Learn to integrate your bike with your lifestyle. It really does make a difference.
I think that one of the things I could never really understand on such a solidly built bike — a.k.a. the Brompton — was how flimsy the original shifters were. For most Bromptons built earlier than 2013, the shifters are made of plastic. For my 6 speed, a slight tap or accidental touch would be enough to change the gears for either the derailleur or the IGH (the IGH in particular!)… it wasn’t much of an issue unless I was going uphill.
The shifters sucked but it was manageable. I wasn’t really looking to change it or whatever. But then I did. It was just one of those things I found out about randomly. One day, as I was browsing a local Brompton group on Facebook, the nice guys at Tr Bikes posted about having options for the shifters. They had them for both the left and right sides too. I took a look at a friend’s bike — one of the earliest mods the shop did, and I was sold.
The result that day was this. The shifters worked beautifully! They were so crisp. They stayed in place! Solid as a rock. I was so happy. Once done, I went to visit my friends at another bike shop and showed them the changes. They tried it out.
Unfortunately, none of those said friends are Brommie owners, so someone (of three suspects!) accidentally tried shifting the derailleur down to a THIRD gear and somehow the stopper thingy on the shifter fell off.
Okay. First things first. You need to know that the 2 speed derailleur’s shifter is not a standard setup. I’m not really sure what you call it, but the cables usually have this flat side on one end like that on a nail. Usually that flat head is on the side of the shifter. But for the Brompton, the guys at Tr Bikes decided to switch the cable ends around, so that the flat end is at the RD. It’s better that way because if they put the stopper on the RD side, there’s a bigger possibility that it comes off. Which was pretty much what happened to my poor shifter, but much easier to “diagnose” than if it happened at the RD side.
Anyway, I let Lynten know that his stopper thing failed and he said he’d try out a different (BIGGER! STRONGER!) stopper for the cable. I just needed to go back to the shop to get it done.
This week, my friend Bless decided to change one of her Brompton’s shifters too, so we headed over to Tr Bikes to get them done together.
And I finally got the stopper fixed. Thank God for gears! It was so weird cycling on a lowered IGH gear. Instead of cycling on 6, 4 or 2, I had to battle it out using 5/3/1 on a 44 tooth crank. So low.
And the RD’s shifter cable now has an industrial strength stopper to keep it in place. For those who question its size, I can say that my hand doesn’t really touch the stopper. Then again, you can always move the shifter down the handlebar a bit.
For those interested in doing the same thing, you can get it done in Tr Bikes at the ground floor of 7 Jalan Batu. It’s near the Tanjong Rhu/Geylang PCN (if you’re cycling) or the Mountbatten MRT (if you’re taking the train). The shifters are S$110 a pair including labor, but you might incur additional costs if you need to change the cables out to something longer. It would be best to call them (+65 6345-5085) or send them a Facebook message in advance to inquire if they still have stock, and to ask them if they can reserve a pair for you.
I only have one set of fully functional wheels at the moment – the Gogobike.
It’s rarely used. Each time I ride it I get overwhelmed with just how fun this little toy is. I only planned to ride it to one of the quays to meet with friends for breakfast…then headed over to Orchard Road to people watch with ice cream in hand…
It’s even got me thinking to commute to work on it. My commute has rolling terrain (read: sumkinduva hilly) and while the Brompton is my top commuter choice due to both folded size and the multiple gears, it looks like the Gogobike would do well too. It’s geared low enough that climbing gradual gradients isn’t that difficult, and it’s much lighter overall.
Hi blog! How’re you doin’? I’m good. Sorry for not updating you. You know how busy the holidays get. The rush is finally over and I’m aiming for some time back on my wheels. Update you soon!
Yes. The rumors are true. We cross borders for food.
We took the ferry to Pengarang, Malaysia again. We were split in three groups of 10-12 folks each. There was the chiongster (speedy) group and two sets of relaxed riders. I was with the relatively-faster relaxed group. Our ferry, on the other hand, was a chiongster. We made to Malaysia in record time!
