Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wide Handlebar Convert

I'm an old-school mountain biker. I've been riding hardtails since the early '90s, and I've survived believing in some mountain bike norms during my time. One of them is the handlebar width.

Used to riding with my Onza titanium L-bend bar-ends, I was made to believe that the correct handlebar width should be just a tad bit longer (about a couple of inches more) than the width of your shoulder. That's it. Other than that and it gets sawed off. This explains why, during those days, some handlebars come with printed marks to make it easier to cut.

After riding my Intense Tracer VP for about a year, I didn't realize how I different the ride was when I used the hardtail again in our La Mesa ride. More than the harshness when I hit the bumps, it's the narrow handlebar width that made the bike handle differently. It may just be me, but I find flicking the bike on the singletracks a bit harder to do compared to the Intense. Maybe it's the lack of bar-ends that made it feel weird (I didn't install it for this ride). I don't know.

Now, I'm thinking if it's worth the effort in switching my old Truvativ Team flat handlebar with something that's wider and has a more hand-friendly angle. I don't ride the hardtail as much. Maybe I should just save the money for a 27.5.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Hardtail's Back!

I initially transformed the KHS to a touring bike and installed a touring handlebar, a Topeak BeamRack, and a Brooks B-17 saddle. After using it once in a leisurely ride around the Ultra area, and with no epic bike tour in sight (Domeng got sidelined because he suffered a minor stroke), I brought back the Truvativ flat bar, the Specialized Phenom saddle, and the Kenda Slant Six.

I've been riding for more than a year almost exclusively on the fully suspended Intense Tracer VP. I think it's time to go back to my roots and see how different the ride truly is.

Weather permitting, we're riding La Mesa Nature Reserve again this coming Saturday. I can't wait.

p.s., Feel free to join.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Biking in Manila: La Mesa Nature Reserve

Mawie Tadeo working one of the La Mesa climbs

I cannot do a Biking in Manila series without featuring the La Mesa Nature Reserve. This is one of the best places to ride your mountain bike in Metro Manila. Located northeast of Quezon City near SM City Fairview, this dense forest offers 52 kilometers* of singletracks, dirt roads, and fire roads. From beginners to more advanced riders, the La Mesa Nature Reserve has something for everyone.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Revisting Velo City

Revisting the Velo City Bike Shop always brings back a lot of memories. It was here where I bought my first branded frame in 1998 - a 16-inch mango-yellow Cannondale CAAD3 frame. A year after, I upgraded my fork from a RockShox Mag21 to a blue Marzocchi Z.2 BAM, which I got from here. Even my classic Onza titanium L-bend bar-ends was from this store.

Back then, when other bike shops were a dirty and dark hole-in-the-wall operation, Velo City stood out and offered something different - parts were high-end and the place was clean.

I went back to Velo City last Saturday after years of not visiting the area. I went there because of two things - to get myself a new pair of Giro shoes (the Terraduros, preferably), and have my Intense's seat tube fixed after the mecahnic at Extreme Bike Shop tried to use a 30.9 seatpost when it's supposed to be 31.6.

Some of the old stuff were there (the old helmets were displayed in a glass case in front of the store, exposed to the sun), but there were a lot of new ones. I saw the latest Giro and Bell all-mountain helmets, lots of Chris King goodies, weird-looking saddles, and the latest components from Crankbrothers.

The Giro Terraduros weren't available yet, so I got myself the Privateers while I wait. Check it out:

Aside from all the eye-candy, their wrench is, in my opinion, one of the best in the business. Hermie Nocum has been fixing my bike from way back, and he hasn't disappointed me yet. He was able to correct the seattube mistake and I was able to install the correct seatpost size.

If you're interested in going here, they're along Leveriza Street, Cartimar Shopping Center, in Pasay City. Here's the map:

Monday, March 03, 2014

Getting Lost and Finding My Way Back

For a while, I got lost in the trails of Timberland while making our way back to the main road coming from Ka Vergel. King was in front, and I didn't see him take a right turn so I went straight.

It was a relatively steep uphill so I was walking my bike. I blew my whistle several times trying to get any response from him to no avail. When I got to the top, he was not there, but I still rode and hoped that he would be waiting for me at the next shade.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Playing with Fonts

I'm thinking that the "Bisikleta.ph" logo using the Impact font is a little bit dated, so I'm playing around with different fonts for the next version.

