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Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I have spent a lot of time discussing custom bikes and, in particular, custom titanium.

There really is nothing more durable and smooth as a great fitting titanium or steel custom frame. I could go on at length about the importance of riding a bike that fits, and how this trumps frame material any day. I find too often that manufacturers make a big deal about the ride characteristics of their materials to sell whatever bike they would like to hawk. Right now it is carbon composite.

What you can argue is durability. For long lasting frames that can take a little abuse and be more easily repaired, steel and titanium are tops. These materials are the top choices for a long term frame, though there are many alloy and carbon frames that have been holding up for decades.

When I made my choice for a new frame, I came very close to going for a domestic custom titanium frame. You may be surprised to find out that Taiwan is not entirely OEM/ODMs. Taiwan actually has a few small players in the custom metal frame business. One of the better known is Rikulau.

Rikulau is a Taiwanese custom frame shop named after the Formosan Clouded Leopard, which had once been one of the top predators in Taiwan before its habitat was reduced and it was hunted to extinction. The localized name that is indigenous to Taiwan makes a very clear statement and I am happy to see some pride in being a Taiwanese brand.

The company makes a wide range of road and mountain bikes in steel (4130, 853, 953), and titanium, both 3Al 2.5V and 6Al 4V. These are all very high quality materials, with varying degrees of hardness.

I have seen several of these frames up close, including my buddy Dwight's orange Grateful Dead custom painted road bike. The workmanship is quite good and the paint quality is top notch.

The reason I decided against showing my own Taiwan pride through this domestic builder, is simply their limited degree of customization, which is mainly in the finishing (paint).

Still, for anyone looking for a high quality metal road bike with a custom paint job that doesn't cost a fortune, take a look at Rikulau. Taiwan pride, baby. Taiwan pride.

Made in Taiwan is definitely a badge of honor.

This company review has in no way been paid for or supervised by anyone other than Taiwan in Cycles.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Random Bike Stuff

June 15, 2011: The Race Across AMerica (RAAM) kicks off for another grueling ride. Sadly, this year's race will be ridden without Jure Robic, the Slovene RAAM record holder and certified baddass, who died in an accident last year. Maybe I'll have to heal up and do a tribute to one of my cycling heroes.


Here is a beautifully shot, if at the risk of sounding full of itself, documentary about mountain bikes and downhill riding. Some of the photography is absolutely amazing.


Seven was nice enough to make the Axiom SL their featured product, and they include a lot of information about the bike and how it compares to other models. Here


RBR has a thread on a new Salsa Casseroll build. Purdy bike.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The View From Pingtung Part II: Hounds of the Baskervilles

Basilica of Pingtung County

Michael from The View From Taiwan continues to taunt me with more pictures and wonderful reporting from his bike trip through Pingtung County, while reminding me of all the fun I would be having without a gimpy leg. Check out Part II of his series here.

Tour of Taiwan Wraps Giving Austrian Eibeggar The Win

Austrian, Markus Eibeggar walked away with the Tour of Taiwan GC title after coming back from behind in the 9 stage race.

This year's race ended on Yangmingshan for a little more of a finale, where Eibeggar found his legs and the win over his teammate.

Taiwan's top finisher, Huang Hsin-hua, finished 25th overall and the Aussie team Drapac Professional Cycling won the team classification as a little gift for David on Formosa.

Now if only they'd come up with a more original winner's jersey. The gold jersey outside the TdF is kind of cliche.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

English-Chinese Bicycle Glossary: What You Need To Know

Here is a little glossary of bike components and their translations in Chinese and English. I hope I got all the terms correct. If there is something wrong, missing or something that shouldn't be there, please let me know. I would love to provide the pinyin, but I don't feel like finding out how many tones I don't use correctly.

Bike Glossary:

Bicycle .....................自行車/單車/腳踏車

Road Bike ................公路車

MTB ...................... 登山車

Stem .....................豎管、龍頭(把立管)

Frame .....................車架

Head tube ...............前管頭管

Top tube ................上管

Down tube .............下管

Seat tube ................座管

Seat stay ................後上叉(立叉)立管

Back stay ................後叉

Chain stay ..............後叉

Front fork ...............前叉

Fork crown .............前叉肩蓋

Front fork end ........前叉端

Rear fork end .........後叉端

Suspension fork .... (避震、前)

Head set ............... 前頭碗組

Bottom bracket ......五通管

Axle .......................中軸

Bolt, nut .................螺絲,螺帽

Ball Bearing ............鋼珠

Frame Components 車架零件


Inner tube ..............內胎

Rim ........................輪圈

Spoke ....................鋼絲

Spoke nipple .........鋼絲銅頭

Hub .......................花鼓(軸皮)

