Brompton Deal

I don’t know why I just wanted to buy it, I’m guess it is an impulse purchase. I heard about Brompton when I was buying my second bike, but I wasn’t impress of its weight, gear range and looks back then. Fast forward one year later, I don’t know why I am so obsessed with it. 

Maybe the people who ride them just stand out from the crowd, it is unlike any bicycle that looks like a China copies. Maybe it is the small size which it can fold into, and to fit into a check-in bag without taking out any parts. Maybe I am fed up scratching and damaging my Tern D8 after transporting in a checked baggage. Maybe it is the ability to roll the bike easily after it has been folded. Maybe it is the fascinating 3 speed internal hub.

I don’t know, I need to own it to experience it.

RM6300

So I’ve been scouting around for more than a year for one. Last year I went to London and never got one because for one, I still can’t accept the high price and two, it can’t fit into my current check-baggage. It was selling more than RM1k less than in Malaysia. So I continue riding with what I have and slowly decide if I need to spend that sort of money for something so hippie. 

RM7300

Few months back when I went and check the price of the bikes again, the Malaysian price has gone up another RM1k! Whoa! It will be consider as okay before BREXIT, before the GBP tumbles, but this is the price after that, as if the price remain at the rate when GBP was highest. Heck, someone is BicycleBuySell is selling his used 2012 model for RM5.5k!

Looking at how the used value hold, I figure it should be okay to buy one, but one with the old 2015 price. In order to get that price, I need to get the older model, brand new. Just one day few weeks back, someone in LYF was asking if he can get a Brompton at a lower than market rate, complaining that it is so much cheaper to get in UK. Another former mentioned that there are still old stock in one of the bike shop in Taiping. I PM-ed the guy asking for contacts. 

RM6k+

I contact the bike shop, but the seller is reluctant to reveal the exact price he wanted to sell, quoting RM6k+. Since I budget RM6k, I decided to go to the shop and check it out, even if the shop is in Taiping, 250km away. It was my second time in Taiping but his shop wasn’t that difficult to find. He only has two Brompton left, red-white and yellow-black, both are M6L. 

Except for their color, both are almost the specs that I wanted. If it was a 3 speed, without mudguard, S-type handle bar, I wouldn’t bother to visit the shop. I wish one had a rack, but I don’t have much use for a rack since it is much better to put a bag in front instead of behind. In fact one of the bike did comes with a block in front for attaching bagel.
RM12000

Yep, that’s the price I ended paying buying both of the bikes. What’s the fun of it if I can’t do the things I love together with my love one. Now let’s just hope she will also alike the bike. 

Brompton Deal

Another Narita Trip

By the time I reach the hotel, it was already 10.30am. Could have reach earlier if not for the connecting passengers. I managed to sleep for 2 hours plus.

Something freaky happened halfway sleeping, all the lights in my room turned on automatically. I’m too tired to even think what have caused it, and just flipped all the lights off and continued sleeping.

I got up, took the 2.30pm shuttle to Terminal 2, and only able to catch the next bus at 3.40pm to Tokyo. By the time I reach Tokyo, it is already 5pm. That’s mean I have only 3 and half hour to walk around before I need to catch the last bus back to the terminal. How sad.

This time I decided to visit a bicycle store. I’ve chosen Y’s Road Bike store near Akihabara, thinking naively that I still got time to check out Yodabashi at Akihabara after I’ve finished browsing the bike store. The store doesn’t disappoint, so I overspent my time there.

There are so many Brompton bikes which made my heart itchy again for a Brompton bike after I’ve gave up on that idea last July when I visited London. They’re price pretty competitively without tax:

M3L Normal Color 160,000 yen
M3L 170,000 yenS6L Normal Color 178,000 yen
S6L 185,000 yen
M6L 184,000 yen

They also sell few Dahon folders and ther rest are expensive road bikes. Since they sell Dahon there, parts can also be found there, such as 20″ Kojak tires. I also get to try out Ergon grip which I think I’ll pick one up soon. Then there’s also quite a selection of Knog and Cateye lights, bicycle locks, saddles. Oh not forgetting quite a selection of Shimano gear sets.

After visiting the bicycle store, I walked around looking for dinner, which is also my lunch. I went into this bar called おかってや 御徒町店. I ordered a plate of sashimi, mix rice and some sake. The waitress named Ami are kind enough to guide me on how to drink the specially over-poured sake. The mix rice was sort of cooked on the spot on my table, and I was specifically told to only eat after 30 minutes. A timer was placed on the table together with the meal.

