Wheelies news since 2013

Monday, 30 December 2013

Thank you Wheelians…

What began as an interest in electronic recreational wheels from a group of four friends earlier this year had evolved into a sizable online community site where people with common interest in electronic recreational wheels congregates. So far, we have garnered more than 300 Facebook likes in a short span of 3 months from people of all walks of life and many there are others who joined up with us in our weekly event over numerous locations in Singapore; West Coast Park, East Coast Park; Sentosa Cove; Esplanade.


While there were many fun and laughter along the way, the success is totally down to the hard work from dedicated volunteers and supporting friends giving us a helping hand. To generate funds to support our activities, we also started selling some products, namely the Wheelies Unicycle and Patgear. There was no paid advertisements or full time staff as it is our intention to keep our prices as affordable as possible. It was not all business for us. There were other involvements too by the Wheelies as we try to garner online donation support for Philippines, which was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in November. A little effort goes a long way and we hope we have directly / indirectly helped in the relief efforts.


As 2013 winds down, the Wheelies team would like to thank our friends and supporters for making this journey an exciting one. Your support serves as a motivation for us to do better. While we do not claim to be the best, we will try harder to make sure we reach there. We hope to see you soon in 2014. Wishing you a prosperous 2014 for you and your family.



Monday, 23 December 2013

Of food, gifts and.... Wheelie!

This time of the year is always the time for gatherings, parties, overnight mahjong/poker sessions etc.  And being Singaporeans, the topics during the parties usually revolves around food.  The Wheelies got ourselves invited to a Christmas party recently (read: gate-crashed) under the pretext of delivering a set of Wheelie to our first lady customer.

Not your typical Santa Claus
Arming ourselves with knowledge of where to go for best supper, brunch etc, we were pretty confident of not ending up as wallflowers during the party.  The party went on as per our expectation, with food, COE prices and property cooling measures being topics of the day until the gift exchange started.  All the guests were eyeing the “big, red, angry bird box-set” until our gracious host dropped a bombshell and announced that the angry bird box was a surprised Christmas gift for her partner. 

Knight with his shining White Wheelie!
After everyone exchanged their gifts, a “test-drive” of the Wheelie by the new owner is in order.  Off we go to the nearby playground and being a breezy afternoon that day, there were quite a fair number of people in the playground, from doting grandparents running after their grandkids to domestic helpers standing around while the children played catch with their friends.              

Our new owner zipped around in his new toy attracted a lot of attention and the afternoon suddenly turned into a mini demo day for the Wheelies. 

A typical day at the playground, that is until the Wheelies arrived
If you are organising a party and need help to keep your guests entertained, you know who to call.  Our charges are very reasonable – a cup of kopi, and lots of laughter.  That's all we ask for. 

To all who stopped and chatted with us during our weekly Sunday demo days, happy holidays and have a “wheelie” good one!  Hope to see you wheeling around soon!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Zhng my bicycle!

SINKAPO-RAN: “Wah, your ride zhng until so nice. Sibei Beng leh!”
Non SINKAPO-RAN: “Huh?? Zhng? Beng?”

Before you start scrambling to your Webster dictionary to search for the two foreign sounding words you had just heard, I must explain the two words are basically part of Singlish, an English-based creole language spoken in Singapore. Thus, it is unlikely you will find the meanings of them in a traditional English dictionary.

So what do they really mean? According to Wikipedia, Ah Beng is a stereotype applied to a certain group of young Chinese men in Southeast Asia who is typically a young Chinese man and usually lacks cultural refinement. Ah Bengs are also associated extensively with zhng-ed cars (modified), often in the boy racer style, and are stereotypically seen as excessively flashy and materialistic.

To a certain extent, being Beng is cool in local automotive aftermarket context. The culture of zhng-ing the car, or also commonly known as “Pimping my ride” has more or less reach out to the masses here. Zhng-ing the car is very popular in Singapore. If you look out on the streets today, there are many modified cars. They simply love expressing their individuality through the different modifications they did on their car; customised decals, disco lights, loud bass, soup up engine, shiny rims, racing seats, loud exhaust and many more. The automotive aftermarket products has more or less spawn into a sizable industry in Singapore. 


Style or Beng?

Big Furby fan?

