Monday, January 31, 2011

Review: Brooks B-17

One of the first upgrades I made on my folding bike was to replace the standard Brompton saddle with my Brooks B-17.  

In fairness to Brompton, their standard saddle is actually a new design.  One of the changes the folks at Brompton did was to put a plastic moulded grip under the saddle nose, which would provide comfort to the person carrying the bike.

Brompton's stock saddle with saddle bag

Still, I replaced it with the B-17 because Brooks saddles supposedly give a more comfortable ride.  They say the leather moulds or conforms to the rider after some time.

My black Brooks B-17 saddle 

The Brooks saddle attached to Pentaclip with CatEye rear light

One of the drawbacks of the Brooks saddle, though, is because it's made of leather, if it rains, I have to place a waterproof nylon cover over it to protect it from water.

Also, I have to apply Proofide leather-dressing to protect and "keep the leather supple."

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Brompton is for commuting to the office!

Ditch your car. 
You can ride your folding bike to work!
(Just don't forget your helmet!)

Another cool bike commercial from our friends at NYCeWheels!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Video: Wai Mun's Brompton

Freewheelers produced a video about Mr. Wai Mun's decision to commute using his Brompton folding bike, and how this has changed his life.

Happy Viewing!!!

                             Wai Mun's Brompton

Monday, January 24, 2011

Electric Brompton Bike

Electric assisted bikes are not for everyone.  Some say the electric motor takes away the fundamental nature of a bike, which is human powered transportation.  In a way that view is correct.  Nag-bike ka pa.  Mag-Honda Wave ka na lang, di ba?

But electric bikes may be okay for some situations.  Let's say a senior citizen who wants to continue biking, but his legs are not that strong like before.  Or if you live in a hilly area where there are many steep climbs.

If electric bikes are your thing, this is how it would look like on a Brompton.  But be prepared to be set back by another P50,000.00 for the upgrade.

video courtesy of and youtube.

Friday, January 21, 2011

How to properly fold a Brompton

Last week, I posted a video on how NOT to fold a Brompton.  Incorrect folding may result in damaging or scratching your bike.

This week, Peter of NYCeWheels shares with us the proper way of how to fold and unfold the Brompton.

Happy weekend!  Go out and ride your bike!

Thursday, January 20, 2011 on the Brompton

Ecovelo is one of the bike blogs that I follow because it talks about the bike as a means of transportation.  The bikes featured in this blog are not mountain bikes, road bikes or triathlon bikes.  Rather, Ecovelo talks everything that has to deal with commuter bikes.  You know, the ones with fenders, chain protectors, kickstands, rear racks and baskets?!  The bike brands discussed here include Torker, Civia and Breezer!

Folding bikes are considered commuter bikes because they're primarily used to go to school, to work or to the grocery.  In this post, Ecovelo talks about the beauty of one such folding bike, the Brompton.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Installed Panaracer Flat-Aways in my Brompton's Schwalbe tires

In last weekend's bike ride, Iso-Link co-founder/inventor, Arnel Andal, told me about Panaracer's Flat-Away.  It's a tire liner that's supposed to bombproof your bike from getting flats and punctures.  It's made of Kevlar and supposed to be light.  For more information about this product, visit the Panaracer website.

So the other day, when I had the time, I passed by Tryon in JP Rizal, Makati.  They had the Flat-Away in stock.  There are two models: One for Road bikes, and one for MTB/BMX.  I had the MTB/BMX, which is broader, installed on my Brompton's Schwalbe tires.
Panaracer Flat-Away installation at Tryon in Makati.

I thought it was P500.00 for a pair.  Apparently, it's P500.00 per tire.  So the whole installation set me back by P1,000.00.  Kinda costly for felt tape, but Arnel swore by it.  He said he hasn't had a puncture since installing them in his Brompton.

We'll see.

