Tuesday 28 August 2012

My cycle journey from Batu Caves to Dataran Merdeka

And so it begins. My first bicycle ride (out of my comfort zone) out of my housing area to town. To a serious cyclist, this sounds like such a kacang putih ride, but to me its an adventure and an experience. Kenny and I have been talking for weeks about cycling together since I got my bike about a month back. We've been making plans about where to go but I suggested that I should start with something simple just for me to get the hang of it. We got pretty excited especially since we watched Premium Rush the night before with Vons and we couldn't stop talking about cycling around town (like bike messengers).

Our journey started on a gloomy but cooling Sunday morning from my house. Kenny came by with his road bike (a very light carbon fiber one nonetheless). I had to keep stressing to Kenny to please jaga me cause MTB is heavier and slower; plus I'm not really a fast rider. We started moving around 7.30am and headed straight to Batu Caves as a first point. 

Its mandatory to at least get a shot right in front of the Batu Caves steps to officiate our cycling adventure. 
I have been staying around Batu Caves for years but I hardly ventured into the temple area. Both of us riding our bikes in made us seemed like tourist!

After the quick shot, we quickly started our journey and took the inner roads of Sentul through some industrial and housing area. It was a slow and easy ride, going through some of the more serene parts of Sentul. Modern houses blended in with wooden ones amongst the peaceful environment. Since development is at a rapid rate, the former seems more abundantly seen. Kenny headed with me tailing behind. I can see  Kenny is going at a very easy pace, judging from his gears. Where else I'm pedaling more (like a hooligan) trying to catch up. Not complaining though. More leg muscle workout for me.

Before you know it, we reached out somewhere heading towards Bulatan Pahang and headed straight towards Balai Seni Lukis (National Art Gallery) and Istana Budaya.

Kenny at the Balai Seni Lukis; just next to the entrance.

I preferred the more unconventional shot of doing the Gangam Style pose. I seemed not impressed as I seemed half awake.
I was telling Kenny it has been years that I've been to Balai Seni Lukis. I used to frequent this place a lot as an Art student. Life in college has always been a relaxing one. I used to walk around the facility and admiring the artworks for hours! It was a good place to do my research work and they used to serve the best coffee around at the cafeteria. Unfortunately that was closed down some time back. I think I should make another visit again soon to see what exhibition they have installed.

Next up was Istana Budaya where major performance arts are usually held. Since I've never had the chance to actually catch a show (basically because of ticket prices/ timing issues) I decided to do my own silly performance right in front of their doorstep. I dub thy play "AC jumps around Bike". Dumb play name! I amused myself easily.

My dance around my bike threatened the clouds to burst into tears. One round enough! 
Next we head on to nearby Tasik Titiwangsa. It was still pretty gloomy but the weather was fine. My earlier rain dance did not come into fruition but blessed with cooling winds instead. Perfect! It was a joyful sight with runners/ joggers/ roller bladders / aunties and uncles doing tai chi around. Not many cyclist but there were few. We hanged out a bit to take in the scenery.

A time to chill and ponder. Soooo relaxing!

Kenny and his carbon fiber road bike. Put it side by side with mine, I feel like a small fly.
This was supposedly where our journey is supposed to end and head off for breakfast. Kenny just looked at me and said "Enough ka? Wanna go Dataran?". "Are you kidding me? Don't tell me this is the end. Let's go!", I exclaimed with a glee on my face. Since it was still pretty early and the traffic was smooth, we headed down Dataran via Chow Kit.

When I say smooth, it was UNBELIEVABLY smooth. There were hardly any cars around, making our journey easy. It was quite an unusual sight. How come traffic in KL can't be this smooth during weekdays? As we were cycling along, we were talking about the routes we were travelling on. "Hey, this looks bloody familiar. Dammit SCKLM route! Imagined the distance we ran!" I said. We laughed and reminiance our training together with our Dutamas Runners group. Imagine all the hard work we put into this one marathon!

As we slowly approached Dataran, there were some road barriers. Got me wondering what was going on. When we arrived, it was the rehearsals for the upcoming Merdeka celebrations.

School kids instead of the usual civil servants. Cut cost ka?
We watched as school kids rehearse for their performances. It was quite a sight as the kids rehearse but I kinda pity them that the sun is about to come up as well.