We went to the ostrich farm and ate some ostrich steak. It was so-so. Beef taste with the texture of chicken. A lot of time was spent waiting for the slow-relaxed group. There was an accident and miscommunication on where people would be waiting. Poor Tiff skidded and got scrapes but she rallied on. Brave little girl!
The rains descended heavily during lunch and the chiongster group was drenched by the time they reached Good Luck restaurant. I am glad to report that no one from their group got into a mishap despite the heavy downpour.
Photos from Steven Tang, Ming Tian and David Eng! Thanks, you guys!
Leave lots of space. Just in case.
Last year (December 20th, 2011), during Manila’s heavily trafficked Christmas season, I took a tricycle to go to Shaw MRT Station in Mandaluyong. The whole ride was only 6.2km and it wasn’t even peak hour yet. Because the tricycle passenger cab is somewhat in direct reach of car’s exhaust fumes and I don’t like how that smells (who does, really?), I decided to use a Totobobo anti-pollution mask.
When I got home, I compared the used mask with a new one, just to see how much gray matter was filtered out. I guesstimate that 25% of the filter was used. The result was pretty shocking for such a short 20-minute trike ride!
Late last month, I went on a 50-some kilometer bicycle ride around Metro Manila, passing through the Makati CBD, MOA/Pasay City, Malabon, Quiapo and eventually ending up in Binondo. I was out approximately 8 hours — pedaling on the road in perhaps 5 of those said hours.
In the distance I saw the clouds hanging over the skies. They were a gloomy gray, sort of like Gotham City if it were real. It looked like it was going to rain, but they weren’t rain clouds. It was smog. Traffic wasn’t that heavy, but there were a lot of large vehicles near the pier area that might have contributed to additional fumes.
Guess how my brand-new-filter mask looked like at the end of the day! Do you see that area around the filter with the dots? That’s the CLEAN part of the filter! OMG! So much pollution, it’s crazy. I am just so glad that it’s on the filter pad instead of in my lungs.
I admit, I’m not one of those people who tends to wear a pollution filter mask. It seems dorky and obtrusive. No matter how minimalist it can be; like the Totobobo for example, it just doesn’t look right. It just ends up looking like a Calvin Klein-esque gas mask. When I’m in Manila, however, I’ve learned to pack up a mask even though I don’t initially plan on using it.
What I like best about the Totobobo is that you don’t have to keep buying a new one once it’s dirty. The mask comes with changeable filters of different strengths depending on what you need. I use the basic 92% anti-pollution filter, but it goes all the way to 96%. That’s more fine than what medical professionals use for surgery. Remember those 3M masks people wore during the SARS outbreak? Those are N95.
It’s made out of a silicone-ish plastic-ish material that conforms well to the shape of your face. Easy to wash and sterilize. If you wear it correctly, it forms a sort of suction so there aren’t any gaps for unfiltered air to come in.
The SuperCool, which is targeted at cyclists and other outdoor sports enthusiasts, only covers the mouth so that it prevents fogging up any eye wear. You have to learn how to inhale through your mouth, like how swimmers do.
Most people around the metro breathe in polluted gunk. There are hundreds of thousands of people who walk on the streets or take public transportation daily. People whose houses are located near heavily trafficked roads! Commuters! Children going to school! It affects even those who drive! Cars don’t have an air filtration system for the cabin anyway. Motorists breathe in the same kind of dirty air — theirs is just colder due to the A/C.
Sometimes this kind of situation makes it hard to justify being a cyclist. You try and help out your environment by riding a bike, but the existing environment tries to kill you anyway. It’s kind of a vicious circle. Having a pollution filter mask definitely helps if you want to maintain being a bike commuter in Metro Manila.
The Firefly Brigade says it best:
The fireflies have fled the city because they could not stand its dirty air. All of us cyclists, pedestrians, commuters, even those who ride cars who live, work and raise families in the city may suffer the same fate. We continue to dirty our city’s air with polluting vehicles and factories. As a result, we also risk disappearing like the fireflies.
Why resign ourselves to this fate? We have a choice. We can fight for clean air and bring the fireflies back.