Yes, I love zombie apocalypse films and TV series. I am having serious withdrawal symptoms right now with the next season of the Walking Dead not set to air for several more months. I need my regular zombie flick fix where survivors are constantly on the move evading the undead, hunting for supplies, and fighting off other survivors who seem to be worse than flesh eating ghouls. As sickeningly antisocial as it may sound, survival in this scenario seems like the greatest adventure one can ever have.
I revisited the Camp Aguinaldo bike trail on Saturday last week, just before supertyphoon Labuyo slammed into the Philippines. While biking through the section of the trail where old, rusting, abandoned military vehicles were dumped, I was reminded of scenes from The Walking Dead. It’s part of what makes the place special.
The Camp Aguinaldo bike trail
You wouldn’t think the headquarters of the AFP had something like this up its sleeves. When I first heard of the Aguinaldo bike trail, I thought it was a joke. Images popped into my head of bikers being lured into the camp to be used for target practice by the military’s elite snipers to keep themselves in tip top shape. But a quick search on Google revealed that there really was such a place.
To get to the bike trail, you enter the Camp’s Gate 6 on Bonny Serrano Avenue. Gate 6 is the entrance closest to C5. You leave an ID with the soldier manning the gate and then proceed to the AFP Reserve Command. If you get lost or confused, just ask for directions. Camp Aguinaldo’s denizens will be more than happy to help you find the trail. The camp charges a Php 50 entrance fee per rider for the use of the trail. If there’s no one guarding the entrance to the trail, then it’s your lucky day because it’s free. The trail is open from 6AM to 5PM.
The trail itself isn’t that long. It’s less than three kilometers, so don’t go here expecting to get some practice for an MTB marathon. What it lacks in length, it makes up for in fun with plenty of jumps, switchbacks, roots and (because it’s the rainy season) mud. This is where you get to practice sprints and technique.
The trail is divided into 3 areas: Bong’s Delight, Nick’s Playpen, and Macky’s Lair. They were supposedly named after the three biking generals who pushed for the construction of the trail. I am not privy to the names of these generals, but whoever you are, I salute you.
One of the most interesting sections of the trail is the area where the carcasses of several gutted military vehicles were left to rust and rot. Biking through this graveyard of war machines made me feel like Rick Grimes or Daryl Dixon out on a scavenging mission. Except that neither Rick, Daryl nor any character from the Walking Dead rides bicycles. The only time Rick rode a bike was in the pilot episode where he commandeered a girly bicycle to get away from the hospital. And after that no more.
That’s one thing about zombie apocalypse films I just can’t understand: How come they keep riding cars? And why do they have to keep running or walking long distances after their cars inevitably run out of gas or break down? Haven’t they’ve heard of bikes?
Max Brooks got this right in his bestselling book “Zombie Survival Guide.” He says:
In a class by itself, this vehicle offers the best of both worlds. The common bicycle is fast, quiet, muscle-powered, and easy to maintain. Add to this the additional advantage that it is the only vehicle you can pick up and carry if the terrain gets rough. People using bicycles to escape from infested areas have almost always fared better than those on foot. For optimum performance, use a mountain bike, as opposed to the racing or recreational model.
In short: Get out of the car, get onto the bike. That is actually no.7 in his Top 10 tips on surviving a zombie apocalypse.
Last year, I got to experience first hand how useful a mountain bike is amid the floods that engulfed Metro Manila during the Habagat. When the transport system grinds to a halt because of a disaster, you can be sure that you can rely on your bike.
For more photos of the Camp Aguinaldo Bike Trail, check out Travel Up’s post about the place.