Going Distance On The Cyclo-Cross


I decided to test the cyclo-cross and build up my strength and stamina cycling a slightly longer distance last Sunday to the town of Pontian Kechil shortcutting the  main road by going through palm oil plantations which have a mixed of paved and dirt/gravel roads.  It was a leisurely ride as I didn’t  have the required fitness yet and obviously there were lots of stoppages in parts due to rains, photography, tiredness and lastly as I expected, saddle sore.  All in all, it took me four and half hours to reach Pontian Kechil.  On reaching Pontian Kechil the bike became slightly heavy  which I found caused by the brake pad touching the rotor.  Without the necessary tools, I was unable to readjust it.  The only tool that I brought along was the air pump.  Tired, sore butt plus if I were to cycle home, part of the journey will be in the night and if I were to go by the main roads, the distance will be longer, I decided to get a taxi home.

Two lessons learned from this trip, one is that I need to set aside a generous amount of time for the trip and rest if I’m not spending the night and bring along tools to do repair/adjustment.  For longer distances, spare tube is a must.  The other, cycling on dirt/gravel road is more tiring due to lack of traction and rolling.  It is akin to running on a beach, nevertheless, it helps build up strength and stamina.

Actually three lessons learned…I read how to avoid saddle sore.


Selamat Hari Raya ‘Idil Fitri 1437


Genap sebulan sudah kita menjalankan ibadah puasa Ramadhan dan kini Syawal menjelang pula.  Setelah menghayati bulan Ramadhan selama 30 hari sudah tentu sedikit-sebanyak kita akan merasa terharu dengan pemergiannya, semoga ibadah puasa kita diterima Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala.  Saya mengambil kesempatan ini mengucapkan kepada sekalian muslimin dan muslimat,

“Selamat Hari Raya ‘Idil Fitri, Semoga Kembali Fitrah.”

Bagi yang mengenal diri ini, mohon maaf zahir dan bathin.

Adalah diharapkan setelah berlapar-laparan selama sebulan ianya dapat diteruskan dengan tidak makan terlalu banyak atau terlalu kenyang kerana Nabi Muhammad s.a.w. bersabda, “Kami daripada gulungan yang tidak makan melainkan kami lapar, dan apabila kami makan tidak sampai kenyang.”

Kepada nabi yang merasa susah apabila kita susah dan menginginkan kita mendapat kebahagian, nabi yang menyimpan doa khusus kenabiannya untuk umatnya (semua para nabi-nabi diberi satu doa khusus yang Allah Ta’ala tidak akan menolaknya, semua para nabi-nabi telah menggunakannya hanya nabi Muhammad sahaja yang belum menggunakannya), nabi yang mana Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala dan para malaikat-malaikat berselawat ke atasnya dan orang-orang beriman diseru berselawat keatasnya yang mana setiap satu selawat ke atas Nabi Muhammad s.a.w. dibalas Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala dengan sepuluh selawat ke atas yang berselawat, ucapan selawat dan salam keatasnya.

Ucapan kesejahteraan daripada Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala itu pasti, berapa banyakkah di antara kita yang memperbanyakkan atau melazimkannya? Dengan keadaan dunia masakini perbanyakkanlah berselawat keatas nabi Muhammad s.a.w. agar kita mendapat kesejahteraan, kebahagian dan keselamatan bukan sahaja di dunia malah di akhirat juga dengan RahmatNya, tuhan yang Maha Esa lagi Maha Agung, yang Maha Pengasih lagi Maha Mengasihani.  Amin, Ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.

Sallu Alaih.


DIY: Making Tool To Unlink Bicycle Chain Connector Easily


I had a hard time to unlink the new bicycle chain.  It was tight. I needed a tool to unlink it effortlessly. It happened that I had a broken tip long nose pliers bought at a RM 2.00 shop, it was just the right material for it.  Since it was a cheap pliers, the metal is soft making it easy to file it to the desired shape which I did with just a small round and a triangle files.  Once done and tested to work great, it was heated with butane torch then dipped into used engine oil to blacken and hardened it and later on tempering in the oven for an hour.

Since I'm at it, also did blackening & hardening of this still in good shape plier

Since I’m at it, also did blackening, hardening & tempering of this still in good shape pliers

DIY: Converting Mountain Bike Into Hybrid Bike


The cyclo-cross is a hybrid bike. Basically it is just a road bike with wider tyres for off-road cycling and is limited in its adventure off-road due to the drop handlebar.  The next class of bicycle, a notch up from cyclo-cross for a more adventurous off-road cycling, is known as hybrid bike and instead of the drop handlebar it is fitted with flat or riser bar. This is the generally accepted classification but there are statements that say a hybrid bike is anything in-between a road bike and a mountain bike. So, It is just a matter of how close the bike is to either the road bike or the mountain bike.

That said, I have just completed converting a 29er Mongoose Hogan Pro brand mountain bike into a hybrid bike. It has a nice frame size which is just right for me. This hybrid bike is still capable of a good sprint on road but the cyclo-cross is better and of course for off-road cycling, the hybrid is better suited than the cyclo-cross.  As with the cyclo-cross built just recently, all bearings excluding pedal bearings but including the jockey pulleys on the rear derailleur are sealed bearing only that I have yet to receive delivery of the jockey pulleys meant for the hybrid bike.  Also, both bike fitted with composite aluminium/carbon fork.

