Taiping, 16 February 2009

Basikal terbang

Malaysians are about the most curious people in the world. They really want to know everything.
I quickly end such interrogations.
Flevobike green machine

The way push bikes should be.

I am quite a big fan of Malaysian Airlines:

Lots of leg space, even in economy

Excellent service

Good food

Take your bike for free


Excellent: Malaysian Airlines allows 20kg of normal luggage plus a free additional 15kg for sporting equipment. And yes, a bike is sporting equipment.

My green machine weighs 26kg, because of all add-ons (big metal pedals, front suspension, horn, luggage rack, bags) and box. So the rest of my luggage is limited to just 9kg.


disassemble green machine

  1. take off horn
  2. bend compass forward
  3. remove pedals,
    in front of bike push top away
  4. smallest gear
  5. remove bags
  6. steering low and twisted.
  7. remove chair,
    push seat forward,
    remove lid from tube,
    push back upward.
  8. mirror down
  9. shorten stand
  10. tubes soft
  11. in box, tape box.

check in

  1. tools into check-in luggage
    you are probably not allow to take tools into the aircraft in your carry on luggage.
  2. head for check in desk with luggage and box.
  3. check in, you may have to weigh the box too
  4. drive box on trolley to the odd-sized luggage.
The box will go flat on its side. It will go directly to the aircraft, straight across the platform.

assemble green machine

After arrival the box will show up at the luggage carrousel.
  1. extend stand
  2. pump up tyres
  3. join chair
  4. steering high and straight
  5. mount horn
  6. mount pedals, when in front pull towards you
  7. compass up
  8. mirror straight
  9. mount bags
Soechoebië is a very confusing country of origin.
Malaysia also works very well for an answer.
An no, I am not married. My parents in law remained childless.
As an INFP I prefer tranquility over people.
Things already go wrong at the luggage belt of Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
The assembly of the Green machine draws a crowd of airport staff.
They have a seat and enjoy the show.

It is only when I answer their questions in Malay that they keep quiet for a moment.

The box remains at the airport.

Once passed customs, take a left. There is a luggage depot just passed the Burger King.

The best question of the day: What was inside the box?

Well, it is the bike, right next to it!

Things get a bit tough from KLIA to the central railway station (KL Sentral).
The bike is not allowed aboard the KLIA express.
Grr, I should have left the bike in the box and postpone the assembly to the train station. It would have saved me hiring a minibus.

train from Kuala Lumpur to Taiping

The train to Taiping lack a bicycle storage.
Rumors are that rules exist to book space in the cargo area.

Another official path is to pay for extra big luggage while on the train.

But well, Malaysians have a pretty relaxed way to deal with rules.
The bike just boards the train, close the door and worry later.
The train manager is a bit puzzled by this bike.

Alamak, now this bike is blocking access to the first class.

Can't you take a corner with the bike. Wouldn't it be nice if it were in the path, just along the luggage storage?
Well yes, I can manage that. Pull the bike vertical in one hallway, turn and back to horizontal in the next path. Problem solved.
Now all these physical actions are fun, but the sweat runs down my back.
The first class toilet serves me as shower.
O it is good to get rid of all the sticky sweat. Some clean clothes and I can sit back and relax with a freshly made tea.
Bandar Sri Damansara, my old habitat passes by.
When evening falls, my eyes fall too.

The train rocks me to sleep like a baby. It will take many hours to reach Taiping.


The train manager assists with great enthusiasm in unloading the bike.
Now, before he blows the whistle for departure, couldn't I just show him how to ride this bike?
Curiosity is more important than punctuality.
Here in Taiping the flevobike green machine is the main attraction in town.
I wrote about this earlier: In desperate need of attention? Buy a recumbent bicycle!.
The front brake is stuck because of Dutch salt on roads.
Now try to explain that in the tropics.
It is usually about 30 degrees above freezing here, every day.
The Chinese bike mechanic is immediately in love with the green machine.
O wow, the chain is all enclosed.

Those pedals are really far up front.

And great suspension in front.

This chair is really comfortable.

May I take a seat and go for a ride?

And disk brakes, excellent quality at the back. But hey, what is this? The front brake is missing!

Yes, my dear mechanic, that is what I come and visit you.

Aha! It is not until now that the Chinese business mentality overtakes curiosity.
He quickly installs a sturdy mountain bike brake. Long live all standard components on a green machine!

All's well now, ready to descend any mountain!

I do have to slow down a bit in Taiping.
The traffic here is in a tropical slow motion. In town I easily match the speed of cars.
Malay language does not have a word yet for recumbent bicycle. Basikal terbang sounds good to me. It means flying bike.

Till next nut,