Valve ....................氣嘴

Chain rings ...........鍊輪

Crank arm ............曲柄

Free wheel ...........飛輪

Sprocket ............飛輪

Cog set ................齒輪組

Chain ...................鍊條

Chain guard .........鍊蓋

Derailleur .............變速器、撥鍊器導鍊器

Front derailleur ....前變速器

Rear derailleur ......後變速器

Quick release ........快拆、快卸裝置

Gear lever .............變速把柄變速拉桿

Cable ....................鋼索、操縱線

Barrel adjuster ......調整管

Caliper brake..........跑車式煞車

Cantilever brake .....懸臂式煞車

Centre-pull brake ..中拉式煞車

Brake lever .............煞車握柄

Front brake ............前煞車

Coaster brake ........腳煞車花鼓

Drum brake ...........花鼓煞車

Disc brake ...........碟煞煞車

Handle bar .............車把手

Handle bar stem .....車把豎管

Handle bar tape ......握把帶

Grip ........................握把

Saddle ....................座墊、鞍座

Seat post ................坐墊螺絲、鞍管

Pedal ......................踏板、腳蹬

Toe clip ..................趾夾

Toe strap ...............趾夾帶

Reflector ................反光片

Mudguard ..............擋泥板

Rack ...................貨架

Stand .....................支撐

Light ..............車前燈

Lock .......................

Bell .........................

Basket ....................掛籃

Pump .....................打氣筒

Decal ...................商標貼紙

Bicycle Computer ...計速儀表

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Rehab Assignment #2: The Successes and The Failures

Dom Climbs To Hsin-she

Saturday morning I made arrangements with Dom, a fellow knee pain sufferer, to do "Rehab Assignment #2".

The plan was to make it out to Feng-yuan and then head back over the Route 129 through Hsin-she... if my leg would allow me the opportunity to do so.

We met around 8:00am and cut through town to Taichung's northern edge. A coffee made things a little bit better and I was feeling ten times better from the prior weekend, when that coffee stop was mainly for pain relief.

For the first time I was able to begin to really appreciate the tube tuning I had requested in my frame with a tight enough drivetrain for a little more oomph!. Wonderful... but I was still being cautious. Near Feng-yuan I let my mind get away from me to entertain thoughts that I had somehow been miraculously healed like one of the many converts to be subjected to a sport coat flogging on Benny Hinn's stage.

The Headmaster's Vestibule (Wongzi Elementary)

I wasn't so fortunate.

As soon as I started to go off on flights of fancy involving unicorns, pegasuses and equally mythic long, pain-free rides, the soreness started flaring up in the shin and knee area.

We stopped and had another stretch session, which worked for a while, but the pain returned... and in greater numbers.

A history and anthropology stop in Tu-niu for a future post allowed me the extra time to cool the knee off before the hill climb up to the Hsin-she plateau. We chatted with an elderly couple who were busy taking their own cultural tour of the area as well.

Dongshi Valley

I was dreading the hill climb and was not about to take the climb the way I would normally attack it, but it was my first chance to test my new frame's climbing skills and compare with my old bike.

Oddly, there was little sensation of pain. I made a steady, seated climb up to the top that I could only describe as "easy".

Looking down at the Dongshi valley I am always brought back to September 23, 1999, when I stopped at the same spot to see the aftermath of a massive earthquake. With all the pictures from the news of Japan, the scene was especially poignant.

Finally, it was time for the descent. My knee was really getting sore in the flats and I was about ready for some speed without having to work for it.

The twisting drop back to Taichung on the Route 129 was thrilling as always, but this time I was feeling like I was riding IN the bike and not ON the bike.

Each corner was smooth and deliberate, fast, but predictable. Fantastic!

By the time I hit the long, straight rollers at the base of the hill, the pain in my leg was more than I could endure for a mad sprint out to Dakeng, and so I had to settle for a speedy coast back to the outskirts of Taichung. Dom blew bast me on a rail. It looked like fun.

I had one more stretching session to make it back home satisfied with my rate of recovery, but still very far away from being 100%.

Let's see what happens next week if I can get Rehab Assignment #3.

Not the sexiest route, but the best I could do within retreat range.

Bike route 872207 - powered by Bikemap

Also See:
  • Cycling Satin Cesena on Ho Huan Shan. One of my favorite routes.
  • T-Mosaic has a couple new bikes ready. The steel TYA 650 is looking good, as is the Colnago C59 Italia... one of two Colnago frames actually made in Italy (The other being the Master). Check out the Madfiber Wheels on that thing.

Connecting The Dots: Taipei Completes Major Bike Project

Taipei Urban Bike Path (Green)

The Taipei Times is reporting that Taipei has just completed the Jingmei section of bike trails to finally connect 111km of trails around the city. This is an admirable achievement by any measure as it works to create and expand the available space allocated for cycling, but I would temper my enthusiasm in light of how other global metropoles have better allocated their financial resources to integrate cycling into the urban environment.