This is a similar mountain bike except for its colour (Picture from mudah.my)

The base bike is similar to this mountain bike except for its colour (Picture from mudah.my). I only retain the frame, seatpost, seatpost clip, saddle, rear & front derailleurs, bike stand, disc brake calipers & rotors and front white reflector mount.  Could use the straight bar & stem but I prefer a riser bar and the stem diameter is just too big for the riser bar. Replace the 8 speed freewheel with a 10 speed cassette and a bigger 3 speed crankset

Here's the reflector mount converted to hold the headlight

Here’s the reflector mount converted to hold the headlight

Riser bar, 80mm stem, 2/3 x10 speed shifters and non-premium brake levers

Riser bar, 80mm stem, 2/3 x 10 speed shifters and non-premium brake levers

Advise on lacing followed strictly, not only the valve is in clear space but it is also facing the logo on the hub

Advice on lacing followed strictly, not only the valve is in clear space, it is also facing the logo on the alloy hub. Wheels fitted with 700x38C tyres


Cut away 3/4 of the hollow iron rod, had a hollow aluminium rod inserted held by a small bolt to make it lighter and adjustable

Here's the previous cyclo-cross sporting a bigger crankset (53T) and bigger wheels fitted with 700x28C for now. The front fork should be able to accommodate up to 700x32C

Here’s the previous cyclo-cross now sporting a bigger crankset (53/39T) and bigger wheels. Fitted with 700x28C tyres for now. The front fork should be able to accommodate up to 700x32C comfortably



Once a bike mechanic told me that a 10 speed cassette needs a 10 speed dérailleur. No matter how you adjust it, it will just not work. I took the advice and kept it in mind. This hybrid bike sports a 11-36T 10 speed cassette and 3 speed 50-39-30T crankset operated by a Shimano SLX 2/3 x 10 speed shifters. I intentionally put a 7 speed rear dérailleur on it (the original dérailleur that’s on the mountain bike) . Even though the dérailleur covers the whole range of the cassette sprockets, it skips sprockets twice on the lower (smaller) end. I replace the dérailleur with a Shimano RD-M610 10 speed rear dérailleur, it works just fine. On a closer look at the two dérailleurs, the 10 speed has a less incline angle inwards and tighter spring. I guess that are what made it work. Perhaps if the spring of the 7 speed dérailleur made tighter, it too might work.

Marhaban Ya Ramadhan 1437


Dengan kedatangan bulan yang mulia dan penuh dengan keberkahan ini, saya ucapkan kepada sekalian muslimin dan muslimat,

“Selamat menjalankan ibadah puasa pada bulan Ramadhan ini semoga bertambah kesihatannya, bertambah imannya, cukup segala keperluannya serta mendapat kesejahteraan, keselamatan dan kebahagiaan di dunia dan di akhirat.”

Amin, Ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.

Sabda Nabi Muhammad s.a.w.,”Puasalah semoga kamu sihat.”


Bicycle: The Skill Is Now Complete


I had done servicing, repairing and modifying bicycle in my younger days but my skill and knowledge were just about that, the common bike that I had so my knowledge was quite limited. I did it through intuition and by trial and error.

More than a month ago, I bought a new mountain bike and I tried to acquire some used parts for my old neglected mountain bike. I was shocked by the questions they put to me, “How many holes? 32, 36, 7 speed, 8 speed, 9 speed?” And many more. Needless to say when I reached home I started to educate myself through the internet. Thanks to all those gurus on YouTube, I am more wiser now, know some finer points and have the knowledge on how to lace and truing a bicycle wheel. This is the part of the skill that I have yet to experience and manage to do it myself.

My first wheel

My first wheel, a 27.5.  The rim, spokes and hub sourced from bike2012 via mudah.my

The intention to get my long neglected mountain bike rebuild had changed, I decided to build a cyclo-cross instead. Not exactly like it but at least in the intended usage. Only the frame, pedals and the cycle stand of the old mountain bike were used, the rest of the parts were either bought locally or through Ebay. The plan was for a disc brake version and by that I would have to make and weld a rear disc brake mount to the frame. Arc welding was out of the question, local hardware stores did not keep stock on aluminium welding rods because of the price and storage factors. Another consideration was brazing, but low temperature aluminium brazing rod was unavailable locally too. I could get it through Ebay, but the price and postage were not cheap. Apparently I was left with the last choice.

I had done brazing but not gas welding, it was new to me. After some videos on the howtos and safety factors, I was ready for it. I did some dry run on small pieces of aluminium tubes and it seemed to work well. On the other hand, working on a bigger piece was a different matter.  I was reminded about heat loss effect and my lack of experience and skill. It was a struggle. In the end I managed to weld it plus melting some part of the mount and blowing a hole on the tube that I somehow managed to patch it albeit not in a neat way.

