Review: Online Store – www.cyclingexpress.com

Recently I was approached by a representative from Cycling Express which is an online store that started up in Sydney, Australia. They have been in this business since 1999 and today they serve worldwide. Most of them are cyclists like us, so they knew what we wanted. Let me run you thru on the things that they have and my personal experience over their webpage.

About the webpage

At a glance of the home page, you can easily navigate to the things that you wanted. It is all arranged by category like any other online store. All you need to do is browse, pick and paid all from your desk or may be on the run with your smart phone or tablet.

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The webpage support English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages. But, for Korean and Japanese they didn’t translate the description. I guessed that was not their targeted areas.

Products

They have a very wide selection of things from complete bicycle to power gel. Basically, it is like a local bike shop (LBS) that you and I visit.

They do have very limited selection of running accessories. It is more like a 1-stop station for those people who do cross training. But, you can skip this section for now.

Pricing

Their pricing is slightly more than the LBS but they deliver to your door step. So, that saves you time and gas of getting there. But, there are a few items you can find it cheaper than LBS. Also, there is a section where they clear out stocks and some of the items can be a bargain.

Contacts

There are 2 ways to get in contact with them. The preferred method is email but there is a live chat available too. I happened to use the live chat as I have some technical difficulty with my gift voucher. The representative was very helpful and my issue was resolved within hours. Kudos to that guy.

Shipping

It is free delivery if the purchase is more than MYR299. Else just pay MYR30 and it will ship within 6 working days. The free delivery excludes bicycle and frame. I personally feel that MYR30 for shipping cost is just way too expensive if my intention is to get an accessories that cost MYR30.

I have just ordered a Topeak Mini Pump on Jul 29 and I will update you all again about the time taken from order to delivery. (Update: I have just cancelled my original purchase and I am adding another item to it. I saw something that I need and like. They are so flexible for me to do so!!! Great support!!! So, the new order date is Jul 30 Jul 31). 

Return & Warranty Policy

Since it is online purchase and don’t get the look and feel of the product but they do allow their customer to return if they do not like it. Minimum charges for returning an accessory is MYR90 and maximum charge is to return a bike which is MYR550. This is like postage plus restocking fees. Good thing is they will pick it up from your home. There is no information about warranty claims. But, they did mention if the products were sent at their fault, they will cover all charges. I guessed that covers the warranty requirement.

My Likings

The things that I like about this website are:-

  • They ship internationally. There are a few website that I have been using and shipping is only within US. This is a major problem for me as I have to get someone to hand carry back for me.
  • Since this company is setup in Australia, I can trust their products are genuine.
  • They cover wide variety of top brands and models. For example, if I am looking for tires, I can easily get the tires that I want.

My Dislikes

The only thing that I probably won’t buy online is bike. This is my personal preference as in US and Europe this is already very common. The trending in Malaysia may not pick up yet probably due to:-

  • Look and feel – I can’t see the color, feel the bike, test if the fitting fits me or not sure if the bike is too heavy for me.
  • Insecure – Unable to inspect for hairline crack, uneven/sloppy pain job and defective parts. All these will create hassles for return as the item is big.
  • Service & Warranty
    • No personal touch – I can always bring back the bike to the shop if I encounter any problem. For online purchase, I have to install the bike on my own which I may not know how or have time.
    • Reputation of the company – Not sure about the company claim policy comparing with LBS. Is the bike genuine?

From what the representative told me, they are negotiating with the LBS now for bikes servicing. At least that covers the Service & Warranty part. I will update the list of LBS once they have finalized it.

You can now click to this link and start shopping! I know I am getting 2 things from them now. www.cyclingexpress.com

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Review: Specialized Shop in Penang – Update

So… I took my brake pads to the shop today and told them about the incident. The store manager was reluctant to replace new pads for me. He wanted to clean it and then file the pads. I told him it won’t work and I wanted new pads! The oil was soaked into the pads and that was no point cleaning! He started to question if the piston was leaking oil or cable dismount. I told him it was cleaned just the pads that was oiled but he insisted to see my bikes.

So, I drove home 25km to get my bike to proof to them. Finally, they replaced new pads for me as it was clearly their mistake when bleeding the brakes.

