Monday, November 28, 2011

My M6L is now an M6R!

Fenders only (left); Fenders and Rear Rack (right)
My Brompton M6L bike is now an M6R--that is, from having fenders only to one that has fenders and rear rack! I bought the rear carrier assembly for $170 from through my friend Barnett. It arrived the other day. I read the instructions and it looked complicated, so I brought it over to Tryon to have Mang Nestor take a shot at it.
Mang Nestor hadn't installed one yet, but I had faith in him. I was lucky he wasn't working on any bike that Saturday afternoon. He took one long look at the instructions and then proceeded to uninstall my rear L-fender.
He had no difficulty in taking the L-fender out. The challenge was installing the rear carrier assembly. Many nuts and bolts that went to god-knows-where. I'm glad it was Mang Nestor doing this 'coz if it were me, I would've gone insane with the installation.
After a few minutes of unscrewing and screwing, Mang Nestor got to attach the R-fender and rear rack to my Brompton's rear frame. A little tweaking here and there (to make sure the wheel doesn't hit the fender when rolling), and everything was fine!
After he was done with the rear rack, I asked Mang Nestor if he could shorten my chain. I had my chainring replaced earlier and I noticed the chain sag a bit right after. No problem! Hit two birds with one stone! Nice!
The L-fender. What to do with it?
Now that my whole Brompton upgrade is complete (replaced the stock saddle with Brooks B-17, replaced my stock grips with Ergons, replaced the stock chainring with a smaller one, bought a touring bag, and now installed a rear rack), I don't know what to do next except ride the damn thing! :D

Happy biking, everyone!

Friday, November 25, 2011

My Brompton Rear Rack is here!

Because of my cheapness (or kuripot-ness), when I bought my Brompton last year, I settled with the M6L model rather than an M6R--that is, just have fenders instead of having fenders AND a rear rack. The upgrade would've cost me $80.00 more.  At that time I thought I was spending too much already. I mean, if the Brompton bag was attached in front naman, then what do I need a rear rack for, right? I thought, nagsasayang lang ako ng pera.

Back in Manila, I realized when it (the rear rack) becomes useful--when rolling the bike in its folded state. You see, when my M6L is folded and I have to transport it, I have no choice but to carry it. Although fitted with EZ wheels, it is still hard to roll the bike on just 2 rollers. It wobbles. It tips over. But when my friend Al folds his S6R and needs to transport it, all he has to do is push. That's because his rear rack's 4 wheels make it easy for him to roll his bike. The rear rack makes the folded Brompton more stable and let's it glide on most types of floors.

So, when my friend Barnett told me he was buying a Brompton in the US, I jumped on the opportunity and asked him to order a rear rack for me. This time around the rear rack cost me $170.00 as a separate item! Geez, I should've bought it together with the bike when I had the chance! Would've saved $90 in the process! Sigh.
Photo courtesy of
Oh well, okay lang. Ang importante, andito na! Can't wait to have it installed by Mang Nestor at Tryon!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

TSP in Green Living on ANC

Paolo Abrera recently featured folding bikes and Tiklop Society of the Philippines (TSP) on his ANC pro-environment TV show, Green Living.

I hope the 10 minute segment convinces many others to commute by bike. People don't have to go drastic and junk their cars. Of course not, I myself still drive. But for short trips from the house (Let's say to the sari-sari store, the village association office, the church, etc.), may be people can just pedal their way rather than drive. 

Later on, if they're comfortable with biking already, may be get a folding bike and start integrating it into their daily commute. In the mean time, enjoy the video clip! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Installing a 44T chainring on my Brompton

A few days ago, I blogged about a Brompton chainring I bought from Flying Ball (courtesy of my friend, Claro Alcantara) which recently arrived from Hongkong. I ordered a size 44T to replace my 50T stock chainring.
I would have done the installation myself (yeah, right, Kris!), but I did not have the right tool to remove the existing chainring. So last weekend, I went over to Tryon over at JP Rizal in Makati and had Mang Nestor, our Brompton expert mechanic here in Metro Manila, work on it.
The above photo shows Mang Nestor removing the 50T chainring from my Brompton. He used a special kind of wrench to un-bolt the chainring from the bike. Below naman is the side by side comparison of the 44T chainring and the 50T chainring. 
44T (on left) and 50T (on right)
Here is Mang Nestor installing the 44T chainring on my folding bike. The whole process (removal AND installation) took less than 5 minutes.
Hopefully, with a smaller chainring I'd now be able to use all 6 gears of my M6L and, more importantly, get to pedal uphills more easily.
The 44T Chainring installed on my Brompton.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

My 2nd Bern Helmet

5 months back, I blogged about a helmet I bought, the Bern Brentwood. Although I ended up owning one in black, I really preferred one in white.

