Tag Archives: singapore cycling

Choosing your bicycle Part 2

After 47,992 km, 2 cracked steerer tubes and 1 broken derailleur hanger, it was time for me to go through the process of getting a new rig. The frame might have lasted another 12,000 kms or more, but having almost no chance of obtaining bits of spares for the frame like cable guides, cable stops etc was the nail in the coffin.

Unlike the professionals (some, not all), most of us are not regularly issued equipment. I classify myself as a heavy user, based on the number of tyres, chains and handlebar tape I go through. So knowing that I can prolong and/or extend the lifespan of my equipment at minimum cost sits quite high up the priority list. One of the important factors for me is after sales support and availability of spares. And yes, I wash my equipment regularly.

I started by going through the UCI-approved equipment list, which you can find here. I didn’t want to get caught up at equipment checks during races so if you don’t intend to race, you have a lot more options.. It is also interesting to see some new frames already on the list that have yet to be launched.

I knew it was going to be an interesting process to narrow down my choices. Price is definitely the main consideration for me. I also had to stick with rim brakes because a complete disc brake bike is not within my budget. With local bike shops (LBS) limiting walk-ins, some only by appointment and the majority with almost no online presence prior to Covid-19, it was almost impossible to see what past season models were still available. I also wanted to explore the Taiwanese/Chinese options. I sit more along the side of practical over brand names. So I would actually ride the bike, rather than look to resell it in the near future. With that said, I also wouldn’t say no if someone gave me a new bike.

Other than price, I also look at frame size geometry and where my current setup sits in the sizing chart.I started by going through the frame geometries of what I could find online and I filtered out a handful of options. After a number of messages online with a few manufacturers, I settled with this:

With only a slightly higher stack, the Memil Hanshi has very similar frame size geometry (Stack and Reach) to my current setup. It runs a direct-mount brake on the front fork and Pressfit bottom bracket, both which are on my existing setup. That’s three ticks right there. What was most impressive was the communication I had with the guys. They were prompt, detailed and professional in helping with the process of building up the bike. They have been extremely helpful not just in getting the frame over, but making sure that I had no problems putting it together.

Not forgetting the sick paint job.


Looking forward to seeing how this rides


Filed under Equipment, Randoms, training updates

Year end racing

As the year draws to a close, so is bicycle racing here on the sunny island. Road racing was capped off with the second and last round of the URA car-free-Sunday criterium. Somehow, someone forgot to block off the adjacent roads to the course, allowing a lorry and a motorcycle to come onto the course when racing was live. Considering many cyclists here are already used to vehicles trying to take them out, everyone handled it pretty well and racing still managed to go on safely. There wasn’t much action on my part as I stayed out of trouble and enjoyed the atmosphere. Good job on the recovery by Cycosports and the commissaires.

I then took the plunge into the other deep end by getting in on the final MTB race of the year. It wasn’t elegant riding, there was plenty of walking and it most definitely was NOT fast. Considering I’ve only actually ridden a proper mtb trail less than a handful of times, there were certainly some jitters before the start. I got through it without any broken bones, and cleared alot more obstacles than my first attempt at the course. Then again, I didn’t set the barrier very high on my first go. Cheers to the boys for the support and my mate Malek for the pre race prep. I definitely need to do this more often.

That’s it this year for pinning numbers. I have quite a bit to think about for next. More as I gather my thoughts in the next few days.

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Training, Coaching, Exercise

The number of exercise and/or fitness programs has certainly increased in recent years. Along with our society promoting greater accessibility for an active and/or healthy lifestyle, it’s so much easier now for someone to pick up a new sport and/or a new fitness regime.

I don’t have the figures, but I’m fairly confident that just based on your social circle, the number of people who is a member of a gym or part of a fitness/exercise group of some sort now as compared to just 5 years ago, has drastically increased.

