The Year has started off on a good note for me. At 9:24am on Friday the thirteen, my friend Keni texted me “I got a deal for you”. Mind you I was all frantic and chaotic in the office arranging last minute changes for an event the very next morning. If you have had any experience in organising events (birthday parties and office dos don’t count), you will know how that final twenty-four hour count down can send you from the Grand Canyon to the South Pole in a matter of seconds.
Turns out Keni found a buyer for my bike. I thought that he had gone mad, as he was the one who made the arrangements for my Scott not even four months before. Then came the good news – nay, great news; in return he found another second hand bike to replace my Scott S30 and all in the twenty hours or so before. The story is, a mountain biker wanted to try an entry level road bike and Keni’s brother wanted to upgrade to a triathlon bike and sell his Cinelli in the process. Keni just had to find someone with the entry level road bike who wanted to upgrade. I was just open for negotiation. So messages flew back and forth between buyer, seller and the inbetween all via Keni, ‘The Broker’. By 16:16hrs the deal was closed over instant messaging. I would collect my new bike and say farewell to my Scott S30 forty-eight hours later. Just imagine, barely four months ago I was in jubilation over the purchase of a second hand bike. Now my second hand was being traded off for a second hand Cinelli Unica in all spending a total RM3k plus between both bikes and some accessories.
On Sunday afternoon, I met with Keni, his wife and the buyer of my bike who turns out to be an old college mate of mine that I have not spoken to in almost 2 decades. A small world. See, if you get the right connections, you might just get a good deal for a second hand bike. If I had gone on to upgrade my Scott near to the Cinelli’s specs, I might have spent an additional two to three thousand Ringgit. Or I could have walked into a store and bought something similar at about five or six thousand Ringgit. Either way I would have spent at least three times more than this deal was costing me. In the end four people walked away happy – James rode off with my Scott, I took the Cinelli home, somewhere in between Keni’s brother upgraded and Keni himself went home with a Topeak top tube bag and a free lunch. Actually, if you count the original seller of the Scott, that’s five happy people.
In short, if you are looking for your first bike or maybe even your second; take your time to hunt. Pass the word around, go online and check out some forums or ask the local bike stores. You might just find a Keni along the line and couple of deals along with it. I am extremely happy with the Cinelli. It is in excelent condition and after 2 hours, degreaser, lubricant, soap and water; the Cinelli not only looks brand new; it is AWeSOMe!!
May your fortunes reach beyond the stars,
And your passion, bring joys from afar;
May your life find enlightenment,
And may your soul attain contentment;
As we now greet the year celebrating,
May you be ‘ever showered with blessings.
You scouted along street corners and many, many local bike stores. You have looked at a thousand bikes. You have read hundreds of reviews and gone thru just as many magazines and websites. You have listened to many conflicting advices from friends, sales assistance and YouTube. You reached a higher plane of confusion but alas you have narrowed your sights on the bike. You are ready to ride.
There are a few things we need to cover before you get on the road. All this may seem daunting or maybe a hassle even trivial to some but it is for your comfort and more importantly your safety that you may enjoy cycling for many years to come.
As you will be riding along side much larger motor vehicles and more moronic motorist, you will need to equip yourself with some knowledge and accessories to ensure you get home safe. On the road, you are just another vehicle. You do not have special privileges. Yes, contrary to popular believes, you are not “King of the Road”. You stop at red lights; you look where you going; you use hand signals before turns and you respect pedestrians and other motorists. Simply put – if you get hit by a bus you will, I repeat, you will go out in bloody pieces.
A good way to learn all these is by joining one of the many cycling groups in town. Ask the local bike stores or checkout the local magazines like Cyclist and Cycling Asia (for Malaysians) for more information.
When you buy a bike you only get a bike. You will need something to keep the bike propped up. You will need something to protect your head and maybe even your body. You will need something to let other motorist know that you are there in front of them. Yes, there is so much more to buy. If you are a woman, you might actually be very please with this. We will go through each item however, since I am simply a beginner cyclist on a road bike, you should get more information from you local bike store in relations to the type of bike that you have.
A must. Not Optional. If you go flying head first at 35km per hour; it will not be pretty. The value of the helmet equates the value of your head.
