Saturday, January 23, 2016

Singapore takes a big step on Car lite

In case u have not read this on the media yesterday. This is big! The north south expressway(not malaysia one) will be built with consideration for dedicated bus and bicycle lane. That is a big turn around when things are not so rosy for cycling previous. It is a big commitment and acknowledgement that thing WILL change. 
With this I also urge folks who believe that if there are things that can improve our environment to continue to speak up and give ideas to the agencies. Its with the feedback, changes can happen. :) 

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Moulton TSR front rack

Taken off Diane FB around 2012. These photo shows how the TSR front rack works with the Ortlieb front rollers. The bike rolls as good as then and the bags are good. Rained on so many times and they work fine. 
2012. TSR with Moustache bar and front loaded pannier                  Photo Credit Diane 
I velcro my sunnies case on the handle bar                           Photo Credit Diane 

another view                           Photo Credit Diane 
Boo trying out TSR                  Photo Credit Diane 

The bags to get if u want waterproof and lasting quality               Photo Credit Diane 


Punggol waterway with Momo 30th Dec 2015


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ok daddy.... let's go.
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Momo ready for a ride to the park with her new scooter.  
End of the year and its a good time to clear leave, spend time with the little rascal. Momo got a new skate scooter as the old one broke(by me when I tried to stand on it...don,t ask) and its just the time to deploy Dummy. If you are looking for more local singapore content on Dummy. Here's mine for ur "research":) 
A close up on the side bag which can also serve as a carrier for bicycles, scooter and what not. Just get creative.  More photos of the ride here. 

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unbuckle the clip, put the scooter in, clip and cinch tie the strap. Very easy
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rolling!

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Part of the punggol waterway . Notice the buildings are up on the secondary water canal  towards direction of Coney island
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Nice surrounding with a gentle breeze. And its free!

One of the reasons we moved to Punggol was to have the kids be near their cousins and also the attraction of the much talked about amenities (not built then) - The Punggol waterway PCN.
This was an entry I did on 2010 on the Punggol waterway and looking forward to the day it was ready.
5 years later, still a fair bit of construction going on. But its now a great place to ride, to skoot, to run or just a nice slow walk. 

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She skoot and I just follow
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strong kick!
I am really very happy to be living near to the Punggol waterway and its a great place to relax. 
We also saw a new "bird cage" playground along the PCN. It looks pretty cool. 
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can also serve as lockup for naughty kids...

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Interesting public playground
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Tunnels to scaper around, explore...like all kids do
We also went past the almost completed Punggol Safra. The water pool area is crazy fun. I have a feeling it would be a very big hit with the folks. 
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Almost ready!!
Then we just skooted and rolled along. For kids, 1/2 hr is quite enough and she wanted a ride on the Dummy. Daddy power. No problem and thats what its for. We ended up at the kids water play area. Lots of kids running around, screaming. We were prepared and packed additional set of clothes, so off she ran straight into the sprinklers.
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Dummy is the ultimate family SUV bike

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Lots of kids, nice one Nparks!

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all the skooting makes u hot... lets cool down.
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stepping on the water spouts and making a mess. Its ok, its just water!
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Big kid and small kid
After goofing around, we dried ourselves and headed home. Mummy is on the way home, bringing dinner. Simple time but priceless memories.  
Goodbye 2015. Thank you for all the good, fun, bad, tough, sad times.  Come 201, lets remember to treasure whats truly important. Family, friends, good health and happiness.  

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Cars and its relevance in the city


On the SG paper I saw this news of having parts of the Singapore Civic Centre made car free............................................................. for a sunday morning. :) 
Screen grab from the Straits Time

There got your attention now. Well, this is really cause for being very happy about. It shows the SG approach, albeit, cautious but moving forward as a liveable and pro-cycling environment. 
I know some of my car driver friends are probably not happy, after all they have paid so much money for their car and now its one area cars are off limits. Bloody hell. 
Sadly esp in the city, the space for car and car parking are maxed out. It's not logical to keep things as it is and if you look around the major cities, everyone of them are putting in plans to make their cities car free or lite. Need another reason? Look at the space that a a car takes up.


Taken from http://www.fsraum.at/
I saw this very interesting posting some time back that explains in detail the space a car, a bus, train takes up and what it would mean.
http://www.planetizen.com/node/68574
Not to bore the folks who like pics... do read it to understand more why cars are going the way of the dodo. At least in the City that is.

So how could a car be relevant in SG? Yes I think so. Esp for a select group of people. I feel we could do with a softer compassionate approach to the handicapped, physically disabled and young families. One small but significant news  I read sometime back was that the London cab fleet would discontinued. It impacted quite a fair bit of the physically disabled.
I would not know if I didn't have friends who are those situation. It's really tough for them to move around. Poking around on the internet, it seems that London cab is still around. BTW, Do you know how much it cost for a london cab now? 

I hope we can have less "Ra Ra"/ fancy pants ideas, but simple implementable ones. Not cars per say but for example, could we have a Silver/family cab service (specific to elderly- going to see the doctors,  mummies with kids- to school, buying groceries,  families outing etc) that is more affordable(or subsidised). 
Or even a pro-family car COE certification class?? 
Crazy ideas perhaps but if you stop to think about the whole COE and ERP, it was designed to control car usage. Imagine if we can curb frivolous car usage, and focus where it matters. Example, for those who really cannot use the public transport. 
I know the concern of abusing/gaming the system but really please spare a thought for those who are having it tough. 
Ultimate Utopia dream perhaps but I hope for a country where there will be more compassion, heart and lesser of using $$ as the only lever on decisions. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Tool board made from scrap timber planks

It's the end of the year and time for spring cleaning. Man, there's really a lot of stuff to de-clutter and clear up. I spent the last week at home doing just that and the good thing is that many of the families are doing this too! This is also a good time to spot some useful "stuff" for re-purposing(collect and keep it in the most unobstructive, visually pleasing manner so as not to piss off missus) .
This is a much delayed project which I wanted to do for sometime. Essentially it was made from 2 planks I found in the bin and screwed together by wood screws. 

