Totobobo Filter

I came across Totobobo while searching for a filter to combat the haze in Penang. I wanted to continue cycling when the haze came, and didn’t want to stop because of lung cancer worries. Googling for Cycling Mask returns the popular Respo Mask as the top search, but further down is where I found Totobobo. I was initially attracted by the entry price. It is much cheaper than Respo and much more breathable.

To no surprise, the filter darks up as reported by the London Cyclist. When I put the filter under a microscope, I could see all the tiny carbon particles sticking to the fiber of the filter. The filters have electrostatic charges and this helps it to attracts the carbon particles. I have also taken a photo of the filter after 4.2hrs of usage. This is where I stop and change the filter as I believe, the filter looses the filtering efficiency as more and more particles are getting through.

I tried to improve the filter efficiency by using two 92% filter back to back. My theory is, I can get a filter efficiency up to 99.35% (92% + [8%x0.92]). Though I could not prove 99.35% efficiency, but I did notice that the second layer of filter do darkens quite significantly, and I am definitely getting a filtering efficiency of more than 92%. The caveat in doing this is that I broke the filter holding clips because the thickness of the two layers of filter.

I am horrid by the carbon particles that goes into my lung. Without this filter, I would have been inhaling the particles and these tiny particles may get traps in the inner catacombs of my lung.  Not sure what long term damage this could do to my lungs, but it is better not to have them there.  Totobobo is now my cycling companion, together with my gloves, shoe and helmet.

Campaign For A Lane 4th Edition 2012

I arrived at the Penang Esplanade just before 6.30am and the crowd was already swelled. By the time I meetup with Kenny and go to the starting line, we were already at the end of the peloton. The sun was peaking out during flag off and within minutes, the sky brightens up. The entire Weld Quay street was filled with cyclist and it becomes more scattered on the coastal highway. By the time we reach Queensbay, there were already people stopping. Not sure if they were giving up or waiting for friends. The skin starts to feel the heat of the sun, but the air is still cool. I was already breathing profusely, but i did not feel an ounce of tiredness. All my friends were all way ahead of me and I was cycling alone at this point onward.

I reach the back of the airport in about an hours time. By t this time, the air starts to heat up and more cyclist stops and wait for the truck. The ride up to this point was smooth. Thanks to the traffic controllers of the event, I did not need to stop at any traffic light. This is one of the reason why I like to join such events, where we can ride non-stop. Just after the Bayan Lepas town to Gertak Sanggul, was a horrible accident involving a motocycle, truck and a car. The entire traffic stands still and us cyclist have to get down from our bike and push our way through.  I was impatient and shouted to ask everyone to continue walking and dont stop and take photos. I didn’t want to loose momentum.

This is the end of flat roads and rolling hills begins. I was able to concur all the hills, but not Bukit Genting climb. This 2km climb was steep and I was only able to cycle up to midpoint, I had to get down from my bicycle to push. This part of the journey was also very scenic. Just before the climb was the first water station distributing 100plus. When I got there, the station was flagging people on as they have already ran out of drinks. I push on as the next water station is at botanica ct, not that far away.

The Balik Pulau segment of the ride was flat roads and I was wheezing through many cyclist. I learnt from my friends later that they were struggling on the flat roads on their mountain bikes because of the wide tyres. They were saying that many road bikes and even foldable bikes were overtaking them like crazy at this point. The second water station was jam pack and the organizers should have look for a location with wider roads. Nevertheless, I got a bottle of water and 2 bananas from this station and moved on.

I spotted Vans Urban Bike riders after Bkt Genting and tried to keep up with them.  Just as I lost them ahead of me, I arrived at the end of Jalan Sg. Rusa. At this Junction there is a temple and coffeeshop and a guy holding a sign “6km Climb Ahead”. My heart drop when I saw this sign. The previous 2km climb was already gruesome, this would be worst I thought. I was not feeling tired and my legs were still spinning with a constant cadence, so I was not defeated just yet. The long climb was hard, at occasions, I have go get down to push the bike, but before long I get back up and continue.  The climb almost took all that I got and I reach the eventual peak. The downhill was short lived and another set of rolling hills started.

I was tired by then, and the heat started to take a toll on me. My ass hurts from the seat and my shoulder felt like a heavy burden. The trees along the way does provide a quick relief, but it does not help on the heavy burden felt on my shoulders. I keep telling myself that I am almost there, to give up now would have been a waste. Every little rolling hill becomes painful and even flat road is difficult because of the heat. I arrived at the finishing line at 11.19am, clocking 4hrs and 19minutes for the entire ride. I was glad that it was over and most of all, I made it. I have cycled round island 82.8km long on a Fixie, fixed gear bicycle. It was a personal achievement and I even outlast my iphone which went dead after 47km. I was surprise to find out later that my friends finished at 11am sharp, which is only 19minutes ahead of me.

Other Cyclist Experience:
United Nation of Runners
Prima Riders
Samosaurus Chronicles


Riding into the Sun


Its the month of May, and the sun starts to peak out from the darkness at about 6.45am. When I left the house at 7.30am, the Sun was already blazing and at times blinding the eyes. The air was still cooling and this makes the ride pleasant. There are seldom Morning heat, Evenings, are totally different. The air is thicker and even without the Sun, the heat gets to me. Today, the evening ride was quick, I speed and push my legs work harder coming down from the Queensbay Bridge. For this, I am now suffering from muscle pains and feels like a chore going up and down my home stairs.

The photo above was taken this morning on Jalan Batu Maung. The below photo taken on the evening ride. This is where the Fisherman’s Wharf Chinese Restaurant used to stand. In the last few months, there were workers manually dismantling the building. The workers would hack the beams with hand and when they reach the inner steel re-enforcing bars, they would hacksaw the bars collapsing the entire beam or walls. Its interesting to see how a building can be manually hack down. You still can see some of the walls standing at the far end of the photo. Looks like they are not done yet.


Cycling Culture Manila

IMG_7896crop (Large)

In my recent business trip to Manila, I have observed a thriving work commute cycling community. Most of the cyclist wears shorts and carries a bag which I suspect a change of clothes when they reaches work. Most of the bikes were Mountain bikes, then Road bikes and I did not see a Single multi color Fixie. There was one guy cycling Strida, he was all suit up for work. Strida has Belt drive, so he needn’t worry about his pants getting greased.  I got to get a belt drive for my Fixie. In Penang, most of the cyclist who commute to work are foreign workers. There are only a handful of peddlers that cycle to work in FIZ. My hope for 2012 is to have more commuters cycle to work in FIZ, lessen the traffic and CO. 

Campaign for a Lane 3

Photo Sep 11, 11 28 16 AM (Large)

Sept 11, 2011, I did not make it to round island. After months of training, on this faithful even, I was down with fever. I later found out I had dengue. It must have been one of my training trip where I got the mosquito bite. I did attend the event, only after the rain, which is about 10am. I cycled from Gurney to the finishing line. Went to get my medal, waited till the Lucky Draw and went home empty handed.