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Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Family and A Fistful of Coupons

When I first started out blogging, I never knew that I would be writing so much topics on BikeTrials. Since I started the sports in early 2008, I have been spending a lot of time learning and acquiring BikeTrial skills.

So I guess it is high time I focus this blog on BikeTrials and move all non-BikeTrials related topics to another new blog... :-)

The new blog is called "A Family and A Fistful of Coupons". It will cover general topics relating to life, family and my personal experiences.

I hope it will do as well as this blog. Cheers.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Putrajaya BikeTrials and Taxi Drivers

Yesterday, I had a great time riding in Putrajaya Bike Park with Wong Xu. It was a nice and cool afternoon with sporadic rain showers. We started at about 3:30pm and ended at about 6:00pm. Here are some photos and video of that afternoon.

Wong Xu showing me how to pedal hop to drop-off.

Wong Xu showing me how to dip and land on the front wheel from a rear wheel hop.

Wong Xu showing me a side hop.

We left at 6:30 pm to meet a friend of Wong Xu, also from China, who was interested in taking a look at my Monty 221PR and was thinking about buying a 20" trial bike. We waited at in Cyberia Apartments taxi stand in Cyberjaya for his friend to arrive.

Wong Xu told me that by end of February in 2010, there will be around 10 BikeTrial riders from China, whom will be studying here in Kuala Lumpur. Fun times ahead... LOL.

When Wong's friend arrived, I unloaded our bikes for him to try. He had been riding for more than 5 years in China. Since coming to Malaysia, he had been out of touch and I could see that he
knows the skills but lack the "sharpness" of daily riding.

Wong Xu's friend from China (I just could not pronounce or recall his name... LOL.)

While Wong Xu and his friends were trying out the trial bikes, the taxi drivers from the nearby Taxi stand were quite shocked and impressed. A couple of them could not resist and decided to try out the trial bikes for themselves.

The taxi drivers hanging out at their stand waiting for their fares.

One of the Taxi driver decided to try out the trial bike.

The taxi driver was laughing and surprised that he could not track-stand.

Another Taxi driver decided to give it a go on the trial bike.

The Taxi drivers had fun. We had fun. So all in all, it was a good day for trials... :-)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

BikeTrials at Home on Christmas Day

Finally had the chance to relax and ride some trials. What better day than on Christmas day itself... LOL. I did this in the last Christmas as well... :-)

Kids were excited about going to their aunt's place for Christmas dinner. The sky was slightly cloudy... just enough to hide the sun and provide the shade from the heat to make it a perfect day for trials :-)

After about 40 minutes into the session, I decided to shoot some videos and edit them into a movie.... Hahaha. Not exciting like those on Youtube. But it's still progress for me... LOL.

Tired as hell.... but loving every minute of it... Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year :-)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Monty Sponsored BikeTrials Team in Malaysia?

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet up with the Malaysian distributor of Monty bikes, Humphrey of Guan Chow Sdn Bhd through Kevin of Tat Seng Bicycle Centre. Guan Chow Sdn Bhd is based in Ipoh, Perak. They are also the manufacturer of the widely available Exitway bicycles.

Coincidentally, before I even found out about the sports of BikeTrials, I bought an Exitway to ride cross-country in 2007... LOL. And in early 2008, I used the Exitway to learn the basic skills of BikeTrials like track-stands, pivoting and hopping.

In early 2009, I had heard that someone was bring in Monty trial bikes, but I had no idea who. And with an exception of a few, not many bicycle shops even dared to carry the Monty trial bikes (Monty Kamel 218 and 219) in their stores.

When I was at Tat Seng Bicycle Centre in Kota Kemuning looking for Ah Chun for a set of roller chain and to replace my Monty 221PR's rear wheel spokes, he mentioned to me that his boss (Kevin) knew the distributor of Monty bikes who was looking for a trial rider to sponsor. Basically, they wanted to promote BikeTrials in Malaysia through events and roadshows, and so he asked me if I knew of anyone whom might be interested.

Straight away Syarul and Aris came to mind, but they wanted someone who can perform BikeTrial tricks and feats... in the end, I suggested Wong Xu. Wong Xu has had the experience performing for TV shows in China, and locally in LimKokWing and UKM. So, taking that into account, Wong Xu should be the best candidate.

