Author Archives: grahamt


The Coega Daily Commute (CDC) is a great concept for health, wealth and planet.  The CDC has been a constant ritual since 2008 and my 22km commute from Central to Coega has become somewhat of an institution.  Over the years I have, inter alia, commented on:

The CDC Green Lane extends from the Papenkuils River to Coega and is part of a municipal vision for a 40km recreational path from Schoenmakerskop to Coega.  Cape Recife to the PE Port and Papenkuils to Coega is complete (about 25km), but, only Admiralty to Kings Beach is fully functional.  The functional bit is one of Nelson Mandela Metro’s most popular recreational activities, and it cost next to nothing (don’t factor in the useless “wooden walkways” which was total wasteful expenditure).

My focus is on the Papenkuils to Coega corridor, a fantastic facility, but, blighted by neglect, like most of the City’s Northern beaches.  My commuting experience has been marred by two incidents and you can download GPS track logs as follows:

Monday 24 March 2014:  Attempted Armed Bike Hijacking

Thursday 08 October 2015:  Attempted Bike Hijacking

Close consideration of the Heart Rate Logs indicates a spike to about 180 beats per minute at 33°50’19.25″S, 25°38’49.24″E.  That’s the effect of three people trying to force you off your bike with a gun and knives.  In both instances I got away by riding into the perpetrators with my bike, somehow staying on, and getting away, thankfully with no injury or loss of property.

So how do we fix this and get real Green Lanes going (go to this site for an explanation of Green Lanes)?  Fighting fire with fire and pure security measures are not the answer.

A holistic solution is required which places an emphasis on corridor development which includes a broad cross section of society.  On the day of the incident, The Herald (a local newspaper) editorial stated:

“This is why such urgent attention needs to be given to other major but marginalised beaches likes Wells Estate, which has been bedeviled by security issues for years. Although facilities and infrastructure at Wells have been markedly improved, the assurance by sport, recreation, arts and culture portfolio chairman Andiswa Mama that efforts are under way to see this beach achieve the same prestigious status must not fizzle out into an idle promise.”

The Northern beaches have been totally neglected and despite considerable infrastructure investment, they are recreationally unusable for the following reasons:

  • The Wells Estate car park and the bike path is a carpet of glass, even out of season
  • Security is virtually non-existent and disinterested beyond warding scrap metal thieves
  • Commercial facilities are poor and entrepreneurs make a plan with containers.
  • Access is not controlled, with people streaming across the N2 and the unprotected Motherwell interchange bridge
  • Critical Biodiversity Areas are affected by poaching and recreational impacts
  • Lifesaving capacity is limited and needs to be broadened in terms of focus
  • Facilities are neglected and not maintained
  • Cleansing is sporadically undertaken

The Municipal website even lives under the illusion that the chalets at the Joost Park Holiday Resort is still operational (they closed in 2001).  The following is an extract from the municipal website as at 12 October 2015Wells

A holistic approach to the development and maintenance of the Northern coastal corridor is required to enable the type of vision as articulated in a previous blog.  Officials working in isolation and massive capital investments will not result in progress.  Progress will come from ordinary people getting together and making things happen.  I therefore appeal to the portfolio chairman, Councillor Andiswa Mama to facilitate a simple meeting of interested parties to facilitate action.  Those parties should include:

Ward 60 Councillor for Wells Estate; Beaches, Resorts and Events Management; Cleansing; Safety and Security; Wells Estate Lifesaver, SAPS; Environmental Management; Zwartkops Trust; Sidewalks and Verges; Provincial Roads.

A list of the people who should be invited can be downloaded here.

Such a meeting can, among’st other things, result in:

  • The recreational path being cleaned
  • A security incident reporting protocol
  • Cleansing of the car park
  • Interventions to address peak season impacts
  • A plan for the Motherwell interchange
  • Development of commercial facilities
  • Development of recreational facilities and opportunities
  • Fencing off the N2 and access control to Wells Estate

The trends are available for all to see.  The deterioration and mayhem of the Northern Beaches is forcing people to the Southern Beaches at considerable personal expense to those who can least afford it.  You cannot have a good time when glass is cutting your children’s feet to ribbons.



This post is to update my tools of the trade for trouble free riding.  Depending on the task at hand (ie the ride), your emergency toolkit needed vary.   This is essentially an update and refresh from various posts such as my personal toolkit and the barplug tool.


