My Geneva Polo Bike Setup

Some of you might have already known but I am going to Geneva (Switzerland) very soon. In like, 3 days. This time I am flying there for a specific purpose, to experience the world class bike polo. Bike Polo is the sports I have been getting into and having played for 3 years, by now I have been lucky enough to play in a wildcard slot of  The World Hardcourt Bike Polo Championship 2012 (WHBPC2012)!! I will be in a team called "The Drop Bears" with Colin from Adelaide and Alastair from London. So check us out!

Day to fly to Geneva is getting closer to closer and the day for the WHBPC2012 (Wildcard to start with,,,) and the world largest polo tournament, London Open 2012, which I will be playing (Team name: Better with Vodka, with Rob from Melbourne and Sabrina from Warsaw) is getting closer and closer.

So to maximise my performance and to avoid nasty technical issues while I will be away, I have been working on upgrading my bike and my polo mallets. I would like to share what is the current setup for my polo bike. Last time I did this was when I first build my polo bike (see a post, Ready to Roll). I am still using the same frame and wheel sets and so on but some parts have been replaced with more polo friendly components. Here we go:

My Bike Polo Bike

Excessive Brake Cable will be chopped

A New Wheel Cover (No more rising sun)

Fishnet Wheel cover is still there
track, fixed gear frame set 700CX52CM
track, fixed gear frame set 700CX52CM
Crappy BMX Kids Handlebar
Handlebar Grips:
Some random BMX Kids Handlebar Grip
Kore Stems - MTB B-52 K34 Stem 2011 Black - 80mm x 31.8mm 1.1/8"
Came with the frame
Wheel (Front):
Halo Wheels Factory Road Aerorage Track Front Wheel White 700c
Wheel (Rear):
Halo Wheels Factory Road Aerorage Track Rear Wheel White 700c Fixed/Freewheel
Brake (Front):
Dia-Compe BRS-101 43-57mm Silver
Campagnolo Brakes - Road Centaur Dual Pivot Brakeset 2011 Pair - Black
Shimano Ultegra Brake Shoes 6700
Break Leavers:
Dual Breakes
Schwalbe Marathon Greenguard Tyre 700 x 28c Wire Black
Selle San Marco Rolls Saddle with Steel Rails (White)
Seat Post:
Shimano something
Bottom Bracket:
Eastern Bottom Brackets - BMX Euro Bottom Bracket 19mm - Matte Gold
Ruption Cranksets - BMX Tubular Cranks w/Sealed Mid BB
Chain Ring:
Sputnic Chainrings - BMX Icon BMX Sprocket 25t Red
Rear Sprocket:
Shimano Wheels Hubs Spares Single Speed Freewheel 16t
Gusset Chains - BMX Slink Half-Link BMX Chain 1/8" - Silver
Primo BMX Pedals Stricker Plastic BMX Pedals Clear
Toe Clips:
Brisbane Outdoor Gears, V2 FRS Strap Ons

Specifications - Mallets
Mallet 1 The Main One
Fixcraft Black
Mattie's Special Head, One Side Capped (Hand Made by Mattie in Perth)

Mallet 2 - Full Cream Milk Mallet

"Creamy" Mallet Shaft
Milk S 1.0, Uncapped

Mallet 3 - Smart Low-tech Mallet
"Creamy" Mallet Shaft
DOM BT MALLET, Both Sides Capped

There are still a lot to work on to make the bike better but this is best I can do with the time and money I can afford. Comments, suggestions, criticism (not many please) are welcome!

Oh yeah, got a polo helmet as well (got it from ebay for 13 bucks!!)


Birthday Pyjama Party

Dear friends,

Cake Cutting Ceremony in Samurai Style : Photo taken by Shan

Thanks all for coming down to my Birthday Party last night.

It was trully awesome to catch up with you all in pyjamas and especially for those I haven't seen for many months. It was great to see you again!

Hope you all had a good time and enjoyed food and drinks (especially cocktails...) we prepared.

Also, thank you for your special contribution to my fundraising.

We've raised $320(!!!) through the night:) Hooray!

Your contribution will be recorded as honourable doners on my fundraising page.

