Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bike Commute to AIM in Makati

When my work takes me to Makati, and the weather cooperates, I try my best to commute by bike--which is what I did today.  I had a meeting in the Central Business District, and the sky was blue.  
Leaving Magallanes
Coding rin kasi yung kotse.  So I drove to Maga before 7am.  Parked the car and unfolded my Brompton.  From there, wearing my white short sleeve barong and black dress pants, I biked to the CBD.  I passed through Brgy. Bangkal, crossed Osmena Highway via a pedestrian overpass, then continued to Pasong Tamo and turned right on Pasay Road. 

I arrived at the Asian Institute of Management after biking for just 15 minutes.  Folded my bike, and went up to my meeting.  Probably saved P100 in parking fees. Ayos! 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Visited my daughter at the hospital using my Brompton

Let me lay the foundation for this bike commute story.

My wife drove our daughter to the hospital for a check up, only to find out Bea had pneumonia and had to be confined.  I found about it when I was at work, and drove to Makati Medical Center as soon as I my meeting ended.  For a few hours stay, I paid P100 for parking.  Went home and returned the next day to exchange places with my wife.  She paid more than P200 for her parking.  And then she came back at night to replace me, and I had to pay another steep parking fee.  All this because we were using 2 cars.  We were wasting gas and paying for parking.

So this morning, I decided to stop this nonsense by subtracting 1 car from the equation.  I biked from the house to the hospital.  Met a friend and bought coffee and newspaper along the way.
Brompton spotted at Makati Medical Center
Visited my wife and daughter; folded my bike; loaded it in my wife's car; and drove the car home!
With my daughter, Bea.  P.S.: She's feeling better guys!
Problem solved!  So when I get back to the hospital later to take over my wife in watching over our daughter, we will not pay a peso more to that expensive parking facility because she will just drive my car home!

And yet another problem solved by a folding bicycle!!!

Here is the bike route I took:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Review: Bern Brentwood Bike Helmet

Bern Unlimited has one of the coolest collection of bike helmets styled for everyday use.  I fell in love with the Brentwood the first time I laid eyes on it in a bike magazine.
It has seamless ZipMold liquid foam technology that is supposed to provide a high strength-to-weight ration, whatever that means (I found out it means that the styrofoam shell is thinner than the usual helmet, making it lighter and smaller on the head).  

Also, according to the makers, its Sink Fit helmet design offers a low-profile fit.  This means the helmet sinks to your head, rather than just sit on top of it.  Hence, the cool look.

But basically, I like it because it doesn't look like you're going to join the Tour de France or go trailriding in La Mesa Eco-Park.
I've been looking for this helmet everywhere!  Most bike shops here in Manila only carry traditional bike helmets made by Trek, Rudy Project, Giro, Specialized, Spyder and Lazer, which all look too racy for me.  Some stores in Cartimar do carry non-traditional helmets like SixSixOne and Fox, but they look too skateboardy for me.

I was already set to order one in the US when PMTB founder Arnel Andal informed me that he saw Bern helmets in Bike Town Cyclery along Pasong Tamo in Makati.  So I went there the other day, lo and behold, Arnel was right!  BTC had Bern helmets on display!

I was in bike helmet heaven!

I grabbed each Bern one by one and fitted it on my head.  I wanted a white helmet to pair with my white Brompton, but they didn't have one in my size.  ARG! (most were in Medium)

In fact, they only had one helmet in my size (XL).  Luckily, it was a Brentwood!  BUT, it was black.  So, napaisip talaga ako.  Do I buy a black Brentwood now or do I wait and order for a white one, which would probably take at least one month?

I read somewhere in the internet that Bern helmets are hard to come by even in the US.  Either they have your color, but not the size, or vice-versa.  So, I decided to get the one that was available.  It retails for P 2,800.00 here in Manila.  I paid in cash, so I got a discount (minus P200.00).  Not bad considering the helmet sells at $60-$70 (P 3,000.00) over at Altrec and REI.
The Brentwood looks cool with the snap-on visor/lid.  I really liked that about it.  It can be detached and replaced with an earmuff for use during the winter (but who needs that in 90 degree Manila, right?).
The helmet fit snug over my head.  I feel it might be too snug.  But it's already an XL!  So either I have a big head or Bern got its helmet-sizing wrong.  Anyhow, this can be corrected by detaching the visor/lid.  Then the helmet becomes roomier.  But then again, you lose the coolness factor.
Over-all, I'm still happy with my purchase.  The Bern Brentwood is a cool urban replacement for my banana-style/spaceship-on-top-of-my-head Spyder bike helmet.  Here is a comparison of the two helmets:
Now you tell me.  Which helmet looks better on a collared shirt?
The Bern Brentwood, hands down.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Extra Seat for the Brompton

They are marketing a product in Europe called the ITchair which is an extra seat that you attach to the seat post and top tube of a Brompton to accommodate a child passenger.  It's cool, but is hard to come by and very expensive.
Photo downloaded from Brompton website
Then I saw this photo of a similar product in a Brompton users yahoo group.  Allegedly, this child bike seat (obviously copied from the ITchair design) is made in China.  I wonder if it's available in South East Asia (Hongkong, Taiwan or Singapore).  If not, I wonder if it can be fabricated (or copied) here in Manila.  Kaya kaya ito ni sir Ave Maldea?  
Photo downloaded from the internet
Would love to have something like this for Bea to ride on when I use the Brompton.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

5 Ways to Get People to Bike to Work

Here's an article A.K. Streeter of Portland, Oregon, wrote for TreeHugger about the five ways on how to get people to bike to work.

1.  Give them a bicycle.

2.  Give them money to bike.

3.  Give them more money or a better kind of incentive.

4.  Welcome P60 per Liter gas!

5.  Create Bike Trains

I will add to his list.

6.  Provide secured bike parking at the office.

7.  Provide clean shower facilities at the office.

8.  Hike parking fees to P50 per hour in Makati and Ortigas.

Can you think of others?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Thief Would Like Your Bike

This is a UK Public Information Film reminding people that there are thieves who would like to steal our bikes and giving basic information on how to avoid this from happening.

Am I glad I don't have to worry about locking my bike to an unguarded bike rack in the mall basement, coz I can bring it with me inside!

Monday, May 16, 2011

It's a folding bike, NOT a party trick!

In this video, Ted of Commute By Bike diss people who show off how fast they can fold their folding bike.  While I believe the speed on how one can fold a bike is a major factor in choosing a folding bike, at the end of the day Ted does drive a strong point.  It is really just a bike, NOT a party trick.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Finally got my TSP Jersey!!!

Finally got my TSP Jersey the other day!  The shirt design was spearheaded by our leaders Pio Fortuno and Froi Guevarra.  The jerseys were produced/manufactured by Edlee Designs.
The shirt has a mountain-bike cut.  It features a moisture wicking fabric that is supposedly breathable and wrinkle resistant. It cost P1,000.00.
The over-all look of the shirt is a black suit jacket with a white shirt and a necktie showing the national colors.
There is a small TSP logo over the left breast pocket.
What's cool about what Edlee did was to place the zipper right in the middle of the necktie, in between the color blue and red, so that when zipped up, you wouldn't notice it.  Genius!
The sleeves are cool too because they feature different kinds of folding bikes and drawings of how they fold.  For example, the sleeve above shows the fold of a Dahon and a Strida.
The other sleeve shows the fold of a Brompton.  
The shirt is not without its flaws.  Take a look at my shirt.  Notice the difference in shade of the sleeve and the main shirt.  The sleeve has a lighter, faded black.  But it's all good.  Can't be too picky!
The back design looks like this.  It has a big TSP logo on top.  And the words, "Share the Road" below it.
Like all bike jerseys, there are three pockets at the bottom for your spare inner tube, water bottle, wallet, energy bar, and what not.
Here's how it looks on me.  Not too shabby, eh, mate?  
I chose a size L--not to tight, so that I can still wear it inside the mall and not look like a frustrated superhero.

Super thanks again to the TSP officers and Mr. Edwin Lee for making this bike jersey a reality!  Now our group has a uniform to wear in the next CMR!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Child Bike Seats available at HMR

I went to HMR in Mandaluyong the other day to check out if they had bike trailers.  I did not find what I was looking for, but did chance upon 2 kinds of child carriers.