Well, after I damaged the inside of my black Bern Brentwood during my Vietnam trip, it gave me a reason to buy the white helmet I always wanted to have. I went back to Bike Town Cyclery in Pasong Tamo, but they were no longer in stock. Then I heard that Republic clothing store, just across the road, were selling Bern products. When I went there, they did have them available. Macon, Watts and Brentwood models. But none in the model and color I want. I read in a forum that Papi's Bike Shop in Quezon City had 'em, but that place is out of the way.

Then I learned my dad was going to the US. So I did the next best thing: I bought my helmet on-line and had it delivered to my sister's address for my dad to bring back here in the Philippines! (I got a glossy white Bern Brentwood helmet from for $70.00)

Well, my white helmet's finally here and I can't wait to use it!
In keeping with my Starwars named bike, this helmet has a Rebel Alliance decal.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Brompton 44 tooth chainring

Brompton 44T Chainring
I have always found it difficult to pedal my Brompton on steep inclines even if I use the "granny gear" (Gear #1). I know it really boils down to the biker and not the bike, but humor me, will 'ya?

I learned that one possible reason for my "weakness" in cycling uphills is that my chainring could be too big--hence, harder for me to pedal. The stock chainring that came with my M6L was 50T

During commutes and bike tours, I usually use Gear #4. That's my normal gear. I interchange this with Gear #3 if there is a slight incline. When there is a hill to climb I shift to Gears #2 and #1. I rarely--RARELY, shift to Gears #5 and #6. I mean I get to use them only when I go downhill, but I really don't see the need to because I accelarate anyway.

So at the end of the day, I only use 4 out of my bike's 6 gears.

Hence my search for a smaller chainring!

I found out that some Brompton riders in my bike group had 44T chainrings and they use ALL 6 gears!

Now, that's what I want! A Brompton 44 Tooth Chainring, to make my life easier.

Anyhow, I was lucky to have a conversation with fellow Tikloper, Claro Alcantara, in Pagudpud last October because I found out that he was buying a Brompton from Flying Ball in Hongkong. I asked if he can order a 44T chainring for me together with his bike, and he gladly obliged.  

After a few weeks of waiting, my new chainring arrived! (Thanks so much, Manong Claro! Appreciate it!) It cost HK$500 (or about PhP 3,000.00).

I am so excited to use my new 44t chainring! Will have Mang Nestor of Tryon mount it on Brommie Skywalker this weekend!

With the conversion, I plan to be able to use Gears #5 and #6 as my normal gears and then have Gears 1, 2, 3 and 4 help me in climbing uphills.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Video: Traffic School for Kids!

Here's a cool video from our friends at Streetfilms. I did not know that they have traffic school for kids in the Netherlands. How progressive is that!

I wish we had an honest to goodness traffic school for commuters of all ages here in the Philippines, period! God knows we need one! Even our licensed public utility vehicle drivers don't know basic traffic rules!!! Yielding? It doesn't even exist in our vocabulary.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Finally using the Cateye Micro Wireless on my Brompton

I've had a Cateye Micro Wireless cycle computer for quite some time now (it used to be on my Trek Valencia) and I had always meant to attach in on my Brompton, but didn't. All along, I thought the computer and the sensor would get in the way of the bike's fold.

After much procrastination, I finally decided to use it. It was easy to mount the computer on the M-bar and attaching the analog sensor on the fork using zipties I bought at the hardware store.

And surprise, surprise, the computer and analog sensor did not get in the way of the fold. Not at all.

A problem came up, though, in inputing the wheel circumference [L (mm)] unto the computer. The Cateye Manual that came with it did not have a computation for the Brompton's tire size (16 x 1 3/8).

Fortunately, there's the internet. I found Sheldon Brown's Cyclecomputer Calibration Chart and there it was! 16 x 1 3/8 = 1282! So I entered that in the Cateye Micro Wireless and rode the bike to test if the code was correct. I biked to a place which I knew was 1 kilometer from my house, and when I got there the reading was 1 kilometer. Excellent!
I used the Cateye Micro Wireless Cycle Computer in my recent bike tour of Ilocos Norte. It was useful because I knew how fast I was going, my pace, and the time and distance I covered. It gave me a more informed perspective of the ride, which is always good. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mini Bike Tour of Burgos, Bangui and Pagudpud

Last weekend, around 30 of my friends from TSP visited my hometown of Laoag, Ilocos Norte, for a 3-day bike tour. On their first day (Saturday), the group biked from Laoag to Paoay and Batac following a similar route Al and I took last April with our foldies. Unfortunately, I was not able to join them because I had to attend an FGD on enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings (Don't ask me, I also don't know why I was invited).