For more information on how to install the Panaracer Flat-Away, visit GearInches Flataway Review.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bringing my Brompton in the MRT

Commuting by bike is not easy in Metro Manila.  That’s probably why so few people do it.  There are no bike lanes, whether painted, separated or segregated.  We compete for the same space on the road as cars, buses, trucks, tricycles and motorbikes.  So, the name of the game is defensive biking.  We have to be wary of motor vehicles zooming past us on both sides.  Helmets and good brakes are a must!
No bike lanes in Metro Manila.

Then there’s the problem of bike parking.  Very few malls have designated parking facilities for bikes.  And to those with bike parking, the stalls are located at an obscure place (i.e. at the back, down in the basement, etc.) when it should be in view of a lot of people to discourage stealing.  It’s scary to park your P20,000.00 commuter bike or P60,000.00 mountain bike.  One should really invest in two solid bike locks or else face the consequence of losing your bike after a date at Starbucks.  Luckily, Bromptons can be folded and brought in the mall.

We also have to deal with the smoke.  Metro Manila has one of the highest level of pollution in the world.  So, if you don’t wear a face mask, then be prepared to breath in the Manila smog.

As for multi-modal commuting, you can load your folding bike in buses and taxis, it’s no problem.  As far as I’m concerned, bus/cab drivers don’t charge extra.  However, you will have a hard time loading folding bikes in tricycles, pedicabs and jeepneys because of the small space available.

Metro Manila has 3 rail lines.  LRT 1 traverses Baclaran (Pasay) to North EDSA (Quezon City), while LRT 2 serves the Doroteo Jose (Manila) to Santolan (Marikina) route.  Both lines allow folding bikes in their trains.  MRT, which runs along EDSA, sadly does not.  My friends over at Tiklop Society of the Philippines are working, as we speak, for this rule to be overturned.
Yellow Line is LRT 1.  Purple Line is LRT 2.  Blue Line is MRT.

Speaking of the MRT, last Sunday, I had a mini-bike ride scheduled in Greenhills.  So, I biked 8 kms from my place to MRT-Magallanes Station.  Although I knew bikes were still not allowed in MRT, I tried my luck.  I folded my Brompton and covered it with the black nylon cover.  I went up the station and faced the security guard at the entrance.  He asked me what was beneath the cover.  I unzipped it and told him it was a folding bike, nonchalantly.  Well, whadduyahknow, he allowed Brommie Skywalker in!!!!
Brommie Skywalker hiding under his cloak as the MRT train passes by.

I think he didn’t mind because it was 6 in the morning, on a Sunday, and there were a few commuters.

I got off at MRT-Annapolis Station.  Biked to Greenhills Shopping Center and joined the monthly critical mass ride (CMR) of the Firefly Brigade.

From San Juan we biked 11 kilometers to Chinatown in Binondo, Manila.  
Brommie Skywalker with other tiklops in front of San Lorenzo Ruiz Church in Binondo.

My Tiklop buddies and I had brunch in Tasty Dumplings.  Abel suggested pork chop rice. Not a bad deal for P99.00.
Porkchop Rice at Tasty Dumplings in Chinatown.

Tiklops inside Tasty Dumplings.

After eating, the group biked back to San Juan.  I broke away from them and biked 11.5 kms back to Makati via Roxas Blvd.

Monday, January 17, 2011

How NOT to fold a Brompton

Bromptons can be folded in less than 20 seconds.  Some owners can even fold it in less than 15 seconds.  

There is a correct way to fold it.  

This is NOT the way.

Friday, January 14, 2011

What kind of folding bikes are available in Manila and where can you get them

Since starting this blog, many have asked me where they can buy a Brompton or a folding bike here in Manila.  Unfortunately, Brompton bikes are not sold locally.  Fellow Bromptonauts get their bikes from Singapore (Diginexx), Taiwan (Lane & Trip), Hongkong (Flyingball), the US or the UK.  There are a few others who were able to buy a second-hand Brompton here, but that's very rare.
But Bromptons are not the only folding bikes available out there.  There are various bike brands that produce decent folding bikes.  I will list those that I know are available.

