Bicycle licensing in Singapore ?

With the recent spat of videos showing cyclists running red lights and drafting vehicles, the spotlight has turn on cyclists; with calls to license cyclists, have punishment for errant cyclists and as well having cyclists taking compulsory basic theory similar for those taking a driver license. I guess the spark started with a cyclist running a redlight (very common) being caught on tape (not very common)

Followed by a Member of Parliament making the suggestion that cyclist should be licensed.

There are many drivers asking why cyclists should be allowed on the road and why do they not pay any taxes to use the road like road tax, COE and ERP.If implemented, we will be the first country in the world to implement tax for bicycles!

Suggestions and their flaws
1.Licensing for cyclists
Looks easy on paper right? Ask everybody in Singapore to take the basic theory and should they fail, not be allowed on the road. How about setting the age limit ?  How old should one be when they take the test and should they not be of age, should they be allowed on bicycles ?How about foreigners who happen to be here for work and wants to cycle, how do we license them?

2.License plate for bicycle
Another ridiculous suggestion.How much should the tax be ? Given the number of modifications we can do to a bicycle, which part of the bicycle do we tag the license plate to?What about licensing bicycles that are currently in Singapore?How much should the licensing fee be given that a bicycle can be purchased cheaply for as low as 50 SGD

Licensing is not only a unnecessary red tape nor will it help cyclists have their rights on the road. I highly doubt that licensing would reduce the number of incidents happening between drivers and cyclists. Rather, it is a very unconventional forms of tax revenue (should it be applied)

There can be no one solution that would be compromise the rights of both parties without affecting the rights of the other.The answer however would be for both parties to respect the rights and existence of all road users; respect all road rules and to be more gracious to each other and stop rushing.

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Look Keo Blade: First Ride Review

Remember the broken Keo Max 2 in the previous post ? Well was pretty upset that I had to spent some money to change something that should not be giving problems despite many years of service. Looked around the second hand market for alternatives and found a brand new Look Keo Blade! At just 60SGD (listed price) more than a Keo 2 max, it is an upgrade in terms of the full carbon body and the unique carbon blade.

Finally purchased the pedals from a guy who says that the pedals are from a frameset that he purchased which is a Look 596. It was new and I paid slightly below the retail price found in Chain Reaction.As a testament as to how light it was, I stuffed the pedals plus cleats in my pocket while sitting on the train back home and boy I did not feel anything at all,not even my pants dropping!

INTRODUCTION: Weight

Claimed weight for the pedals was 115grams per side which comes up to a total of 230grams for both sides. Mine was slightly lighter at 228grams. Compared to the Look Keo Max 2


Heavier at 261grams.

Main Differences for the weight are

  1. The Carbon Fiber body of the Look Keo Blade and the plastic body of the Keo 2 Max
  2. The lack of the rentention spring instead using a “carbon fiber blade”

Cleats surface area is the same as the Keo 2 max and that is the difference about it.

First RideFriend invited me for a ride the same day i got the pedal provided I ride a mountain bike with slicks. And so I did,


Well there are two version of the pedal a 12nm (which was the one I bought) and 16nm.One must wonder what 12nm feels like ? Apparently, it is slightly tighter than the Keo Max2 original setting and my soon to wear out year old cleat in very well. It feels the same as the Keo Max 2 except that I needed a little more force to clip in and out.

ConclusionLook has done an amazing job with the pedals, shaving weight using an innovative blade system and a carbon fiber body. However, I must question the durability of the “Blade” given that it is made out of carbon fiber. Given the material brittleness at breaking upon impact, I wonder whether the Blade would be as durable as the Keo Max2 for the normal everyday cyclist. Only time will tell as to whether the blade will be as long lasting as the time proven spring retention system.The weight savings is good but this is not an area to look at for weight savings as reliability is the number one concern for pedals

In conclusion, Look has done a very good job at pursing innovation using 21st century materials and technologies on something as simple as the clipless pedal.

 

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Damaged Look Keo Pedals

For the past week, I was having problems clipping into my pedal. Thought was having problems with the cleats and yesterday, found out the problem.

Well have no idea how the metal bit got damaged, ah well quite a bummer considering the pedal is only 2 and a half years old.