Anyway, the next day (Sunday), I joined them for their Laoag-Pagudpud bike ride. Most of the group were billeted at Ilocos Rosewell Hotel in San Nicolas town, near Robinsons mall.
They originally planned to bike all  the way (80 kms.) from Laoag to Pagudpud, however, they were so exhausted from the bike ride the day before that they decided to start midway, in Burgos town, instead.

So, I borrowed our Kia Elf truck and hired a passenger jeepney for the day. We loaded our folding bikes on the truck, boarded the jeepney, and we were on our way at 8:45am.
Our first stop was my grandfather's shrine in Brgy. 20, Laoag City. We got off the jeepney and had our first group photo.
After that, we proceeded north and passed Bacarra town. We took a short break at a bakery in Pasuquin town where the group tasted our local pastry, the Biscocho. And then we continued with our journey.
At the Pasuquin Bakery
When we got to Burgos town at around 10am, the group went up the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse. We spent a considerable length of time there due to non-stop picture-taking. 
Al and I waiting for the others
Anyway, after about 20 minutes, when we got to gather all the people together, our TSP contingent transferred to nearby Kapurpurawan Rock, where we enjoyed the scenery of the natural rock formation next to the South China Sea (Ehem, I meant West Philippine Sea).
Although I'm a local, this was my first time at Kapurpurawan!
At 11:45am, we boarded the jeepney and proceeded to Burgos Poblacion. Once there, we were met by the bikers of Sokisok Bike Club. They were there to support and assist us.
Yes, this is a bike ride, Virginia! And, yes, after riding a jeepney for 40 kms., we finally unloaded our bikes and unfolded them!
Papa Rocky getting some help from Sokisok in replacing his Vector's inner tube.
So we started our mini bike tour in Burgos at 12:15pm! From poblacion to Bangui town it was all uphill! I was supposed to be the ride leader since I'm from here, but people just kept on overtaking me. I was biking so slow! (I hate uphill climbs!) 
The group took a break at Bangui Viewdeck. We rehydrated, ate siopao (Thanks, Marc!) and took lots of group pictures.
With Sokisok Bikers of Bacarra.

From the viewdeck, we biked downhill. Reached speeds of up to 45 kph! At the base, we took a left turn at Brgy. Taguipuro and biked towards the Bangui Windmills.
BCP Represent!
Brommie Skywalker at the Bangui Windmills
Tina, Ruth and I leaving Bangui Windmills
From there, the group left the bay and rode back to the national highway. We biked further up north, passed Bangui Poblacion until we reached the welcome arc of Pagudpud town!
That's me on the bridge before entering Pagudpud!
We all caught our breath and had another group picture taking. And then another uphill climb as we entered Pagudpud town proper. After 3 hours (including stops and breaks), we reached our final destination, Saud Beach! We had pedaled a total of 34 kilometers.
We ate late lunch at our family resthouse at 3pm. Later, the others rode the jeepney to visit the Patapat Viaduct. I stayed behind, chatted with Marc, Ruth, Romy and Mang Joseph, and enjoyed a cold beer.
At 5, we cleaned our bikes. We loaded them onto the truck. And at 6-6:30pm, we all drove back to Laoag City.

The next day (Monday), the TSP bikers boarded a bus and this time took a day trip to Vigan in Ilocos Sur--folding bikes in tow, of course. I had already left for Manila.

Anyhoo, I think my friends enjoyed their visit. (Thanks to Al and Geraldine Castillo for arranging their transpo and lodging!) They got to tour most of Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur within just 3 days, and do so on their bikes! So cool! I wish we can do this again in other places here in the Philippines, like let's say, Corregidor, Cebu or even Davao. Heck, there's even a call to organize one in Batanes! Go, go, go!!!

Good times! Ride a bicycle! You get to appreciate the scenery way better!

*Photos in this post courtesy of Al Castillo, Christian Ronquillo, Ruth Rodriguez, Zaldy Austria, and Dr. Glynson Cua. Thank you.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Video: Con-Gen Julie Ruterbories talks about bike commuting in Amsterdam

In 2007 I missed an opportunity to pursue graduate studies in the Netherlands (LLM in Aerospace Law at Leiden University) to run for public office. After watching this video of US Consul General Julie Ruterbories, I so want to move there right now.

An American in Amsterdam Shares Her Take on Dutch Cycling Policy from Streetfilms on Vimeo.
Aaaaaaaahhh, the Dutch and their passion for cycling. I'm so jealous!