As evidenced by latest trends (when Specialized got on the bandwagon with its SWAT system, you know its gone mainstream), there are advantages to an intelligent mix between carrying your gear on the bike or on the body (as opposed to a Camel back).  I progressed from carrying body tools in a small neoprene bag to the Pocpac.  Pocpac is a great product for storing tools and other paraphernalia.  I was skeptical at first, preferring the old neoprene bag, thinking that the plastic pouch would easily slip out and get lost.  But, after three, it still keeps working.

Lezyne mini pump:  This replaced the old Scott minipump and with its aluminium body is simply superior.  Goes with me everywhere in the pocket and I hardly ever use bombs.

Bomb & Attachment:  Can’t fit this in the Pocpac, so I just leave it at home when not racing.  When racing, it replaces the mini pump.

The following tools are kept in the Pocpac:
-Spare Plugs

-Derailler cable
-Zip ties
-Stans 2 oz bottle
-Lezyne Multi Tool
-Money (R100 note can be used as a gator)
-Continental Tyre Lever with Duct tape around it
-Park Tyre Boot
-Toughie tyre boot:  6cm strip of Mr Tuffee tyre liner
-Park Glueless patches
-No Tubes valve remover
-Stans Valve core
-Stans Valve stem
-Scott Derailler Hanger bracket
-Leatherman mini knife

On shorter rides I drop the Stans, leatherman and hanger bracket to save a bit of weight. However, most rides I simply go with what’s in the Pocpac and that normally means all of the above.

-Barplug: Tire tool & plug loaded in handlebar (see my post on this great tool)

The barplag is the most effective tool and I constantly use it.  Its simply the best trick around!  More recently, the concept has gone into production in the form of the Sahmurai Sword but I have my doubts whether the commercial concept is better than my hack.

I still ride the Coega Daily Commute and Wells Estate Beach must rate as the best testing ground for tire related products.  Wells Estate has the highest amount of broken glass per square meter of bike path in the world and I puncture at least once a week.  My original tool is still in use and would definitely outlast any commercial replica in terms of durability.  Generally, I repair without even having to pump up the wheel!


CAPE EPIC – 2015

The ABSA Cape Epic (I’ll just call it ACE) is the most prestigious mountain bike race in the world.  While other races may have more numbers, ACE, limited to 600 two man teams, is bigger and better in every other way.  So what makes it ace everything else?

Across the world, it’s the one race every cyclist wants to do.  All ACE finishers get instant respect.  You could have climbed Everest, dived off Brooklyn Bridge, or wingsuited from the Eiffel Tower, but, mention an ACE finishers badge and you’ll get looks of awe and envy.

ACE’s status is all in the name and my 2015 experience reinforced that view.  It has a great sponsor in the form of ABSA.  The Cape is the perfect geographical amphitheatre for mountain biking, and it really is an Epic event – in every sense of the word – marathon, heroic, impressive, grand, ambitious – every synonym applies.

ACE excels by having something for everybody.    From a race point of view, it checks all the boxes.  In my twenty three years of intermittent mountain bike racing, no other event has given a comparable racing experience.  For every rider, class or gender, there is a real race taking place.  As a public spectacle where the leaders compete like gladiators, and backmarkers are battling for precious seconds of advantage, everyone, from rider to spectator are involved in the intense racing experience.  No lonely processions at the ACE!

Through this event, the Western Cape is showcased to the world, having aired more than 24500 hours of television coverage worldwide.  The event airs as the Northern Hemisphere emerges from chilled and depressing winters, providing an instant tonic by juxtaposing the ordered agriculture of the Western Cape, the splendor of its natural beauty and wildlife, with the warmth of South African climates.

The numbers don’t lie.  In 2015, forty percent of the field was international, with the majority coming from Switzerland and Germany.  For them, as for most, ACE is something to aim for, providing hope and inspiration through dark difficult times.  Whether it’s weathering climate or personal circumstance, training for ACE provides a tonic for all the consequences of modern life.  Training for ACE releases serotonin, an opportunity to take on and beat the diseases of affluence – heart disease, obesity, diabetes and cancer, amongst others.  There’s no hiding at ACE and you cannot arrive in bad condition.  It’s akin to acing the exam – do your homework – and you’ll crack it. Come in under prepared and you’ll fail – spectacularly.

