Saturday, April 30, 2011

Biked around Ilocos Norte on a folding bike

Here is the route Al and I took as we biked 47.5 kilometers from Laoag City to Paoay (where we stopped at the Ilocos Norte Hotel and Convention Center, the Paoay Sand Dunes, Paoay Lake and San Agustin Church) to Batac City (where we passed Mariano Marcos State University and had brunch at Chowking) up San Nicolas (where we stopped at Robinsons Mall) and back to Laoag.
(Photos to follow)
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My Trek Valencia

Aside from my Brompton M3L and Trek Allant, I also ride a 2009 Trek Valencia.  This fast and sleek hybrid bike is my ride when I'm back home in Laoag.  It has 700x32cc road bike size wheels with semi-flat handlebars.
The Trek Valencia has a corrosion-resistant Alpha Black Aluminum frame and a cro-moly steel rigid fork.
It has Shimano mechanical disc brakes, as well as Trek Urban handlebars.  I installed the baseball-shape bike bell. 
The bike does not come with a rear rack.  I installed this Topeak MTX Quick Track rear rack.  A Topeak bike bag can easily slide in and snap into the rack.
The bike has a 24-speed Shimano Deore drivetrain.
I like the stock ergonomic grips Trek installed on the handlebar.
And here is my Trek Valencia resting on one of the huts fronting beautiful Paoay Lake in Ilocos Norte.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Brompton bikes can be customized!

This new service is so cool! From the NYCeWheels website and on YouTube!

To help you choose what kind of Brompton to build, the people at NYCeWheels made different short videos discussing each part and accessory.  Then at the bottom of every page, you can make your selection, and at the end of all the videos, you can order your built-to-order folding bicycle.

How cool is that?!

Good job, NYCeWheels!  I wonder when Brompton dealers here in Asia can do that.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The iBert seat on the Brompton

I finally got to try out the iBert child seat on my Brompton M6L.  I attached it on yesterday, but wasn't able to use it.
This morning, Bea and I took the Brompton for a spin.  As you can see, the iBert seat sits a bit lower than usual compared to its position on a full-sized bike.  Yesterday, I thought that issue would be a problem but its really not.  I was able to pedal quite normally.
As usual, whether on a full-sized bike or a folding bike, Bea enjoyed her bike ride with Daddy.  Look at the smile on her face.  It's priceless!
Now for the bad news.  After I uninstalled the iBert seat, I discovered that the clamp of the stinger left a deep scratch on my head tube / stem.  And this is after I put black rubber foam padding around the tube precisely to protect the head tube / stem from these kind of things.  Imagine what the damage would be if I attached the metal clamp bare and without padding.  The abrasion would be bigger and deeper.
I touched it up with white nail polish.  It didn't erase the scratch, but at least its not that noticeable.
I guess that's it for the iBert-Brompton combination.  It's back to the Trek Allant for this child seat.  I don't want to further damage the head tube / stem of my Brommie.

If you don't mind paint chipping off your folding bike, then go ahead and install the iBert seat.  I think the head tube / stem can carry the load.  And you can pedal normally.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

An Attempt to Install the iBert Seat on my Brompton

I've used my Brompton folding bike.  And I've also used the iBert child bike seat.  But I have never used them together.  
The iBert seat is installed on my full-sized commuter bike (a Trek Allant), and that's what I use when I take Bea around with me.
One of the reasons why I haven't used the iBert seat on the Brompton is because I feel the head tube is not strong and sturdy enough to carry the load of a child.
But I remained curious.
So this morning, I uninstalled the iBert seat from the Allant and attempted to install it on my Brompton.
I wrapped rubber foam around the stem first before screwing on the metal stinger to protect the paint from any scratches.  I noticed that the Brompton's head tube / stem is much thicker than the Allant's.  Once tightened, I slid the iBert seat into the stinger.  I pushed it in, but it wouldn't go all the way.  The reason for this was because the iBert seat was already hitting the stem.  But I was able to nudge it enough for me to be able to lock the seat in place.

