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Friday, June 27, 2008

It is good to be back on BikeTrial again!

Last Saturday (21st June) , Syarul and I went down to Singapore to watch the Singapore National BikeTrial Round 2 Competition. It was held in Pasir Ris City Park on the eastern side of the island. Both of us were invited to participate in the competition by Walton, the President of BikeTrial Asia Union/BikeTrial Singapore Union.

I was totally not prepared and was in no condition to join. Syarul joined and he did quite well... :-) I will post more about our adventures in Singapore in my next post.

Also, I took a lot of photos and videos. Unfortunately, they are all with Syarul as it was his camera and camcorder... LOL. I hope to get it from him soon.

Anyways, two days ago, I finally could go back to my biketrial training. My arm felt much better and almost back to normal. So I decided to make use the the three wooden pallets, which I acquired from the BikeTrial Event in Seremban earlier this month, to set them up to train my balancing and try riding a biketrial section. Check out the photos below.

Three wooden pallets stacked up in my driveway.

Side view of the wooden pallets. Stacked up, they are just slightly more than 1 feet high.

A mock section I set up to train.

Another view of the biketrial section.

I tell you... it is hard as hell to ride without any dabs. The limited amount of space does not help at all. This section I created is very short. At my current skill level, I am struggling with it, balancing being the most challenging skill to master.

I believe that if and when I can go through this section comfortably and flawlessly, I am ready to call myself a biketrial rider... if not... then I think the damn wooden pallets are going to stay in front of my house for a very long time... LOL...

Here is a gruesome reminder to wear proper gears when training. Somehow I just never learn! Baka!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Giant Mountain Bike with Handlebar and Seat that have Built-in Absorbers

Last Saturday, I was sitting in a coffee shop in Sri Petaling together with my daughter sheltering from the rain (while waiting for my sons to finish their mental Arimetic classes for the day). I was going to twitter about being caught in the rain when I noticed a Giant mountain bike parked outside the coffee shop as I took a photo of my daughter.

The geometry of the bike was interesting to me as I was considering getting a cross-country mountain bike, which I hoped to be able to configure as an urban trial bike.

The Giant mountain bike in the photo behind by daughter.

When I checked out the bike, I noticed the strange looking handlebar stem and seat post. The first thing that came to mind was that, "Hey, cool!. The handlebar stem and seat post were quickly adjustable by the rider to suit riding uphill or downhill (e.g. stem higher and lower seat for downhill and vice versa)."

Later that night while on the drive down to Singapore together with Syarul to watch the BikeTrial competition, I showed the photos I took of the Giant bike. He told me that those modifications were not meant to adjust the stem nor the seat, but were the actual suspension system of the whole bike... and that this was old technology... LOL.

When I got over laughing at myself, I was actually quite impressed with this new found discovery... LOL. It never crossed my mind that the handlebar and seat post could play a big part in a bike's suspension system design. Now that I have this "revealed" to me, I must say that it made perfect sense... doesn't it? LOL... It is not even thinking ouside-the-box... Hahaha...

The Giant mountain bike without any front or rear suspension, or so I thought.

The handlebar stem with a built-in suspension.

The seat post with a built-in suspension.

After getting back from Singapore, I went and did some research on the net. I found out that there were many patents related to this kind of suspension system for bicycles... :-)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Red Bull Sponsored BikeTrial in Seremban, Negri Sembilan

Last Saturday (14th June), there was a youth and sport event in Komplek Belia dan Sukan (Youth & Sports Complex) in Seremban, Negri Sembilan. The event was organised by the Negri Sembilan State Government.

There were a lot of booths showcasing youth related sports activities and career oriented opportunities. Some VIPs were there to give their important two bits on youth culture et al. The RM95 million spaceman of Malaysia was also there to inspire the youths to shoot for the stars.

All these brouhaha could not over shadow the Biketrial event that was taking place. Syarul (aka The Race Boy) managed to get a booth at the event to organised a first ever major demonstration and promotion of BikeTrial with Red Bull being the sponsor in Malaysia!!!

