Saturday, January 18, 2014

Slacking

I'm having a great time. Which explains the lack of Winter Sabbatical blogging. Sorry. I have been keeping up Instagram.

Check it out if you feel so inclined.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Bukit Timah

I managed a successful MTB trip today. (I tried to go yesterday, but forgot to bring a map and got hopeless lost.) I rode over to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, where there's a nice purpose-built mountain bike loop. It seemed to me to be Singapore's Cutler Park- not super technical, well-loved (read: well-worn), and close enough to the city center.


The loop is well marked with just a few smaller loops that branch off the big guy. A friendly local showed me which trail would avoid a staircase of 12" (or 30.48cm since I'm a metric country). Some of the scenery was breath taking. I had my head down in concentration for a short but very steep climb, when I raised it,this:


Pretty alright.

On my way back to town I stopped in at Byx (newly opened in this location as of three weeks ago), located at the entrance of the park, and talked with Sylvia about the state of mountain biking in Singapore. She said there had been tons of rain in November and December, that did a number on the trails. During the rebuild process they sterilized some of the trails and took some of the challenge out. I could definitely see that, but still had a great ride. She also tipped me off to the Kent Ridge trail, which is supposed to have a flowy Super D trail in the mix. Yes, please. I'm going to check that out tomorrow (if I don't get lost).


Monday, January 13, 2014

Singapore

After surviving a monumentally long flight in a window seat, I'm in Singapore! It's like being inside a mouth here- hot and humid. I've already been on a number of adventures, only one of which involves bicycles (so far).  I've been eating and drinking my way through the city. And have done a ton of walking, including a stroll around MacRitchie Resivoir. I saw my first monkey in the 'wild'. 'Wild' in the same way that squirrels eating from the trash cans at your favorite state park are wild.

They don't like it when you make eye contact. I've heard.

My bicycle related adventure was to find a 6mm Allen wrench. Somehow I forgot to bring one, and my seat clamp bolt is a 6, so I thought I'd head to Wheeler's Yard to get one.


Wheeler's yard is a very slick shop/cafe located in a neighborhood I don't know the name of. The shop is located in a warehouse, with the cafe part sectioned off and air-conditioned (necessary). They have their own line of frames- all single speed, all with nice, clean lines. 


I thought this lugged, double top and down tube frame looks especially slick. 

I can't tell you how the cafe is because I accidentally over caffeinated earlier in the day, but I did overhear some other patrons talking about the delicious coffee.


Turns out they don't have multi tools for sale. The mechanic was nice enough to offer to tighten the bolt, but I didn't have the bike with me. Mission not completed, but totally worth the trip.




Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Weekend at Ray's

Last year's sabatical took me to Ray's MTB in Cleveland. This year I thought I'd check out their Milwaukee location, and I brought Erich along to peer pressure me into trying more stuff. 

This Ray's was much like the one in Cleveland- although more big box store, less industrial warehouse. It has a few XC skills sections- beginner, sport and expert, as well as a park/jump section all connected by XC 'trail' that runs through the whole place.

Here's the start of the Sport section:


Here's Erich reflecting on how rad he's just gotten at the finish of the Sport section:
 

The place is designed to allow you to challenge yourself without huge risk. Many of the most challenging lines have (relatively) safe bail out options. Don't get me wrong, you could definitely do some serious damage to yourself if you wanted to, but if you've got your noggin in the right place there's no reason you'd get hurt.

This time around I wanted to challenge myself to get my wheels off the ground. The Micro Rhythm section was perfect- a series of table top jumps long enough to work up a rhythm (eh? get it?), but not so long that it was intimidating or exhausting.


Here's a video of me riding this very section. My favorite part is the tiny child riding this better than me.

video