Shahrizan Jefri Aziz
SHAH ALAM: In the stillness of the night, Muhammad Muslim Mat Sulaiman can be seen hard at work repairing the crank and bottom bracket of a customer’s Cannondale Lefty bicycle.
Fixing bikes is what he does almost every night, operating from a makeshift workshop at his home in Puncak Alam here. But he is no full-blown bicycle mechanic, rather he was drawn to this work by chance after he was forced to take up cycling to improve his health sometime in 2015.
Muhammad Muslim, 36, who works as a sales executive during the day at a firm in Petaling Jaya, said he had no interest in cycling at all but decided to give it a try after he saw some of his friends riding mountain bikes.
“I was then diagnosed with high blood pressure and I wanted to do some form of exercise to get healthier,” he said.
The first bicycle he owned was an XDS model costing RM2,500. He found himself enjoying the activity and to his delight, his health got better and he felt less lethargic.
About two years ago, Muhammad Muslim decided to try his hand at repairing his own bike as the bicycle shop he patronised was located far from his house and he found it cumbersome to haul his cycle there for repairs. And, that’s how he developed an interest in bike repair.
“In the beginning, I only fixed my own bike and didn’t dare repair other people’s bikes as I was afraid I might make it worse,” he said, adding that he picked up the basics of bicycle repair from social media and his friends who have experience in this field.
“Some of my friends have attended formal classes with big brands like Shimano and Sram to learn to repair bicycles. I would make copies of whatever books, notes and leaflets they have for my reference.”
Muhammad Muslim, who is now somewhat of an expert in repairing mountain and racing bikes and opened his own workshop in 2017, said it took him some time to learn the skills because manufacturers have their own separate mechanical systems for the bicycles they produce.
“The important thing is to have a thorough understanding of the functions of the bicycle components,” he said.
He also advised cyclists to send their bikes for maintenance works after three or four sessions of extreme riding or riding on challenging trails.
Regular tune-ups will keep bicycles problem-free, which will enhance the comfort and confidence levels of the riders when out cycling.
Muhammad Muslim’s bicycle workshop is open nightly, except Thursday, from about 8.30 pm right up to midnight and sometimes even 3 am.
The repairs he handles are mostly mechanical in nature and involve changing of gears, brakes and ball bearings.
He is currently harbouring the dream of opening his own bicycle shop.
“For my dream to become a reality, I need the support of my friends and the public,” he said.
Meanwhile for mountain biker Shariem Aizul, 43, Muhammad Muslim is the go-to person whenever he has problems with his bicycle and needs to buy components.
“Muslim is such a friendly and approachable mechanic. He is like a doctor and is able to ‘diagnose’ what is wrong with the bike and resolve the problem fast,” he said, adding that Muhammad Muslim’s workmanship was good as well. – Bernama