Kenny right in front of Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad. 
We were hanging around freely in front of Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad. This was where we started for SCKLM (Standard Chartered KL Marathon) and memories were still fresh even after 2 months. Being goofy as I always am, I asked Kenny to take a shot of me with my "patriotic" pose. Just a normal standard salute. Fortunately, there were no Janji Capati banners hanging around. Malaysia flag sudah cukup enough.

I stand salute!

My alang-alang vision of becoming a model. Sai miang!
 After having enough of photo shooting, we headed to St. John's Church for our final stop and to look for coffee. Took us less than 10 minutes but traffic at church was busy. A quick shot and we straight head to Jalan H.S.Lee.
Quick one at St. John's. 
Upon arriving at Syarikat Kopi LOKL, we were met with dissapointment. It's not open! KNS... But it's ok. I soon found out that it's only open during working hours and rumours have it that Cheryl Samad sometimes pop by to serve coffee. Wonder if it's true. It's located within a backpacker's lodge, BACKHOME. BACKHOME is one of my favourite places in KL. I usually stay here the night before SCKLM. They have such wonderful services and beautiful dorms (dorms doesn't even sound fitting. More like a high class lodge). It's no wonder they are rated 3rd in Asia by Backpacker's World. Perhaps one day I'll blog about this.

Syarikat Kopi LOKL signboard right outside.

No Kopi, then drink water lor....
Since there is no coffee and the heat is beginning to soar, we decided just to head back to Jalan Ipoh for Dim Sum. We quickly rode back via Chow Kit again. In our heads, we still had many thoughts from our Premium Rush movie the night before. How awesome it is when your daily job is just to cycle around town just to deliver packages. We berangan-angan for a while, later realizing that it will never happen in KL judging from crazy traffic.
Premium Rush ala KL style.
Please don't try this in real life and it's not even advisable.
Safety first. This was shot leaning against a static bus.
Our journey to Jalan Ipoh was a quick one. Guess we were extremely hungry. We parked our bikes near to our table and quickly ordered. Again the crazy looks from other people! I think they think we are crazy people. Oh well, we live our own life.

Yummy HK Chee Cheong Fun. Fat prawns!
As usual, I would have my HK Chee Cheong Fun. Out came this large plate of Cheong Fun with large prawns soaking in soy sauce and oil. I didn't care much for diet then. I was famished! We finished our food quickly as we made breakfast arrangements with Vons who is doing her LSD at FRIM. Yes, our dimsum were pre-breakfast. How sinful! Anyways, I claim it was "Cheat Day" anyhow.

Our journey back was pretty quick with no stops. We reached home before 12pm and immediately drove to Dutamas to meet up with Vons and surprisingly Capt Khoo decided to join in last minute. We had our usually "blow water" talk and our morning adventures. It was a great day and I can't wait for the next one. Although the whole journey was only about 40km , it was good enough experience for me to prep myself for future cycle rides. I've already been hinted for Frasers, Janda Baik and Genting Sempah. Well, I'm OK as long as someone leads me. Till then, I'll continue training and exploring my neighbourhood.

Sunday 26 August 2012

Go Blog with Brooks!

I feel honoured. Why? Just being invited for a blogger’s gathering, that is. First of all, it’s my first. Kinda feel intimidated being that I’m just a small peanut compared to the big name bloggers around.

Brooks Malaysia has been kind enough to invite a select few bloggers (runners themselves no doubt) to launch a blog campaign; aptly name “Blog with Brooks”. Held at The Curve - Mutiara Damansara, attendees are introduced with the launch of their new line that is coming up. Actually it’s more of an update of their current line, but nonetheless existing news for running fanatics and Brooks fans.

With its new marketing campaign to better define the Brooks running shoe line, shoes are categorized in either the “Float” or “Feel” category. This makes it easier for consumers to better understand their running shoe needs. We were treated to a firsthand look on its new line and I can definitely tell you, I’m salivating. Being a Brooks convert myself since last year, I’ve already own 3 pairs ; Adrenaline GTS 11, Glycerine 8 & Adrenaline ASR 8. Although I have other shoe brands in my arsenal, I primarily use Brooks for my training and races.

The Product Specialist explains the technology that goes behind Brooks.