For those interested in knowing my fundraising challenge, here are the details:

Money raised benefits the Westwen Australian Institute for Medical Research (WAIMR), Western Australia's premier adult medical institute. The fund will be used to help research and identify specific genetic defects in cancer cells, and the environmental factors which cause the disease.

Therefore, for this cause, I am aiming to raise $2,500 dollars by this October. 

Upon (hopefully,) reaching the goal amount by October, I am participating an epic 200km ride form Perth to Mandurah over 2 days, October 20-21, 2012.

Your extra contributions will be greatly appreciated as well. Donation can be made any time on my fundraising page.

Anyway, This Birthday Pyjama Party was a great first major successful step towards my fundraising goal. Thanks again for coming down and hope to see you soon.

Special thanks to the followings:

Juraj and Iin for helping me organising this fun party and being great chefs, preparing beautifully presented magnificent food, which we all loved.

Lita for making (or getting?) me a birthday cake.

Brad for letting me use the massive esky.

and everyone for being a great company :)




Kyoto Hike

Something Experimental to do; Today’ Sound for you: Bing Crosby Louis Armstrong' Now youhas Jazz' 

Let’s start with this today: I am generally not fond of doing what average tourists do. In the other words, I prefer not to go only ‘must-go’ places where tourism brochures and guidebooks recommend us to visit or do (well, it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t visit Taj Mahal if I got to Agra of India). I would rather do something like trying local resident’s everyday walking course. That’s the concept of the trip for today.

A bit of background about Kyoto for you: Kyoto is generally known as the ancient capital of Japan, according to Wikipedia (sorry for being lazy), the city was the capital of Japan over 1000 years (four consecutive eras from 795A.D. to 1867A.D.)  up until the capital city was moved to Tokyo. Kyoto literally means Kyo() – Prince and To() - Capital. Thus, it means the capital city of prince is Kyoto. Interestingly, Tokyo literally means To () – East and Kyo() – Kyoto. Therefore it means East of Kyoto.
Considering the fact that the city has a great and well preserved cultural significance, the entire city is inscribed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List as ‘Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto, making one of the best visited tourist destinations for both domestic and international tourists. This medium sized city with some of 1.5million residents hosted 4.5 million visiting tourists (Japan View, 2007). Consequently, the major attraction of Kyoto is visiting temples and shrines, learning a history of this ancient capital. 

Daimonjiyama Mountain Hike

Feel the earth!
Daimonjiyama Mountain(466m) is one of the mountains around the Kyoto Basin (yes, Kyoto is surrounded by mountains ranging from those little ones to about 1000m ones). Daimonjiyama (Mt. Daimonoji) is one of the local’s favourite Hiking rounte, with its easy to medium 45 min walk return.
Walking map of Mt. Daimonji
 My suggested route starts from just off the Ginkakuji Temple  (Silver Pavilion). It’s a fairly enjoyable walk which could be done with high heels on for girls (but not certainly recommended). Anyway, it’s a good walk. This mountain gets a bit busy on 'Gozan No Okuribi', every 16 August, the day when the mountain is decorated by the word '大','dai' which means big or giant, created by fire but otherwise, it a pretty quite trek to do. 

Mt Daimonji (Normal)

Mt Daimonji (with the fire decoration on) Picture Source

On the top you can get one of the best views of Kyoto City (personally, it is much better view than the view from Kyoto Tower, which you have to pay to get in). You can end up the walk at Honenin Temple, which is one of my heavily visited temple, as I like the style of this beautifully yet sophisticated temple.

The view of Kyoto, The top of Mt. Daimonji
The view of Kyoto, The top of Mt. Daimonji 2
Honenin Temple
Honenin Temple is one of my favourite temples in the world (well, I’ve visited temples in Indonesia and India before too). 

The Gate of Honenin Temple

It is not a massive temple like Kiyomizudera Temple, it is rather one of the smallest ones but because its small scale it has a full attention to the details of the set up of the temple (video-graphic image of the Temple). The generous dedication to perfection is seen from every single angle of this temple. The way the temple preserve is the harmony with the nature.  It means, the temple apparently looks like very wild and untouched, but it’s been highly sophisticatedly well considered for its design mixing different types of trees, flowers, moss and even roots of trees are integral parts of this attractive design of the temple.

Sand Garden
A bit of colour added
Beautiful mix of different trees and vegetation
Roots of trees are also the parts of the package

My journey still continues slowly for a little while.

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Fantastic Cycling and Rejuvenating Paradise, Oita

Dear beloved readers,

A happy new year! Thank you very much for reading my bolg for the past year even though my updates had been fairly infrequent. But, it has also been great writing things. Hope I can enjoy keep writing the world I see this year too. Thinking those things, I have been eating Persimmons and mandarins at home.
Believed or not over 4000 access has been made since the establishment of the blog. Persistence pays off. I will keep going, providing maybe-useful information for you.

Get back to the journey
Leaving Hiroshima in the morning, I caught a train towards west. To get to the half point, Yamaguchi prefecture, the train stopped some 47 stops. I like going slow as always.

Of course, passed USA to get to Oita

Oita Specialties
Oita has it all for me, well, as being a not so hard-core chilling cyclist.

Superb onsen (hot springs)
As well as Beppu, one of the most popular hot spring districts in the country, Oita has got a great range of hot springs, known as onsen in Japanese, there are number of hot springs and they are all pumped up from underground. Besides, different hot springs has different textures such as smooth ones as silk or refreshing ones as lemon, lime and bitters, and therefore, depends what you after, you could choose what you want every day. But one thing in common in this area is the fact that the hot water in the springs is generally GOT DAMN HOT (especially the one called Takegawara Onsen), referred from Joe, my friend in Oita.

Beppu, one of the most well know onsen districts in Japan. Beppu is neighbour town of Oita 2 stops by train. 

The interior of Takegawara Onsen, Beppu

In Japan, hot springs are generally divided into 2 parts; one is for males and one for females as you need to be completely necked to be in one of them. (Oh well, probably to avoid something from happening…..) However, there are ones called ’Konyoku-buro’, which is a hot spring with only one part. Yes, it is, literary, a nudist hot spring. Unfortunately, I did not have chance to go to one of them but in this particular occasion. Apparently, here in Oita is one of the areas you could find one for real authentic experience in country Japan. The admission prices for hot springs are generally very friendly to your wallet from free (!) to 390 yen (4 AUD) (of course there are very expensive ones too.) I found a video which gives you a visual explanation of hot springs in Oita (and Beppu).

I would describe hot springs in oita to be not only refreshing and relaxing, but also rejuvenating! It's a must do experience in Japan.
Still not convinced? Check it out with your own body.

Leg monsters
Thanks to the hot springs around the girls here are (apparently) famous for its well maintained beautiful long legs. These legs are making Oita’s biggest industry of leg bars.(half jork and half true). Note* The word, leg monster, is first coined by Joe.

Great Pubs

You would find this kind of stuff too
To my surprise, there are great pubs around Oita especially in Miyakomachi area. Those pubs are making the area fairly entertaining and multicultural. This is partly due to the establishment of an international university nearby. One my most recommended pub in this area is P.E.I. The pub has a great range of cocktails, spirits and beer (and they do a great turkey on Christmas eves) and most importantly, very friendly bartenders and people enjoying their time. If you come for the second time, you definitely see one of your friends there. Consequently speaking, where drinking places there are wicked bottle shops are. There are heaps of great bottle shops too. Further explanation not needed.

Cyclist Paradise, Oita

Joe on his bike

And most importantly (well, believe or not and at least for me), Oita and surroundings are one of the most fantastic destinations in the country for cyclists from very beginners to full on advanced riders give you a great beautiful and scenic rides. Mountains, rivers, coasts, quiet roads. Nice challenging and quiet hills beautiful sceneries. As Joe runs a cycle tour company, Japan Bike and Hike, he knows the area very well. He kindly took on the wheel me around the area of Oita. Its just beautiful and challenging area to ride around. I’ve attached some of photos below but I would say I saw 100+ times more beautiful places that the photos below.

Mountains, mountains!

Bamboos, Bamboos!

A lot of hilly rides

At the top of a mountain!

Easy, cruisy  coastal ride
An island
A temple
A pretty damn looking good view
Time has passed very very quickly. It’s already time to go back to my hometown again.

Today's Route
View Larger Map

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