Friday, July 1, 2011


My bike riding group here in Manila is Tiklop Society of the Philippines (or TSP).  I joined them about August last year during one of the critical mass rides organized by the Firefly Brigade. The TSP members I first met were Paul Siochi, Froilan Guevarra, Arman and Mia Lee, Abel Lazona and Ricky Cosai.  I didn't know them from Adam, except that they rode folding bikes. 

Back then I was still using my Dahon Jack--a folding bike with 26" wheels.  Despite its standard size, I didn't feel comfortable riding that bike with either mountain bikers or road racers.  I felt out of place with those bicyclists.

Buti na lang may TSP! 

Because my bike was essentially a folding bike, I ended up riding with Paul, Arman and the others that day.  And that was that! I instantly became a member of TSP!  No application form. No entry fee. No qualifying bike ride. Nothing! They immediately accepted me into their fold (pun intended) like I was their long lost friend.

So, since August 2010, and in all rides of the Firefly Brigade, I bike with TSP.  Our group eventually grew bigger and bigger and I got to make other friends including Pio and Ethel Fortuno, Ruth Rodriguez, Papa Rocky, Pia Faustino, Diane Flaviano, Dennis Ng, Lisa Camara, Lawrence Tan, Mike Donadilla, Mark Mortel, Arnel Andal, Larry Perico, Brznf Yu,  and my kababayans Al and Dhine Castillo. 

We come from all walks of life: From bank managers to doctors; photographers to entrepreneurs; businessmen to retired military officers; both professionals and students; young and old; men and women; you name it, our group is diverse as it gets.

And we ride all kinds of folding bikes: Dahon, Peerless, Doppelganger, Strida, Brompton, Flamingo, Giant, Orbea, Bike Friday, Jaguar, Chevrolet, Codi, Japanese Surplus, whatever--basta nati-tiklop pwede. There's no bike discrimination in TSP.  And like I said, no application form, no entry fee and no initiation whatsoever.  As long as you own a folding bike and you want to ride with us, just ride with us.  That's it!

Aside from sharing the same passion for folding bikes, there are other reasons why I enjoy riding with TSP.  First, I like the pacing of our bike rides.  It's relaxed.  Not too fast, and yet not too slow (from 15 to 20kph)--just the right speed.  I appreciate it also that we wait for one other and we don't leave people behind.  Second, I like the places we go to.  I mean I don't need to drive 25 kilometers to San Mateo, Rizal to use my mountain bike, or 55 kilometers to Tagaytay so that I can ride my road bike.  No. Most of the time, TSP rides are right here in Metro Manila!  We've explored Intramuros and Binondo; Glorietta and Greenbelt; Greenhills adn Tiendesitas; QC Circle and UP Diliman; Bonifacio High Street; Malabon, Navotas and Marikina.  Lately, we've travelled as far as Bulacan in the north and Laguna in the south.  It's great because we can bike as far as we want. When we get tired, we just fold our bikes and board a bus to go home (You can't do that on a regular bike).  Finally, and most importantly, I ride with TSP because I like the people in TSP.  They're generally friendly and helpful.  What can I say, whenever I ride with them I don't feel like I'm just riding with acquaintances who I see every Sunday morning.  No.  I feel like I'm riding with family.  While we bike, we get to talk about everything under the sun: current events, our work and our problems.  I even get to consult with some of them every so often.  Most of the time though, we talk about bike upgrades! We call this sickness 'Folderitis.' (More on this next time) Nevertheless, the important thing is we talk.  And conversations always make the journey shorter. 

So I'd like to dedicate this entry to my friends in Tiklop Society of the Philippines

Thank you for (almost) one year of fun rides around the metropolis!  May we have more adventurous bike rides in the future! 

Thank you for (almost) one year of friendship and camaraderie!  May our folding bike tribe increase! And may we continue influencing other people to leave their cars and go by bike!

Cheers! Cheers! Cheers!