おかってや 御徒町店

The food is nice and I thought I could finish faster to continue shopping. End up after meal I had some small talk with the two waitress. There’s another waitress named Manami and her brother is also working in the kitchen. She’s a student and working part time. After taking their photo, it was time for me to catch my bus.

おかってや 御徒町店

I under-stimated the time needed to reach the bus stop, mainly because I got a bit loss at Otemachi station. I pretty much ran to the bus stop after I found out how far was I when I got the the surface level and checked Google Map. With so little time for actually spending in the city, I say the trip down isn’t worth the 2000 yen return bus trip.

However, thinking back again, I being able to discover some place new, talking a bit to the locals, and trying out new way of drinking sake. The trip isn’t that bad after all.

Another Narita Trip

ETS Review

Inspired by my friend Alan Bligh, I wanted to find a chance to take a train ride to Penang. Finally I got my chance when my primary school mate invited me to his wedding dinner at Georgetown, Penang. Taking another friend’s advice, I booked the train ticket early online. I don’t have a working printer at home, if had one, I would be able to print the tickets at home. However I can print at the ticking counter.

I arrive at KL Sentral quite early, not sure of how long is the queue to get my tickets printed. It turns out the queue isn’t long, and I got my ticket in less than 10 minutes. So after that I proceed to the waiting area. All the seats there has already been taken, but it wasn’t considered crowded. I only get to board the train 15 minutes before the train was scheduled to depart. Since the waiting area is so close to where the cab put you, there’s little reason to come and wait too early.

Boarding hall
Boarding hall

Coming down to the platform, I was greeted with a surprise. The train that I’m taking is the brand new one just started service since May. My seat is in coach E, finding the correct coach is a little tricky. There’s a rack just nearby the entrance to the coach, and I manage to fit my bike underneath it and locking together with bicycle chain.

My bike fit nicely below the rack.
My bike fit nicely below the rack.

The first thing I notice once I got to my seat is that the leg room is considerably bigger than the economy seats in the plane. Since it is a new train, the cabin is sparkling clean, which I hope it will be maintained like this for the years to come.

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The train departed on time at 0930HR and on the way to up north, the sun is shining in from the right side. There is shade for the windows if you don’t want the sun light, but they’re usually kept open and shared between two row of seats. So those of you who do not liek the sun light might want to take note.

There’s a TV screen playing a movie without any sound in front of the 1 row of seat, it also shows the train’s cruising speed. The train manage to run at around 140KM/h on a straight. Even at that speed, it doesn’t sound as loud as inside a jetliner. I don’t need to raise my headphone volume so loud to listen to music (I couldn’t afford active noise canceling headphones).

Surau in the train.
Surau in the train.

There are different kind of seat configurations in the coach. Half of the seats are facing backward, and the last row has table stye with seat facing each other. The toilets are at coach B and E. There’s another toilet which is wheelchair friendly at coach D. If there is no PRM on board, the hallway outside it has more room for folded bicycle.

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After a while, part of the cabin become really cold and I start to look for something warm to eat. Unfortunately, they do not stock hot meals until passing Ipoh station. They do have sandwiches and hot beverages before that. I got myself some nasi lemak and fried beehun since I was quite hungry then. Finally the train reach Butterworth at 1340HR and I enjoyed the ride very much.

wpid-dscf3480.jpgI took another train back to KL the next day, and this time it is the older electric train. The facilities are older and aren’t as clean, but they’re still pretty well maintained. This time the rack isn’t there, but there’s a really big space in front of the first seat, so I manage to place my bike there, on upright position, locking and securing it to the handle bars. The seating configuration is also different from the newer train, but they are well described in AhPek Biker’s blog.

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Even though it took longer time than taking a flight, but I find the whole process less stressful and best of all, I can even bring in a folded bike with me. I will definitely do this again, I can’t wait to spend more time cycling around Georgetown.

ETS Review

Dights Fall

It was a bad idea for not eating anything yesterday after work. I ended up waking up at 8am, 2 hours before my alarm because I’m too hungry. My flight was delayed, and that awfully long queue at the immigration, by the time I reach the hotel, the bar has already closed. There goes my plan of grabbing a beef burger.

The hotel don’t really serve any breakfast menu, so I went out in search of somethings to fill my stomach. With the help of Yelp, I decided to try Miss Jackson at Jackson Street not far hotel. I took the waitress’s recommendation and didn’t regret a bit. I don’t know how they cook it but the giant hotdog I’ve ordered was pretty good.