The closest to the folding style of a Brompton is the Flamingo bike.  The story goes, a few years ago Brompton licensed a bike manufacturer in Taiwan to produce Bromptons for the asian market.  However, there was some sort of misunderstanding and they had a falling out.  The Taiwanese company, with the technology it learned from Brompton, started producing Merc bikes.  Brompton sued the company, Grace Gallant, and their case is still pending in court. Meanwhile, the Merc brand has resurfaced as Flamingos.
I have friends who own Flamingo bikes and they are beautiful.  They modified the original Brompton design to make it better.  For example, Brompton's regular frame is made of steel. Flamingo uses aluminum.  Also, Flamingo bikes cost a lot less than Bromptons. The dealer of Flamingo bikes can be reached at 09172451625.
Flamingo bikes fold the same way Bromptons fold and are shinier and lighter!

Dahon is the biggest manufacturer of folding bikes in the world.  They have the largest selection of models and designs.  Entry level bikes start out at P14,000.00 with the Eco 3, and go as far up as P60,000 with the Speed Pro TT.
This is the Dahon Eco 3.  
This is how most folding bikes are folded.

Dahon bikes are available at:
Recreational Outdoor Exchange
B1 ROX Building, Bonifacio High Street, Taguig
South Ave. cor. JP Rizal Ave., Makati
Greenhills Shopping Center
Unit G-Strip, Ortigas ave., San Juan
484 G. Araneta Ave., QC
Or you can go directly to the supplier via Facebook (type: Dahon Ph).
Giant Bicycles is the biggest bike manufacturer in the world.  They produce a wide range of bikes, from Mountain Bikes to Road Bikes to Recreational Bikes, and of course, Folding Bikes.  Starting price for a Giant folding bike is P12,000.00.  Like Dahon bikes, they fold at the middle of the top tube making the fold not that compact compared to the Brompton.
This is the Giant Halfway.

Giant folding bikes are available in most bike shops, including R.O.X., Lifecycle, Paulina's, and Tryon.

Peerless is a folding bike manufacturer based in China.  Like Dahon and Giant, the fold is at middle of the top tube.  Owners say some Peerless bikes are of higher quality and have better components than Dahon bikes. Starting price for a Peerless is P7,000.00 with the Barchetta.
This is the Peerless Libero.  

Peerless bikes are available through its supplier here in the Philippines.  If you're interested, visit the supplier's blog for more details on how to purchase this kind of bike.

Strida bikes have a different kind of fold.  From what I know, it has the fastest fold!  They are slim and light, but the problem with this type of bike is that they do not have a lot of gears. Either single speed or 2 gears. That's too little for me. But you'd be surprised, many Striders pass me during bike commutes. For many of them, the one gear  is enough.
This is the Strida 5.0.  
This is how the Strida bike is folded.  It's slim, but not that compact.

The dealer of Flamingo bikes sometimes stock Strida bikes.  Contact him for more details. Cutting Edge at SM Malls sell Stridas, but they place a high mark-up, so I suggest going straight to the dealer.

There are other folding bikes out there like Bike Friday, and Montague but they are not readily available in the Philippines.  Many Japanese Surplus Stores also sell refurbished folding bikes for as low as P2,000.00. Reputable brands include Jaguar and Bridgestone. 

Still want a Brompton?  Help me convince Brompton to authorize a dealership here in the Philippines.  Write them at Brompton UK.

Happy riding!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Brompton Commercial

This is a cool TV commercial about the Brompton bicycle.  Enjoy!

It's why the Brompton is considered one of the best folding bikes in the world!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mini Bike Tour of Legazpi, Albay

On my first day in Legazpi I was just able to go to the mall to have breakfast.  Had my photo taken with the bellboys of Hotel Venezia, who were very helpful in giving me directions going around town.

I proceeded to Pacific Mall.  It was drizzling. 

What I like about the roads of Legazpi is that they have a dedicated lane for parked vehicles, passenger loading, and bikes.  It means I don’t need to compete for space with cars and other vehicles on their lane.

Pacific Mall is about 3 kilometers away from the airport and Hotel Venezia. It’s a pretty decent mall with a department store, some shops and restaurants. I remember seeing Max’s, Mcdonalds, Jollibee and Shakeys.  

