Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Video: Expedition by bike and boat to north Britain

This is a cool video about 2 guys who travel to the northern tip of Britain (the Shetland Islands) using Brompton bikes and inflatable boats. Ang galing! I wish I could do that going to Batanes or to Corregidor Island, but I'm afraid of the water.

Personally, though, I don't know if it's such a good idea to expose the bikes to seawater (as you can see in the film, the bikes are placed in front of the boats, not covered or protected).

Folding bikes are so versatile. You can take them wherever you go.  : )

Monday, August 29, 2011

Puma folding bikes in HMR!

The family went to HMR over at Pioneer corner Reliance Streets in Mandaluyong City yesterday (Sunday) to buy a kiddie bike for my daughter (We did! for only PhP 990.00) and I noticed the store was selling these brand-new Puma Folding Bikes.

First up is the Pico at only PhP 15,900.00. It retails at $700.00 or PhP 29,400.00. It has small wheels and folds.
This is another Pico bike with a different color combination. The bike only comes in one size.
Next I saw this elegant white Disko folding bike which HMR was selling at PhP 19,900.00. Originally it costs $970.00 or PhP 40,700.00 in the US.
Last I saw was the Nevis Man with a ticket price of PhP 14,900. It's $725 or PhP 30,500 in the Puma website. It is a full-sized commuter bike and does not fold.
If you want a folding bike, but not the typical Dahon or Peerless style, these Puma bikes might be for you. When I was in HMR, there were still about 10+ boxes of these bikes.

DISCLAIMER: Author or any of his relatives to the 2nd degree are neither officers nor employees of HMR Philippines, and do not stand to gain anything from the sale of the above-mentioned goods. This is NOT a paid advertisement.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Preview: Totobobo air filter mask

My friend Al went to Singapore last month and purchased a Totobobo "anti-pollution" mask.
He told me about it and I asked him to get me one pair also. The mask I got, the SuperCool, costs $25 (or PhP1,100.00). It is supposed to filter air 135 fold. Meaning to say, if you use the mask here in Metro Manila, the Totobobo mask will allow you to breath all the polluted air coming from smoke-belching motor vehicles without worry because the air is going to be cleaned down to 0.3 micron!
I plan to use my Totobobo SuperCool mask next week. I will share my product review soon. For more information about this air filter mask, check out

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Brompton World Championship 2011

Judging from the interviews, the Brompton World Championship this year was a hard course. Look at all the footages of riders lying on the grass.

Do hope the Philippines will have a representative next year.

Here's a link to the race from the point of view of a rider. Ang ganda ng course!

BWC 2011 - The Whole Race

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Farewell, Isabela

I meant the Province of Isabela, not a person named Isabela. (Don't want to get in trouble with the missus, if you know what I mean)

My course in Basic Mediation ended after 4 days. 
So after the closing ceremonies, I biked back to the hotel, packed my bags, paid my bill and checked out.
Checking out of Hotel Andrea
Proceeded to a cheap motel where I waited the day out. I repacked the Brompton for the long journey back home.
I'm going home to my daughter, Alicia
At 10pm, I took a tricycle to the bus stop over at PNB Cauayan-Maharlika Highway and waited for my ride. Boarded the Florida sleeper bus at 11pm.
Waiting for the bus to go back to Manila
Inside the sleeper bus of Florida Trans.
My folding bike took a beating on this trip, using different modes of transportation. It rode an airplane that flew 480 kms. north to Tuguegarao. Then boarded a UV Express van 110 kms. south to Cauayan. Transferred to a tricycle to go to a hotel. Finally, after a week of bike commuting, Brommie went back to Manila via busBut lo and behold, it survived and is still in one piece! Good times!

Until the next bike trip!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My Bike Commute in Cauayan, Isabela

I was in Cauayan, Isabela (a city 350 kms. north of Manila) for 5 days to attend a seminar, and I brought with me my Brompton M6L to commute around town.

Cauayan City is not so different from my hometown of Laoag. There are a lot of tricycles plying the streets. There's a city hall. And next to it there's a church--here it's called Our Lady of the Pillar parish church. There's a public market. There are the usual banks. There's a Mercury drugstore. And as for the fastfood selection, there's a Chowking, a Greenwich, and a couple of Jollibees. 

The new Cauayan City Hall
Our Lady of the Pillar church
Laoag is a bit more progressive, I think, since in addition to what Cauayan has, we have a Mcdonald's and a Max's restaurant! (way the go, Kris, judging a city's progressiveness based on the number of restaurants it has.)

Laoag is more touristy, too. My hometown has the Tobacco Monopoly monument, the Museo Iloco, the sinking bell tower, St. William's Cathedral, the Gov. Roque Ablan Sr. Shrine (shameless plugging) and the La Paz sand dunes. On the other hand, Cauayan has one statue. One statue! (and it's of Jose Rizal) That's its only landmark.

And Cauayan feels smaller, at least that was my perception. It took me less than 10 minutes to circle the central business district.

Now, let's talk more about my commute.

Anyway, every morning, after breakfast, I'd unfold my Brompton and bike from my hotel to my seminar venue in UPHS-Isabela Campus, 3 kms. south of the city center. It took me about 8 minutes to traverse the Maharlika Highway to get to my destination
Upon reaching the university, I'd fold my bike and enter the seminar room. I had no problem tucking the Brompton behind my chair. I don't think it bothered anyone.
I'm glad there was a shoulder on the highway where I could bike at my own pace.
The Isabela Hotel
Brommie Skywalker also attended my seminar
After the day's session, at around 5:30pm, I'd simply unfold the bike and ride back to my hotel. Saved me forty pesos (P40.00) on tricycle fare, and I got to enjoy the Isabela landscape! (not too thrilled with the smoke coming from the trucks and tricycles, though)
Leaving the campus
I bike along the Maharlika highway
And that was my bike commute for a week here in Isabela.