The host explained to the participants on a brief history of Brooks and the technology that goes behind it. I am quite a sucker for product details and I was in for a treat! The product specialist further explained about the “Float & Feel” concept and how it’s targeted at runners with specific needs. Without sounding too technical, let me try to lay it out on layman’s term.

I personally fall under the “Float” category as I love anything with the support, the cushion, the structure and the build. I don’t care so much for colour choices but I usually like anything that is bright and striking; and Brooks never failed me on that part. I love the newly designed red Glycerine 10! (Am I hinting too much that I WANT one?).

Glycerine 10. The WANT list in my arsenal. See my "WANT" face!

The “Feel” category (or Pure Project) is basically Brooks version of minimalistic shoes aim for runners who prefers a more better contact feel to the ground and it’s lightweight. With its striking colours and minimalistic approach, runners are spoilt with choices!

To better understand on where the category of shoes fall into. 
The “Blog with Brooks” competition was announced during the 2nd half of the event. Runners (or running bloggers) are called to participate in a month long campaign to showcase Brooks and its products. Being a noob runner and noob blogger myself, I think this is pretty much a good start. Participants are required to start up a Facebook page to begin with and in order to be in the running to win the prizes. Blog updates will be linked through the FB page. In the mean time, do like my FB page here! (not force la) . Besides sharing my usual blog updates, I think this is a good chance to also share my experiences with the Brooks brand and hopefully be a resourceful tool for others who are looking into the their brand of shoes.

Further explanation to how the contest works.
Wow, that was a mouthful. It’s no easy task as there will be weekly themes for bloggers. Sounds like a weekly run training plan! Stay tune for more and let the “games” begin!

In the mean time, Do enjoy the other photos taken during the event. 
Food, food, GLORIOUS FOOD! Generous helpings prepared by the host.
Goofing around with our Brooks shoes. Look at Gus hiding behind trying to catch a bite!
Bloggers / Runners at attendance.

I wanna "Feel" & I wanna "Float"

We can't stop with group pics.

Friday 24 August 2012

Lessons I’ve learned from “Jangan Ketawa”

If you’ve lived through the 90’s and have seen our local comedy sketch “Jangan Ketawa” ; I say you are indeed awesome. Whether you loved it or hated it, you cannot deny that it was part of our Malaysian culture growing up.  Now these were the days where supposedly our tanah air is going through a phase of rapid modernization and our rakyat is getting a butt load of cultural influences from the East and West (Actually all around). So why such a big deal about this show?

For those still pondering what I’m talking about, “Jangan Ketawa” (means Don’t Laugh in Bahasa Melayu) was a local comedy sketch aired during the early 90’s. Considered ahead of its time, the comedy sketch is probably the one show that showcases comedian cross-dressers, smoking on TV and poking fun at religion. But all is done tastefully in a good hearted manner and with a positive message. Talk about cultural modernization!

Caught Khalwat? Or is it? 

Now the actors were really muhibbah (diverse). You have standouts like Rambo, Botak and even a very slim, handsome Harith Iskandar (who also serves as co-director).  But I always considered Dee & Moon the dynamic duo. Always the highlight of the show, these 2 actors (often cross dressing) were unforgettable as their alter-egos, Cik Timah and Cik Bedah. Their kampong skits were the best!

Dee & Moon on the famous 50s & 90s sketch.
Because of this, I always say colour as "Ka-rer" for the extra zing!

Moon in the infamous "Stewardess Interview". After this was shown, there was a huge debate on where is this Kedai Rambut Mei Lan and we never looked at stewardess the same way again.

Why is it the BEST Malaysian TV show? Well, you have versatile cast members and production crew; regardless of age, race & religion. Now tell me which local variety TV show you see today has such diversity.  Think harder. None, right? OK, there was Kopitiam and Baba & Nyonya (which I also loved).

Believe it or not, I “mastered” my Bahasa Melayu  from watching the show. Even mom is a fan.  I guess it has affected me profoundly the way I speak Malay, until my Malay friends commented that I speak like Cik Bedah.I quote an ex-colleague: “Belajar Bahasa is one thing; but the way u EXECUTE the cara cakap is memang terror!”. Let me stress she emphasised EXECUTE very strongly. Thanks for the compliment but I won’t be “executing” anything. Sayur boleh!