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I went back to the hotel to grab my sunglasses and lip balm before heading out to Dightys route I used was head north on Chapel Street, connecting to Church Street, went thru Dickinson Reserve. Crossing the pedestrian bridge will bring me to the Yarra Boulevard, and making my way to Johnston Street to Trenerry Street.

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The bike lane at Chapel St and Church St are pretty cool nice. The traffic was pretty heavy during that time. Lucky for me, most of the traffic light turned green when I was passing the many intersections along the way.

I reach the place when when the sun is right on top, which make the fall looks pretty dull. There are some interesting rock formation on the other side of the stream. And then there was this platform where below it was some water bypass system that allow their native fish to swim upstream more easily which allow them to breed better.

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After that I head west to Queen Victoria Market to grab some fruits before heading back to my hotel near Albert Park. I did stop by at Enterprize Park for a while to take some photos. The Southbank Promenade was quite crowded when I was passing thru during lunch time, There are many signboard thanking cyclist for cycling slowly over there,

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So within that short 3 hours, I manage to cover just 27km. I wish I have more time in Melbourne. Until next time.

Dights Fall

Bring Bike to Work

After getting my folding bikes, I started toying with the idea of bringing the bike with me during night stop. The reason is that the cities in Australia are pretty spread out, and taking the tram aren’t cheap. As for taking the buses, each cities will need their own touch cards. So then I started my research to see if my idea is feasible.First I wanted to find out how other people fly their bikes with the airlines. Most of the people who share are from the US, and seem like most of the airlines around the region will have surcharge for carrying bicycle, or at least full size bicycle, because they need a special way to place them in the plane’s cargo hold. Luckily my company doesn’t charge extra, kudos to them for promoting green environment in this sense.

I stumbled on a local blogger, also a helicopter pilot who blogged about bring a Dahon foldies on a Europe trip with him. He pack his bike simply by just folding it up and wrap it with thick plastic clothes, probably those used to make tents. I wish I can travel like that, but I don’t think my company will allow me to walk around with those in my uniform.

Tern and Dahon sells luggage bags that you put your bikes in, but those are hard case and look fragile itself. The one that you could just put the folded bike in without disassemble is too big for normal check in, the smaller ones need disassembling. Both of them are very expensive so I tried to explore the possibilities of fitting the bike into the luggage that I currently have.

A bit of research online, I understand that it is able to fit into luggage bag that is the same height and depth as mine, but slightly wider. Samsonite has got those large more square bag, my bag is more rectangular. I seem to be able to fit my bike’s wheel into the bag once they’re deflated, which they must be deflated for flight.

Tern sells this thing called the Flight Kit, which is some sort of padding for putting bikes into own suitcase. I looked in the bike shop around Klang Valley without any success finding it. Apparently it’s only been sold online, and maybe in Taiwan since Tern’s from there, I ended up ordering it online, and bringing it into Malaysia incurred custom tax.

Packing the bike
Packing the bike
Packing the bike

The padding works as advertised, or sort of. The bike still need to be disassembled to fit into my case, notably the two wheels, handlebar, pedals and the RD. The flight suits has paddings for the detached parts except for the RD, which shouldn’t be detached if my bag is slightly wider. I didn’t bother to try fitting in the fenders and racks.

With the wheel detached, I do have problem with the chain staining some part of my case. The bag was a tight fit with everything in it, there are however, small spaces left for me to put in a folding helmet, tools and gloves. Heck I even managed to fit a wine bottle in it, but that would be too tight. I did scratch the frame when I pack the rear wheel with the spokes facing down, which is the correct way according to the instructions, alternatively packing it facing up didn’t pose any problems.

Next would be bringing the bag to work which really seems over-packing for a trip! Now I will need to bring a total of 3 bags – the bike case, a cabin luggage with my clothes and lastly my working bag. I wouldn’t do it often because the luggages really take a lot of space in the cab shared with another colleague. Luckily that on my first try, the driver managed to fit everything into the cab.

Checking in wasn’t a problem, the weight of the bike case with bike inside is 20kg, well below limit. I wouldn’t bet it won’t over weight if I pack it together with clothes and necessities for a two weeks trips. That also mean that I can’t shop a lot while on travel because I simply don’t have excess weight for the extra things.

Once I arrived at my destination, putting the bike together is actually quite tricky, which I think would be easier if I do it more often.

The feeling of riding your own bike at a foreign land is simply awesome! The first place I brought my bike to was Melbourne, and we were just put in a new hotel not long ago whereby it is located pretty far from the city centre. With a bike with me, that 5km to the city isn’t much of a problem anymore. In fact, that day I was so excited that I cycled more than 30km exploring around the city. It is impossible to cover so much ground in such short time with just tram and bus.