All that glitters is gold











More power


What about zhng-ing my bicycle? Cycling has become increasingly popular in Singapore in recent years. Singaporeans not only cycle for recreation, but is also used it as an alternative option for short-distance within the neighbourhoods and MRTs. With the growing addressable market, there are too, many aftermarket products for the bicycle enthusiasts in Singapore. There are many things you can choose: changing the colours, brake pads, titanium frame, basket holder, air horn etc.



If you are still looking for something to individualise your bicycle, you might want to consider Monkey Light Pro. So what is a Monkey Light pro? In short, Monkey Light pro creates stunning images and animations within a bicycle wheels. 





How does it really work?

According to Technewsworld.com, Monkey Light Pro consists a set of four bars with 256 colours LED lights attaches with bolts to the spokes of the rider's bicycle wheel. The lights rotate along with the wheels, creating an image. It uses a theory called Persistence of Vision whereby an afterimage illusion is supposedly generated by the brain and eye, creating a complete picture from a series of images. Four magnetic sensors and a two-axis accelerometer track the speed, upwards position and rotation direction. A chip enables the light to create bright, still or animated images that fill the entire wheel. 

There are currently 3 different versions of the product available; M210, M232 and Pro. Based on the specs, the products are differentiated on number of LEDs and colours used. The more LEDs and colours, the more realistic and colourful images and animations you can create. Monkey Light Pro does not come cheap though as it cost USD895 (excluding shipping). 


Having a Monkey Light Pro installed on my bike will definitely increase my Beng-ness. As much as I like to zhng my bicycle, I would probably hold back the decision for a more competitively price product to be available. As there is still a ban on flashing neon lights since 1972 in Singapore, interested buyers should also check with the laws too before installation. 


Thursday, 12 December 2013

To the future and back!

Growing up in the 80s, there were so many things from that time that only a 80s kid could understand. From the dynamic pop stars like Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Michel Jackson to unforgettable cartoons such as He-man/She-Ra, Transformers, M.A.S.K to stylish sports gears such as L.A Gear, Reebok Freestyle, Nike Air Jordan, to classic TVs program such as the Muppets Shows, Sesame Street and iconic movies such as Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Terminator, Top Gun. The list is exhaustive...



With the 80s now a distant memory, one of the pop culture still freshens my mind and get me excited was “Back to the Future”. As a fan of the sci-fi genre, there were no words to describe the feeling of amazement and fascination watching the movie back then in 1985. Back to the Future was included as the Top 100 Greatest Movies of all Time by Total Film.The main theme centers round the lead protagonist Marty McFly trying to change his own future with the help of a time machine "DeLorean DMC-12" by going to the future and back to the past. One of the more memorable scenes was from part II of the trilogy where Marty traveled to the future on October 21, 2015, which is approximately 2 years from now from the time of writing of this article.

In that scene “in the future”, we had a glimpsed of the future based on the predictions 24 years ago during the time the movie was shown. Interestingly, many of the predictions about the future are correct. They are (not in sequence) video chat; playing video games without using controllers; watching multiple channels on TV; computers that take command via voice controller; 3D movies; computer glasses and many more. Out of so many predictions from the movie, the one still stand out was the chase sequence which involved the use of the hoverboard, a product which got many children (including myself) excited and wanting one during that time. So what is a hoverboard? A hoverboard is a skateboard without wheels and it hovers above the ground. In short, it’s a flying skateboard. Imagine how cool it is if you can zip through your neighbourhood in a hoverboard. The only downside to the hoverboard according to the movie is "it’s not going to work on water, unless you got POWAH!” The movie also introduced No Tech, Pit Bull and the Rising Sun as other versions of the hoverboard, which are basically enhanced hoverboard powered with rockets.


The hoverboard is currently available. If you search through Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Mattel-Back-Future-Hoverboard/dp/B00ADNJQXQ), you will be able to find an exact replica of the hoverboard by Mattel. While the board you are getting does look exactly the same in the movie, it still falls short of expectations as it “does not hover above the ground”. So don't expect it to fly over the ground with it just yet!


Many scientists had tried to replicate and create the effects of the hoverboard using magnetic repulsion. While there had been progress using this technique to create the levitation, it was still not able to carry load. http://www.ehow.com/how_4449192_build-hoverboard.html


While most of the prototypes work on magnetic repulsion theory, a Marty McFly's kind of hoverboard where you can move in all directions will not be possible unless there is a breakthrough in room-temperature superconductor that would allow objects to float one foot above the surface. Till then, while we wait for the hoverboard to become a reality, you might want to spend your money elsewhere and consider other alternatives to a hoverboard. Here are some for your consideration.