Despite its popularity, rumours has it the censorship board (who are these people?!) can’t take it anymore with the nonsensical antics the show put out. Homophobia was the biggest concern. It’s really sad that the controversy began with certain homophobics can’t differentiate between personal choice and entertainment value.

 However, the show does have a cult following. The show was revived briefly as re-runs on local cable and somewhat given a jump start again for actor Dee after a long acting hiatus. Harith is still an active comedian and actor but I personally think he should just stick with directing. Unfortunately, the late Rambo and Moon is no longer with us.  But their memories will always remain with the power of Youtube. Sometimes it’s just nice to have a good laugh with them once in a blue moody moon.

 Ini susu manyak bayi!

So what are the lessons I’ve learned after all this rambling? What prompted me to write this? Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of stress from work and to add on, friends also complaining about theirs. So in general; semua olang stresssss......  Well, who doesn’t?

Jangan Ketawa has always been one of my go to stress relievers and it got me pondering. Why stress out the small stuff? Stress already then what? Will anything change? No, right? Moon passed away suddenly without knowing the post success of the show. Rambo came after. Given to me, I cannot live without some laughter before I go. What I’m basically saying is that we often give in to the negativity of life that we forget to actually LIVE life itself. Laughter is the best medicine and it’s free; so take some dosage daily.

It’s such a cliché to say but life is really short. Share on a laugh than spend on hate.
So go, have a laugh.... J

Ps: Unfortunately the famous "Kereta Lembu" & "Kisah Pemain Muzik Kasim Selamat" has been deleted due to copyright reasons. Anyone seen it?

Thursday 23 August 2012

The feeling when you are new to biking

If you are new to biking or experiencing the same thing as a veteran, you know what I'm saying. ;)

Lately I have been doing loads of leisure rides myself and did I mentioned that I have the great "pleasure" of staying in a neighbourhood with loads of hill elevations? It's pretty exciting at the beginning but it starts to kill you 1/3 of the way.

But look at this way. Cycling up hills is a challenge; same like when we run uphills to train for speed. Your lungs are fully opened, you breathe in more as you slowly pace up and you get to enjoy a great view at the top. Or for some people, the thrill of speeding down the hill.

NOTE TO SELF: I got a lot of serious questionable stares from people thinking who is this lunatic huffing and puffing like a wounded dog. Try breathing in and out discreetly when cycling uphill.

Perhaps I'm new to this but I'm not really crazy about speeding downhill. Foremost, I'm a pussy when it comes to speeding down. Will my brakes able to stop in time? Will my weight create a lot of unnecessary momentum? Will a car suddenly swerve in? All these thoughts will flash before me eyes. Call me a whimp but I rather be safe.

NOTE TO SELF AGAIN : Don't come down the hill with one hand on the brakes and one hand drinking from a water bottle. I have to learn this the hard way. I had an embarrassing accident last week when I slammed the brakes suddenly when some kid surprised me with a loud firecracker bang! I had what I call a "SPECTACULAR" frontal swung forward landing over my bike handles but with the tail of the bike slamming onto my back. No prefect 10 for that. I'm just glad that it's not my face for the landing.

In the meantime, I'm still cycling around housing areas. Even that is a challenge in itself. Vehicles speeding in a housing community is plain crazy. SPEEDING, yes you read it correctly. Where every Proton car thinks they are Ferraris.

Whatever it is, be safe on the road and don't let ego overcome your judgement.
It's OK to be a "pussy" on the road sometimes; save the energy to be a Tiger in the *ahem*...

Wednesday 22 August 2012

Sandra Loh’s Pedalling Around the Peninsular

Some months back I came across a book at a local bookstore. The book is Sandra Loh’s Pedalling Around the Peninsular. What caught my eyes was the book cover. It’s brightly coloured with a girl on a bicycle with panniers on the back. Interesting, I thought. As I was flipping through the browsing copy and reading through some paragraphs, I found it quite interesting. A lady cyclist embarking on an adventure with a partner around the four corners of the Peninsular. As “jakun” as I was, I thought “Wow!” ; someone actually did it.

The book is highly illustrated with photos and chronicles the 37 day adventure. What started as a simple blog back in 2009; turned into a book that was published this year. You can follow Sandra’s blog here. http://sanz-bike-tour-msia.blogspot.com/

I for one don’t really read books from local authors.  But this one really clinged on to me. Perhaps maybe it was the same time I was playing with the idea of getting a new bicycle. I had been toying with the idea for years but story of the bicycle will come later.