The Cape has a certain mysticism, from Table Mountain to the grasslands of the Transkei – a biodiversity wonderland and an inimitable cultural and spiritual experience.  The ACE view from the bicycle seat leaves an indelible imprint and keeps bringing one back for more.  My 2010 ACE was a personal journey, from fat to fit.  I had hit the wall – fat, forty, flourishing, and blighted by the diseases of affluence.  ACE 2010 left me invigorated, fit, appreciative of health, and of personal boundaries removed.  Genetics play a role in establishing the finishing line pecking order, but, it’s overstated.  ACE 2011 stamped the realisation that preparation is everything.  In work or play, no matter your genetic potential, nothing replaces good hard work.  The human capability knows no limits, and with enough goal directed effort, anything is possible.

G Spot is the essence of my commuting experience.  A carbon rigid fork seeking the sensation of the awesome trails of Stellenbosch

G Spot is the essence of my commuting experience. A carbon rigid fork seeking the sensation of the awesome trails of Stellenbosch. The Amabubesi badge is a great frame protector with serious credentials

ACE 2013 brought a new partner and an appreciation for the power of the commute.  Yes, training for an ACE can be a mind numbing experience.  You’ll find a plethora of training advice for intense shorter weeks of training rides, but, nothing beats good TITS (time in the saddle) and commuting is the way to get it.  Without the Coega Daily Commute (CDC) I would battle to get a consistent 8 hour training week.  The CDC ushered in 15 hour training weeks with ease.  No bland indoor trainers or endless road rides.  The commute uplifts, leaving one invigorated, filled with new ideas for a wholesome work day.  Everyone benefits – your family, employer, clients, environment – everyone.  But, be warned, your ACE partner will suffer if they cannot be in a similar place.  A twenty hour week of singular training yields infinitely less than 20 hours of variegated fun while riding a bike.  Any complacency breeds failure, and no matter how good the genetic pedigree, there will always be a time to eat humble pie.  ACE 2013 was an abject lesson in accepting failure with humour, and success with humility.

ACE 2015 ushered in a whole new set of lessons.  Such is the appeal of ACE, for it knows no bounds in the tuition it offers. ACE 2015 yielded new insights on the interplay between environment, people and prosperity, and nothing showcases it like the Western Cape.

ACE stage venues are set in amphitheatres of fynbos bejewelled mountains, yielding prosperity and protection.    The mountains are inhospitable, rugged, providing the catchments for the arid landscapes through which the rivers flow, and protection for the biodiversity supporting the prosperity of the valleys below.  Rich alluvial gravels, sculpted from the mountains, lay the foundations of the prosperity of the ACE stage venues of Oak Valley, Worcester and Wellington.  Only from the seat of a bicycle, can you truly appreciate the complex relationships between agriculture, people and their environment.  The lifeblood of Worcester and Wellington are the Berg and Breede rivers and success has come from centuries of focussed effort.  Like fitness, productive capacity is not built up overnight.  Irrigation canals feed the parched lands, drinking from meticulously maintained infrastructure built over centuries of carefully considered investment and the toil of thousands of people.   A conservation regime, forged from years of experience, nurture the mountains, dutifully protecting biodiversity, feeding the rivers with life, to yield prosperity for the people in the valleys below.

The role of financial institutions in supporting this cycle of life is rarely recognized.  They provide the capital, the foresight, the stability, for agricultural communities to build prosperity.  ABSA mimics the prosperity which it has brought to the agricultural activities of the area through its ACE participation.  ABSA, a child of the merger of Allied, Volkskas, United and Trust Banks are as old as the irrigation schemes pivotal to the Capes development.  Its lines of finance trace the land, being central to every aspect of the development of agricultural lands, homes, businesses, savings and prudent financial planning.  ABSA is ingrained into the landscapes of the ACE route.  The requisite traits for finishing ACE are no different to those underpinning the prosperity of the Western Cape. Stable partnerships, investments of money, time, effort, resolve, patience, a long term view, focussed goals, planning – these are the building blocks for success, be they in life or the ACE.  Throughout, ABSA is a pillar of support.  Little wonder that it’s one of the coolest brands out there.

