Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Brompton goes to Marikina!

Last Sunday, I joined the monthly critical mass ride of the Firefly Brigade.  For February, our trip was to Marikina.

Marikina, my friends, is the only city in Metro Manila with a substantial bike lane network.  Modern and progressive cities like Makati and Taguig have none. Neither do Manila nor Quezon City. So you have to understand how excited I was to find out we were going to Marikina.

We convened in Greenhills, San Juan, at 7:30 in the morning. There were more than 100 bicyclists present, with 26 from Tiklop Society of the Philippines--the group I am affiliated with.

From Greenhills we biked down Ortigas Ave. and turned left on C-5.  After 3 kilometers we turned right on FVR road and entered the Marikina city limits.

Our destination was the Manila Boystown Complex in Barangay Parang, Marikina.  The whole route, from Greenhills to Boystown, was 19.5 kilometers. Here is the bike route:

We entered the Marikina bikeways system alongside FVR Road.  Notice the greenery on the sides?  Those are vegetable patches.  The morning we passed by, there were people farming.  Also, I don't know if you notice, but that's SM Marikina on the far end! : )

To our right is the Marikina river.  The same river that overflowed when Typhoon Ondoy hit the Philippines in September 2009.  It's good the city was able to recover from the tragedy.

One of my concerns with the city's bike path beside the riverbank is that in some parts there are no barriers separating the biker (or jogger) from the river.  A biker can easily fall into the river if he isn't careful.

I think these are one of Mayor Fernando's projects.  She put up statues of animals along the bike path to spruce up the scenery. : )

The bike lane, as you can see, is quite narrow.  We had to share it with opposing bike traffic, joggers and other pedestrians.

Leaving the Marikina River, the bike lane continues on to the city streets.  Still narrow though.

This is me in front of Marikina City Hall.  Behind me is fellow Tiklop member and our resident physician, Doctor Arman Lee, parking his Black Flamingo folding bike.

Marikina's bikeways even have bridges specifically built for bikes.

This is the bike lane entering a residential community.  To the right is a tributary (stream) of the Marikina River.

We passed through the back of houses...
and backyards.

In this section of the network, the bike path is cemented.  The demarkation lines are visible and clear.  BUT, there are no railings on the right side.  And trust me, you DO NOT want to fall into the stream because it is filled with GARBAGE.  Eeeeeewwwww! : (

At least in this part of the network, the city government installed railings.

When we arrived in Boystown, there was a short program where the Firefly Brigade donated some used bicycles to the kids.  From there, the group separated in going back to Greenhills.  I went with Al Castillo and Abel Lazona.  We biked to the Santolan Station of LRT-2 Line.  We were tired and it was excruciating hot.  And we decided to take our bikes on the train so we could rest and get to Greenhills faster.

Here is Brommie Skywalker with Abel's Baby G, waiting inside the station.

New Tiklopers, Lia and Raul (or Mach), followed us with their respective folding bikes (a Dahon and Flamingo).  Notice Raul carrying the Dahon up the escalator. : )

Our folding bikes waiting for the next train back to San Juan.  Lia's Dahon, Dennis' Strida, Raul's Flamingo, Al's Dahon Classic and Abel's and my Brompton. : )

Brommie Skywalker about to board the next train.

The good thing about folding bikes is that they are allowed on LRT-1 and LRT-2.  So you can use your folding bike in your multi-modal commute.  Bike to the station.  Hop on a train.  Then bike to your next destination.  Although, the current LRTA policy is to limit it to 4 bikes per train.

Here are our bikes inside the passenger coach.  Dahon Classic and two Bromptons.

We got off at Gilmore Station and biked our way back to Greenhills in San Juan.

It was a great bike ride.  It gave me the opportunity to try out the bike lane network of Marikina city.  It's cemented and properly painted.  Plus, the view of the Marikina river is fantastic.  There is room for improvement, like installing railings or barriers in areas where one could fall into the river. Also, may be the  city can widen some lanes to accommodate joggers.  But over-all, considering it is the only LGU with a bike lane network, Marikina did an awesome job.  I would love to come back another day.

I hope some day, other LGUs would follow suit.  I can imagine a bike lane network in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig.  That would be a nice place to have 'em.

And may be in Laoag, Baguio, Cebu and Davao, too!


  1. Nice entry Kris! Ronx here, fellow tiklopista from TSP :D

    That MRT2 shot with your folding bike is a classic. It's as if a folding bike user's trip via the MRT2 isn't complete without that kind of shot hehehe!

    And yes, I'm quite grateful to Marikina City, especially to former mayor BF and Marides for leading the way in having our first ever extensive bike network. I hope others like Makati follow suit.

  2. Thanks, Ronx!

    People can say whatever they want about Mayor BF, but at least the guy had a vision and political will to have a real, honest to goodness bike network!

  3. Hi! Is there a local distributor/dealer of the Brompton folding bike?

  4. Hi, Carina!

    Unfortunately, Brompton does not have an authorized distributor/ dealer/reseller here in the Philippines.

    Most owners get their Bromptons from overseas like in Singapore (Diginexx), Hong Kong (Flying Ball), Taiwan (Lane & Trip), the US or directly from England.

    Others are lucky enough to buy 2nd hand in Malabon.

    But I did hear about a Pinoy who might bring Bromptons into Laoag from Singapore. I will blog about it if I get confirmation.

    Good luck!

  5. Hello, I like your images and I notice the Dahon classic (16" wheel I believe). I'm thinking looking for 2 Dahon classic/vintage, 16" to travel, but I want to know how was the fitting in a 62 inch total combined size luggage, and not over 50 lbs? I've been looking everywhere if someone could show images of this and maybe little parts taken apart. Please share any information as I'm looking forward for my first international trip. Thanks! :)

    1. Hi, Pix. My friend's advice is not to travel with the Dahon classic. According to him the bike is too bulky and clumsy. Better to travel with newer and lighter Dahons. Hope this helps!