Christmas is coming
Bike Ride to the Ayala Triangle Christmas Lights and Sounds Show
You can literally feel it in the air. The breeze has become noticeably cooler and more pleasant especially in the mountains. If you go to the malls, you will inevitably hear chestnuts roasting on an open fire and sleigh bells ringing and jing ting tingaling too. Yup Christmas is almost here.
With the Yuletide season comes traffic, expenses, (bah humbug!), puto bumbong (sarap!) and great urban night riding! Of course, good cheers too.
One of the most anticipated Christmas events in Metro Manila is the opening of the Ayala Triangle Lights and Sounds show. Come Christmas season the country’s premiere business district explodes in color with millions of LEDs strewn along Ayala Avenue, and the most spectacular lights and sounds show at the Philippine Stock Exchange building.
Last year, I went on a solo urban night ride there just to soak in the Christmas vibe. And it was worth the tedious and sometimes dangerous ride from UP through C5 and to Ayala. Read more [+]
New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail
I love trail running as much as I love mountain biking. This is why I was quite excited to try out the New Balance Fresh Foam 980 when it was unveiled several months ago.
This shoe has generated a lot of hype. The very name itself was calculated to stir up buzz and incite curiosity. Fresh Foam: does this mean every other foam used in every other athletic shoe has become stale? What the heck is so fresh with this foam anyway?
Well, honestly, not that much. The foam isn’t really that (excuse the pun) groundbreaking. But it’s the shoe’s marriage of the virtues of minimalism and maximalism which really distinguishes it from the current crop of running footwear. Read more [+]
The IFmove is the kind of bike that would get Jony Ive’s thumbs up
Folding bikes have an offbeat geeky coolness to them. One minute you’re happily riding one, and the next minute your ride is neatly tucked away in a small corner barely taking up any space. A folding bike could fit in the trunk of your car, or a small closet, and you can even carry them with you on the train or bus.
But folding bikes are not for everybody. Their eccentric looks may attract people who like offbeat and weirdly cool stuff, but their quirky designs don’t really appeal to a larger audience. They represent the engineer’s function over the designer’s form. Most folding bike enthusiasts I know will agree with me on this and say beauty is relative.
However, sometimes something comes up which wonderfully messes up the order of things. Earlier this month, Glorious Ride Bike Shop lent me a foldie whose appeal went beyond its geeky ability to morph. The IFmove bike from Pacific cycles is not just a great folding bike; it is a sleek bicycle that attracts curious and envious eyeballs from bikers and non-bikers alike. This thing is a fine looking machine. If most folding bikes were Androids, the IFmove stands out like an iPhone. Makinis. Maangas. Read more [+]
One of several skylights in Calinawan Cave
Calinawan Cave is one of the more popular tourist destinations in Tanay. This cave lies just a few kilometers from the always crowded Daranak Falls, and is usally reached by renting tricycles from the Tanay poblacion. Last weekend however, TravelUp and I thought that it would be more interesting to visit Calinawan on our bikes.
I first learned of Calinawan Cave about two years ago when I joined the Nature’s Trail Discovery Run in Tanay. After finishing that 21k race, I promised myself I’d return to Calinawan and enjoy this place at a more leisurely pace. Last weekend, I was finally able to do that. Read more [+]
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 [+]