Electric Unicycle

Electric Skateboard

Segway

Ryno

Honda U3-X

Toyota Winglet
Wheelsurf



Friday, 6 December 2013

Want to cycle? Balik Kampung la!

Singapore is a “FINE” city indeed! From a city where you can be fine for jaywalking, stealing wifi, feeding bird, bringing durians into public places, you would not want to bet against a law depicting fine for cycling. 

According to the Road traffic Act, Chapter 276, Section 140, Road Traffic (Bicycle) is an entire section dedicated for rules for cycling in Singapore. How many cyclists are aware of the details? I bet many wouldn't. Are you aware that you need to carry a lamp showing to the front a white light visible from a reasonable distance? Do you know a child below the age of 12 years may be carried on a properly constructed seat or carrier affixed to a pedal bicycle? What about the no load rule on any two-wheel bicycle that shall weigh more than 18 kg or be of such dimensions as to cause or be likely to cause danger, obstruction or annoyance to persons using the road, and every load shall be properly and rigidly secured to the bicycle. Limitations of height, etc. of load. The list is simply exhaustive and some mind blogging. So, don’t play play! You might had found yourself inevitably broken the traffic laws! 


You cannot cycle too. Please appear in court for your transgression!
So, with all these laws in place to ensure best behavior on the roads for cyclists, does it makes us a top bicycle friendly city? The answer is no. While we have laws to try to curtail bad behavior and cultivate good cycling habits, Singapore is still a long way from being a bicycle friendly city.


You might have wonder what actually makes a city a bicycle friendly city? According to the Copenhagenize index, a city is judge based on 13 categories:
  • Advocacy – Any NGOs initiatives?
  • Bicycle culture – Is it a main tool for commute?
  • Bicycle facilities – Bike ramps, space allocation for bicycle on public transportation?
  • Bicycle infrastructure – Separate bicycle track
  • Bike share program
  • Gender split
  • Modal share for bicycle – what % made up of cyclist
  • Modal share increase since 2006
  • Perception of Safety
  • Politics
  • Social acceptance – How do drivers and community regard cyclist
  • Urban Planning – How much emphasis on bicycle infrastructure
  • Traffic Calming – What efforts to lower speed limits
Below are the top 10 cities ranked by the index

1
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2
Copenhagen, Denmark
3
Bogota, Colombia
4
Curitba, Brazil
5
Montreal, Canada
6
Portland, Oregan
7
Basel, Switzerland
8
Barcelona, Spain
9
Beijing, China
10
Trondheim, Norway

In the true tradition of Singapore where we aim for everything number one, Singapore will probably fall out of the top 100. The recent few high profile spats between cyclist and motorist probably indicates there is still a lot of work we need to do. 



Many cyclists in Singapore are facing he lack of cycling track for them to cycle in a safer environment and have to risk their lives by cycling on the roads in the current situation. In order to be a bicycle friendly city, more investments are needed for the bicycle infrastructure such as dedicated bicycle lanes, ramps, parking facilities. Currently, cycling in Singapore is only limited to the 200km park connectors developed by Nparks, which means that there will be significant risks if the cyclists decided to go onto the streets. According to traffic police data, there were 16 deaths and 557 injuries among cyclists in Singapore in 2010 alone. 

While we agree there is still a lot of improvements to be made, Singapore is not resting on its laurels. According to a latest government announcement on October 2013, there could be possibility that by 2030, cyclists could ride from their homes in the suburbs to work in the city via a comprehensive, island wide cycling-path network that stretches more than 700km. The aim is to provide "a seamless cycling experience," said Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew when he unveiled the master plan, which maps out Singapore's future land transport landscape. For more details of the master plan, you can visit http://www.lta.gov.sg/content/dam/ltaweb/corp/PublicationsResearch/files/ReportNewsletter/LTMP2013Report.pdf

Let’s hope by then, Singapore can indeed transform to a much more bicycle friendly city than today. In the meantime, if you really need to motor vehicles risk free cycling, you can take a bum boat from Changi point to Pualu Ubin and cycle there!! As the title suggests, balik kampung la!


Dedicated cycling lanes for cyclist!
Protected from vehicles!
Parking facilities for bicycles!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

I am going to be a F1 Racer!

