO if you don't know who to send it to. 
After all, we all will grow old too. Someday. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Oldie Trek 830 rides on!

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As small as it can get. 

I will admit readily that I am an "Garang Guni" (odds and end collector) of sorts. Actually I have a sort of affinity/soft spot with steel bikes. Especially around the time of early 90s, late eighties. Thinking about it, I guess it must be not being able to afford one then. I was just a student and there wasn't quite enough money to buy a bicycle. Sometimes, I would see some really nice flashy KHS montana or the very cool Trek or Bridgestone (read here by one of my local hero who sadly passed on)  some times around my neighbourhood. They were really really out of my reach then.....  In a different league. 
The super cool KHS Montana with disc... John Tomac! - Photo Credit retrobike.com
This was the ride I had. It was a Shimano branded racing bicycle which I rode everywhere.  Amazing thinking about it how little stuff we need to ride. :) 
Anyway... fast forward to the present times, I happened to see an old trek 830 while hunting for parts to do my art installation in Feb.   This is what I did eventually. 
The initial plan was to make it a single speed, reduce/ remove all items unnecessary. Just a nice simple bike to ride along the PCN, eat roti prata.  Stripping down the bike to frame was the easy part. The tough part that made me sweat was the Bottom Bracket. The years spend sitting in the rain, muck and all did the job. It was stuck like the magical excalibur embedded in a big rock. I tried and failed. 
Gave up and got the magical hands of Dr Sulaiman and John Chan to help get that fixed. They also helped to install a new headset as the old one were quite bad shape.  The rest of the parts was simply salvaging stuff I had from previous bikes. Over the period of several months, I just worked on the bike slowly.  It's still missing some parts like the bolt binder for the seat post. And many parts could do with abit of autosol, fine sandpapering to make it nicer. Here's a comparison of how acbit of time, love and effort that can make the bike run a hell lot better. 
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This is how it looked then
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This is how it looks now. 
Today, I finally took it for a roll downstairs. It was really nice. The raised nitto stem and swept back bars made it super comfy. 
Shod with the Swalbe big apples, the ride was a plusy cushy feel. This bike is not a race MTB but rather a crusing bike specially for that PCN and roti prata run.  Check out the photos! 
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Salvaged from an old bicycle shop. It was 6 speed but if u use friction mode... they can still work 
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Abit... ok alot of elbow grease to make it shiny once more 
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cleaned up Shimano STX rear D! Period correct :)  I think can still polish it out more
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Yeap... need more fine sanding and autosol. Behind is a total new BB which Rebound centre helped install
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This baby has a nice sweep that makes u smile and smell the roses 
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They are not fast but extremely plush and comfy. 
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Nice wooden handle bar plug from brooks that was left over from previous project

Now, why would anyone go through all this trouble? 
I guess, its just the magic of making the old even better then new.  And sure, its alot more trouble but the old bicycles have a unique patina that cannot be replicated. Like folks driving that old mini. Its a special feeling. They don't build bike like that any more. 
Now, are there some kindred spirits that like these kind of things?  Love to hear your stories and comments. 
And yes, u will see him at the LCSG sunday rides!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

LCSG visits 50 mural artworks by NYJC 12th July2015

Love is in the air! 
Amazing mural! 
They say the bicycle is a great way to move around and explore the surroundings. We wanted to find Murals.... and we did!  
I think this ride is really a great demonstration of the bicycle flexibility in exploration.  Hi-res of the images here 
Two big, two small... wheels. Just ride! 
Andy briefing the riders on the route and safety matters
Led by Andy Yap, we started from Ang Mio MRT and found lots of murals painting on the HDB void decks. Andy took a lot of trouble to get the route out and there were 50 ++ of them! Here's Rebecca's map tracing of the route taken from AMK MRT. 
The route - photo credit Rebecca Ko 
This are where the murals are located. Thank you Andy and Christine for the wonderful recce!
So glad to have Wai Lim to join me for the ride!
Rolling slowly and merrily along. Its a special feeling! 
We went hunting for murals. This is near Tech Ghee Hawker centre 
Celebrating our void deck bike parking
A Wong Kar Wai moment
Peggy enjoying her sunday ride
Wei Kong and family rolling as one
Naturally we couldn't cover all of it. Still we were glad to be able to see some of the artwork. The topic was essentially about Singapore. The history and stuff that makes us Singapore. 
Hai Tang sharing the details of the Mural. Nice one Hai Tang!
Wei shuan sharing how the students did the mural. The preparation work behind the nice painting
It was even more special when Wei Shuan and Hai Tang shared that their daughter was one of the artist that made the murals! 
They were done by Nanyang Junior College which is located nearby. 
Riders admiring the artworks 
It was interesting to also know that the art elective students were the lead of the mural. That means, they will conceptualise the artwork with their teachers. Once it have been approved, they will lead a group of students(non-art elective) to execute the mural painting. Logistical issues like tracing the artwork need to be solved. They settled it by doing the tracing at night with projectors tethered from power lines routed from nearby wall plugs or even the rubbish dump. 
What was lovely is that, it was very much left to the students own devices. No spoon feeding for you! Wei Shuan also related that his daughter would often dirty their school uniform with ink, paint. But she would still wear the stained uniform to school. Almost like a symbol of pride and street cred. I totally understand the feeling having studied in Temasek polytechnic school of design:) 
Here's a lovely photo of the NYJC AEP leads who did the 15 Murals. 
NYJC 2015 AEP Students who lead in the 15 Murals.  Photo Credit Wei Shuan 

I just love it, especially so with the location which they did their mural artwork. The humble Void Deck! This is the place we grew up playing football and catching. What wonderful way to honour the space! 
This was our playground! 
Some of the nice murals we saw...
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A more pop art inspired mural. I like this one best!

Kampong life

Jump!
Singapore means... 
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Uncle Steven posing on a nice mural showing ice kacang! 
This is another really creative piece. Solid!- photo credit Francis 
Doing 50 murals is a lot of work and I cannot imagine the amount creative juices needed... that must be quite a task! 
Thank you NYJC art elective students and teachers for the wonderful art pieces! Also drop them some comments, encouragement here 
I hope that maybe in the future, the art students and teachers themselves would be able to share directly with Lovecyclingsg or even to the public for that matter what they did. 
Even more meaningful were the processes/ sweat that they have to go through. 
Please let me know if you know anyone from Nanyang JC....:)  
I like to arrange another session to share this wonderful initiative. 
The ride made me smile alot. I really like that we are starting to think about what makes Singapore -  Singapore. And its not just because SG National day is around the corner, that all this "ra ra" and "dong dong chang" came about. 
This is our sunny island. Love it, embrace it, celebrate it in our own small way. Majulah! Singapura!   
Ahhh yes! The ping pong table!