It fit!  But it wasn't the best fit.  I might have to put rubber foam around that part of the stem that rubs against the edge of the iBert seat.  Just to avoid scratch marks.
There's another concern.  The cables are kinda in the way, which could possibly affect steering and maneuverability.
I didn't have enough time to test it.  I'm still kinda apprehensive that the head tube / stem can take the load.  Also, may be I'd have a difficult time pedaling because the seat is positioned quite low.  
Well, there's only one way to find out.  Ride it. I'll probably do it this weekend.  Will blog about my experience next time.  Fingers crossed that the head tube / stem can carry the load of child on an iBert seat!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Bea and I visit Ayala Triangle Garden

The other weekend, I biked with my 13-month old toddler, Bea, around Ayala Triangle Gardens in Makati CBD.
But not on my folding bike.  We went around using my trusty Trek Allant with the iBert seat installed.  (I'm still figuring out if it's okay to use the iBert seat on the stem of my Brompton bike.)
Ayala Triangle Garden used to be an unused triangular shaped lot owned by the Ayalas in the middle of downtown Makati.  It was enclosed and gated.  Shrubs and weeds were left to grow.
Until the mid-2000s, when Ayala Land thought to make good use of the lot by making it into a park.
Here Bea and I are biking along one of the parks cemented lanes.  People living and working in the nearby buildings walk their dogs here.  Others jog.  And some, like me, take their daughters for a nice bike ride.
Ayala recently put up a row of restaurants in one side of the park--and they are packed during lunch and dinner time.
Bea and I choosing a restaurant to have dinner.
Ayala Triangle Garden is another nice little park to take your kid biking in the Makati area.  The trees offer some shade.  There are wide and open spaces.  The park is still enclosed, so there's a certain level of safety. And there are cafes, restaurants and shops where you can park your bike in front of and have some lunch, merienda or dinner.

Brommie joins the Tour of the Fireflies 2011

Last Sunday, 17 April 2011, I participated in the 13th Tour of the Fireflies.  The Tour is not a cycling race like the Tour de France or the Tour of Luzon.  It is actually a Critical Mass Ride (CMR) advocating the use of the bicycle as an alternative mode of transportation in Metro Manila.

This year's Tour consists of a 42-kilometer bicycle ride around Metro Manila at an easy, controlled pace that allows everyone, including the occasional bike rider, children and senior citizens to participate and have fun.  The pace is set at an easy 15km/h through 6 cities of Metro Manila (Pasig, Mandaluyong, San Juan, Quezon City, Manila and Pasay).

The meeting place/starting point of this year's Tour was at Tiendesitas in Pasig.  I met my Brompton bike buddy, Abel, at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, and together we biked to Tiendesitas via C-5 (yes, C-5 the accident-prone highway).

We got there at 6:00am.  We assembled near the Start Banner together with other members of Tiklop Society of the Philippines (TSP).
Brommie Skywalker getting ready for the 40km Tour.
With Liza, Din and Abel--fellow Tiklopers.
With Geraldyne, wife of Al, with her brand new pink Brompton (partly covered by brand new S-Bag!)!
During the opening program, an Elvis impersonator serenades some Ms. Earth candidates.
Abel wanted to have a photo taken with one of the beauty queens, but he was shy, so this is the closest photo he has with one of them.
The girls rode on locally made electric bikes named Obama.
TSP was positioned behind the Ms. Earth candidates to protect and assist them during the rides.  Hence, the behind photo. (I couldn't get them to face me)
This girl rode on her dad's bike.  Next year, when Bea is 2, I will bring her with me using the iBert seat.
And off we go!  Ethel Fortuno and Din Castillo on their Brompton bikes.
The bikes used by the Ms Earth candidates were heavy and not properly inflated.  Sa simula pa lang nahirapan na silang mag-pedal.  Kawawa naman.
Going up Ortigas Ave., approaching Meralco Theater, a female bike marshal in costume helps a little girl bike up the inclined plane.
Din enjoying her pimped pink Brompton bike!
Folderitis is a disease characterized by the desire to upgrade your folding bike all of the time.
Passing through Mandaluyong and San Juan via Ortigas Ave. 
Tiklop couple Lawrence and Zara.
 With my Brompton bike buddy, Abel, turning into E. Rodriguez Ave. in Quezon City.
Passing Mabuhay/Welcome Rotunda (Quezon Ave. into Espana Blvd.)
Tiklop Lass, Pia, in her Sunday dress.  Now that's Cycle Chic!
 Front of the pack (Firefly bike marshals lead the way in Manila)

Passing by Luneta Park.
At the pit stop in CCP with fellow Tiklopers, Arnel, Ethel, Din and Abel. 
There's a costume contest, and for me, these guys in Bioman/Power Rangers win hands down!
Bikes can be as colorful as the Power Rangers.  White, blue, orange and pink Bromptons!

From CCP, the Tour was supposed to take the same route back to Tiendesitas.  Instead of following the bike peloton, Abel and I decided to bike back to Taguig on our own.  We took Roxas Blvd. to Buendia Ave. in Makati and stopped at the Salcedo Weekend Market.  We had brunch, then proceeded to BGC via Ayala Ave. and EDSA.
It was a successful CMR.  There were a lot of participants.  The organizers expected 10,000 riders, but i'm not sure if that number was attained.  Still, I think it was successful.  Hope the show of force encouraged others to ride their bikes.