I arranged the usual tools which I used often and hammer in in some nails (to hold them in place). This is how it looked and as you can see, Momo is helping me get it done. I like this hack as it makes the bike spot cleaner and easier to use the tool. And makes u look really good reusing something that was thrown away. Why not try this some day? 

The wooden planks I got from the bin....really can't see good wood go to waste 
Hammer in the nails to hold and use permanent marker to line out the tool position
Momo helping to outline the tools and while u work... take out the helmets 
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Its done! Just lean on a wall. 

Relaxed geometry for riding.

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This is how I like my riding, slow and steady. Like my mascot on my TSR:) 
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I like steel bikes 
After riding and writing about cycling for over 5 years, I have an idea of what my personal riding style and the bikes I like.
To be frank, it wasn't really a deliberate scientific rational planning but an organic free flow way of things just happening. And also ...ahemmm a very supportive wife:) 
I like Velo Orange and Rivendell approach. They are simply old skool bike geometry. Much more upright cycling with long wheel base. Key is relaxed, non-competitive and low/non tech. Recycle if possible.  We have a Chinese term for this. Its called 骑 
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These are thumbies or thumb shifters. They work irregardless of whatever speeds cluster (7-10speed) as they use friction rather then SIS(index shifting)
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Not a glam thing but it really helps to know whats coming from the rear. I think they are more important then helmets 
Usually the bicycles are made of  Steel or Chromoly which is heavy compared to carbon. But their defense, they dampen road vibrations pretty very well. Also they are quite robust. Some times we would experience a bike drop on the floor due to careless positioning when leaning on a curb or wall. 
Steel bikes also wear well with age and develop a patina with regular use. I am a product designer by training and this is something which I feel that most modern products have failed miserably. Modern products just don't wear well.
Now, this entry is not about dissing off the folks who want to go fast or love carbon. It's different strokes for different folks. I am just sharing what works with me. Here goes... 
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My fleet of steel horses
As with all cyclists, it start with one bike and then the "fleet" will slowly grow. I don't know why but they do...else, you are not trying hard enough" ha ha. 
There are subtle ride differences in the ride quality and yet some how they feel also similar. So I took out 4 bikes in random and try to do some quantitative study. The bikes are 
1) 1990s Trek 930 with a surly LHT fork
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Looking ready for a tour. Rigged up with Top Peak rear, Carradice Pendle and Tubus Tara front. 
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Really nice Nitto front rack which u can put a safety kit or rain jacket
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Wide bars by Velo orange  
2) Late 80s Old Road bike NOB 
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My first bike I bought using my holiday work as a book shop assistant. Its being Singled speed-ed by Lynten 
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You sure can touch this!
3) Tokyo Bike 
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Birthday present by Wife and the basket helps me "tar bao" dinner. The front pouch holds my wallet and phone. 
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Rattan basket is from some hamper which I recycled 
4) Alex Moulton TSR
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Propriety front rack and Beach road canvas bag with DIY Beeswax waterproofing. 
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Road bars installed by Rebound Centre, previously was a mustache bar 

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As scientific as it can get from me

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measure and check....

I took 3 basic measurements to understand my bikes. 
A) Reach- from Seat tip to steering stem
B)  Handle height 
C) Seat height 
What I found out is they are very similar with I measured! 

No wonder I felt Tokyo bike felt abit too short. The seat was lower compared with the rest of my bikes.
This measurements would be also very useful when u bring ur bike overseas and u need to dismantle them for easier packing. 

I also love the quote by Velo Orange which sums up what I feel on cycling.  
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Chill and ride. Learning from the best of the best how to drink kopi ( uncle KC) 
"Most cyclists don't race, yet they ride uncomfortable racing bikes and try to go too fast and so miss much of the world around them. Our emphasis is on a more relaxed and comfortable style of riding, and on refined bikes that are comfortable on a century ride, an inn-to-inn tour, or even on a ramble down your favorite dirt road.
Chris Founder-President Velo Orange"
I know this kind of riding will never be main stream as say road riding. There is simply no commercial intent big enough to do do. This is why I share my opinion on my blog and hight light this small sub-cycling culture. 
Hope one day you could also try out this relaxed type of riding someday. See yah! 


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Location makers in Singapore. 5 mile markers. What does it mean?

 I used to hear the elders speaking of location like 5 stone marker and been puzzled what it all means. I googled and this might interest you. Its the reference point from all marker stones were measured. Before our postal codes were established, the marker stones are a way of location and identifying where u stay.
I wonder how many are still there. Anyone knows?
Taken from the internet



Night safety for bikes @ Kickstarter

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1485079175/the-reflective-bicycle?ref=nav_search



This is an interesting kickstarter project that uses reflective adhesive sheet and a combination of printing to achieve some really cool and reflective patterns. This is a good addon options for folks who like to ride at night esp on the side visibility.

Thinking about it, wouldn't those sticker shops be able to do this locally? Does anyone have more information on this? I love to hear from you.