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Testing Bike Lights on a Night Ride in UP

Bike Lights

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 [+]

Biking to Palo Alto and Hiking to the Radar Station

Palo Alto Falls Baras

Palo Alto Falls Baras: clean, clear, uncrowded and reachable by bike

The weather gods probably forgot to take their bipolar medication last Saturday. The sky was having very wild mood swings: one moment it was sunny and clear, and the next moment it was dark and threatening.

I woke up early, looked at the sky and almost cancelled the ride I had scheduled that Saturday for the readers of the blog. The dark clouds on the horizon reminded me of the worst of the Habagat rains from 2012. I wasn’t sure if any sort of fun was to be had in biking in those conditions. Yes, I did say that the ride would push through “Shine or Rain” but I didn’t say “Shine, Rain or Buwis Buhay!

In the end though, I decided to push through with the ride to the Masungi Rocks in Tanay. It turned out to be the right decision because although the clouds still threatened to unleash hell from time to time, the weather behaved for the most part. You might even say that the dark skies, the short bursts of rain, and the occasional searing sunshine made the whole ride more interesting. Read more [+]

Pumarada Trail in Binangonan

Pumarada Trail

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 [+]

Gear Review: Merrell AllOut Fuse

Merrell AllOut Fuse

Introducing the Merrell AllOut Fuse

Buying a new pair of running shoes is a tricky affair. There is a bewildering variety of shoes to choose from. In the old days,  all you had to consider was color (uy ang ganda ng red!) and brand (parang mas seryoso ang dating ng Adidas kesa Nike). Now a shoe buyer also has to consider whether he needs traditional thick soled shoes divided along stability, neutral and cushioned; minimalist shoes that promise to get you more connected to the ground; or maximalist shoes that promise to keep you floating over the terrain.

I’ve always preferred minimalist shoes. It may not be a style that suits everyone, but it just works for me. So when my road runners began to show signs of falling apart, I started scouring the running blogs for a shoe that would be a worthy replacement. The blogs all hinted that the shoe I needed to buy was this: Merrell AllOut Fuse. Read more [+]

A Different Kind of Duathlon on Mt. Isarog

Guest post by Travel Up

mt isarog eco-tourism endurance challenge bikingThe 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 [+]

Bente Bente MTB Race in UP Diliman

Bente Bente UP Bike Trail Race

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 [+]

7 Types of Bikers You Want to Ride With

seven-samurai

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 [+]

Biking Batanes: South Batan Loop

Biking Batanes: South Batan Island

A road carved from a hill that plunges into the sea.
Photo by traveling-up.com

Biking around the southern part of Batan Island reminded me of a lot of things. The road reminded me of Pagudpud because of how its rocky cliffs plunged into the sea. It also reminded me of Sagada because of how those same cliffs often towered above the road. Its undulating grass carpeted hills reminded me of Bohol and its famous Chocolate Hills.

But Batanes’ southern loop also had something these places didn’t have. I had a hunch that biking through the towns of Mahatao, Ivana, Uyugan and back to Basco would send me through some very awesome vistas. But I didn’t know just how awe-inspiring this place would be.

We started riding out of Basco at a relaxed pace around mid morning. We wanted to start early but there was some mix up with the mountain bike we were going to hire. Because of this the sun was already almost halfway up the sky by the time we were pedaling out of Basco’s town center. It was mid-April and as expected, the weather was already hot. But there was also an ever-present sea breeze that made the ride quite pleasant. Read more [+]

How to Pack Your Bike for Airline Travel

Bike BoxSometimes 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 [+]

Mountain Biking Batanes: North Batan Tour

Mountain Biking Batanes

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 [+]