With the completion of the 1km bike trail on the right bank of the Jingmei River in front of Shih Hsin University, cyclists can take a ride along the Tamsui, Keelung, Xindian and Jingmei rivers that connect the Muzha (木柵), Neihu (內湖) and Beitou (北投) areas.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) joined hundreds of cyclists yesterday morning at Jinmei Bridge to celebrate the completion of the “last mile” of the city’s riverside bicycle trails, and promised to keep the trails safe and eco-friendly for city residents.

“After we complete the last mile of the trails, city residents can take a ride from Taipei Zoo to Tamsui, or to Bitan Lake in Xindian without having to compete for space with cars and scooters. Riverside parks and recreational areas are also more approachable,” he said.

It is clear that, despite the "green" label, the concept behind the NT 1.86 billion dollars spent on bicycle transportation grids is almost completely fixated on sports and leisure, and divorced from the idea of the bicycle as an alternative form of urban transportation. Taipei's bicycle infrastructure is entirely focused on traversing Taipei's different outlying tourism areas.

In related news, the Council for Economic Planning and Development said yesterday that with the cycling craze continuing unabated, Taiwan has already built 1,323km of bike paths and has connected all the paths in the northern region.

The council estimated this total would increase to 3,823km of paths by 2012.

The council said it started to plan for a bicycle path network in 2002 with the aim of building a healthy and superior sports and leisure environment. The council invested NT$1.86 billion (US$63.2 million) on the planning and construction of the bike paths.

I have previously drawn comparisons to other major metropoles and their bicycle plans, and I have speculated on who benefits from the drive for more tourism and tourism infrastructure.

Michael Turton from The View From Taiwan provides an excellent and timely commentary on ECFA and the recent importance of tourism to offset Taiwan's choice to forfeit its most competitive industries. The bicycle is set to play a major role in expanding Taiwan's future as a tourism and entertainment provider.

With so many of these projects funded by the taxpayer; projects which will eventually benefit big business, politicians and those who feed off politicians (someone's big brother), there is surely a need for cyclists to take a closer, and more critical look at these projects, their aims and also their liabilities. Bike are fun, but they are also big business and big politics. I hope Taiwan's riders are paying close attention.

Can there be better, more effective ways to spend tax dollars that can benefit more people and actually contribute to reducing pollution? Is big business too involved in driving these projects that use public funding? Who are the biggest beneficiaries of these projects?

Food for thought.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Reminder: Bike Flea Market At Cafe Terry (Sunday-3/27)

Don't Forget!

Terry's Caffe:
422 Da Ying St. Nantun Dist. Taichung City
Phone: 0423207243
Regular Business Hours: Tues-Sun. 10:00am-12:00am --
Bicycle and flea market


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bikes , Beer and Links: It Must Be Friday

I know someone who bought an electric bicycle so he can continue to drink and drive without getting tickets. You know... to be safe. Besides... as he told us... he doesn't have a drinking problem because he isn't one of those guys who goes out drinking all the time. He usually gets drunk at home by himself. *sigh!*

For those of you who don't know Taiwanese drinking culture first hand, it is unlike its other Asian neighbors to the North, Japan and Korea, in that young Taiwanese are relatively contained with their alcoholic consumption.... Not that they don't drink, but it is not so much the passed out on the sidewalk all hours salaryman or the violent puking youth on a train in Seoul. Sadly, Taiwan's heavy drinkers and binge drinkers are often the "lost generation" of middle aged men who gulp down expensive (and inexpensive) whiskeys because they "have to"or maybe to chase the demons of lost opportunities and lived lives that weren't theirs. That is at least what I have sussed out from the old drinkers I know or what comes out during their slurred ravings. Who really knows? I see lots of 50ish men who are alcoholics.

Fortunately, some Taiwanese researchers have clued in to the growing number of people like this person I know, and have done something about it. (Check out the leather bike beer carrier from the link as well)

A group of engineers from Taiwan believes that drink riding is likely to be such a problem in the future that electric bikes will need a built-in breathalyzer.

The bicycle built at Chienkuo Technology University includes innovations such as an electric motor to drive each wheel and handlebar warmers, but the most notable feature is a handlebar-mounted breathalyzer that prevents the bike from being ridden if the cyclist is over the legal limit.

Cycling News from the Tour of Taiwan:

Eibegger maintains overall race lead

Driven by the will to provide some solace to earthquake-affected Japan, rider Shinichi Fukushima of the Japan national team put up a splendid display of determination and prowess to take Stage Five of the Tour de Taiwan 2011 – a 111.2km ride round the cultural city of Taichung.

Japan were recently hit by a devastating earthquake with the subsequent tsunami resulting in not only loss of lives and properties but has also affected the stability of several of the country's nuclear plants.