If you are an adventurer, traveller, cyclist or someone inspiring to be one, this is a good book to start with. I made it through the book in a few days; a miracle by my standards knowing that I book hop often and usually take weeks (or months) to finish one book.

After finishing the book, I got so inspired that I actually started to look for bikes. I guess that was the final push. No more pestering from my cycling friends.

At the recent Bookfest @ Malaysia held at KLCC Convention Center, Sandra was one of the invited authors for the Meet & Greet session.

The Main Stage of Bookfest Malaysia; aptly named Avenue of Stars.
Such a rip off name from Genting.
 She shared briefly of her adventures and promoted her book. Believe it or not, I was excited like a giddy school boy meeting the real person. She is surprisingly small built; and you may wonder how this woman is able to pedal a rough 2664 km around Malaysia.

Got my copy autographed!

With the author herself, Sandra Loh.

Sandra was also there to share about the “Share Our Road” campaign to create awareness for cyclist and motorist (car drivers in general) about creating a safe environment for Malaysian cyclist. With the recent accidents and crime rates, it’s good to have an awareness of these things. Better safe than sorry.

Now after all this, you might be wondering if I’m gonna embark on such a journey. Well, time will tell. Some people are already doing it. Let’s start out slowly first. In the mean time, I highly recommend Sandra’s book for some light reading.

Tuesday 21 August 2012


If you haven't heard or seen the Gangam Style Music Video, you should.
It's a horsey dance craze. It has gone viral.

ps:/ I've been requested to do a parody; but I haven't thought of anything yet. Let's see...

Moving On AC

So what is it with this title?

People often say “Just move on, bro”. Either it’s meant to be an encouragement or just a stop a boring conversation and just move on. I kinda preferred the former.

Life hasn’t really been a bed of roses and so I usually just take things with a pinch of salt and (hopefully) move on; either it’s slow or fast. So let’s move on.

AC has actually been my nickname for a few years and it just stucked. It’s actually just my initials; my Christian name Andrew and my surname. Often I’m been mistakenly associated with Athlete’s Circle (which I’m not) who also shares the same short initials. Just to be clear.

A brief intro of myself? Well, I don’t like to talk about work (so let’s not go there). I’m pretty much a person who likes explore and find “adventures”. Over the years, I developed a liking to running. To begin with, I’m not a runner. I never was.

Strangely enough both my parents were and so is one of my uncles. Both my parents were active Hashers back in their days. Looking through all their photos always seemed to amaze me. Running miles and miles in thick forest and jungles to scaling Mt. Kinabalu and etc. There is a huge family joke about how I was “conceived”.  Both my parents scaled Kinabalu together and if you know how to count approximately 9 months, I was born. I could never confirm whether this was true but it would be cool if it was. But alas, my parents hit a stumble and were divorced when I was 5 and pretty much I didn’t have much contact with dad over the years. But mom still remained active in her running routine. Mom calls it “Moving On”. Ah ha! There it is...

Mom retired from running over the years and gradually turned to Tai Chi instead. Old folks workout, I often said but did her bug bit me?

To begin with I hated running when I was young. I never made it to my alma mater’s track team and I loathe the annual school “Merentas Desa” events. More often than not, mom and uncle often took me out to Ipoh’s Polo Ground for jogs (more like force) and still I never liked it. I’d preferred my Taekwondo rather than run around in loops.

I remembered my first “real” run event. Putrajaya Night Marathon (PNM) in 2010. I just signed up out of fun to accompany my friends who were running the 7.7km fun category. But as soon as things got started, I kinda got hooked. Maybe perhaps it was the crowd and excitement. I never looked back since.

As time goes by, mom was happy that I took up running BUT as with any mother’s concern, she thinks I’m over doing it! Moms never change, whatever your age.

So, enough at the moment. More coming up laterz...

First posting

So this is it. A new blog to begin.

It has been 5 years sabbatical since my last blog entry on my old blog. So why start now?

First of all, I’m not much of a writer. But I do have tonnes of things to “express” most of the time but I’m not much of writing them down. And as time goes by, I forget things and I don’t recall what has happened. Pretty much sums it up why I should start recording things down.

So to start it off, this would be my first post.

Hi all!
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