So therein rests the true value of the ACE – everyone prospers from the event, supported by the finest financial institution in the country.  ABSA came to being with the new South Africa, and it has a tough task ahead in building a healthy, inclusive and prosperous society.  The ingredients for a successful South African democracy and ACE are the same – prosperity and inclusivity.  The Absa Cape Epic is making a quiet and substantively massive impact in every way.

Two in a Row

So I got lost – two races in a row!  We can all have a good laugh or we can think more seriously about what went wrong and the implications for our sport.

The organizers and Cycling SA are not playing by their own rules and it puts our sport at risk.

Taking a wrong turn in a race is always an uncomfortable matter.  After riding your guts out, the bottom falls out of your race.  It’s always the riders fault, with some riders developing a reputation of being lost souls, geographically challenged and so forth.

LOTCREvent 1:  I rode the Lord of the Chain Rings from 14 to 16 November 2013 – well let me rephrase, I tried to ride it.  In 2010, when I rode the first event of this race, I was inspired to rate it as an event with wonderful potential.  You can view my blog post here

However, the 2013 event was a major disappointment.  It started out promising great things.  I was riding with Norman Boy, an exceptionally strong East London based Master.  We had Paul Furbank (World XC Champ in the 55-60 category) and Chris Brand (SA Marathon Champ 55-60) as opposition and everything was pointing to a great event.

However, four kilometers from the finish on day one, we took a wrong turn, ended up on the Day two route, and hurtled down the mountain towards Alice.  By the time we got back up, we had dropped from fifth to 58th, losing two hours or more on Furbank and Brand.

Bang, that was the event over as a contest.  Yes, Norman and I were the butt of the jokes about getting lost and so forth and all concerned had a good laugh.

Event 2:  The following week, I rode Hopewell trails Amazing Race on Sunday 24 November.  With 2/3 of the race done, I was in a comfortable fifth and thoroughly enjoying it.  Bang – wrong turn.  By the time I got back on track I had lost five positions and the ride induced high became a slog home.

So, us mountain bikers are a care free lot and write these mishaps off – its all in the spirit of the race!  Or is it?

The fact is, at both races the wrong turns were a result of infringements of Cycling SA rules by the organizers.  The Cycling SA rule book is very clear about how courses must be marked (see )

At both the Lord of the Chain Rings and Hopewell Races markings contravened section 17.02 of Cycling SA 2013-1 regulations – and lots of other riders took wrong turns! 

At Lord of the Chain Rings, markings indicated a left turn (which put us on the day two route), and then did not have a marking (in terms of 17.02.010) to indicate that we were on the wrong route.  At the Hopewell race, section 17.02.010 was also contravened.

So, am I being pedantic about the humorous matter of someone getting lost. I don’t think so, for a number of reasons:

1)  The rules are there for rider safety and the development of the sport.  Both races were sanctioned by Cycling SA, and Commissars were present to enforce rules.  We as cyclists pay for Cycling SA to undertake that task through an annual racing licence and a portion of the race entry fee.  The fact that Cycling SA is not applying the rules implies that rider safety and the sport of mtb are being put at risk.

2)  Cycling SA are often perceived as being pedantic.  They worry  about team kit and banning sleeveless tops.  Yet, they continue to approve courses where riders get lost on routes not marked according to the rules.  Is this an Eastern Cape thing, or is it more widespread?

3)  If a rider gets lost on a course marked according to the rules, it is the riders fault.  However, when a rider gets lost on a course not marked according to the rules, it is still the riders fault.  Organizers and Cycling SA need to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4)  Riders spend huge amounts of money to participate in racing events and should expect to ride courses which are consistent with the Cycling-SA regulations.  If courses do not comply, the event should not be sanctioned by Cycling SA.  

5)  Where events are marked according to Cycling SA rules, riders do not get lost.  It costs money to mark properly and event organizers are skimping, whilst charging full price race fees.  Effectively, that means we as riders are getting ripped off.

6)  The majority of races are now run by professional race promoters and they need to play by the rules.  Events are lucrative income streams and its about time that riders take a stand when promoters don’t play by the rules.

So now for the crux of the question.  If I took a wrong turn due to course markings being inconsistent with Cycling-SA regulations, can I ask for a refund on my race entry fees?

I trust the organizers of the two races and Cycling SA will provide an answer.