At one point, I overheard someone saying that the organiser had to stop the guys from riding to ensure that everyone was focused on the speeches given by the VIPs... LOL.

Monty riders from BikeTrial Singapore were invited to demonstrate the skills and stamina required to ride trials. The sections consist of wooden pallets and a Red Bull Ford 4WD truck.

Walton, Ben and Nelvin. Walton is also the President of BikeTrial Asia Union/BikeTrial Singapore Union.

Walton and Ben taking a breather while Nelvin rides in front of the crowd.

Ben pedal kick up to the Ford.

Ben drop-off the platform.

Nelvin dropping off the Ford.

Managed to capture Walton in mid-air as he leaps onto the platform.

Again, caught Walton in mid leap across to a higher platform.

Ben caught in the air as he dropped off the platform.

Syarul (aka The Race Boy) explaining BikeTrial to those interested.

Syarul giving a BikeTrial clinic to some youth. You can see Sri Naga standing there paying close attention... :-)

Sri Naga on Walton's Monty. (Gotta get me one of those!! LOL.)

Sean trying out Walton's Monty... when is my turn lah???

I get to try out Walton's Monty as well... Thanks to Naga for the pix!

Sean shooting video of the riders as Naga checks on his camera.

After the demo, I managed to get Walton to teach me some basic riding techniques and also to clarify on some of the BikeTrial rules.

After the event, I managed to pack up three of the wooden pallets in my truck. I hoped to be able to practice on them... LOL.

More Photos and Videos:

Friday, June 13, 2008

My First Ever Encounter with Traditional Chinese Medicine

Back in 2004, I had a crippling spinal problem that left me in bed for 2 weeks. It was not through any physical activity or exercises that I was left in this situation.

It was late in the afternoon in the office after a meeting that the problem started. For no apparent reason, my back started to ache. The aching escalated to extreme pain. I could barely drive home that day. Coughing and sneezing caused excruciating pain to run through my spine.

The next day my wife drove me to Subang Jaya Medical Center and I sought treatment there. I saw a doctor whom just prescribe some pain-killers (that has totally no effect) and sent me to physio-therapy, which according to the schedule, I had to endure for 6 weeks. Each physio-therapy session cost about RM180. This is excluding the cost of other equipment I had to buy. All in all, I had already spent more than RM1500 with more to come.

After suffering for a week with no end to the pain in sight, my wife's friend suggested to her to take me to see a Traditional Chinese Medicine physician in Ampang. That afternoon, my wife came home and drove me there.

Within 30 minutes of arriving there, I was CURED! My back was as good as new! The physician basically massaged some muscles and then twisted my legs sideways against my body. The moment I heard the crackling sound coming from my backbone, the pain was totally gone. (Turns out that the lower portion of my backbone was slightly disjointed and some vertebrae were pressing against the nerves.)

I drove home a very happy and satisfied customer. And the cost, RM65. Heck! I would have paid much much more.

The next part was to convince my company to recognize Traditional Chinese Medicine as a valid treatment for medical conditions or ailments. which was not difficult to do considering the cost savings the company could save.

Insurance companies would do well to pay attention... LOL.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Biketrials and Tit Tar - Traditional Chinese Medicine

Since I twisted my left arm more than a month ago while practicing biketrial, I have been waiting for it to heal like forever. (See previous post here on

I have tried rubbing vicks, nutmeg oil, chinese medicinal ointments and Salonpas plasters. None of those remedies worked. So when I was in Batu Gajah last weekend, I went to see a physician practicing Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

He operates from a house and there were a lot of people waiting for their turns. From what I could see among the other patients, my problem was the least serious of all. One of the patient had a terrible motorcycle accident with healing scabs on parts of his fore head, face and right arm. He could not even bend at the elbow (I believe parts of his tendons were shortened and reattached). I could see the recent surgery scars that were performed on his arm.