Helmets do come in various shapes and sizes but the most important thing is the helmet has to fit your head comfortably and snugly. It should not have room to move about when you strap it up. There are different types of helmets for different types of cycling. A road bike helmet does not have visors due to the angle that you sit as it can hinder your vision. An off-road cyclist might get a carbon fibre full face helmet.
Wearing the right clothing is necessary. Long pants and skirts can get caught in the chain and crank. Short skirts are generally not advised however I do support women who insist on wearing them. For most, you will need to get cycling shorts. Cycling shorts are worn without underwear as it is designed to prevent chafing and rashes and protect the skin against the repetitive friction of your crotch area as you pedal.
Cycling jerseys are recommended but not necessary to the casual cyclists. Cycling jerseys are designed to take in your sweat and allow it to dissipate quickly as you cycle.
Other items such as arms and legs warmers, base layers, cycling bibs, body armours, balaclavas are dependant on the type of cycling that you do. If you would like extra precaution, you could invest in knee and elbow protection.
You may probably wonder why I would cover eyewear. Whatever type of cycling you do, eye protection is vital whether you buy a five ringgit plastic set from the hardware store or you invest in a thousand ringgit branded eyewear. As you cycle, you will face a lot of debris coming from passing vehicles or flying insects. A mosquito is no threat until it hits your eye at 20km per hour as you are taking a sharp corner. You can get some decent looking safety glasses at a hardware store. These come with clear lenses and are designed purely for protection. Sporty shades are cool but can be functionless in the night. Polarized lenses are a great option but be careful of scammers. If you didn’t already know, when you place one polarized lens in a 90 degree angle over another polarized lens; little to no light passes the overlapping area.
I would advice you to get a decent pair of sports eyewear that suits the time of day that you ride the most. The design has to wrap around your head unlike fashion glasses. It does not have to cost you an arm and a leg but it should fit snugly on your face and it must be comfortable.
This gallery contains 9 photos.
Thought I’d share some pictures of my bike.
You want to get a bike but where do you start?
Do you look for the best bike in town? Do you custom order a bike? Which is the best brand?
The first thing that you will need to decide on is what kind of cycling you intend on doing and why. Why?
Well if you don’t know why you want to cycle, chances are your bike will be collecting dust before the end of the next season. The why would be your first motivating factor that would ensure you are making an investment and not just throwing money into the corner of your storeroom.
The next thing you need to decide on is what kind of cycling you intend on doing? What do I mean? Here are some ideas as to what you might be using your bicycle for:
- You need to travel between your home and neighbourhood grocery store, walk the dog and meet up with neighbours to gossip;
- You want to look cool with your cycling buddies;
- You want to live a little on the edge;
- You think you want to get fit;
- You actually want to get fit;
Your reasons and objectives will determine what kind of bike is suitable for you. So, what kinds of bikes are there? We’ll look at five of the most commonly used bikes. I have kept this sweet and simple. If you want to know more, simply click on the Wikipedia links below each title.
As its name proposes, the folding bike is designed to fold into a compact size for travel or storage. These are really cool bikes to get about the neighbourhood with, take with you on a train or bring it into your office.
FIXED GEAR BIKES
These are single gear bikes that have become a trend and somewhat of a nuisance locally. However, this is an simple no brainer bike. No gears. No shifters. No headache.
Road bikes are built for speed and are only meant for paved roads and tarmac.
Mountain bikes are an ideal choice if you like to get into the roughs outdoors. MTBs can take a hard beating on off-road trails. These require some strength and a lot of practice. MTBs are not designed for speed.
Hybrids are designed for a variety of recreational and utility purposes. While primarily intended for use on pavement, they may also be used on relatively smooth unpaved paths or trails. These bikes have tires a little broader than Road Bikes but smaller than MTBs. You can take them off-road a little and still chase the road bike.
What Brand Is A Good Brand?
Giant? Colnago? Scott? Specialized? Wilier? Trek?
Seriously, they are all good. If you are a beginner to novice cyclist, it does not make the tiniest of difference. In choosing your first ride, you need only consider two main factors – the price and the size. Just pick a bike within your budget that fits you.
A decent budget to start with is around RM3,000 and bikes at that price do not vary that much in its specifications and quality. If you have a lower budget, then consider the second hands. You might just get a better deal.
