2011 Giant MTB Line

Giant Anthem 29er

This year, Giant will release an Anthem X 29er. It’s been seen around for a bit of time, but it’s a good move for Giant MTBs. In order to make the 29er behave like a 26-inch they changed the head angle up to 71.5°. The bottom bracket is kept low and the chainstays are short. It will be compatible with 2×10 and 3×10 transmissions. The clearance of the tires is up to 2.3in.

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My Dream Stable of Bikes

I’m not one for wishful thinking and indulging into folly, but I thought that it would be interesting to make a list of the bikes that I want to have in my stable. What’s important with this list is that it’s not an unlimited budget, get whatever you want type of thing. It’s more a plan of action of the types of bikes that I’d like to have and own.

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Post-Crash Bike Service

After my crash last Sunday, which required a trip in an ambulance and the hospital, I didn’t notice much as I was out cold, I thought that my bike was fine. I was given 3 different pills to swallow for a day or so, so I didn’t take my bike out yesterday. I still went to work and had a 12 hour day, subbing at the end of my long shift for two hours in Sanchong because I had time.

I had fun grossing the wife out with my wounds. It also worked well on my Kindergarten kids. I came home in all of these bandages, which hurt like hell when I took them off the next day. I wanted the wounds to be in the air so that they would heal faster. A day later and I can say that progress has been made. I’ve had to wear shorts so that my pants don’t rub on my knees. My wounds look better and I was feeling OK today, good enough to try and take the bike out.

I took it out at around 7PM. I noticed quickly that something was wrong. The front wheel was hobbling and the rear derailleur was shifting without being asked to. A quick drop into my favorite Giant shop and my service was started and finished for free, even though my bike wasn’t purchased in Taiwan or at their shop, I guess they feel responsible to repair it, as it is a Giant Anthem. It turns out that one of the spokes of the front wheel was popped out. The rear derailleur needed adjustment and the rear disc brake wheel needed to be straigntened.

I spent some time explaining my accident and oogling the road bikes. There is one bike that I like, but I know I won’t get it. The frame is made out of titanium and I firmly believe in carbon fiber for road bikes. Still, I’d like to have a second road bike frame, once I get a TCR Advanced SL 0 in order to mount my spare parts.

It took a few minutes and  I was set. No fees charged.

When I arrived home, I spent time examining the SRAM XO shifters. I realized that they can shift down multiple gears at a time when fully compressed. I hadn’t realized it until now, it had never been an issue. I tend to touch shift, so I never went all the way. From my tests, it seems like the rear derailleur can downshift three gears at a time. That’s cool!

Bike Service

Topeak Mini 18+
Topeak Mini 18+

Today, I wanted to go out for a ride, but they typhoon weather had other ideas. That’s not really an excuse, but there is really nothing that you can do when it’s pouring heavily. I kind of get what it means to have a bike. Mechanical faults will happen and it’s best to have it serviced as often as possible.

What I really like in Taiwan, is that you don’t pay for service, you only pay for parts. Today, I put my new Topeak Mini 18+ to work by changing tires. I had a pair of Ritchey Tom Slick Comp 1s that were just itching to be put on my bike. Since I don’t plan on doing any trails anytime soon, I thought that this would be a good idea, for now at least.

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34 Km Bike Ride Banciao Yonghe Xindian Taipei

Yesterday, I didn’t train. I almost went out for a run, but in the end, I didn’t. Today, I had planned on at least doubling or tripling my usual route. At first, I thought of simply doing laps, though that didn’t seem very efficient. There are these nifty on ramps to get out of the riverside parks that can be used to train for climbing.

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12 km Bike Ride Xiandian River

When I got back from work, I went by my neighborhood Giant bicycle shop. I wanted to get a new helmet. The one I have is old and cheap. I wanted to get a new one. The one that I liked was a Cratoni Ceron and list price was $191. Final price was $150, but I decided to get something else instead. After having ridden this week without proper gear, I decided to get some crotch reinforced pants for Pearl Izumi and a Scott racing jersey. I took my time trying out the gear, as they came in Japanese sizes instead of NA ones.

I had a long talk with the wife of the owner. She’s quite nice and it fell into my goal of interacting more with the locals. It was quite pleasant. I enlisted her help to find my pump, which I had bought last week, but mysteriously, the store had closed before I could pick it up. She knew the owner of the store and has since then arranged for me to pick it up later at her store.

