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 [+]
Sometimes you just have to bring your bike with you when you fly. Whether you’re going on a biking vacation or joining a bike race in some far away place, there are times when there’s no choice but to pack your bike and get it ready for air freight.
Sure, it can can be a hassle, and it can be a bit expensive. But if you’re going on vacation to a place like Batanes, the hassle and expense are more than worth it.
So just how do you go about it? A lot of readers have been asking me about this after I posted my piece about biking in Batanes. I’m no expert when it comes to packing your bike for flight, but I’ve learned a few things while preparing for our Batanes trip. So I’m now sharing the shreds of wisdom (if they qualify for that lofty description) I gathered along the way. Read more [+]
Batanes: it’s where earth, sea and sky meet in the most spectacular manner. Photo by traveling-up.com
Batanes’ landscape is special. To describe this group of islands as beautiful is to commit a grave understatement. Even jaded travellers are awed by its strangeness. I’m not sure if you can find another place in the Philippines where the earth, sea and sky come together in the same spectacular manner.
Biking Batanes is also a very special experience. Admittedly, its islands do not have the most technically challenging trails in the country, or not yet anyway. If you want to display your attitude and prowess, this is probably not the best place to do it.
But if you are in search of the ever elusive flow, you’ve come to the right place as Batanes has got loads of flow, and then some. You can find your own flow in many of its sweeping rolling hills. But its real attraction for bikers is the sheer raw beauty of the landscape, which is incomparable. Read more [+]
This landscape just oozes magic and adventure
Dream destinaton—there’s no better way to describe it. Batanes is likely the best biking destination in the Philippines. Bar none.
I thought I’d seen it all. But then I rode my bike up the crest of a steep grass-carpeted hill overlooking the sea. Then I pointed my bike down the hill’s steepest face and let gravity take over, fly me down the slope of a solid wave of green earth. If you like flow, Batanes is overflowing with flow.
There is also this minor thing of a rush of sweet sweet feeling in the blood. Surfers call it “stoked.” Bikers may call it whatever they want to call it as long as they know the feeling. There’s the most fantastic landscape, and there you are riding it. Read more [+]
Quezon Avenue at 5pm Friday looks empty and very appealing
It is no secret that Metro Manila becomes the most pleasant city in the country during Holy Week. From Maundy Thursday to Black Saturday, the city becomes free of traffic, free of smoke belching vehicles. Metro Manila’s wide thoroughfares transform from loathsome highways and actually become fun for biking.
Last year on Good Friday, instead of joining the exodus to the beaches, mountains and provinces, me and my ex-girlfriend decided to stay put in QC and sample what it’s like to live in a city without loud blaring cars, and without people who seem forever caught in a mad rush to nowhere.
We took our bikes for a spin around the city, and see what we could see. All in all, it was a pretty interesting ride. Read more [+]
The UP Trail! No longer ‘Forbidden’
U.P finally gets a bonafide biking trail! And it actually requires a bit of technical bike handling!
I am actually torn between sharing this and keeping it a secret. I want to share it because I want others to try this trail and have as much fun as I’m having. But at the same time, I shudder at the possibility that hordes of people will flock to this trail and create a singletrack version of Edsa on Friday payday.
It’s the surfers dilemma: Do you invite others to your local break or do you keep it to yourself? Read more [+]
Bikers take over the streets to promote clean energy
I was able able to climb Antenna Hill without much issue, but each segment of Thunder Trail left me drained and panting like a fish out of water. The heat reached 38 degrees yesterday, which was probably the reason why I was feeling so sucked out and seared after doing each segment of Thunder Trail. But it’s also possible that my muscle fibers had atrophied and my aerobic capacity went back to ultra-wimp level in the previous days I slacked off. Whatever.
Despite being gassed out and fried, there were still gallons of joy pumping through my veins last Saturday. Why? Because I was able to do all of the technical sections of Thunder Trail without dismounting. As any biker knows, this is a very special kind of feeling. Verrry ssspecial.
Stoked. It’s the ecstasy of accomplishment. It’s when everything works better than intended and you bask in the sweet sweet afterglow of fulfillment. It’s visceral poetry. It’s like scoring 100 points on Flappy Bird. It’s like plugging a USB correctly on both ends on the first attempt! Read more [+]
Puray Falls really comes to life in the rainy season
Puray Falls is one of the best mountain biking destinations near Metro Manila. Getting there means riding up steep slopes, crossing clear flowing streams, hiking up huge boulders, and viewing beautiful mountain vistas. It is one of those rare places within riding distance of our smog-choked, rubbish-strewn megacity where a biker can reconnect with greenery and soak in some soul.
If you want someone to understand what mountain biking is all about, you should take him/her on a bike ride to Puray Falls. Challenging climbs, fast descents, and the thrill of exploration: a journey to Puray provides all of these.
Sadly though, the place is getting trashed little by little.
Read more [+]
Thunderbird Resorts in Binangonan Rizal is familiar to Metro Manila mountain bikers who frequent Antenna Hill and the Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs.
Thunder Trail however does not seem to be as famous as either of these two biking destinations. This is a shame because this winding singletrack and fireroad which leads to a hilltop lagoon is one of the better MTB trails near Metro Manila.
Binangonan Rizal is my hometown. It makes me proud that the Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs have now become part of the “must-visit” places among Metro Manila weekend warriors. Over the years, I’ve also seen Antenna Hill attain much deserved fame in the mountain biking community for its challenging climb (which offers great views of the Laguna de bay) and the excellent downhill track which was built there by gravity aficionados.
Thunder Trail complements these two destinations. This trail has got plenty of twists, fast flowy descents, and sections that require you to dip into your bag of technical tricks. Read more [+]