The pesky little pedal is a pain in the A$$ to take out too;after 2 years of not taking it out and constantly being under heavy torque from the legs. Looking forward to my new pedal which should be coming in a few days time!

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New cycling Anime: Yowamushi Pedal!

A new cycling anime called Yowamushi Pedal has just been released on YouTube! The anime series according to Wikipedia is released on 2008 as a magna(think of it as a comic book series) and now its on video.

According to episode 1, it portrays Sakamichi Onoda as an anime nerd who does not have the intention to join a sports club due to his huge love for anime. However, he is seen climbing well up a steep slope near his school with a market bike, and can even keep up with Shunsuke Imaizumi, a cyclist who have been training since young. How we ever feel when we are smoked or is amazed by some guy on a crap bike but yet is able to keep up.

Overall from the first episode, I think the developers have done enough work modelling the bikes, and equipment after some popular cycling brands around the work (I spotted a DA 7900 crank in anime in the opening theme and trek and scott! Obviously misspelled to avoid a copyright issue but the resemblance is uncanny) Waiting eagerly for the second episode!

The anime can be watched here . Cant wait for the second episode

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Food for thought:Buying from Online vs Buying from Local Bike Shop

With the rapid explosive growth of the Internet also comes an growth of a new source of parts for the cycling community; The online bike shop/warehouse. What once started out as mail order shops for bike parts has now turned into a bike porn online shop, where even though we cant see the physical product, we are presented with a huge range of cycling goods, and not only the cheap ones, from low end FSA (sorry couldn’t help it)Gosammers, to high end Campagnolo Super Record Cranks. At the same time, prices are much lower than our local bike shops which according to the law of demand, means that we as consumers switch to a cheaper alternative, provided we do not mind waiting. Does this mean the demise of our local bike shop ?

Gone are the days in the pre internet era, where we would depend on the advice of the Local Bike Shop. “This Dogma would make you fly faster” to “Zipp wheels ? Yeah they are good, they will blow your competition apart” or if they were unscrupulous “What you mean Aleoca, those are crap, try our brand new Madone instead” Many cycling websites are available to help consumers¬† make a more informed choice about what they are buying. Moreover, for those who are skeptical, there are many user forum reviews website that helps consumers say their opinion on products that they like or hate. This way, we are able to filter out nonsensical information from websites and our bike shop, and also to have better knowledge on the technologies found on our bicycle. Does this seeming new trove of information and reviews made on the internet made our bike shop obsolete ?

Broken a spoke ? Bought a new chain and do not know how to fix it ? Do not know how to clean your bike ? Do not fear! For YouTube and park tool are here to teach you how to fix them! No more going down to that Bike shop with the grumpy uncle where he will charge you an arm and a leg and one years worth of tube supply to fix your mechanical problems! And you do not need to wait for the bike shop to open with their weird days off and operating hours for now you can do it by yourselves provided you have the proper tools! The best part is if should you screw up your repairs you can do it at a bike shop, learning from your mistakes!

This 3 lethal combination of low prices from online stores,seemingly perfect information and the big internet help book have made it more difficult for local bike shop to tide over the current tide of economic uncertainty. Now they have to be more knowledgeable about their products and have exceptional mechanics who can solve any problems on bicycles. As for prices, they are simply uncompetitive due to the many expenses that are bound to happen if you open and run a Local Bike Shop.

There have also been a new breed of consumers as well, the one that takes advantage of both the cheap online prices, yet does not have the mechanical know how to fix up their new found products. Worst still, after looking/or without looking at YouTube video, they still do not know how to fix their stuff and ask their local bike shop to fix it up. Even though it is perfectly legal to do so, deep down my heart, I find it very unethical to do so. I mean you cant clear your own shit and now you are asking other people to do it for you? I know you are paying them big money to fix and build up your stuff, but I find support from these people paradoxical since they claim that they are supporting local bike shop by asking them to do mechanical work, and yet refuse to buy a single spare tube from the bike shop because online tubes are a couple of dollars cheaper.

Let’s envision a hypothetical situation without any bike shops, no more looking at bike porn in the flesh and we have to resort to looking at pictures on the web. No more local support for local bike races. No more last minute buying of gels, tubes and other critical essential spare parts. And worst still, cant fix your own stuff up since bike shops are no longer around! A scary vision that might happen if we buy all of our stuff online.

