Friday, October 29, 2010

Taking the Apple and Starbucks experience to the Bike Shop

I have this vision of an experiential bike shop where you're greeted warmly by one of the staff members, who knows your name; where there is ample room for you to be able to see and feel each bike model; where you can actually do a few laps in the backyard testing area; where there are mechanics who know your bike's history and actually know what they're doing.

I'm sure this idea is not unique, but sadly I haven't seen this with the local shops. Admittedly there are some glimpses here and there, but none offer the full experience I'm looking for.

In the future, perhaps.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mobile Bike Mechanic anyone?

After my muddy Camp Aguinaldo ride yesterday, my bike is now stored in our condo's second room, waiting for to be cleaned. Because of this I came by this idea: wouldn't it be great if, similar to a bike messenger, you can call a mechanic to clean and tune your bike at the very comfort of your own home? I envision him coming with a bike wash set-up, a compact bike stand, tools, lubricants, and some replacement parts (brake pads, shifter and brake cables, housings and chains). Wouldn't that be awesome?

Hmmm. Maybe I can start a bike business like that. What do you guys think? Leave message in the comment box below!

Monday, October 25, 2010

I fell in the Muddy Camp Aguinaldo Mountain Bike Trail

The Camp Aguinaldo Bike Ride
We were going through the tree section. We weren't even going fast. I think GJ and I were talking about the seven-minute record lap time in Aguinaldo, when all of sudden my front tire lost traction and slipped on a root. I wasn't able to react on time. Kablag! I went down as if some invisible Jack just chopped the beanstalk I was riding.

I wasn't badly hurt; it was just some minor bruise on my left arm, but somehow after that fall I lost my confidence level. I wasn't able to ride well for the whole session. Bummer.

I'm talking, of course, of the wonderful Camp Aguinaldo trails. Remember what I told you before that this would be great trail for beginners? Well, that is if the trail is dry. I rode it this morning and it would certainly be a challenge even for intermediate riders with all the mud. If you have mud tires, better install them before you head here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What's Important Is That You Ride

It doesn't matter how long your ride is. It can be a whole epic day in the mountains of Marigondon or just a couple of pedal strokes to the sari-sari store at the corner for a bottle of vinegar. What's important is that you ride your bike.

I went to All Terra this afternoon to check with Edmund on the price of the local Road ID knockoff. I was thinking of making it part of our package once a person becomes a member. I could've called or texted; I could've taken the car, but instead I opted to ride my bike.

Yes it was closed. I forgot that it was a Sunday.

That was fun!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Cleaning the Bike
I woke up at 4:00 in the morning today, picked up Omel in Alabang and drove all the way to Batangas City for a special get-together with old friends.

Our ride route today wasn't that great. In all honesty its just an afternoon ride route to us when I was stationed there before. From Eric's carwash we pedaled to Gulod, Dalig, and San Pedro before we headed back to the City. What made it special was the people I was with. An old buddy who works in the Middle East was in town for a short visit. It was no other than Nilo Palomar.

He invited us over to his house for a few rounds of pancit guisado, dinuguan and Coke, coupled with a lively discussion on his concerns and his vision with the group we all loved. At this point I cannot say anything more but I want to say that I think there's finally light at the end of the tunnel. I'm praying that this will make it work.

Stay tuned.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Sunset Ride Tomorrow, anyone? The Unilab Bike United Event

Check out the mom! Isn't she hot? Hahahahaha!
It sounded like quite a lovely affair - you, together with nine hundred cyclists (give or take), riding off into the sunset on a Saturday afternoon. Weather permitting, of course. That's just one of the events in tomorrow's Bike United - the first in a series of three sporting events organized by Unilab. There will also be a road criterium, a dual stunt and a bike clinic for kids.

I'm actually thinking of going but I haven't registered yet and from what I've heard, it's already closed. But who knows, maybe I can crash and just join the fun ride.

Looking into the line-up of events, I was hoping they would use the mountain bike tracks in the nearby Army Reserve area for a nice cross country race. In that way there would've been something for the roadies, the cross country riders, the dirt jumpers and the kids. But I guess it's hard to get permission from the Army guys. Perhaps next year.

For tomorrow's ride, might as well be prepared. Aside from bringing the usual gear (helmets, water/hydration pack, food, repair kit and money), it would be wise to bring blinkers, lights and reflectors in case it finishes late. You know naman - you can never can tell.

Interested to know more? Visit the Unilab Active Health site now.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Stand on the MMDA's Proposed Odd-Even Scheme: Give me my bike lane!

I just read from my Twitter feed that instead of having the current number coding scheme (a.k.a. color coding), the MMDA is thinking of implementing an odd-even scheme. That means that, for example, a car with a license plate ending in 5 will not be allowed on the streets of Metro Manila three times a week versus the current once a week scheme.

Well, according to the official MMDA twitter account it's still a proposal. So it's not going to be implemented. Not yet, at least. At any rate, I'm OK with that if it will ease the traffic but I have one request - that they give me a safe area where I can bike or walk to work.

I don't think that's too much to ask, right? So here's a guy who's willing to leave his car in the garage and just bike to work. That's one less car. That's one less street space. That's one less air polluter. The least that the government can do is reward him by giving him a safe way to get to where he wants to go. Seems like a fair deal.