At least they keep their customer happy for future return. Just may be…

Review: Specialized Shop in Penang

Recently I had my MTB sent in for a brake service in Penang Specialized shop. It was just a normal flushing of the brake oil as I don’t get much grip anymore. I would have done it myself if it is Shimano brakes but the Magura MTS is a bit tricky to bleed/flush them. So, for MYR80 which I think it is reasonable. But, I ended up MYR140 for the brake service. According to them, they have to skim both rotors as it was uneven. Okie… And they changed my rear brake pads too which I remembered I just changed not long ago. So, I thought that’s a bit more than I expected.

The thing got me really ticked off is that they have oiled my front brake pads and they didn’t replace them. Luckily I wasn’t riding to Penang Hill with a 30 degree gradient downhill which could easily get me crash. This is really a safety issue here.

I am going to see them tomorrow if they are willing to replace it for free which I believes they should.

Ride: My recovery ride

It has been 2 weeks since I last rode. Today is the 1st day I rode back on my bike after the injury. It was great to get back on my bike and the feeling of letting the wind flowed thru my face was beyond words. Though I had headwind pretty much all the time but that didn’t stop me from going further. Because. I was already looking forward for this ride. It was just a 40km ride on my MTB but I felt good. I just wished to have more speed if I have a roadbike.

My leg is still not full recover yet as I still have small lump or swollen on my thigh. Hope I ‘ll get full recover before going for my Mount Kiara ride.

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Travel: Kuala Kangsar Exploration Ride

I guessed all of my friends had waited for this blog for a lonnnggg time. Well, I have been busy and lazy at a same time. This is a continuation from my previous Kuala Kangsar Exploration blog. This ride was planned out in a way that we get to enjoy the countryside, great food, taking lots of photos, cover enough cycling mileage and visit some of the Kuala Kangsar landmarks. And… not to forget to have a great time with cycling buddies.

This route we took is approximately 115km in total and we did it on a MTB with knobby tires. Yup, we didn’t use road bike or touring bike. In fact, some of my friends were using heavy MTB (~15kg). Some of them didn’t complete the route but at least 1/3 of it. The route was so long that my phone ran out of battery and my Strava app didn’t manage to capture everything.

Kickoff from Kuala Kangsar Perak River food court ->> Sultan Abdul Jalil Bridge ->> Jambatan Iskandar ->> Kampung Chorak ->> Victoria Bridge ->> Karai Town ->> Goh’s Family Farm (offroad ride) ->> Chenderoh Power Plant ->> Sauk village for lunch ->> Tasik Raban ->> Muzium Arkologi Lenggong (UNESCO site for Orang Perak).

Map

We started off early for breakfast and start pedaling before 8 in the morning (and together with our support car). Somehow the weather here is cooler than my usual route in Penang or Kuala Lumpur. Probably this place is still underdeveloped.

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1st off was to cross the Sultan Abdul Jalil Bridge with overlooking at the Perak River. A great view in the morning.

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I would say cycling over here is quite safe as they have a bike lane (motorize or non-motorize) pretty much all the way. Also, I hardly see any heavy vehicles and cars too. At least not until we reached the highway from Kuala Kangsar to Gerik, where there were speeding cars.

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The weather that day was exceptionally great as it was not very hot throughout the whole day. The hottest time was probably from 10.30am to about 3pm. Then it started to cool off. But not to worry so much as most part of the roads were covered with trees.

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I have done a few routes with more than 100km before and I would say this was one of the best routes I have ever ridden. The road was very smooth with no holes or patching which reduced weariness. And, it was not a boring route as we had endless rolling, twists and turns. Most importantly, hardly encounter any cars.

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Along the route we stopped by for scenic view.

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Jambatan Iskandar

From Jambatan Iskandar to Victoria Bridge, we took a kampong (Chorak) route to enjoy the traditional Malay houses and cooling sensation. All the roads here were nicely paved.

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Victoria Bridge is one of the iconic bridges in Perak as it was built in 1897 by the Perak Government Railway to transport tin over the Perak River. You can climb on to the track to take photos but just be careful as it is ~15m (50ft) drop to the river. Those of you who are afraid of height are not recommended to do so. Also, you can cycle over to the other end of the bridge to Karai town to have a chit chat with the locals. Or have a bowl of nice curry noodles.

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Since I requested for some off road ride, 2 of my friends (Goh’s Families Plantation) opened up their huge of plantation land for us to ride. We had a great ~3.5km ride. Follow by coconut drinks.