We all have our reasons for partaking in exercise. Again, with no figures for verification, my assumption is that the vast majority are on the path of active lifestyle or as a social activity, or both. There is the growing minority who have set themselves slightly more tangible goals. It could be an aesthetic goal: to slim down, build muscle etc. It could be a competitive goal: to prepare for a sportive, race, etc. It could be a quantitative goal: to lose or gain X amount of weight, lift X amount of weight, run X distance in X amount of time. It’s easy to transit from one to another to another and back to where you started.

You hear ‘I’m going for training’ being used often. If you have a competitive or quantitative goal, you are training for something. But if you aren’t, you are exercising. Describing your time in the gym or your run session as training to have an active lifestyle can be slightly exaggerating. Your body does need time to adapt to increased physical activity. But I would hardly consider that a training regime.

From 2007 to 2011, I was training to qualify and compete for the Olympics. The goal was crystal clear. So were the short and mid term goals. I fell short of that. To be precise, I was never given that chance in 2011 to attempt for qualification. When I switched to racing bicycles, the goal was not crystal clear and I didn’t have the short and mid-term goals. In short, it was a complete mess. I made the huge mistake of not getting a coach on board, primarily because of the costs involved. I began straddling the line until the grey area got too big that I went no where.

It’s not just about telling your mates that you’re going for training or exercising. Knowing where you are on the spectrum affects a bunch of other factors in your life: lifestyle and diet choices, work and/or study vs life priorities. If you have goals you are working on achieving, and serious about it, I strongly suggest getting a coach on board.

A coach should not only be giving you a training program to follow, you have to trust him/her as a life mentor. There’s much more to do between the ears than most would expect.

There’s now a whole bunch of cycling coaching groups/companies out there. If you don’t know where to start, give Kristján Snorrason, aka Snozza, a ping through his website:


His knowledge and experience in sport, along with his people skills, naturally steers people to put trust in him. Trust that he will get the best out of you, trust knowing that he has your best interests at heart.

After all, it’s still a two way street. There is no template to find out who you trust your personal goals with. But if even we ourselves aren’t sure what they are, no amount of training or exercise is going to get us there.

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New beginnings?

The recent election of the new Singapore Cycling executive committee, to some, has been much anticipated and very much welcomed. It comes at what would seem like an appropriate timing, after our some-what successful SEA Games campaign, depending on what benchmark you’ve set as successful. Looking at a slightly bigger picture, a new ex-co one year out from Olympic qualification is far from ideal. That’s like changing your cleats from Shimano to Speedplay 5mins before you roll up to the start of a 100 laps points race: recipe for disaster. Well that’s only if we are in contention for Olympic slots, which at the moment I don’t think any are, so maybe that’s not a cause for concern. Or maybe not?

The freshness and new energy that comes with a new committee is always something to embrace. They called upon the cycling community for their first dialogue and feedback session. Good turnout, as expected, as many I’m sure were hoping to air their concerns. While their openess and honesty were definitely appreciated, the session didn’t seem to address some fundamentals.

Policies and benchmarks isn’t exactly rocket science. At the start it seemed like the objective of the session was to explain the selection policies and criterias for team selection they have put in place, but of course it was bound to get side-track because a benchmark is just a number and I think everyone is clear what the benchmark is. So someone bravely fired the first slavo on issues relating to competition and that’s when the session become more engaging.

Then came a critical point when it was brought to their attention that the criterias they have put in place is far beyond the current standard we are at at the moment. When world-level times are set for qualification to the Asian Championships, it’s telling us that ACC is the benchmark of races and will be legitimate for Asian Games qualification and beyond. Makes sense. I might be new to cycling but I know my way around high performance sport. I went through the same thought process when I was rowing. The concepts are the same. So what bugged me the most was that they didn’t address at all HOW they plan to get someone to do a 10.3 flying 200, or 1:04 kilo or 4:34 IP. Coincidentally, when I started out trying the sprints, 10.2 was the target I set for myself, because that was what I felt was a time that would indicate you can be competitive in the sprint and keirins. Back then it was still a question mark to whether that would make the cut, because there wasn’t any benchmark. At least now there’s something to work towards to.

