Wednesday, October 29, 2008

45 Minute Power Lunch

Got a power lunch ride in with the big guns at UP today, including Wes, Ed, Brant and Shim. At 50F and sunny, a mini-social ride was a glorious way to spend lunch.

Of note, Shim was riding a fixed gear. I dialed in Ol' Yeller to a similar gear to ride along with him at the same pace. Save for the limited time on Murphini's "phixie", I've had little experience riding on this type of bicycle.

So in my pseudo-fixed gear experiment, I found it annoying to have to pedal so quickly on the downhills to keep up with gravity's pull on the bike. It ended up being quite choppy in the saddle. This is obviously not part of the pleasure of riding a fixed bicycle, but it makes for good riding form.

You fixed gear riders will have to comment: do your legs ever really "learn" how to smooth out the cadence to accommodate reasonable downhills? And if you practice regularly, how soon did you start seeing an improvement in your mechanics?

If I ever go fixed (and I don't blow up my knees), then my goal will be to ride as smooth as Eddy Merckx on rollers..

Dang! That's amazing!

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Required Uniform

Back from Singapore, I've noticed that the weather is no longer tropical. So I'm shopping for some cold weather gear for the legs and am wondering what you prefer in tights.

I'm looking for something to wear on longer group rides in colder weather (below 30 F). Note that I already have a pair of knee and leg warmers and a light weight pair of running tights.

Weight: How warm?
Style: Normal or Bibs?
Chamois: Yes or No?
Brand: What do you prefer?
Likes/Dislikes: Would you recommend the pair you currently own?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Back from Singapore

My intentions were to blog frequently about our travels to Singapore. Alas, time was better spent elsewhere. Needless to say, we had a terrific time in the "land of the Lion" (Singa = lion - poura = city). In case you've wondered, Singapore makes a great starting point to seeing Asia. Here are a few traveling notes...

First, Singapore is not China. It's one of only a few truly independent City-States in the world on a small island 80 miles north of the equator and below Malaysia. Because of this, it's warm (75 - 90 F) and humid (+80% humidity) year round.

Brief History:
Former Dutch and then British Spice trading colony, the Malaysian Federation was granted independence in 1963. Singapore broke away from the Malaysian Federation in 1965 and has been an independent since.

With little natural resources to speak of, this country relies on the sweat and blood of its people to crank out a vibrant and extremely modern country. Singaporeans are known for electronics, shipping, logistics and financial services. With little corruption and a lots of money in savings, Singapore has been among the least affected Asian countries during economic downturns.

The island is about 40 x 30 miles - roughly the size Omaha to Lincoln's border. There are 4.5 million inhabitants who mostly live in apartments (flats)
People Groups
As a major trading route, Singapore is one of the crossroads of Asia with a lot of diversity. Majority are ethnically Chinese, followed by Malay, Tamil and Caucasians. Honkeys like me are locally nicknamed the "Ang Mo", which is Mandarin for "red hair".

Despite their ethnic majority, I found it interesting that even Singapore has it's own China town.
It also has its own India Town where everyone shops at a local electronics store called Mustafa.

Mustafa is the NFM of Singapore
The language of business in S'pore is English. Everything - street signs, restaurant menus, media, etc is either written or spoken English. Like I said, it's extremely easy for the Ang Mo to travel there.

Public system is excellent. European "green" buses and a modern/mature subway system are make getting around the island simple and affordable.
Taxis are everywhere and also relatively cheap
As mentioned in a previous post, the local foods are best found in hawker center and Coffee shops. To a midwest American Ang Mo, some of the foods freaked me. Frog Porridge has replace my Pig Organ soup as my favorite. And yes, you can go vegetarian at these places too.

I found a replacement for my fixation on Starbucks. It's a local coffee from Indonesia that is extremely strong and is served hot, cold, with condensed milk, ginger or even mixed with Indian Tea. Fantastic.
I'll likely post in a separate follow up on this one.

That's about it for now. Jet lag calls for a nap

Friday, October 3, 2008


I've begun the final year of my fourth decade on this planet. Dang, I guess I'm getting old. How and when did that happen?

Oh well, I guess I'll have to toss down an extra Singapore Sling or two (or four) at the Raffles Hotel tonight.

Anyway, thanks for having me Mom and Dad!