Friday, August 19, 2011

My Brompton flew to Northeast Luzon

I had to attend a 4-day seminar in Cauayan City, Isabela, this week. I thought of bringing my folding bike to explore the city and to commute from my hotel to the seminar venue.

Two days before my scheduled flight Cebu Pacific phoned to inform me that my direct flight to Cauayan City was cancelled and I was rerouted to Tuguegarao City in Cagayan Valley!

What a bummer. 

But the ticket was already paid for and I couldn't get a refund, so what's a man supposed to do?

Despite this setback, I packed my Brompton for the flight. Just like before, with rubber mats, styrofoam, bubble wrap and lots of duct tape (I'm still waiting for my Vincita Travel Bag to come in from Thailand).

At the Ninoy Aquino International Airport T3, I checked in the Brompton as regular luggage. It weighed 13.5 kilos--well within the airline's weight limit.
I put a luggage belt for added support
See you in Tuguegarao!
My Bern Brentwood helmet and Brompton T Bag went along
That's Tuguegarao, a city 485 kms. northeast of Manila
When I got to Tuguegarao my Brommie was manually unloaded from the airplane. I picked it up and walked out of the arrival area.
Can you locate where my Brompton is?
Cebu Pacific, at least, arranged for our land transportation to Cauayan. I loaded my folding bike at the back of the rented UV Express van and we were on our way.

Unfortunately, the van had no aircon and it felt really hot--temperature reached 33 degrees Celsius.

The ride took more than 2 hours.  Cauayan is 110 kms. south of Tuguegarao.
When we got to Cauayan, I unloaded my Brompton from the van and transferred it to a tricycle.
From there, I proceeded to my hotel, Hotel Andrea, in downtown Cauayan.
After checking into my room, I unwrapped the packaging protecting my folding bike,  attached the clamps and took the Brompton for a spin around Cauayan City.
My Brompton raring to explore the city!
I biked to UPHS-Isabela Campus, the venue of my seminar

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mini Bike Tour of Sta. Maria, Bulacan

Yesterday (Sunday, 7 August 2011), I joined TSP in a 50 kilometer bike tour of Bulacan, a province immediately north of Metro Manila.

I started the morning by meeting my friend Abel at Petron-Buendia. We left our cars there and biked 3.5 kms to the LRT Station in Buendia-Taft. We paid P15 each (around 35 cents) to take the train to 5th Ave. Station in Caloocan City.
Abel with his Dahon Vector about to board the train.
From the station we biked a few meters to get to Best Friends eatery where we met the bulk of the TSP contingent. I ate hot clear soup and siopao for breakfast.
Around 30 of us left Best Friends at about 7:15 in the morning and headed north to Macarthur Highway.
Group photo courtesy of Del Bahena.
That's me with the neon green front, behind TSP official photographer Al Castillo.
We stopped after 5 kilometers to check if everyone was okay. So far, so good.
Brommie Skywalker in his lonesome, while the rest of the group rest at the back.
From Caloocan we passed through Valenzuela City. As you can see, it was flooded in some sections of the highway, but we still proceeded anyway.

After Valenzuela, we went through Meycauayan and Marilao in the Province of Bulacan. There we met other tiklopers from the area and they guided us around.
We crossed NLEX (North Luzon Expressway) from west to east to get to Sta. Maria, Bulacan.
In Sta. Maria, we escaped the smokebelching buses and jeepneys to explore the greenery the province of Bulacan has to offer.
We passed by several rice pads. The seeds were planted last June and will be harvested this October. 
We had to pass through an overflowing stream (small river?) to get to the other side.
We stopped at this shed and bought ALL the kamote-que and banana-que available. We were tired and hungry!
Our group photo in the rice pads (and power lines) of Sta. Maria, Bulacan
After biking for more than 40 kms. we stopped at this restaurant in Sta. Maria and we thought it was THE famed restaurant of Valenciana chicken. Turns out it was the wrong restaurant. Unfortunately, I already ordered my lunch and was forced to eat the cold chicken and barbeque I ordered. YEEAAACHH!
The fake Bahay Valenciana
Folding bikes corraled outside the rest stop
The rest of the bikers transferred to the REAL Valenciana restaurant just a kilometer away. I followed them and had orange colored Tinolang Manok. : )
After eating and resting, the group split into two to go home. 20 bikers used the same route going back (via Macarthur Highway). While 10, including myself, proceeded 7 kms. south via Tungkong Manga Road to San Jose Del Monte, still in Bulacan.  From there, we biked 5 kms. more along Quirino Highway to Fairview in Quezon City.

When we got to SM Fairview, the 10 of us went on our separate ways. Some took an FX or bus to Philcoa. Others biked home to Commonwealth Ave. Abel and I hired a taxi to bring us back to Buendia in Makati.
Brompton and Vector at the back of the taxi
When we got back to Petron-Buendia, I said goodbye to Abel and transferred my bike to my car. Drove home at 3pm.

All in all, I biked 55 kilometers--more or less the same length as the Calamba Bike Tour. But this ride got me really tired. Probably because there were a lot of uphill climbs.

Already, I feel my muscles aching.

Must... take... pain reliever...

(special thanks to Al Castillo, Del Bahena and Ruth Rodriguez for some of the photos in this post)