Many great Formula One drivers such as Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton et al all began their racing careers with Go Kart racing. It is almost as easy to say that in order to be a Formula One racer, you first need to be a great Go Kart Racer.

Having aspirations of a professional racer since the days of Daytona in Circus Circus and Funland, our group of friends decided to take plunge and head off to Kartright Speedway (KS) to realize our professional racing dreams.

KS is one of the two karting tracks in Singapore. Located at 511 Upper Jurong Road, KS has a state of art facility offering the best karting experience in Singapore with its 750 metre long and 7 metre wide racing track. Going there isn’t too much of a problem as it is located within Arena Country Club, which is directly opposite SAFTI and 5 mins walk away from Joo Koon MRT. We have booked two rounds of 10 mins thanks to the extremely attractive promotion by Groupon. After going through our registration (Photo ID is strictly necessary) and an eye and colour blindness test, we headed off to the track and began our briefing.

All racers are expected to wear a race helmet and proper shoes. KS does provide race helmets as well as hair nets to the racers. Of course being a hygiene freak, I decided against using their helmets, choosing to bring my own helmet instead as I cannot stand the bawu (“slang for bad smell”). Just imagine KS opens 7 days a week since 2010 and assuming they have 100 customers a day using the helmets!!!! 

You need to mount the kart from the left as you risk getting yourself burned by the motor if you mount from the right. Controlling the kart seems pretty easy, using the right paddle to accelerate and left paddle to brake. The average speed of the kart is about 50-60 km/h. There is no clutch or changing of gears to contend with. While we all decided to “take” out Colin before the race, we were told “bumping” into other karts are strictly not allowed. There goes our planning.



There were 7 of us in this race. The sounds of the engine really got our adrenaline pumping. With the “race flag” being flag, the accelerator was floored without the thought of the price of V-power / litre. While the race track does offer a couple of curves, it is generally an easier track compare to Suzuka and Le Mans. Having said that, the race did provide some heart pounding moments: Jeff’s kart doing a 360 skid and another young kid race skidded so many times till the safety car has to be brought out. After an exhilarating 2 races of 10 mins, we decided to retire into the comfort of the air-con room. We felt the soreness in our old wrinkled arms which were still vibrating after the race. Our illustrious modelling career had to be ended due to the tyre crumps that hit and mutilated our faces.

KS is definitely a great place to build some camaraderie with your friends and let off some steam. Two thumbs up for the friendly staff there too. Word of caution though: The racing experience will have an impact on you (especially if you are driving) even after you leave the place and it certainly caused me to drive and corner fast. At the end of the day, do remember to drive safely as big brother is always watching you!


Thursday, 21 November 2013

I love my electric unicycle!


“Hey, what’s that?”, “That’s cool”, “How do you balance on one wheel? I want to learn it”, “where do you buy it from”, “Is it difficult to learn”

These are some of the comments and questions I received when I hopped onto my unicycle and the lists just goes on. Generally people looked at the unicycle with amazement and interests and I must say, in a good way!
Most people looked on with curiosity because unicycling is literally standing and balancing on one wheel. While the video makes unicycling looks simple, there is a learning curve, just like cycling or inline skating. A typical person takes about 20 mins to learn basic riding techniques. The rider needs to balance by keeping their knees and body straight. It’s easier said than done though as it takes lots of practice and application.

Some friends did asked me why I need a unicycle (in fact I got 3) when I am driving a car. My reasons are:

  • I love going to the park during weekend to ride on my unicycle
  • I can now follow my niece and nephews while they cycle and kick-scooting
  • I lived in an estate where it is 10 mins walk to the town centre. However, parking is a premium given the limited lots. The unicycle lightness and portability means that I can ride to town centre and carry my unicycle around without having the trouble to look for parking lots
  • Feel good factor of riding on a unicycle and I love the challenge of picking up new techniques
  • On some days where I felt that driving isn’t necessary, I choose to unicycle and take public transportation to work. A typical journey to work begins from unicycling to the nearest train station (1km), taking a train to city and unicycling another (500m) to my workplace
  • Believe it or not, my waist line actually reduced after using it for 3 months


While I agree that unicycling isn’t meant for everybody, I must say that I didn’t regret getting mine. Below are some sites where you can get your unicycle too.