The welded brake bracket with some cosmetic done with resin

The welded brake mount and some cosmetic done with resin

The cyclo-cross is now complete. I had learnt how to lace and truing a bicycle wheel and that complete my skill on assembling a bicycle from scratch parts. Also, I gained some knowledge and experience in gas welding aluminium pieces.


A 7 speed rear derailleur on a 9 speed cassette

A 7 speed rear derailleur on a 9 speed cassette

Solar powered tail light, no worries about batteries

Solar powered tail light, no worries about batteries

Head light powered by 4 AAA batteries and the holder fashioned from PVC pipes bonded with resin

LED head light powered by 4 AAA batteries and the holder fashioned from PVC pipes bonded with resin

Handlebar wrap is no cheap considering the material used, could have used a 2mm foam but since I have leathers so be it

Handlebar wrap is not cheap considering the material used, could have used a 2mm foam but since I have leathers, so be it

I removed the brand name and paint it over with undercoat not realising that the paint is translucent. Decades ago its abnormal but now its fashion

I removed the brand name and painted undercoat over the bare metal not realising that the candy green paint is translucent. Decades ago it is abnormal but nowadays it is fashion

So little room for error. My mistake for not checking the width. That's the thinnest I could get for a 27.5

So little room for error. My mistake for not checking the width. That’s the thinnest I could get for a 27.5

Did a repair, rebuild and rectify on this mountain bike. The suspension design is flawed. The tubes will flex, bottoming the suspension and lock. The pair of levers will prevent this

Also did a repair, rebuild and rectification on this mountain bike. The suspension was a flawed design. The tubes will flex, bottoming the suspension and lock. The pair of arms will prevent this…and that’s a second pair of wheels done

Birds at Sungai Rambah


When they say you need patience in birds photography, I did not know that it could run for a few days in a row.  I only knew it when I started to present myself at the same spot over and over again for a few days straight.  As I did not use hide nor did I wear camo painted military-like apparel, I must have stuck out like a sore thumb.  They kept their distance away from me and the kingfisher totally out of sight.  Only when I’m starting to become a familiar sight that they started to move nearer and appear.  Lesson learned and I’m starting to enjoy and appreciate the rewards.

Here are a few photos from the recent successive trips to Sungai Rambah at Pontian, Johor.

The river mouth

The river mouth and the mudflat at low tide


The mangroves at the river bank


Great Egret


Striated Heron


Lesser Adjutant


Grey Heron


There are three species here


Great and Little Egrets


This one just beginning to show itself and far away

Plain Sunbird

Sunbird feasting on the nectar of the coconut flowers


White-bellied Sea Eagle


Brahminy Kite

There are a few others.

DIY: Camera Belt Clip


At times I needed to be mobile with two cameras at hand and instant swapping between the two.  Two cameras on a single twin shoulder strap is fine if stationary but not when moving around.  To solve this, I decided to have the primary camera in hand attached to a shoulder strap while the secondary on a clip attached to the belt.  I have read some articles, promotion and advertisements about those clips but decided to build one since I have the components needed.

The components

The components

It consists of a belt, an old Taiwanese made quick release, a camera bag partitioner and a quarter-inch flat head screw with flip handle.  The quarter-inch screw of the quick release only have a slot for tightening it to the camera, I swapped it with the quarter-inch screw with the flip handle.  A hole is punched through the partitioner and the belt, then the original quarter-inch screw of the quick release made to hold the whole components together.

The screw with flip handle replacing the original screw with slot

The screw with flip handle replacing the original screw with slot

...and the original screw hold the pieces toghether

…and the original screw holds the pieces together

I have used it and surely it beats having two cameras on a single twin shoulder strap.  The camera with the primary lens (150-600mm) attached to a single shoulder strap was held in hand and another camera fixed with a secondary lens (24-105mm) was at hip level, and it was a joy to walk around.  I felt that I could even run with less hassle.  Attaching the cameras with zoom lenses will cover a wide range of focal length which is good for covering event besides walking around looking for wildlife and at nature.

Note:  This is a new belt hence this article.  The original clip made with an old worn out belt.  The rest are the same.

Receding Shoreline: What Gives?


Shoreline at Pontian town facing the Straits of Malacca

I had observed receding shorelines in the east and west coasts of peninsula Malaysia.  In the state of Kelantan up north on the east coast, the beach there had been fortified with granites entrenched behind the shoreline to prevent further erosion.  Kelantan is facing an open sea and the constant pounding of the waves is understandable.  Unlike Kelantan, the west coast of the state of Johor is only facing the narrow Straits of Malacca, surely the waves should not be hitting beaches as in the east coast.  Still there are pounding waves said to be caused by passing ships and similar measures taken to tackle the problem.

The thing is that it does not only pertain to peninsula Malaysia, on my recent trip to Lombok, Indonesia, I observed that it too is experiencing receding shoreline.  Nothing to be concerned about because it’s a natural occurrence phenomenon but what set me thinking is the rate. When I was growing up, in a decade I practically did not see any changes, but not now.

Same thing here in Tanjung, Lombok

Same thing here in Tanjung, Lombok

Some Pictures of Lombok

Here are a few pictures shot in Lombok somewhere from Tanjung to slightly further up pass Bayan.