This island is worth exploring by bike
Talim is the nearest island to Metro Manila. This rocky isle in the middle of Laguna Lake is not normally visited by mountain bikers. But it is a popular site for weekend hikers seeking a great 360 degree view of Laguna Lake and the surrounding towns. Hikers come for the peak known as Mt. Tagapo, which is oftentimes also referred to as (I’m not making this up) Bundok ng Susong Dalaga. This roughly translates in English to “Mountain of Unmarried Female Snail.” Just kiddin. You already know what it means.
Four years ago, I and a group of local riders from Binangonan decided to load our bikes onto a boat and see just what Talim island had to offer. While most of us had already been to Talim, none of us had been there on mountain bikes, so it was something of an adventure for us. Read more [+]
The pebble beach in Chavayan village in Sabtang Island, Batanes
Sometimes you just have to do things on your own—like biking in a strange beautiful island for instance. Last April, I went to Batanes for a week’s worth of biking. After savoring the sights, sounds and vibe of the province’s main island of Batan for several days, I thought it was time to hoist the anchor and sail to another equally incredible island—Sabtang. (Actually, I would have preferred to bike with someone, but my traveling partner took off on her own for the island of Itbayat.)
This small island municipality lies just a few kilometers from Batanes’ main island. Sabtang is easily accessible by boat. The trip however can last anywhere from half an hour to almost an hour depending on how rough the waves are.
But even if you easily get seasick, you should not forego the chance to see Sabtang. If you loved what you saw in Batan, the honest truth is: Sabtang has got more of them and then some. Skip Sabtang and you’ll be cursing yourself for life. The rolling hills, the cliffs, the quaint villages with stone houses, the friendly locals, and the quiet idyllic scenery that have come to define Batanes—Sabtang has all of that. But it also has the best beaches in Batanes, and rock formations which you can’t see anywhere else. Read more [+]
Trains, buses and planes. You can carry this bike anywhere
Honestly, I think someone should give a Nobel to the guy who first thought of making bikes that twist, fold, and morph to just a fraction of their original size. Whoever you are sir, hat’s off to you! There’s just an undeniable quirky geeky coolness in these two-wheeled gizmos that easily reminds you of a Swiss Army knife or the Transformers—and I’m talking here of the beloved 80s animated series and not that Michael Bay abomination.
I’ve been lusting after folding bikes for some time now. But due to my severely limited financial capacity, all I could do was eyeball them from afar. My luck changed last month however. I got asked to test what is undoubtedly one of the quirkiest folding bikes out there—the “CarryMe” by Pacific Cycles. Read more [+]
Shades: essential gear for the outdoors. Taken at the peak of Mt. Iraya in Batanes
Sometime ago, someone also asked me what sort of shades would be great for mountain biking. I wish I could do an exhaustive review of several brands and models, but since I don’t really have the budget of more established outdoor blogs out there (honestly, no budget at all) I can only recommend what I already have.
So what sort of eyewear do I use? Spyder shades. Why? Four words: Bang for the buck. They’re not that expensive, and they look good. Plus they have features that I really like. Right now, I’m using two different models from Spyder: The Alpha H and the Tank H, and I am very satisfied with both. Read more [+]
Shotgun’s waterfalls: It only comes out during the rainy season
Let’s be honest, climbing Shotgun in San Mateo is not the most fun thing in the world. A root canal operation is less agonizing. This infamous destination in Mt. Maarat rises nearly 430 meters in less than 5 kilometers. That’s like climbing the steepest part of Kennon road. The fact that there’s hardly any shade on Shotgun, just makes the whole endeavour more excruciating. You don’t climb Shotgun for fun, you climb it to test your fitness and prove you can climb it.
But with the arrival of the rainy season, Shotgun reveals a treat for bikers and runners who dare to make the painful ascent—a waterfalls. Yup, just right after the last tindahan where you can buy Gatorade and rest your weary legs, there’s a waterfalls. Read more [+]
Trying to spell “Bike” using light painting is trickier than it sounds
Bike lights are essential if you want to ride at night. On the trail, there are no lamp posts so you need to bring your own light. If you’re a bike commuter in a city like Metro Manila (where motorists crash into each other with frightening regularity) bike lights and blinkers are a must kung ayaw mong masama sa report ni Doland Castro sa TV Patrol.
Sometime ago, a reader here asked me if I could do a review of bike lights. I thought that was a great idea. But since I was not exactly blessed with a glamorous bank account like Instagram king Jolo Ejercito, I didn’t know how to go about it. I did not have any spare cash to buy several bike lights.
Fortunately, our friends at Glorious Ride Bikeshop were cool enough to lend me some of the bike lights they had on stock and test them out. They’ve got lots of bike lights there for every budget level, so do visit them when you have the time. Here are a few of the bike lights and blinkers you ought to consider if you want to ride at night.
Read more [+]
Pumarada: one of the lesser known trails in Binangonan
By now, almost every Metro Manila mountain biker knows where Antenna is. This steep hill in Binangonan, Rizal has become one of the most popular weekend destinations for bikers. Most mountain bikers who go there inevitably also sample Thunder Trail and the Petroglyphs.
But besides these popular trails, the town of Binangonan has another trail system that is just as fun. This is the network of footpaths in the rocky hills beyond the Barangays of Lunsad, Mahabang Parang and Pilapila. The trail network has since come to be known as Pumarada. Locals also call it Bunot, or Sampad. If you’re in the area, this trail is worth checking out. Read more [+]
Guest post by Travel Up
The first ever Mount Isarog Eco-Tourism Endurance Challenge last June 15 saw challengers running and biking through the natural forest parks in Camarines Sur, Bicol. The challenge which combined trail biking and trail running, incorporated a pili planting activity at the foothills of Mt. Isarog, which is known for its rich biodiversity, to mark World Environment Day. Read more [+]
And they go off in a cloud of dust
There have been lots of great mountain bike races earlier this year, but for one reason or another (the main reason being sheer slackiness) I was not able to join any of them. I missed the Trail 1000, the Adrenaline Offroad Duathlon in Timberland, and the Timberland King of the Mountain.
But there was no way I was going to miss the Bente Bente race in UP Diliman. UP is my backyard, after all. And the organizers of the race—the UP Outdoor Recreation Group or ORG was my org back in college.
Besides, unlike the other races which required heaps of beer and pulutan money for the registration fee, you could join this race for the tumataginting na halaga na… beinte pesos—hence the name. Seriously, how could anyone say no to something like that? Read more [+]
Most of the time, I go biking solo. It’s not because I don’t enjoy company. It’s because most of the time, I can’t get anyone to go with me on my trips. Or I schedule trips, drink too much beer the night before, and wake up seven hours late feeling like Jon Jones used my head for his spinning elbow practice. And so to use a popular tagalog kasabihan: Papunta pa lang ako, parating na sila.
But seriously, it’s always better to ride with a buddy or a group. If something bad happens, you can always have someone to answer organ donor questions, carry your remains back to civilization, or help fix a flat. Riding with someone better than you in terms of experience and skill also pushes you to level up your own cache of tricks.
So what sort of bikers should you ride with if you had the choice? Here are at least seven MTB archetypes I can think of. Read more [+]