What do you guys think? Please post your thoughts in the comments section or in our Facebook page. Also, if you have other cool ideas that we can work on, let's collaborate.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Carbon Fibre vs. Steel

OK, so the video isn't exactly a bike part, but it's interesting to see just how strong can an engineered carbon fibre part be compared to its steel counterpart.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Sunday Funday at the Heroes' Trail

It was a nice and easy ride yesterday with the ABS-CBN Sales boys. It was their first time to ride the Heroes' Trail, and I'm more than happy to be their ninong. I warned them that it's short, so if they feel like transfering to the Army Trail after a few laps, I'm all for it.

I think I did about six laps of the 2.13-kilometer loop with lots of rest and kwentuhan in between. Powered by Sausage McMuffin and taho, I did some hard laps and mixed it up with some relaxed ones.

While we did some more laps, the others tried their jumping skills. As you can see from the video, they're not bad at all.

This is such a relaxing way to start the week.

Want to ride this trail, too? I have a blog entry with directions on how to go here plus trail maps and other relevant information.

Monday, February 03, 2014

(Probably) The Biggest Upgrade That I Did

I started the fourth quarter of 2013 with a crazy goal  - to be delicious by December. It's a campaign aimed at being one of the most dashing people in time for my brother's wedding. Yes, it's as simple and as crazy as that - to lose weight with no fancy gimmicks; just good old hard work and sacrifice.

So I ran. I started slow at first - doing about two kilometers per session, but I made it consistent. I ran three to four times a week on our condo treadmill. Soon enough, from walk-runs, I transitioned to three-kilometer runs, and then four kilometers, and then five. I would've biked, but it's not safe to do that at night right after work in our area.

I also controlled my food intake, but not in a drastic and crazy way. I just ate more fruits and vegetables, and stopped the junk. I went for chirashis and sashimis, more than the usual burgers and pizzas. I also used a calorie counter app to see how much I ate and how much I burned.

And it worked. I lost 18 pounds by the wedding day that I had to adjust the belt because my pants would fall off.

Admitedly, it's still far from being delicious. I'm still a clydesdale with still a lot more to go. But with all the weight that I lost, my last two rides at the Heroes' Trail and at Timberland were all awesome: I was able to keep up with the pace, (almost) complete the climb up the steep grades of the blue trail's harder section, and more importantly, finish fresher.

I don't plan on stopping anytime soon now that I'm on a roll. My goal for this year: have a beach-acceptable body in time for Mads' Bali wedding in June, and be sub-200 by Morny's wedding in December.

Let's do this!

Monday, September 09, 2013

The Importance of Breakfast

Mt. Sinai Ride
I just can't stress enough the importance of breakfast before going on a morning ride. Similar to a vehicle, your body needs fuel. A car without petrol stalls when its on empty. A person, on the other hand, bonks.

I've had several brushes at bonking. Believe me, it's not a fun experience. It's like fading into white.

In our ride to Timberland with King and Winston, I chose to ride the basic trail and let the two enjoy Roxas. We agreed to meet by the Araneta gate. My fitness level then (and even up to now) was zilch, and I don't want to force myself and risk my health.

When I arrived at the meeting point, King was climbing up the cement section on his single speed bike. As we parked our bikes, he lost his balance and bonked. I was able to catch him and carry him to a chair. Other bikers helped out. One fanned him with his big towel to give him some air while the other one gave him a banana.

When he recovered, I asked him why he bonked. King is usually the strong, so what happened was so not him. The culprit? He skipped breakfast.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Getting yourself properly fitted to your bike

With more and more people getting into cycling in this country, the more I see people riding their bikes that are not properly fitted to them. The most common is the seatpost height adjustment - either it's set very high or very low.

I saw this very informative video on bike fitting when I was browsing around YouTube. It teaches the basic ways of getting properly fitted to one's bicycle. As I said in the Facebook page, it's not perfect as bike fit is unique per rider, but it does show you the reason behind adjusting a component a certain way. Warning lang: medyo deadma iyong nag-e-explain.

If you like it, share it on your social network feeds and inform others about it.
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