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The route to Chenderoh Power Plant was a great ride. There were not many cars as it was a dead end road unless the cars were going to power plant only. I would say it was the coolest part of our ride as there were trees covered on both side of the road, and lots of turns and rolling. Sadly said, this route covered 10% only of our total distance for the day.

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Time for lunch… we turned back the same way came in to Sauk. Sauk town is famous for its fresh water fish and fish balls.

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After lunched we headed back to open road and that was the hottest time of the day and there were no tree cover for us. The road was as straight as a stick yet with many rolling. It was a torturous time for all of us.

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We had to take refuge at a bus stop and to regroup with other cyclists.

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By now we had passed by our 4th bridge. This is Jambatan Raja Muda Nazrin. Over here, we got a panorama view of Raban Lake (Tasik Raban).

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Our final destination was Muzium Arkologi Lenggong. By now we have covered about 68km.

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It was a burnt out ride for many of us but it was a memorable one. If you ask me I want to do it again? I would say… YES but this time with a road bike.

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Health: Lose weight healthily

There are many ways to lose weight such as taking pills, organic tea, supplement substance, injection, surgery etc. All these may seem to be effective way to lose weight in the shortest time but they don’t seem to be able to maintain. I have seen friends who lost about 10-15kg in 3 months by taking organic supplement. So, this is good, right? Wrong, as he gained back pretty much every pound he lost when he stopped the supplement. In additionally, taking pills may cause some side effect which we all do know about.

I have tried to walk or run but that creates a knee join problem for me as I weigh 93kg (205lbs) and I am only 173cm (5’7”). So, I started to cycle around my neighborhood and that doesn’t help at all. 1 month past and I still weight the same. My friend asked me not to get despair and do longer distance with a climb. So, I started to do like 10-15km (6-9miles) ride with 150m (490ft) climbed. At the same time, I stopped drinking soda, 3-in-1 coffee and eating chips. Also, I gradually cut down my food intake. It may be very hard initially but when I see the results, I want to do it more. Man, for the next 2 months I lost 10kg (22 lbs).

There is a trick to it and I would not recommend this to everyone as each individual may react differently. For the 2nd and 3rd month, I was pedaling hard until my VO2 Max (Very hard/can’t speak). And, I did that 2 times/week and for 2 months. This will eventually plateau. So, I had to increase my distance, climb altitude and going faster. I used a spreadsheet to track my cycling improvement in order for me to break each record I hold.

Today, I have successfully lost 18kg (~40lbs) without taking a single pill or supplement. My stomach has shrunk since then and I don’t feel like taking big intake anymore. And, once awhile I do take pops and chips but I still control them. I still keep pedaling as my only form of exercise but I have reduced the frequency. I still do pedal to my VO2 Max occasionally to maintain my stamina.

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You can read more about it from About Me.

MTB Skills or Tires?

I took my bike out to the woods (Mt. Erskine) on last weekend. I have been riding this trail numerous times and I thought I have pretty much known the trail. So, I was pushing my limits to get faster and filled with adrenaline. Little did I notice I rolled over a small but fat tree branches. And, that sent me off flying from my bike. Sh*t happens so fast and I Ianded with the handlebar sticking on my thigh. Man, I got a biggest bruise since I started riding 2 yrs ago. May be this is just small matter for many others but I should layback a bit especially my princess is still very young.

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So, what went wrong? I started to analyze and asked some friends who knows biking more than I do. As I was analyzing, a few things could have happened. My fork is probably too stiff for my bodyweight? I feel is a bit too hard but I pumped according to the recommended pressure. I Googled a bit and for 165 lbs, I should get 105psi which is what I had on my bike.

So, what is next? Rebound? In fact, I did adjust the rebound a few days before and I slowed it down. So, it should not sprung me upwards.

Set aside the skill, the only thing left here is the tire… Hmm… I do have the Maxxis Crossmark 29×2.1 on my wheel set. Though it is 2.1” width but it seems to be as wide as a 1.95” tire on a 24mm internal rim width. Because my internal rim width is just 21mm. I have a trail riding partner and he had a few crashes too before he changed to a wider tires. After changed to wider tires, the handling was better and he could go faster without crash. So, may be this is what I need to start with. If this doesn’t help, I may need to attend MTB 101 class. 🙂

Travel: Kuala Kangsar Exploration

This trip was planned out in a way that we will have enough bike rides, good food, sightseeing, interact with locals and most importantly have great companies. It was my 3rd time coming here. The 1st was long time ago that I cannot remember much about it and 2nd time was 3 months ago. But, I didn’t get to explore much on the 2nd time too as our purpose is to cover 160km road bike rides only.

Kuala Kangsar is the royal town of Perak where the palace – Istana Iskandariah is located. It was also the capital for Perak state before it moved to Taiping and then Ipoh.

KK Map

This is a very quiet and peaceful town which is the best way to kickback and relaxes. It is only 1.5 hours drive from Penang or 2.5 hours from Kuala Lumpur. You will find a lot of good food here and unique ways of cooking. The price for the food is considerably cheap also.

The only problem is the limited choice accommodation as it is so near to Taiping and Ipoh. Many people tend to stay in those 2 cities than here, so forget about 5 stars. On the 1st night I put up in Ku Inn which is pretty nice from the outside and the room is clean too. The only problem is, all the rooms are smoking room. For a nonsmoker like me, it can be suffering. All the rooms have attached bathroom, high speed internet, LCD TV and air-con.

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So, on the 2nd night I moved out to Hotel Seri Kangsar which is located in the town center. This place is a bit smaller (especially the bathroom) and a bit more expensive but at least I didn’t get choked by the smell. The best thing from these hotels is the high speed internet. I would say faster than some of the 5 stars hotels I have stayed.

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Places to visit in Kuala Kangsar

Town Center

Sg Perak

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The famous Ubudiah Mosque

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War Memorial for British soldiers who died during Perak War

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Old school and college 

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Clifford High School

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Malay College Kuala Kangsar

Malay College of Kuala Kangsar

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Museum

The Muzium Diraja Perak was a palace before they moved to a newer one. This place was built without using a single nail. It is currently closed for renovation and I believe it has been awhile too. To avoid disappointment, do call up before you go.

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The Gallery Sultan Azlan Shah is used to be a palace also before they converted to a gallery. The entrance fee is RM4 for Malaysian and I feel that it is worth going. Lot’s of things to view and you can get to know the Sultan more.

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The Palace – Istana Iskandariah

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Bridges

Victoria Bridge is one of the iconic bridges in Perak as it was built in 1897 by the Perak Government Railway to transport tin over the Perak River.

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Iskandar Bridge (Kuala Kangsar Heritage Bridge)

Jambatan Raja Muda Nazrin probably is the newest bridge we that we crossed that day and to get to the World Heritage Site in Lenggong. Also, over here you can get a beautiful view of Raban Lake (Tasik Raban).

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Along the way we passed by small towns like Sauk, Enggor Karai and small villages like in the pictures below.

Enggor Karai

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Best curry noodle in town

Sauk

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Others small villages (malay kampung) along the road.

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Food…

There are a lot of good foods in Kuala Kangsar and I don’t have enough time to try them all. To name a few here…

Choon Kee Restaurant (Chun Ji) – They are famous for their Kung Fu Hor Fan. It is a flat rice noodle dip with egg and then fries it. Then they put mushrooms, chicken and vegetables on top it. It is something that you cannot find elsewhere. The Ying Yung Pai Kuat (spare ribs) is super delicious as 1 is cooked with BBQ sauce and another with peanut butter. The fried egg plant is super good as well as it can eat together with beer or as finger food. Lastly is another noodle which I forgot its name but it is cooked with sweet and sour sauce. This place is open almost 365 days except during Chinese New Year.

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Sauk

If you are in Sauk, you have to try their fresh water fishes and prawns. The highly recommended are the dishes below (sorry… we didn’t order any fish). We ordered half steam and fried fish balls. And, the steam fish balls are very soft and tasty. The curry prawns are very fresh too; the sweet and sour pork is crispy on the outside and soft in the inside.

Lau Kai Air-Cond Restaurant is located at
NO. S 44, 45, Jalan Besar, 33500
Sauk, Kuala Kangsar, Perak.
Tel: 05-7511615
Operate from 12.00pm to 9.00pm
Close on altenate Thursday.

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Kangsar Laksa
It may look like Penang Laksa or taste like Penang Laksa but it is complete different texture from Penang Laksa. There is some similarity in taste but this is a bit towards sourness.

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Badak Berendam Kuih (Malay cake)
I have no idea what this is but it is good. Inside is brown sugar and dip in the coconut sauce. It is very good. 

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Well, this is just my introduction to Kuala Kangsar food and travel blogging. Stay tune for my biking expedition – Travel: Kuala Kangsar Exploration Ride