When it was my turn, the physician basically took a cursory look at my left arm and told his helper to wrap my elbow with some medicinal ointment wrapped in banana leaf. I was not to remove it for 3 days. The cost of treatment was RM24.

Day 1 - My arm was wrapped in some traditional Chinese medicinal ointment.

Day2 - The pain was reduced only for the initial two days. I suspect that the ointment has some anesthetic effects.

I removed the bandages on the 3rd day.

The banana leaf that was used to wrap the medicinal ointment around my arm.

After the removal of the bandages, I could see small bruises around the elbow. The medicine had some effects, but my arm was far from being healed.

Yesterday, we had a biketrial gathering in Kelana Jaya. I just had to ride... LOL. And this morning, I am paying for it in spades. The pain on my left arm graduated from throbbing to sharp painful jolt each time I move my arm.

So at around 7pm in this evening, with a friend's (Sean) recommendation, I went to see a "Tit Tar" in Taman Seapark. What is "Tit Tar"? Here is an extract,

"Tit tar Tit taris a Cantonese term that, when translated literally, means ‘fall-hit’. When used together, tit tar refers to the treatment of bone, joint and muscle misalignment sustained from physical trauma such as a fall, an accident or during sports." You can find out more here.

The name of the "Tit Tar" that I went to is called Oriental Medicines and Therapy Sdn Bhd. In Malaysia and probably other countries, most "Tit Tar" treatments are provided by Chinese martial arts organisations. But from what I can see, Oriental Medicines and Therapy Sdn Bhd looked like a modern medical clinic with several branches in the Klang Valley.
Eric Leong was the physician that treated my arm. He rotated and pivoted my fore arm around the elbow, and told me that there was a minor dislocation at the elbow. I could faintly hear a clicking sound each time he rotated my arm. He then proceeded to pull and twist my arm at the elbow, which caused me to (ahem... tough guy image gone liao... :-) yell out in pain.

At that point I felt a release of tension around my left arm. I could actually move it in all directions without discomfort. But when I press down on the bone at the elbow, I could still feel some pain. I am assuming that this was because of the internal bruising and blood clot, that will hopefully dissipate after a few days.

Next, my arm was wrapped in steaming hot medicinal herbs, that according to Eric, will help to sooth and remove the blood clot inside the joint.

The registration card I received as a patient of Oriental Medicines and Therapy Sdn Bhd. There was also a piece of paper that lists a number of items that I must not eat for two weeks, such as prawn, soya bean, tea, cabbage(?), etc.

My left arm wrapped in conventional bandages.

The cost of treatment is RM45. So far, my left arm feels really good. I will be removing the bandages tomorrow and lets hope that it is well on the way to recovery, so that I can ride next Wednesday... LOL.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

BikeTrial in Kelana Jaya Lake Park

Just came back 2 hours ago from a biketrial gathering in Kelana Jaya. Syarul, Aaron, Hong, Kenji, Sean and I started out in the badminton hall in front of Kelana Square and ended up riding in front of the Kelana Jaya stadium. After that, we moved to the Kelana Jaya lake park.

In all the excitement, I forgot to take photos of the event... sorry... will try to remember the next time... :P I do have 1 video showing how hight Aaron can bunny hop on a 20"... LOL.

All in all, the gathering was very exciting with everyone sharing ideas, techniques and skills. Despite my left arm being out, I just could not resist the temptation of trying out certain moves and ideas. Right now, my throbbing left arm is letting me know that I should have paid more attention to its warning. Sigh.

My high point (with Kenji's coaching) was being able to learn how to "manual" (i.e. willie without sitting down and pedaling) on his UMF bike. Currently, I get the basic techniques but still need lots of practice to really get it dialed. Cool!

In any case, my bike had a rear puncture and Syarul's bike pedal's screw came loose and went missing. We managed to overcome these minor setback and continued riding.

All in all, it was a great night. Next week, we are going to try riding some sections.