Competition2408The 2013 World Mountain Bike Championships have been a major success for Pietermaritzburg and South Africa. Thousands of Mountain Bikers converged on the City bringing more than a billion rand of value and economic spend.  The event is run over two weeks with Masters riders (those over the age of 30) racing over the first week and non-age group riders (mostly professional riders) competing over the second week of the competition.

For the first time, the World Championships have been held in South Africa.  It offered South Africans a rare privilege of competing at the highest level without having to incur the massive costs associated with overseas travel.

PodiumMy race preparation for the World Championships involved participation in the 2013 Cape Epic and the South African National Mountain Bike Championships, which were held in Port Elizabeth in July 2013. At the SA Champs, I started at the back of the field and eventually managed to secure a second place.  It was a weak ride following a stomach bug which I had picked up earlier in the week.  You can check the results here.

For the World Championships, I was looking for a test of fitness against the best of the World.   My race had some very strong riders.   There were 67 riders on the starting list, with about 30% of the riders being from abroad and the remainder being South African riders.

Mad Rush at the Start - Tommy Olsson gets the holeshot, with Jimmy Redman up on the inside

Mad Rush at the Start – Tommy Olsson gets the holeshot, with Jimmy Redman up on the inside

The start saw a mad rush of riders all trying to make it through the bottle neck at the end of the main starting area.  One of the South African favorites (Doug Brown) was brought down in a tangle of bikes, but, Tommy Olsson, the Swedish National Champion and former World Silver medalist, shot to the front and never relinquished the lead.

Tommy Olsson - Winner of the Mens 50-55

Tommy Olsson – Winner of the Mens 50-55

Jean-Paul Stephan

Jean-Paul Stephan (501) and Mads Boeker (553)

Second place went to the 2012 World Champion, and French National Champion, Jean Paul Stephan who managed to stay ahead of the Danish National Champion, Mads Boeker.

Mads Boedker

Mads Boedker

The former World Bronze medalist, Patrick Baltazaard, finished 4th ahead of Atle Hanssen from Sweden.

World MTB 50-55 Podium

World MTB 50-55 Podium

Graham Taylor came in 6th and was the first South African home.

The World Championships were a wonderful learning experience.  I was able to test my fitness against the best and secure a 6th place in a strong international field and was the highest placed South African.  The Swedes, French and Danes who beat me are all highly experienced national and world champions and it was a great privilege to ride against them on home ground.  It is one thing to watch such events from a distance, but, its an entirely different matter when one is able to interact with these types of athletes.  You quickly learn your shortcomings and what needs to be done to improve yourself.

Tommy Olsson - Deserved and clear winner

Tommy Olsson – Deserved and clear winner

While we certainly have the skills to match the Europeans, their overall race conditioning was superior.  The Pietermaritzburg experience has shown how South Africans can succeed on the international stage and where we need to improve.  The Province of KwaZulu-Natal and Cycling South Africa must be congratulated for staging a spectacular event which has placed South African mountain biking high on the international agenda.

Graham Taylor 6th placed & 1st South African

Graham Taylor 6th placed & 1st South African

  1. Tommy Olsson (SWE) 1.21.44
  2. Jean-Paul Stephan (FRA) 1.23.22
  3. Mads Boedker (DEN) 1.23.31
  4. Patrick Balthazard (FRA) 1.27.26
  5. Atle Hansen (SWE) 1.29.47
  6. Graham Taylor (RSA) 1.30.18

The full results can be downloaded here or you can go to the event page

The Fish River Lighthouse Ride

Fish River Lighthouse

Over the weekend, the family dragged me off to one of my favorite riding spots, Riet river.  As far as great mountain bike trails, there is not much in terms of classic singletrack.  However, if you know the area well, you can ride yourself into a coma on the countless gravel roads in the area.

The trick is to spend as little time as possible on the R72, the coastal road between East London and Port Elizabeth.  The road is extremely dangerous, with no shoulder and many potholes.  If you cycle on this road, you must ride on the dirt verge and ride into oncoming traffic – its the only way to stay alive.

I started the ride on the Webb Family farm of Tharfield (you can view the full ride on Garmin connect).  The farm dates back to the 1820’s when it was owned by the Bowkers, before being purchased by the Webbs in the 1920’s.  The Webbs still live in the old Bowker homestead and still farm cattle the traditional old way.  Jan Webb runs the 3 Sisters horse trails which is a must do institution in its own right.

