Bike on bike lovin’
Before I begin, please forgive me for what may seem like a self-indulgent post.
I love two wheeled machines. As readers of this blog may have guessed, bicycles are like a religion for me. The mountain trail is like a church and I try to faithfully attend service more than once a week. Others who know me also know how much I love bikes of another kind–the sort that requires a throttle. Out on the open road, motorcycling is the closest you can come to flying.
For the longest time now, I’ve been trying to find a way to fuse my two passions. Years ago, whenever I wanted to go to my home trails in Tanay, I had to drive through Marilaque in a car. It always irked me to know that I could be riding my motorcycle instead of driving to the rendezvous point for the trail ride. Padyakoldaway is always an option, except when you have to get back home on a limited visa.
As someone who regularly rides Marilaque, I know just how much fun it is to carve those twisty mountain roads on my motorcycle. I needed to find a way to carry my mountain bike on my motorcycle. I needed a bike rack on my motorcycle. Read more [+]
Ready to pedal ahead to 2017
This year I promise to travel more. This is at the top of my list of New Year’s resolutions. Looking back at the year that was, most of the best memories I have were collected while I was in motion, in transit, and in someplace stranger than the everyday, but always on two wheels.
This year, I also promise to buy more locally made mountain biking and backpacking products, as well as outdoor gear from local brands. I feel like the Philippine outdoor industry, and mountain biking in particular, is really taking off, and I just want to do my part in supporting the people and companies making it happen. Besides, I believe that these products can kick ass with the best in the world.
Finally, as a service to the readers of this blog, I promise to write more. Yeah, I know–I’ve been too much of a slacker this past year when it came to posting new articles. But in my defense, it ain’t easy holding a fulltime job (sometimes jobs) and writing stories and features for a website. Read more [+]
Leaving Sitio Lusod
Apparently, our ride on Mt. Ugo and the accident suffered by members of our group caused a controversy in the mountain biking community. Dennis Lee, or cowpatchman as he is known in the biking forums, has been particularly vocal in his criticism of what happened on Ugo. As is often in social media, initial posts generate more heat than light, more anger than discernment. But after a few exchanges between me and Dennis, some of the real issues have been fleshed out.
Because I consider these issues to be important, I opted to treat this exchange as another article so that it doesn’t get buried as just another comment in my previous post on Ugo. So here is Dennis’ recent reply to my earlier comment, as well as my reply to his reply.
From Dennis Garett Lee aka Cowpatchman:
I’m not going to question the credentials of your guide Ohmar as a mountaineer but I do have a few points to get across. I understand that such a trip requires careful preparation and your team did. You have mentioned, it’s the closest thing to Everest for mountain bikers here and it is. As with Everest, there is a time and season to climb it for safety’s sake and for maximum enjoyment. Even the most prepared won’t stand a chance on Everest if they climbed in the off season, if ever, they’d be extremely lucky, like winning the lottery twice over with the same number combination. Read more [+]
Who needs an expensive fancy resto when you can get a whole waterfall all to yourselves for free
Kinabuan Falls in Sta. Ines, Tanay Rizal used to be just a side trip for hikers and mountaineers climbing Sierra Madre’s Mt. Irid. Recently though, it has also become a popular destination for Metro Manila mountain bikers seeking to cool off in a body of water that’s not as crowded as Daranak, Batlag or Puray. Unlike these other waterfalls that are now often crowded with noisy barkadas, Kinabuan still has that rustic frontier charm that many of the more touristy waterfalls have lost. Because it isn’t easy to get to, Kinabuan hardly sees any crowds.
Kinabuan is also home to a community of Dumagats–indigenous peoples who call the Sierra Madre their home. Like the Aetas of Central Luzon, the Dumagats live on the margins of society, and eke out a living with subsistence farming and hunting.
It’s easy to get to Kinabuan if you’re a mountain biker. By that I mean, it’s easy to figure out how to get there. Biking to Kinabuan itself, is anything but easy. 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 [+]
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 [+]
Volunteers repack relief goods at Power Up Gym in Tandang Sora. The goods were directly transported to the town of Guiuan in Eastern Samar. Photo grabbed from Power Up Climbing Gym’s FB page
I had a lot of stories lined up for the blog. But when Supertyphoon Yolanda slammed into the country, writing about biking, running, climbing and other activities I enjoyed just didn’t seem appropriate.
Amid the destruction and suffering wrought by this horrifying force of nature, it just didn’t seem right to post anything that suggested happiness. Against this backdrop of demolished houses, bloated corpses and wounded desperate human beings, stories about biking up and down a steep hill, or breaking a personal running record not only seemed trivial but also insensitive. Read more [+]
Sagada: one of the best places for mountain running
Sagada has always been one of my favorite destinations in the Philippines. The cool clean and crisp air, the mountains covered in a thick forest of evergeens, the clearest dome of blue that is the sky over the town, the cliffs carved by eons of rain and sun which are just begging to be gripped and climbed, and the friendly people and their unique culture–all of this always makes for a transcendent retreat.
Last year, on All Saints Day, Kara and I went there on a much needed vacation. We were also looking forward to witnessing the unique custom of Sagada on Novemeber 1st called Pinag-aapoy. Here locals build a small bonfire on their loved ones’ graves instead of lighting candles.
But first, I had to get my runnng fix that morning. I was training for a 21k trail run that month and needed to keep my cardio level up. And Sagada was just perfect for running. Read more [+]
While trying out Camp Aguinaldo’s bike trail, I thought about zombies.
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. Read more [+]
Antenna Hill will soon be famous for things other than mountain biking
Who didn’t dream of flying as a kid? Almost everyone I know once tied a towel to his back, pretended it was the cape of some superhero and jumped off some fence or roof in a split second make believe of flight. As kids, we we wanted to soar through the air, like Superman, Peter Pan or the child warrior Atreyu on his luck dragon Falcor. Those were great times, weren’t they?
But somewhere along the way, age and the reality of adult concerns got in the way of dreams and imagination. We gave up fantasies of taking to the air in favor of a car, regular visits to the mall, flat screen TVs and the latest gadgets.
Fortunately for me, I am getting to relive this childhood dream thanks to some odd luck and an even odder Japanese dude. Read more [+]