Brand
Site
Cost
Mobbo
US$999.00
Solowheel
S$2750.00
Soloseg
US$1599.00
The Wheelies
S$828.00

I am open to sharing my learning experiences with you too if you need additional guidance about using your unicycle, regardless of where you buy it from on which brand you using. Please feel free to drop me a note at thewheeliesasia@gmail.com. Have fun!!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Please help our friends in Philippines!

We would like to take a moment to deviate from our usual Wheel sports post to offer our solace to the recent tragedy that has struck Philippines.


We at "The Wheelies" were saddened and shocked by the devastation that the Typhoon Haiyan had caused and the countless lives that were lost. Once again, we humans stands helpless and defenseless in the face of the forces of nature. Typhoon Haiyan has affected about 9.5 million people across Philippines and the official death toll is 2000 till date and the fear is that up to 10,000 lives could have been lost.

The world is never too big in this global community that we live in. The Wheelies would like to offer our prayers for the people of Philippines that is affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Stay strong. You are not alone in this fight.



Below is a list of organizations you can contact if you wish to donate:

SINGAPORE RED CROSS

Please visit the Red Cross House at 15 Penang Lane Singapore 238486, from 9am to 7pm (Mon-Fri) 9am to Noon (Sat-Sun), or post your cheque to ‘Singapore Red Cross Society’ at the above address.

Please indicate ‘Red Cross Haiyan Relief’ on the back of the cheque, along with your name, contact no. and address.

Note: In-kind donations (food, clothes, etc) are not accepted due to logistical considerations. Tax deduction is not applicable for overseas giving.

MERCY RELIEF
Mercy Relief has deployed its second response team to the areas affected by Typhoon Haiyan this morning. The three-man team will be assessing ground zero in Tacloban City, in Leyte province and other affected areas within the Visayas region, to address the critical needs of the survivors such as water, food and shelter.

Mercy Relief will deploy its manually-powered water filtration systems, PedalPure, to provide clean and potable water to the affected communities. The team will also personally procure S$30,000 worth of supplies such as food supplies and blankets/tarpaulins from nearby unaffected areas within the Philippines. The public can assist in the following ways:

1. Cash donations personally presented at Blk 160, Lorong 1 Toa Payoh, #01-1568, Singapore 310160
2. Funds transfer to Mercy Relief’s DBS Current Account 054-900742-0
3. Credit Card donation via www.mercyrelief.org (GIVE page, Pledge to “Foreign Fundraising 2”)
4. Cheque crossed to Mercy Relief Limited, with ‘Typhoon Haiyan Relief 2013’ written on the reverse, and mailed to Blk 160, Lorong 1 Toa Payoh, #01-1568, Singapore 310160

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY
Habitat for Humanity is appealing for funds to assist families and help them rebuild their lives and gain access to decent shelter. Habitat staff are on the ground assessing the situation and coordinating with government agencies and other partners on the disaster response operations. The organisation’s country office in the Philippines is raising funds to distribute 30,000 Shelter Repair Kits for home repairs and 50,000 clean up kits to families affected by the disaster. A Shelter Repair Kit comprises: plywood, lumber, corrugated GI Sheets, sets of nails, hammer, handsaw and screwdriver. Each Habitat for Humanity Shelter Repair Kit costs 15,000 pesos (S$430) and is good for one family.

To donate, visit:http://www.give2habitat.org/philippines/ReBuildPhilippines

UNICEF
UNICEF staff in the Philippines are rushing into position to deliver aid. More emergency experts are on the way. In Copenhagen, 60 metric tons of emergency supplies — for the health, medical and shelter needs of children — are being readied for an emergency airlift, to arrive within 48 hours. Every moment matters for these children. Please, support UNICEF's emergency response in the Philippines: $50, $100, $250, $500 or any amount you can give will help save kids' lives. Please go to this link 


Others
Hi dear sisters and brothers, do u have old clothes, blankets or slippers to give away? U can help the Filipino victims of the typhoon. We have a friend who owns a cargo shipping company & is collecting items to be shipped there.

Please collate your items and bring them down to:
Gaden Shartse Dro-Phen Ling Buddhist Centre
12 Guillemard Lane, Singapore 399878.
Tel: 63449521 / 63420806
Opening hours: 9:00am to 6:00pm

Important note: Please bring your items down to GSDPL by 16th Nov, this Saturday 5pm.

The Wheelies

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The Wheelies Times Editors