Once on the dirt road there is a nice climb up past the Webb / Bowker homestead (for an overview of the historical farm look at the Bowker website), past Rocklands and the Nyala Valley game farm and up to the St Francis Health Centre which I can vouch for as a place that genuinely fixes health problems.  Its run by Mrs Cowley (mom of Paul Cowley – the noted aquatic scientist), whose ability to diagnose is uncanny.  However, there is a long waiting list so book well in advance.

The next turn to the right plunges you down into the West Kleinemonde Valley and then on up to Shaw Park, a classic Albany cricket club.    From Shaw Park you take a right and follow the dirt road to the Lower Spanish Reeds turn which takes you through the Kap River and on to the Fish – Kap Nature Reserve.  This is one of the true conservation gems, but, has been badly neglected of late. Twenty years ago, the conservation stalwart, Derek Landman, showed me the area and pointed to its potential for mountain biking.  That potential is still there, and there is lots of it.

I dropped down onto the Fish River flood plain and from there up and out of the Reserve.  The Kap river has one of the best canoe trails in the country for birding and it is well worth a visit.  Currently the road is closed due to flood damage, but, you can slip in the back way on the route I have described.

From the Fish Kap, I went back up the hill along the R72, before going down to the coast at the Fish River Light House.  From the Fish River lighthouse you can ride down onto the beach (you will have to push for a few hundred meters) and then its a 10km ride on the low tide back to Riet River.

Beach riding is great fun and training provided you (a) hit the beach one hour before low tide and (b) wash your bike straight afterwards.

A lovely ride and highly recommended!  Enjoy!


The Gräfenberg: Coega Daily Commute Weapon 


The Gräfenberg has landed on my new GTrails site.  Over the past few years I have commuted on trusty 26″ bikes, but, with the purchase of the Scott Pro 29er, the advantages of 29″ based commutes are compelling.  However, maintenance costs are high.

I purchased the Scott Pro in January 2012, and within the first month the Rock Shox fork was returned due to a defective damping chamber.  The fork had to be attended to twice after that with the remote lock out sticking.  Then in March 2013, in the run up to the Cape Epic 2013, wear to the stanchions was identified.  Cape Cycle Systems, the South African based SRAM distributor, refused to honor the warranty and I did not have service records to prove it had been serviced in the past year.

My reaction – well Rock Shox obviously cannot withstand the rigours of the Coega Daily Commute and that led me to develop a low cost project bike for commuting to work.

The first step was to purchase the Gaea blank frame from Carbonality, one of the on line suppliers selling “cheap Chinese carbon frames”.

The Gaea 1180 gram carbon frame from Carbonality.  Looks suspiciously similar to many of the branded bikes being sold at three times the price.

The Gaea 1180 gram carbon frame from Carbonality. Looks suspiciously similar to many of the branded bikes being sold at three times the price.

One of the biggest costs was postage, which made it more cost effective to include a carbon Handlebars, Headset, Stem and Seatpost.  Given my experience with the wear on the Rock Shox stanchions, it does not make sense using a suspension fork on a daily commute of 22km (one way) where only 10% of the ride requires suspension.  

Great Fork, Great value

Great Fork, Great value

I therefore opted for the Carbonality Fork, which looks suspiciously similar to the Niner solid fork.    

The customer service from Carbonality was brilliant.  They answered all my questions and made sure that I not only got a good price, but, great postage rates.  Within three weeks of placing the order, the new frame had arrived.  I had ordered the plain UD Matt Finish with the idea of spraying up custom colours.  However, my Cape Epic partner, Craig Lindeque from Digital Dynamix, suggested that I use his Vinyl Cutter to create decals.  This was an inspired move, and for a fraction of the cost, the Grafenberg was born.


The Grafenbergs Gtrails Steerer Tube Decal

The Grafenbergs Gtrails Steerer Tube Decal

The vinyl stickers were easily applied and the effect was stunning.  The ride, well simply sublime!  

After two weeks of riding I can scarcely put the bike down.  Its just plain awesome and I really need to get it onto a scale to get a handle on its weight.  The front fork shaves off about eight hundred grams off the Rock Shox and time will tell whether the carbon will hold.  My experience with the purchase left me with alot of confidence in the level of service coming out of Hong Kong.  Great people, and hopefully, if the time comes, they will provide better support than SRAM!