Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Class 2 Rates for Cars with Roof-mounted Bikes is Wrong

UPDATE: This ruling has been revoked already by the management of the NLEX/SCTEX expressways. I also received a tweet that there's a ruling on this by the Toll Regulatory Board, although I've yet to see a copy of that. If you have one, please share.



I received a call yesterday from a friend asking me if I know about the new memo from the Manila North Tollways Corporation on vehicles with bikes mounted on the roof. I thought this issue was put to rest a few years ago with the help of C! Magazine's Editor-in-Chief, James Deakin. Apparently, it's back.

For those of you who are still in the dark, here's the announcement that was posted in the Travel on GREAT ROADS! (NLEX and SCTEX) Facebook page:

While I completely agree that toll fees should be based on their impact to the road, basing it plainly on vehicle height is just stupid. If it's true that vehicles with mounted bikes have higher impact to the road, then shouldn't the charging be the same for those with bikes mounted at the back and even those with bikes inside their cars?

Northerners, we want to visit your place, experience the rides there, get in touch with the locals, and maybe go back again. In our little ways, we can help in building an eco-friendly tourism industry in your area and bring in some much-needed income, but advisories such as the one posted above will significantly hinder this. We need your help to make this right.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Bleeding my Virgin Hydraulic Disc Brake

Freshly-bled brakes
After years of use, it was finally time for me to bring my hydraulic brakes to shop and have it bled. Usually it's Hermie of Velo City who would perform the operation, but he didn't reply to my text this morning. A quick exchange of text messages with All Terra's Edmund Mangaser brought me to their shop in Club 650, Libis.

I knew that my brake needs bleeding when it still felt spongy even after replacing the pads. When I pulled the lever, it was a few millimeters shy of reaching the handlebar before it engaged. That's not a good sign for any type of biker. Thankfully I wasn't on the trail when I discovered this.

According to Dandan, All Terra's mechanic (and mountain bike cross country racer), he needed to add some mineral oil to my brake. I may have "cooked" some after years of use.

A quick web search on the subject revealed this site that had a nice section on brake bleeding. Read it if you have time to know more.

For those who are interested in doing the procedure on their own, I found this very informative video on YouTube:

Now that my brakes are back in shape, I believe a (muddy) mountain bike ride in the IMBA-certified trails of Timberland are in order.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

My Solution to Anatomic's Laziness

I love Anatomic's mountain bike shorts. Introduced in 2000, I've worn them for almost every ride ever since. I actually had two of these, but I lost one in one of our trips to Puerto Galera.

After its introduction to the market, there was no follow through from Anatomic for almost a decade. Every now and then, you will hear rumors about the new mountain bike shorts, but that's it. None made it to the bike shop shelves.

Enter 2010. Anatomic finally introduced their mountain bike shorts. Compared to its predecessor, it was lighter and less baggy. The next generation shorts also didn't have an integrated liner. Instead, it gave the user the option to choose what to wear underneath.

That's not bad, I thought. The rider can always pair it up with the Anatomic cycling underwear, which is like a regular cycling short complete with chamois but using a more ventilated type of fabric. Remember the butas-butas na sando that you wear under your polo in grade school? It's similar to that.

What surprised me was the use of velcro straps over other more logical solutions (i.e., buttons, hook and strap, strings) to attach the waist. In my opinion, that was just plain lazy. I knew right there that I would have a problem when the velcro loses its bite.

Fast forward to today. My prediction came true. After three years of use, the velcro can no longer attach itself securely. At first I thought it must be the fat, but I'm not the only one who experienced this predicament. A lot of my biker friends have the same complaint.

Tired of praying for the velcro not to lose its final grip during a ride, I brought my three pairs of shorts to the alteration shop at the nearby mall and had it fixed once and for all.

Check it out:


I had four buttons installed to securely fasten it. Admittedly, it's a bit overkill (and hard to operate), but it's more secure than two lousy pairs of velcro.

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