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Monday, June 29, 2009

Learning Pedal Kick and Pedal Up Zap Tap

Last Saturday I decided to reward myself by getting a new pair of 661 shin guards from TTDI's KSH Bike shop. My old shin guards (which I have repaired many times over) have saved me from much agony and I felt that aside from the helmet, they were the most important equipment for learning BikeTrial... :-)

My old shin guards, which I have repaired many times.

Yeah, the new shin guards. Easy to wear and remove.

Anyway, while waiting for my kids to finish their replacement classes, I took some time off to practice what I thought was two of the most important biketrial skills after the three basics skills (track-stand, hopping and pivoting). They are the pedal kick and the pedal up zap tap.

Pedal Kicking down the Wooden Pallet

For pedal kick, I was trying to get my arm and shoulder muscles to toughen up... LOL. Then I tried learning to control the pedal kicks to be more precise. At first I tried just pedal kicking on a flat level ground. Then I decided to do it from a stack of pallets. I figured that if I could get use to the height and small gaps, I will be able to handle higher and wider gaps later... without the fear of height... LOL.

Maybe wishful thinking.... but my current goal is to train myself to be able to pedal kick and land anywhere I want just like in those videos I watched on YouTube... Hahaha. The following video shows me struggling with the pedal kicks down the wooden pallets.

I set up the wooden pallets from high to low, allowing me to start from the top and work myself down.

So tired! Learning to balance and pedal kicking down the wooden pallets.

Pedal Up Zap Tap Onto an Obstacle

The pedal up zap tap is one of the more useful skill needed to ride a section. It is necessary for climbing onto an obstacles. To me, it is one of the most difficult techniques to learn. I have been trying this for a month now and I seemed to be getting nowhere. The following video shows me attempting to pedal up zap tap a 2 feet stack of wooden pallet.

A stack of 4 wooden pallets, which I used to practice and learn the "pedal up zap tap".

My noobie step to "pedal up zap tap". I could only do it this way, until I can learn to fully commit, to "fly" up the pallets... which will lead me to learn the "touch up" and the "pedal up" LOL.

From here on until I really get it, I will be learning and training myself to master these two techniques. Hopefully, it will be soon.

Note: Got my terminology wrong... it's not a "pedal up" but a "zap tap" that I was learning. But my direction is to learn the "touch up" and "pedal up" after this... LOL.

Last night, managed to successfully execute the "touch up" a number of times... exhilarating!!! Unfortunately, one failed attempt injured my right knee, right toe and left calf went into a cramp!!! And now I am miserably on the bench!!!! Hate this! - Last updated July 10, 2009.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

BIU 2009 China Ping Tang World BikeTrial Championship

Since March this year, Syarul has been telling me about an important BikeTrial event this coming August, the 18th BIU World BikeTrial Championship to be held in Ping Tang, China.

I was undecided until I attended the Round 2 of the Singapore 09 National BikeTrial Championship. It was while taking photos and videos of the Singapore event that I realised, I should not miss this opportunity to attend the World BikeTrial Championship in China. There are two choices, we could go as a delegate or as a rider. And in either cases, the room and board will be fully covered for, for the 7 days. All we have to do was to pay for our flight there and back.

Together with Aris and Syarul, there will be 3 of us. Aris and Syarul will be riding in the Championship, whereas I will be going as a delegate. Technically in Malaysia, we are not a member of BIU (BikeTrial International Union) yet and therefore has no representation in BIU. And so we are going to the Championship through a representative union, which in this case is either BikeTrial Singapore or BikeTrial Asia Union, where Walton Seah is the President. Syarul knows more about this... LOL I will need to confirm with him... :-)

Anyway, my plan is very simple, take videos and photos of this international event. Enjoy myself. Take photos with the riders and maybe get a few autographs.... LOL. Last but not least, I hope to purchase some bike components, etc. People that I hope to meet are Ot Pi and Dani Comas.

So from now until then, the only thing that can stop us from going is the status of the H1N1 pandemic that is affecting everyone.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Forget Natural or Urban, Learn the Techniques First

In my previous blog post I have been talking about setting up a semi permanent BikeTrial training ground using wooden pallets or any other suitable materials. I have been trying to convey this idea to various friends and riders. Unfortunately, most of them do not feel the same way... LOL. But some of the responses were very supportive... :-)

The most common responses I received were that they prefer "natural" obstacles over "man-made" obstacles. I can see where they are coming from. They feel that natural were more demanding and challenging, and I totally agreed with them.

What is Natural?

For the BikeTrial uninitiated, when we say "natural", we are actually referring to naturally occurring obstacles such as tree roots, rock formations, boulders or fallen logs, etc. So basically, a natural section is made up of combination of these "natural" obstacles that a rider needs to overcome to ride and complete the section.