Melbourne Bike Tour
Melbourne Bike Tour
Melbourne Bike Tour
Melbourne Bike Tour
Melbourne Bike Tour
Melbourne Bike Tour
Melbourne Bike Tour
Melbourne Bike Tour
Melbourne Bike Tour
Melbourne Bike Tour
Melbourne Bike Tour

Bring Bike to Work

Cycling Trip at Bukit Cahaya

Two weeks ago, on a Friday night, Seng told me that he wanted to go to some park at Shah Alam, and asked me that whether I know about it. He said the King went there before, but forgot the name, and only gave him a few clue about the place. So I did a quick search on Google Map with the available clues and suggested my findings to him. The result was later verified by King, the park was called Taman Pertanian Malaysia, also known as Bukit Cahaya. They wanted to go on the next day and invited me to join them.

Seng came and fetch me in the morning on the next day. Miki, King and Francis were in the car. That is the first time I met Francis, I heard about him from Sau Hon before, as he is the brother of her roommate. On first impression, he is not an outspoken person, pretty much like me. With the two maps we had brought along, it wasn’t difficult to find the place. At the entrance to the carpark, we were asked to pay for the daily carpark. There were lots of empty spaces, so we parked our car in no time.

Other than the car park, we also need to pay the entrance fee into the park, RM4 for a person, if I have not forgotten. The special part about the park is the there are bicycle for rent. Apparently the park will be too big for walk around, so bicycle will save us some time going around. There are two bicycle rental, both have new and old bikes. They cost RM7 and RM5 respectively for the first hour. Subsequent hours for both will be only RM1, so it’s pretty affordable IMHO.


Ah King checking the park map.

The last time I rode a bicycle was in Langkawi, cycling from my school to the baber shop for a haircut. That was a far cry from what I was about to go through at the park, there are lots of slopes at the park! Cycling uphill can be really tiring for people who like me don’t exercise at all. What goes up, must come down, and it sure is exciting to descend all the way from the top without paddling the bike. We later found out there are also shutter bus service, bringing people to various place of interest within the park. I still prefer riding a bike.


Seng and his gf, Miki.

Taman Pertanian, as the name, implies, there are different plants and flowers being grown at the park, but majority of it was covered by thick rainforest. There is actually a small paddy field inside it. There are also places where you can see caged animal, like parrots, deer, ostrich, monkey… wait, most of the monkeys are free to roam outside the cage. It is very relaxing to be surrounded by the forest, and I really enjoyed the quiet atmosphere which I really need.


Paddy field, anyone?

Enjoying the nature.

Wild monkeys, looked unique to me.

The biggest attraction there is the four season botanic garden that has its own entrance fee, RM3 per head. It was spring season during our visit, so we get to see flowers all around the place. The temperature was around 15 degree celcius, so it’s pretty cool, just what we need to chill off after some tiring cycling. King said that it was winter when he first visited, and there was really snow inside it, and the temperature was realistically simulated too. Pretty cool.


The Botanic Garden.

Inside the garden, it’s artificially spring time!


Spring Flowers (I guess…)

The rest of the park aren’t that exciting, they are not properly maintained, not in tip top condition. Place like the orchid garden is more of an eye-sore. The rabbit garden looked deserted at the outside, but there is actually a big cage full of rabbits. Pity those rabbits. The mushroom house was close when we visit, sigh. Then there’s a tall tree house next to the mushroom house, which is nothing to shout about. For me, I just like the forest.


Tree tower.

Nice isn’t it?

Spot the freaky rabit?

Anyway, we didn’t manage to visit all the attraction spots, as it’s just too far to cycle everywhere. It was already afternoon and we haven’t had our lunch, also, the weather turned bad, with thick clouds approaching and we start hearing sound of distant thunder. In the end we left at around 2pm, and had our lunch at Domino’s, Subang Jaya. We spent the rest of the day hanging around at a few places – Subang Parade, IKANO Power Centre, The Curve and IKEA. It was truly a fun day, and felt really good meeting old friends again, especially Ah King. Now that he finished his studies in KL, it’ll not be easy for me to meet him in the future. I have to thank Seng very much for fetching me and sending me home too, without his ride, I’ll have to wait so long for the inconsistent bus to get home, which I always dread using.


Seng and Miki, dinner at IKEA.
Cycling Trip at Bukit Cahaya