Even I am not spared by the low prices and have been buying relatively high ticket items from the internet after finding out that it is 30% cheaper and have even bought some tools to expand my minute mechanical know how. Yet, I do support my bike shop by bringing repair work to them, or buy that bottom bracket that just gave way the night before, or ran out of spares which i bought from them previously.I thought about buying whole bicycles from them before, but the prices are relatively prohibitive compared to my tiny purchasing power.

Local Bike shops do need to innovate and move ahead with times as well. No longer can they appear as that snobbish brand whore fanatic uncle who chases away potential customers just because customers makes snide remarks about your crappy attitude (remember the power of social media) nor put prices up so high that only god can touch(this is kind of hard to achieve given that fact that pricing has way too many factors involved). Instead what they need to offer is a friendly attitude. and their expert knowledge to help consumers make more informed choice(though this is pretty subjective which is a conflict of interest with the objective views of customers) and their many years of experience of seeing any bicycle problem to gain a reputation for themselves.

As for pricing wise, as long as it doesn’t deviate to more than 20% for big ticket item and 30% for small ticket items, I would gladly give my LBS the money both for their expertise in fixing the item up and as well as to thank them for having the product that I want immediately.

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Ride to sunrise 2013

Remember last year when i blogged about the ride to sunrise event here ?

The guys from PA are back and they are looking for volunteers to help out ! The link is here.

As for me as much as I want to help,the thought of reservist made me think twice and I guess I have to give the event a miss.

WARNING: Not for fast riders!

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Tips on riding safe in Singapore

Was on a forum when one guy posted a question on how to stay safe and keep safe while riding on Singapore roads. While it may not be applicable to those who ride in huge groups in the dawn or late hours in the night, It is applicable to those who want to commute around on a bicycle on the road instead of the pavement.

Very often, riding on the road is much faster as you do not have to contend with pedestrians, and winding paths that lead to nowhere, or broken pavements. Also, the free draft from moving vehicles make you go faster,somehow.

Here are 10 tips to ride safe.
1.Don’t farking wobble on the road. this includes starting from a traffic light and clipping on your shoes. if you wobble, chances are you going to kena get horned, which makes you more gan cheong anxious and in turn might cause you to fall.

2.At the red lights ?Don’t go infront of the vehicle and wait at the traffic light like a kuku.idiot. Wait behind the vehicle, Don’t cut queue beccause they were there first. Exception is they turning left into a pedestrian crossing and you going straight.

3.Dont be a pussy and take the double yellow line, take the ENTIRE lane if necessary. If you take the lane when cars horn at you, at least you can siam go back into the double yellow line. if you already at the double yellow line and you chua tio got shocked at the horn. Good luck to you! Because you are most likely going to eat the pavement.

4.You wanna change lane do sheet, wanna pee wanna stop, please farking signal.If you for some reason, due to being wobbly or not confident enough to give a signal at least give a cursory glance and let them (Drivers) know what you want to do. dont just cut across the lane like a maniac.

5.You wanna ride two abreast, can it is possible but please make sure you are riding above 35kph, riding two abreast makes you irritating stick out like a sorethumb to drivers but if you move at the same flow of traffic, then they wont mind.

6.You wanna use the walkaway after you use the road ? Don’t just dash into the walkway. Always slowly slow down and check clear before moving into the walkaway, i nearly kena had a near miss hit by a car at the zebra crossing cause i did not check clear and just went onto to the pedestrain zebra crossing.

7.Please have working front and rear lights at night and don’t blind the farking driver with it.

8.Watch out for idiots, and ride safe, if you see idiotic drivers and you scared you cannot overtake just slow down and wait behind that idiot,a few seconds of slowing down will not kill you, and of course dont be an idiot yourself

9.For some reason should you need to run a red light,please double and triple check clear before you run a red light. personally i don’t run those + junction i only run those T shape junction and only when i am going straight

10.If unsure of traffic, just treat all users of the road like an idiot this means signalling excessively and keeping road awareness to the maximum.Do not listen to mp3,phone calls or any other music.Try not to get distracted by hot ladies/guys walking on the street. You need your full sense of sight and hearing in order to negotiate down the road.

Post edited for vulgarities and local words being blanked out.

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