And Fukushima today was very proud of his achievement when he went off very early on the stage to complete the route in 2:53:52 to finish with more than a minute advantage over second-placed Park Sung Baek of Korea and the rest of the peloton.

The next stage will be a 136km route through Changhua. It will have a couple climbs and should be fun to follow, especially if you frequently ride the routes.


Be sure to catch up with Taka on the last day of his tour around Taiwan.


Other Links:

Mosaic Insane Series: Tip to Tip in 24!!!!

Every so often someone comes up with a project that is just awesomely mad. Cash Huang from T-Mosaic has come up with just the thing.

Unfortunately, my leg rehab will not allow me to join. But otherwise I would love to take on this awesome feat.

You can see more at:


Extreme north台北富貴角燈塔 (Taipei Fukwei Lighthouse)


Extreme south墾丁鵝鑾鼻燈塔 (Kenting Ouluanpi Lighthouse)

Departing: Sunday 4/3/2011
Arriving: Monday 4/4/2011

Est. Ride Time: 24hrs

計畫行程/ Route Plan:

AM08:30 TMOSAIC集合 (Meet at TMosaic)
AM08:50 出發(交通搭巴士到台北,轉捷運到淡水) Bus To Taipei Destination
PM12:00 淡水午餐 (Lunch in Tamshui)
PM13:00 騎車到富貴角(白沙彎民宿) (Ride To Fu Kwei Cape "White Sands" Hostel)
PM14:00 休息(REST)
PM20:00 挑戰開始 (Official Departure)

AM07:00 預計到達雲林麥寮 (Estimated Arrival in Mai Liao)
PM13:00 預計到達屏東東港 (Estimated Arrival in Dong Gang, Pingtung County)
PM18:00 挑戰完成 (Finish!)
PS:住宿(墾丁福華飯店) (Stay at Kenting Fu Hua Hotel)

4/5 Eat Breakfast and Return to Taichung


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Taichung Indy Bike Store: Sam Bike

Sam Bike CLOSED (Another one bites the dust)
Manager: Sam Huang
No. 611 Mei-tsuen Rd. Sec.1
Taichung, Taiwan
Tel: 04-2375-3905
Cell: 0937-218-055

I have been bast this little shop a number of times, but never found a reason to stop. I finally figured I should take a look if I am going to keep working on my Indy-shop catalogue, and I am glad I did.

Sam Bike is an unforgettable name in its quirkiness to the English ear and they really don't have much stock on display. They could easily be dismissed as by a passer-by as a fly by night bike store that was built to make a quick buck on the growing trend toward road bikes.

It is not.

When I stopped in I asked Sam, the owner, what kinds of bikes he sold as I could see a small assortment of bikes lined up on the sales floor. He replied, "I'll get you anything you want. I sell all kinds and I can get all kinds."

Hmmmm... that left me searching for more conversation.

I then asked what made his shop different among the other shops in the area and I was surprised by his reply.

Sam told me that it was all about the proper fit. His philosophy, which I can totally agree with, is that when a customer comes in looking for a bike, he will spend up to two hours doing a fitting to then find the right frame and components for the rider. He also will make adjustments to a rider's current bike to achieve better performance or resolve issues with pain or discomfort.

If you are looking for a bike that will fit or need to solve a pain problem, have a discussion with Sam.

Contractor In A Hole Lot Of Trouble For Tour of Taiwan Mess

In Taiwan, we are used to our public roadways being regularly ripped apart, usually two or three times a year, as the local governments are owned by Taiwan's construction industrial complex and the shady characters who lurk in the grey areas between the "black and white" sides of the law.

Many of these contractors engage in racketeering, bid rigging and more threatening schemes that eliminate competition to ensure any public project will be several times the rate if it had been competitively bid on.

These projects are lucrative to several of the major players in politics, business and organized crime as they allow for overlapping interests to converge and various debts to be paid.

Now, the Taiwan Construction Industrial State threatens to disrupt the Tour of Taiwan.

It is being reported in the CNA and Taiwan Focus that a construction contractor has dug a massive hole in one of the routes scheduled to be used in the sixth stage of the Tour of Taiwan.

The hole is in the middle of the Highway 74-A, which has been in a regular state of construction for well over a year.

According to the article:

"Even if the contractor fills it up soon, the uneven road probably will cause injuries to cyclists," Fang told the Central News Agency.

Police officers who inspected the road conditions for the 136.05 km Tour de Taiwan race said a Taiwan Power Co. contractor had erected a 1-km long barricade on the road and dug a big hole, leaving only half of the road for traffic.

Chang Chueh-fen, a Changua County government official, said local workers had been asked to fill the hole quickly and
race organizers were at the scene trying to determine what should be done next.
Well, if anything, the competitors can see what the cycling environment in Taiwan is really like.