I almost didn’t go out for a ride, but I started feeling guilty since I hadn’t gone out yesterday. I’m supposed to use biking as a cross training exercise. I have this lofty goal of riding 50 km a day and running 10 km each day.

The ride to the JhongJhen bridge was longer than expected. I was two minutes off my time as there was a nasty headwind. A few times, I thought about turning back, but I didn’t. I took a minute-long break at the pier and headed back. It was really cool. I was extremely fast and made up the two minutes that I lost easily on the way back. I was actually in the highest gear available and noticed a strange humming sound coming from the front wheel. It was either the knobby tires or the brakes that were acting up. I’ll have to bring it to the shop later this week.

All that’s left to get for now is a trip computer and some clip shoes. They didn’t have my size.

Giant TCR Advanced SL 0

Giant TCR Advanced SL 0
Giant TCR Advanced SL 0

I’ve just been by my trusty Giant store to get the lowdown on the most recent prices. Let me just mention that I really like the TCR Advanced SL 0. It’s got a great frame and comes decked out in SRAM Red. This is a sub-15lbs bike. It’s the top of the line road frame from Giant. The other models above this one come with Dura-Ace, and for some reason, I really like SRAM. I went around the shop asking prices for frames and bikes. You get the best deals if you get a full bike. You still get a discount on frames.

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12 km Bike Ride Xiandian River

It was my plan to head out this morning for another bike ride. I was planning on doing at least the same as I did yesterday. It was starting to rain when I headed out, but it stopped while I was riding. It was pretty cool since there were almost no other people on the bike path.

I did feel a little more strain in my legs while I rode my bike. It took me about 14 minutes to do 6km and about the same to get back. My pace was slightly up, at 25kph and the total ride took me about 28:02.

I’m glad I went, because minutes after I arrived home, it started pouring down heavily. Tomorrow, I’ll probably try adding more kms to the total. I’ll probably stay on the Yonghe/Banciao section though. Heading into Taipei kind of disrupts the flow as you have to get off your bike and make your way onto a bridge.

From what I can see on Google Maps, I can do about 10 kms until I hit the end of the bike path. I’ll see if that is true this week.

12 km Bike Ride Xiandian River

Xian Dian River
Xian Dian River by Zdaspitter

Today, when the rain finally abated at around 2PM, I decided to go out on a leisurely bike ride along the Xiandian River in Banciao. I was planning on taking the JhongJhen bridge into Taipei, then turning around on that side and getting on the Wanban bridge back into Banciao. That was a good plan, but once I had carried my bike up the little stairs to the bridge, I noticed that I was on the wrong side of it. I took a few minutes break and then headed back down. Instead of doing 13.5 like I wanted initially, I just did 12 km. That was fine. Here, you can see the first part of my ride. I rode through the riverside park path, which is pretty pleasant. For some reason, Google Maps can’t compute the real distance on the bike path, so I’ll just have to get a little trip computer for that.

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First Week Back in Taiwan

And it’s like I never left. I go to the same places for breakfast and lunch. My dog gets his walks and my wife tells me that it’s like I never left. Taiwan is a place of contrasts, of loves and hates. I enjoyed my first long ride on our scooter, Old Nancy, which, despite having remained completely stationary for 9 months, is up and working again after having a short check-up at our local scooter place.

This time around, I’ve decided to try and interact/integrate myself as much as possible with Taiwan. It’s not even been a week, and I already got invited to a dinner with some locals. I’m using some of the people I know in our neighborhood to show me around, to find the places to run errands. I don’t really want to drive into Taipei each day.

Old Nancy… She’s old, but I still managed to rack up 10,000NTD worth of speeding fines. That’s only about $300, but that’s a lot in Taiwan. The year before, it was 7,800NTD. This time, I managed to get all of these fines in a very short amount of time. 2 months I believe.

It’s started raining earnestly. I was about to head out for a bike ride, but decided against it when I saw the weather forecast. I had a nice 13.5 km ride mapped out. I hope that it won’t be raining tomorrow morning. I can then head out. I wonder why I didn’t do this before. I could also run that. It’s not that long and I think after two weeks, I can probably swing that distance easily.

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