The allure of smooth winding road across scenic hills of tea plantation, the fresh mountain breeze under the bright blue sky, the bowl of hot noodle that matched cool air of high-altitude—those were what stayed in my memory from my first ride to Rancabali Highland, commisioned by Kilomantra Indonesia. It was the memory that resurfaced, when my brother @rizkiardhi_ asked me if it would be okay for me to ride there again with him. “It’ll be my pleasure,” I told him.
“How much difference can a cycling-specific lube make?”
Such was the question that popped into my head when looking for chain lube for Scotty, my trusted 26er rigid MTB—the question that was soon followed by innocent rationale: a lube is a lube, right? After all, motorcycle and sewing machine operate with chain, too; and they do just well with cheap lube. Does it make sense to spend much more for cycling-specific lube?
That was the text from my little brother @rizkiardhi_ in one fine afternoon—the text that eventually led to this road cycling trip to Wayang-Windu, the trip we had been planning for awhile.
Offering the ride across plains tea plantation in Pangalengan highland, Wayang-Windu route was one among few roadie-friendly cycling destination in Bandung. Despite the refreshing view and vibe, it wasn’t as popular as Lembang or Tangkubanparahu Entrance Gate, for a good reason; the distance and the total elevation gain means it requires about 8 hours of total trip time—definitely closer to endurance-type ride than those morning quick getaways. But my brother was looking for a 100+ km with good view, so…
That was the question I asked @therudihartanto, when he told me he was going to Nagrek Pass, a couple of months ago—the question that I actually had to ask myself. Lately, I thought a ride to Nagrek Pass is a bit lacking and should be added with Cijapati Pass to make a larger loop—yet, somehow, I never actually rode it myself.
“What makes a good allroad/gravel cycling bag/pack?”
That was the question @cycling.cub asked me when we set out to collaborate. It was raining that night; we were sitting on a café, talking about what each of us could bring to the table—and what we could offer to the market.
To me, the pack should offer distinct and clear value instead of just another pack of another brand, which competes only through low price and discount. It should be optimized to perform its core functions well, instead of being loaded with list of gimmicks. Based on my personal experience, I came up with five basic principles: practicality, versatility, durability, stability, and—of course—aesthetic.
There’s something about humble morning city strolls during Ramadan, that brought me back again and again.
I’ve tried riding on the afternoon, out of my parents’ concern that, with abstinence from food and (especially) drink, morning ride would put me to risk of dehydration. Yet afternoon traffic was a convoluted mess of reckless motorists and pollution-congested air that turned the ride into something more like a fight for survival—the opposite of the kind of experience I was seeking. Heading to nearby hills was an option, but the ride home afterward was the same peace-draining experience.
That was my attitude toward cycling-specific socks for years. Sure, cycling-specific apparels like jersey and padded short improved both on-bike performance and comfort considerably. But a pair of socks? I’ve been using standard cotton socks for years, feeling just fine even on 200+ km rides—until I gave compression socks a try recently. While perhaps not as significant as cycling-specific short and jersey, I must admit, they do make difference—especially on hours of constant, continuous pedalling motion.
It was early morning in the middle of March—a month after my own birthday, and a day after Surely’s own first one. The sky was painted in thick, moody haze; I was riding across southern Bandung’s vast ricefield, and the road seemed to lead nowhere but empty white space. Yet, I knew exactly where I was going.
Chain stretched (wore) unevenly. At 4,750 km, most part of my chain has stretched to 0.5%; about 20% of the chain is still under 0.5% elongation, however, while few sections had gone as far as 0.75%. Checking just a section, therefore, is not enough; I ended up checking every pin, and I’m glad I did.
Such decision didn’t come just out of a whim; it came, instead, from regular inspection of the brake pad wear. As general rule of thumb, for disk brakes, the pad needs replacement once the thickness gets below 1 mm; or, to maximize usage, just when the pad sits flush with the spring.