Anyway, the point I am trying to make here is that in Malaysia, we do not have any really experienced BikeTrial riders. There are still a lot of techniques or skills that we do not know (at least based on the number of riders I know of and have ridden with). And I can really see that as being a major hurdle to progress... LOL. We rely a lot on videos from YouTube or BikeTrial forums, etc. and occasionally tips from fellow riders in Singapore to learn the many BikeTrial techniques... LOL.

And so... I strongly advocate having a semi-permanent area setup for BikeTrial, which I think will expedite the training and improve the steep learning curve of the various techniques or skills. I think this is the fastest way for us to learn, where we meet, share and learn from each other as we progressed... hahah.

Only after learning the many skills and techniques to a consistent level, do I think that we can progress to decide if we like "natural" or "urban" sections... LOL. So please dun tell me you like "natural" when I say, lets set up a BikeTrial training area with wooden pallets and such... and I will buy you a teh tarik... LOL.

How many BikeTrial Riders in Malaysia?

Based on my last count, I think there are about 9 proper trial bikes (with 8 riders) that I know of in Malaysia. Kind of pathetic if you ask me... LOL. But nevertheless, in 2007, there was only 1 trial bike (Syarul's bike... LOL). So this is progress indeed.

  1. Syarul (Neon Bike 20") - bought from Singapore
  2. Sean (Echo Pure 26") - bought from Singapore
  3. Helmi (Adamant 20") - bought from Singapore
  4. Aris (Monty 218 20") - bought from Shah Alam, Malaysia
  5. Nico (Yaaba 20") - bought from UK
  6. Shawn (Monty 20") - bought from UK
  7. Jack (Monty 221PR 20") - bought from Singapore
  8. Jack (Echo Pure 26") - bought from Singapore
  9. Henry (Echo Lite 20") - bought from Singapore
A big milestone this year is that, there is actually a bicycle supplier in Malaysia with the foresight (at least that's what I would like to think... LOL) to import Monty Trial bike from Taiwan. The Monty 218 20". Hopefully, this will play a part to spur the growth of BikeTrial in Malaysia.

BikeTrial is a perfect Spectator Sport?

Another reason for setting up a semi-permanent BikeTrial training ground is that it will aid in the promotion of the sport. BikeTrial is the perfect spectator sport, where anyone watching will be mesmerized by the riders riding the obstacles in the man-made sections. Even the design of the trial bikes will get so much attention... "Eh... what happened to the seat?" LOL

BikeTrial Malaysia has Future?

Anyway, here is a video of how the BikeTrial Champion (Dani Comas) of the World trains with his friends... LOL. Check out the training ground specifically designed for BikeTrial. Maybe one day, we will have a training ground like those shown in the videos below... :-)

Dani Comas and friends

And another...

NĂ³ra Tavasi from Hungary.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Singapore 09 National BikeTrial Championship - Round 2

Believe it or not, I planned this trip for the Round 2 of the Singapore 09 National BikeTrial Championship since March, when I participated in Round 1.

This time around the competition was held in Toa Payoh Town Park. A beautifully design park right smack in the heart of Singapore. Unlike in Round 1, which was held in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, the Toa Payoh Town Park was free of mosquitoes, flies, snakes and other critters... LOL.

Unfortunately, I was not able to participate. About a month ago, my family and I had been stricken with tonsil infections. It was brutal. I was still recovering... man... at this age, it really took a while to recover! (Hence, no update on my blog.)

In any case, I was adamant not to miss the competition. If I was not able to ride, at least I was able to document the tournament via videos and photos... LOL.

Similar to Round 1, there were altogether 5 sections. All riders had to ride all the sections, 3 times. The scores and times would be tabulated accordingly by the Observers. The competition only started at about 10:00am and finished at 1:00pm. I had to leave early and was not able to stay for the final results and prize giving. In fact, I am still waiting for the official result to be published... :-)

The BikeTrial Sections

Section 1. A few of the riders walking through Section 1 trying to determine the best line to take according to their category (Elite, J. Senior or Open).

Section 2.

Section 3.

Section 4.

Section 5.

There's this saying, "It is not the destination that counts, but the journey." Well... I must say that in this case, both the journey and destination was fantastic. Although, I had to leave early, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

After 4 weeks of no riding, it is time to get back to it again, by this weekend!

Matthew riding the sections.

Walton riding the sections.

Yang Ming riding the sections.

Ben Loh riding the sections.

Here is a video of Yang Ming, Walton, Hor Fun and Ben 14 fooling around after the competition.

Btw, now I am planning to attend the BIU World BikeTrial Championship to be held in Ping Tang, China, in August. Really looking forward to it!

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