I brought to their attention how many of us have been investing heaps of their own resources racing and training abroad but not knowing if we’re on the right track. They didn’t quite get it. Maybe I should have been more direct. While there’s now a legitimate target to work towards to, the system remains the same: we’re all still left to our own devices, to find the results which we need. The domestic racing scene is literally non-existent, which means there’s no way to breed a champion locally. You find/plan your own pathway. Someone suggested they come up with a racing calendar. Well that’s definitely a start, but I can copy and paste that from the UCI website. And if you’re reaching out to the riders’ network for invites to domestic races, it’s a sign you’ve been sitting too much in the office.

If we don’t have a track, a high performance framework would require a little more understanding on what is happening on the ground, what the scene is like elsewhere, where the available resources are. Should we invest in putting a group of riders somewhere where there’s a track? Indoors or outdoors? For how long each time? How often? Short stints  or longer stints? Should we try to link up with other countries? Will be there a conflict of interest?
Let’s not forget the roadies. While the dynamics of road racing is as complex as the benchmark itself, how do we go about becoming an international competitive national road team? Get riders a stint into conti teams? Or a high level domestic racing team? Europe? America? Asia? Oceania? Is it worth setting up the national team to go conti?

At the end of the day, if the mandate isn’t passed down on what the pathway should be or you’re not involved at all in the process (fyi, simply setting the benchmark is not being involved in the PROCESS) , people are going come up and invest in their own 4-year or 8-year plan on how to get a 1:03 kilo or top-5 at an Asian level stage race. When you only put your foot in when  selection time comes, you might be faced with riders having either contractual or non-contractual obligations to the team of people who are directly involved in getting them there because with those benchmarks, it’s likely they would have gone through some serious high level racing. And lets face it, if I can do a 10.3 flying 200, it’s unlikely I’ll be hard up for a new chain or tyre which comes with obligations you want the rider to be bound to because you want to instill some form of team element at the very last minute. Some might be a little more understanding. Just like how some grown ups can more accepting of a parent who left for whatever reason during those childhood years but later hopes to reconnect. A team needs to be nurtured.

So it’s still early days. Baby steps, but taking steps. There might be something in the pipeline. Who knows. We can only work with what we know.

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Enjoy the ride

So I’ve finally gotten around to pening some thoughts down. I’m at a stage where it’s challenging trying not to make honest sound negative. Well I CBF now.

I’ve always enjoyed sharing the journey and experiences. As much as I haven’t written much about it, I actually still do. Even if you DNF or come in dead last, you still take away lessons. In the society we live in, there’s usually nothing worth mentioning/sharing if you don’t win or podium. Everyone wants to read/cheer about winning stories. People either aren’t sure how to react to poor performances or feels it’s a waste of time.

I may not be a champion bike racer, but I’ve made it my goal to be a constant learner of things. However, if you don’t have a pro contract, haven’t worn yellow, green, polka or rainbow, it’s highly unlikely anyone will take you seriously. We whine about this city state being pancake flat with no real hills to train on. When I suggested to someone to think about adjusting his brakes on to hit the numbers he’s after, I got the eyebrow “that sounds ridiculous” raise. When I told him that was what a rider said in an interview about the year he won the rainbow bands, he looked away with a straight face.

I came into cycling with heaps of energy, negative and positive. The negatives have remained negative, the positives have now become negative. It’s pretty clear that the problem I’ve had with racing on the bike is all between the ears. The community involved in competitive sport is small and exclusive. I have yet to see the light, but I’m thankful to have a few who share the same philosophy to share the journey with. For now I’m just getting on the bike and enjoying the ride.

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in local cycling news

Singapore Cycling recently opened up nominations for National squads and the 2014 Asian Champs across all disciplines. Here’s the link to their website for the announcement of those who have been selected.


Congratulations to everyone to has made the squads and the 2014 ACC team

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