First is this BELL Classic Child Carrier.  It cost P990.00 and comes with its own rear rack.  My problem with this product is that the seat looks shabby and the rear rack doesn't look sturdy enough.  But, if you just need a cheap child carrier, this one's for you.

The next child carrier is this one from an Australian brand that I was not able to get the name of.  Like all HMR products, the ones they have available are either used or surplus.  With this one, the seat looks a lot more stable and sturdy than the BELL.  However, it is designed to fit a particular rear rack, because it slides into it.  If you don't have that rack, then this seat is useless.  And it is more expensive than the BELL retailing at P2,990.00.

On a different note, here is a baby stroller that is also a tricyle for your toddler.  It looks cool and all, but at P4,990.00, is way expensive for a second-hand product.
HMR is located at Pioneer Street cor. Reliance Street, Mandaluyong (behind EDSA).  They are open Monday to Sunday, from 9am to 7pm.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Joining the BWC this year?

Registration starts on the 16th!  

Too bad, flying over to England to join a folding bike race is still too expensive for me.  

May be next year.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Vincita Bike Bags

Last weekend, I dropped by the Thailand Trade Exhibition at the World Trade Center in Pasay.  I was told that there was one booth there that manufactured bike bags, so I checked it out.

Vincita is a Thai bike bag manufacturing company based in Bangkok.  Its been producing bike bags since 1987.  They provide a wide range of bags including those for handlebars, top tubes, seat posts, and rear racks (panniers and rear rack bags).  They also sell hydration backpacks and bags to transport your bikes.
photo downloaded from the vincita website
I met its managing director, Mr. Yingsak Sinhaseni.  He showed me their catalogue and I spotted a transport bag designed specifically for Brompton bikes., the B132 Transport Bag for Folding Bike with Wheels.

Actual Bag (photo downloaded from the internet)
I got excited because it only cost P2,400.00 ($56.00), which is a great deal!  They did not have one in stock, but I got to check out the other transport bags there and I noticed that they're built tough: heavy-duty black nylon cover, with foam padding inside.  There are castor wheels at the bottom and shoulder strap on top for easy mobility.  Vincita actually patterned their design after Brompton's B Bag.  The former's definitely a better deal because the latter costs close to $200 (P8,600) at NYCeWheels, without tax.

Photos downloaded from the internet
I ordered one B-132 Transport Bag for me and some more for my co-Tiklopers.  Will wait for Mr. Sinhaseni to tell me how much shipping and handling will be, and hopefully, we get the bags by the end of the month.

So excited!!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

TSP Jersey

Our group, Tiklop Society of the Philippines (or TSP), will be coming out with our very own cycling jersey soon.  The short-sleeve polyester shirt is designed to look like a tuxedo jacket, but instead of a black bow tie, the designer put a necktie with the Philippine flag printed on it.  On the front and back there's a TSP logo, and at the back there's text which reads, "SHARE THE ROAD."  The jerseys will be made by Edlee Designs.

Image downloaded from TSP Facebook page
I can't wait to get my jersey!  I hope size Medium fits me just right.  I don't want it to be too tight.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wishful Thinking: Belt-Drive on a Brompton

There has been a lot of talk at the Brompton website about them working on something big and special.  Speculations are numerous including an electric-assist Brompton, a new seatpost, a lighter frame and what-not.

But if you asked me, I'm looking forward to a maintenance-free, greaseless carbon belt-drive for the Brompton. : )
My current 6-speed Brompton has a combination 3-gear internal hub and 2-gear derailleur.  It's a lot cleaner than your standard 24-speed drivetrain, with all the gears and stuff, but with the standard chain, it still gets dirty.  And if you wear pants when you bike, there's still a chance for the cuff to be stained.
With a carbon belt, chain oil will be a thing of the past.  Hence, no more cleaning, brushing and degreasing!  And no more grease stains on the pants!  Plus, carbon belts are quieter.
Bike Friday already came out with a belt-drive Tikit last year, so it shouldn't be that hard for Brompton to incorporate the technology in their bikes.

Monday, May 2, 2011

2011 Brompton U.S. Championships

This is a video of the 2011 Brompton U.S. Championships held last March in Philadelphia. Kelan kaya magkaka Brompton Asian or Philippine Championships