And so last Tuesday, I arranged for Wong Xu to meet up and demonstrate his BikeTrials skills to Kevin of Tat Seng Bicycle Centre and Humphrey of Guan Chow Sdn Bhd.

Tat Seng Bicycle HQ in Cheras.

Tat Seng Bicycle shop front.

A photo of Wong Xu in the shop.

I took a short video of Wong Xu demonstrating BikeTrials.

Humphrey was interested in promoting Monty for BikeTrials in Malaysia. He did mentioned that he was preparing to bring in riders from Monty, Spain, to conduct demos and roadshows. If he is, then I hope he will bring in Ot Pi or Dani Comas... LOL. Humphrey also said that he will let Wong Xu know if he will select him as part of the sponsored team.

In the meantime, he is also looking for riders to make a Malaysian BikeTrial Team. This team will be conducting roadshows throughout Malaysia to promote BikeTrials. Well, if he is, then I suggest he start off with Syarul and Wan Aris, and with Wong Xu as a guest star trial rider.

I hope to hear from Humphrey and Kevin again soon regarding BikeTrials. Maybe, they will be willing to set up a BikeTrial park... ah... if only... LOL.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

New And Newer Bicycle Roller Chains

Finally managed to get some time to update my blog today. Been busy running all over the place at work and at home. The kids will be starting school again in a couple of weeks. Me and the wife have been shopping for new school uniforms, shoes, text and work books for the kids.

Anyway, just to follow up on my roller chain mishaps, I managed to buy a replacement roller chain on Nov 30th. It was actually harder than I thought looking for a single-speed chain. In the end, I settled for a BMX roller chain from a bike shop in Sungei Way in Petaling Jaya.

The new BMX roller chain from Taiwan.

After installing the new roller chain on my Echo 26", I tried riding round. The roller chain kept slipping off my DIY roller chain tensioner. It was very annoying and frustrating.

The new roller chain (right) compared to the old chain.

I adjusted and re-aligned the tensioner to no avail. I continued riding, realigning and adjusting the tensioner a couple more times and decided to stop when I heard a "clink" sound, like something came off and dropped from the bike. I could not believe my eyes when I saw a piece of the roller chain link plate lying on the floor... LOL. "You have got to be kidding me," I thought.

A photo showing the link plate that came off the pins when I pedal kicked.

Apparently, the inner width between the link plates on the new roller chain were wider than the one that I had earlier, and that allowed one of the sprocket tooth to get caught in between the link plates, hence popping the link plate right off the roller chain! Scary!!!

Right after that I packed up everything and decided to call it a night. My plan was to go get a new roller chain the next day... LOL. And this time I was going to bring my old original roller chain with me for comparison.... LOL.

The next day and a couple of days later, I was just too busy with work to go looking for a new roller chain. It was only after a week later, on a Saturday (Dec 12th) that I decided to go to Kota Kemuning to look for Ah Chun of Tat Seng Bicycle Centre. I had decided to bring along my Monty 221PR to replace all the rear wheel spokes as well.

In my mind, I had thought that if anyone could help me with my bike problems, it would be Ah Chun... LOL. And sure enough, he recommended a set of roller chain that were suitable for BMX, Trials or Freestyle bikes!

The YBN roller chain.

That night, after I installed the new roller chain, everything came together perfectly! The chain was no longer coming off the tensioner sprocket and I could ride with confidence... but only after I had my eldest son, Joel, keeping an eye on the chain as I rode. I tried everything from hopping, pivoting, pedal kicking, etc. It worked great! Hahahaha. Confidence! Happiness!

Side view of the 3 roller chains, with the newest one at the bottom.

Top view of the 3 roller chains, with the newest one at the bottom. Notice the design? The bottom one is designed to be slip-proof!

The new roller chain installed on my Echo.

Closeup of the new roller chain on my Echo.

As for my Monty 221PR, I left it with Ah Chun and less than a week later, I got it back. Except for the brakes, the spokes were great! I had to re-tar the rims to maximise braking power... :-)

And now I have both bikes in good working conditions. From here on, I am back on training and riding... whoohu!