I had breakfast in Bigg’s Diner.


Afterwards, I strolled around the mall with my folded bike in tow. I went to Metro Gaisano to buy some rags.  A security guard stopped me from entering and required me to leave the helmet first (and there was a sign!), for whatever reason.  So I did, but I got to bring my bike in the department store.  Go figure.

I biked back to the hotel to dress up for a wedding I was to attend in Misibis Bay.  Too bad, I couldn’t bring the bike with me.

The next morning, I was pleased to see the sun shine outside my window. The sky was not completely blue because there were still some clouds lurking, but I’d take that kind of weather over heavy rain.  At last, I thought, I could push through with my planned mini-bike tour of Legazpi. 

Since time was of the essence, I took the advice of Neil the doorman to take a cab going to Cagsawa Ruins.  P75 for the fare and P50 for the pick-up fee.  When I got to Cagsawa I was not happy to see the peak of Mayon Volcano still covered by clouds.  Aaarrggggghh!!!

Pero andun na ako eh.  Ano pa gagawin ko, di ba?

While taking in the view, a teenager approached me and offered pictures of Mayon.  I politely declined whatever he was selling, but I commissioned him to be my photographer. 

Brompton Skywalker at the Cagsawa Ruins 

I swear, that's Mayon Volcano behind the clouds! 

 Insert Mayon Volcano in the background.

 There used to be a cemetery here.

He made me do some funny and cheesy poses.  I was reluctant to do them, but he was so persistent.  So, here they are.  Forgive me.

 Look at me, I'm a giant... and so is my Brompton.

I'll just make this belltower my personal wall to rest after a tiring day of mayhem, causing panic and destruction in the city.

Anyway, I was informed that if you visit Legazpi this time of year, the best time to view Mount Mayon in Cagsawa is from 5 to 6 in the morning.  Dahil wala pa daw clouds pag ganung oras.

After having my fill of the ruins, the cross and the cloud-covered volcano, I unfolded my Brompton and biked back to town.  The road was mostly down hill, so biking was a breeze.

On my way, I passed by another Legazpi landmark: Lignon Hill.  I thought the climb up to the top wouldn’t be that bad since it was just a hill.  I was wrong.  Half-way up, I got down my bike and just walked it.  Di ko kinaya.

Lignon Hill is a good place to visit when in Legazpi because you can take great photos of Mayon Volcano from another vantage point.  Unfortunately, at that time, the clouds were still resting over Mayon.  Sigh.  Anyway, they have a zip-line there.  P250 sit-down, and P350 for superman pose.  Some guy, Darwin Mayor, tried to sell to me an ATV package for P1,800 per ATV which could carry 2 people.

Lignon Hill

Halfway through the climb, I gave up biking.   

 Again, that is supposed to be Mayon Volcano in the background.

Overlooking downtown Legazpi City.

From Lignon Hill, I proceeded to Legazpi City Proper (about 5 kms).  I went to Embarcadero, a mall facing the Legazpi waterfront.  It’s a fairly new development.  They have Mercury Drug Store, Gerry’s Grill, Bigg's Diner, La Mia Tazza, Kitaro, Harbor Wok, Cinderella, Plains & Prints, Fila and some other stores.

Legaspi Waterfront

Embarcadero de Legazpi

It's a mall!

View of the Legazpi City Port

Of all places in the country, Embarcadero had Segways!  And they were renting them out!  In Misibis Bay, the rent was P2,000 per hour!  But here, the rent was a lot less.  I just wanted to see how it rode, so I rented a Segway for 5 minutes for P75—not a bad deal.

Riding a Segway PT

Had to leave the mall to catch my flight.  Passed by the Battle of Legazpi monument on my way back to the hotel.

Biked back to Hotel Venezia (around 4 kms).  Cleaned and packed my bike for my return trip to Manila.

Over-all, I believe it was a successful first out-of-town trip for my bike, Brommie Skywalker.  Except for some minor paint chipping on the frame, the bike came back okay.

I plan on taking it on another mini-bike tour this summer.  This time in the Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB).