Sunday, August 24, 2008

Interstate 2008

The last Interstate I rode in was in 2004 on a tandem captaining a blind rider from the Malaysian Blind Association called Roy. It was from KL to Malacca and Batu Pahat then back to Malacca. I recall that it was a short IS and it was over when I barely had a chance to stretch my legs. There were days where we arrived even before 12.

I have missed 3 consecutive IS rides and am hoping to enjoy the one this year which will be to Kuantan via Bahau and Kuala Rompin. I'll do it on the trike this time around.

It was easy to decide on the trike. Firstly I have gained some 10 kg from all the cycling inactivity over the last 4 years. Thus I need a mode of transport which will take me there in the least amount of suffering as possible.

Second the route is hilly at least for the first day. I hear it is rolling on the second day. A trike will allow me to climb at as slow a speed as I care to do due to its low gearing and its inability to keel over. My trike is by no means a wraithe, lithe or agile climbing machine. Minus racks, mudguards, pump, spare tubes it stands (or rather squats) at 40 lbs, which is almost 18kg. As this is a supported tour we get to travel light, but even so I think 45lbs is probably its rolling weight on day one of the IS. So no, it is not exactly a Pinarello Prince withCampy Record gruppo and a Zipp wheelset. But because the trike does not fall over I can go really slow up those climbs. I have ridden the tandem to Genting Highlands before so I know how to go slow. I realized that a two wheel bike can just about do a minimum of 4 km/hour before you need to put your foot down (unless you do a track stand). No need for such skills on a trike, you can be stationary if you like.

Finally, and this is an important decision on why I choose the trike. I get to sit in a reclined position. This means no hunching over the handlebar for the hours I will be expected to spend on the road. This consequently translates a much more comfortable ride as I will not have to put up with a sore neck or bottom or pins and needles in my hands. This will be a major factor during those long second and third days. Triking allows me to just enjoy the ride and the view. I am getting the iPod uploaded for I intend to really take it easy.

The trike is also an indestructibly rugged touring machine. I feel as though I can ride forever on it over any bad pot holey road surface. It takes it all in the stride. The comfort of the mesh seat is second to none.

Here's looking forward to IS 2008.

p.s I haven't really figured out how to bring the trike back to KL from Kuantan

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What is the ideal number of bicycles anyone should have? Answer n + 1. ("n" being the number of bikes you currently own)