Yes, there are different sizes. Such as in clothing, bikes come in varying sizes to fit your build. Getting the right size is important. Most local bike stores will willingly recommend the right sized for you based on your height, however a proper bike fitting is still require at the end of the day.
Second Hand Bikes?
When scouting for a second hand you have to be careful for bikes that have gone thru a lot of wear and tear. It would be good to find a friend who knows something about bikes who can help you out. With road bikes and folding bikes you have little to worry about but be cautious of mountain bikes. They take a lot of trashing and can look pretty good on the outside but may have some serious cracks on the insides.
It is also a good idea to find out why the owner wants to get rid of the bike. If they haven’t used it for awhile, it may be rusting. If they say they are shifting from one type of bike to another, that may also be cause for concern. Owners, who are upgrading tend to be more serious with cycling and would have taken better care of their bikes.
What is the most important thing about choosing a bike?
I would say “Time”.
Take your time hunting around. There are loads of choices be it a brand new bike or a second hand.
I have been pondering for a few months now on what I want to put into this “buhlog” of mine and I finally came to a decision on what it is I want to “buhlog” about. Sometime in August, I made a decision to pickup cycling as a hobby and that somehow led me into running as well. So that is what I am going to “buhlog” about. Blogging my experience will not only help me stay in the game and set goals but I thought there might be someone out there who might be looking for a physical hobby for whatever reason inclusive of mid-life crisis, that this might be something to consider.
Hunting for a bike is no easy task these days. There is so much choice that is easier to just drop into Baskin Robbins and pick out a triple scoop. I spent a lot of time researching. I read, watched and listened to everything I could find on cycling from bike reviews in magazines to beginner videos on YouTube. Articles after articles, reviews after reviews, videos after videos trying to make head and tails of what was suppose to be an easy hobby. Come on, as kids we just hopped onto a bike and rode as fast as we could. I visited local bike stores and asked questions about the bikes they sold. I started with three thousand ringgit bikes and gradually worked up to the eight thousand ringgit bracket. It was overwhelming. There was so much of information to process and I felt like I was never going to get going.
So I took a step back and thought that I may be rushing in too fast. Someone said to me that I ought to be looking at some second hands that I could trash as I reminisce the good old days when I used to race down the streets with a BMX. Thank heavens I remembered that my former boss (now a friend) has been cycling and running and have now moved onto triathlons. I gave him a call and incidentally a friend of his was looking to sell her bike in order to upgrade. So after a few days of rapid negotiations, I collected the bike on the 24th of September 2011. It was a Scott S30 road bike and it only cost me two thousand two hundred ringgit. She threw in a helmet, a bike stand, clipless pedals, a CO2 inflator cum pump, two basic bottle cages and a tiny light. All-in-all I got a very good deal. I bought a pair of gloves that very day and had planned to ride it out that evening or the next day. By the time I got back it was already getting dark and I thought it not safe to ride without ample lighting. That same evening another friend of mine passed me her set of rear lights from her bike that she had given away. At 2:30 in the morning, my veins were crying for a little test ride. I put on a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, my helmet and rode out. I targeted a short route circling around my housing area that should have taken nothing more than fifteen minutes. Now, here is the thing about driving – you hardly feel the short steep climbs and those long low gradient slopes. On a road bike however you can feel the small pebbles from the tarmac and that night I discovered that I actually lived on the top on a hill.
The first two turns were easy as they were downhill slopes. On the third turn I was climbing a low gradient road. Not having any real experience on the gearing system, after twenty years off the bike and hitting the big four next year, I felt every turn of the crank. Just over two miles out, I thought I was home free on the next turn but I was gravely wrong. It was just another 2 miles but it was a steeper climb. I took two stops and thirty minutes to complete my first run on the Scott S30.
Over the next month, I got cycling shorts, jersey, front lights, chain cleaning tools, spare tube and patch kit, a rear under seat bag, a bike computer, a proper tire pump and a pair of shades. Yes, no cyclist is complete without a pair of Oakleys.
I was all prepared and I had cycled out a couple more times since. Then the Gods decided to play on my new found excitement. We hit the monsoon season and it rains nearly every evening now. So now I have to find a way to wake up a couple of hours earlier in the morning and start cycling. There goes beauty sleep and episodes of “House”.