Reading what I just wrote, I'm sure someone in the high offices of the MMDA would say that the roads are safe now. Well, I'm willing to ride to work with him so that he'll get a first hand experience of the situation. I'll be his bike buddy. I'll even lend him a bike. The deal is he shouldn't wear anything that says he's a person of power (no MMDA shirts) and that we leave his house at a reasonable time (i.e., not at two in the morning).

What do you guys think?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Run for Pasig Bike Ride

That's me on the right - Big Fat Blue Boy!

Ano 'ka mo, Run for Pasig pero bike ride? Yes, you read that right.

My original plan was to do the 3-kilometer run for today's 10.10.10 event in support of the rehabilitation of the Pasig river. Then I received an email from the boys from Sales asking me if I'm interested to join them. Their plan was simple - park the car in Bonifacio High Street and then ride our bikes to the Mall of Asia to watch the runners. Not bad. (Besides, they closed the registration already.)

So that was my ride this morning.

In hindsight, I'm glad that I opted to ride the bike instead doing the run. There were lots of people and finding a place to park your car was a nightmare.

Don't forget to bring a presta-to-shraeder adapter

If you bought your bike in a bike shop, there's a big chance that you're using presta tire valves. What's a presta valve and how is it different from the valve commonly used by cars, you ask? The image below illustrates it nicely:

As you can see, it would be very difficult to pump air into your tires with presta valves using the normal air compressors found in gasoline stations. That's why we bring our own pumps whenever we ride. But sometimes things don't go according to plan, and this is the reason why I'm recommending that you bring a presta-to-shraeder valve adapter. Here's what it looks like:

It's less than a hundred pesos a pop and it can probably save you the hassle of looking for a ride home. It's available in most bike shops.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Give a bike to a kid with cancer this Christmas

My wife shared with me the Christmas wishlist of kids with cancer. She got it from James Auste of the Cancer Warriors Foundation. There were a lot of items listed there, but what got my attention were the wishes of around 14 kids who wanted to get bikes this Christmas.

I messaged my friend Benji of Joven Bikes and asked her how much a kid's bike costs. According to her, a kid's bike is about P1,500 to P1,900 each while a mountain bike is about P2,800 to P5,500.

Not bad. A pair of titanium skewers costs more than that, right?

So here's the list. We need the following:

1 bike for an 8 year old
1 bike for a 4 year old
2 bikes for 2 year olds
2 bikes for 3 year olds
3 bikes for 6 year olds
1 bike for a 10 year old
and 4 mountain bikes for the teenagers.

Of course it's not enough to give them just bikes. We also need to give them a helmet, at least. As to how much this costs, I'm still waiting for Benj's response.

It's perfectly OK if you want to help but cannot shoulder the whole amount. We already have someone who's giving P500.00. That's 1/3 of a bike already. :)

And if you have a bike that you'd like to donate, so much the better!

If you're interested in gifting a kid a bike this Christmas, please do get in touch with me. Leave a message in the comment box below with your contact details, text me at 0917-883-3433, or email me at jovan (at) philippinecycling (dot) com.

UPDATE: It's complete now thanks to your generosity!
Ernie Imperial is giving three kiddie bikes
Jerald Tan Gutierrez is giving one kiddie bike
Vic Manlapaz, Maricel del Mundo and Tere Navarro is giving one kiddie bike
Kay del Rosario is giving one kiddie bike
Paulo Salome is giving one kiddie bike
I'm giving one kiddie bike
Cely Co is giving one bike
Jaja Suarez is giving one mountain bike
Goyo Larrazabal is giving two mountain bikes

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

When a patch kit isn't just a patch kit

I left the office and thought I should drop by the bike shop nearby and get myself a new patch kit.

It's very rare that I actually use up the whole kit. Most of the time, the glue would dry up before I get to use all the patches.

Everything went smoothly as buying patch kit should - enter the shop, ask for a patch kit, and then pay for it.

But the problem with going to the bike shop just to buy a patch kit is, most of the time, it turns out to be not just a patch kit. And that's what happened to me today.

I saw this gorgeous chain cleaner from Park Tools and I knew right then that I should get one. It's been almost a decade since I had one. After it developed cracks, I retired it and settled with the usual dishwashing liquid and a used toothbrush.

I also got a bottle of Pedro's Degreaser to go along with this new acquisition.

The damage? From the planned P80.00 patch kit, it became P1,500.

Oh well. :)

Chain Cleaner and Degreaser

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Some Realizations from the Livestrong Day Ride

That's me with the flabby arms!
  1. That I missed riding the bike. After months of running instead of pedaling,  (WARNING: Mushy words ahead!) yesterday felt like I was being reunited with an old friend.
  2. Don't ever leave your wallet at home for a bike ride. I packed everything in the Camelbak, including a foldable jacket in case it rains, but I forgot my wallet where my money and identification cards are. I was glad that Rommel Capati, my old biking friend from Batangas, was there to lend me some cash to register to the event.
  3. The foldable jacket was great because it kept me warm and relatively dry when it rained (I was wearing a sleeveless Livestrong shirt). I kinda wished I had waterproof shorts, though, because my butt was wet and the chamois padding was squishy.
  4. Always inspect your bike before a ride. We were already in UP when I noticed that the "wings" of my 6 year-old Crank Brothers Eggbeaters were broken. That would've been disastrous if it was in La Mesa. Because of this I had to take a trip to Extreme Bike Shop in the afternoon to buy a new pair.
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