Wednesday, June 27, 2012

InStep Rocket Bike Trailer

My 2 year old is about to "graduate" from her child bike seats so I got her this Rocket Bike Trailer from InStep (a trade name of Pacific Cycles). I bought it used from a friend of mine last weekend for just PhP 2,200.00 (US$50.00). Not a bad deal, eh? 

They go for around PhP 3,500.00 (US$80.00) pre-owned over at HMR in Pioneer St., Mandaluyong. A brand new one costs more than US$200.00 on Amazon. So I got mine for 1/4 of its actual price.
The frame of the trailer is made of aluminum, so it's pretty light (less than 30 lbs.). The wheels are alloy, not plastic, which is good because this means it'll last longer. The whole contraption is quick to fold and disassemble. No need for tools. I can easily store it when not in use. 

A feature I like is that the trailer can be converted into a jogging stroller! You just unhook the tow bar from the coupler, unscrew the front wheel and attach the metal handlebars at the back. Voila! My wife and I can take Bea around even without the bike!
The InStep Rocket attaches to the bike via a coupler. The picture above shows how I attached it to my Brompton. Normally, that round thing with the hole should be at the bottom, but then that would substantially lower the trailer. So I repositioned the coupler horizontally to raise it and level the trailer.
My wife's only problem with the Rocket isn't really InStep's fault but is an issue for all bike trailers (whether Burley, Schwinn or what have you). She doesn't like the idea that debris (i.e. water, mud, pebbles, small trash etc.) flung by the rear wheel as it spins may ricochet to my daughter's face. Sure, there's a mesh screen, but it barely protects her from dust particles, what more larger objects. I just have to trust the Brompton's fenders.

And another thing, the side windows of the canopy are made of clear plastic. I would've preferred if they were mesh screens like the front and back, so it'll be more ventilated inside. But, oh well, beggars can't be choosy! It just cost me 2,000 pesos.
Here, my daughter and her stuffed horse fit comfortably in the trailer designed for two.
Bea and I tried the InStep Rocket last Sunday. We went around a couple of blocks. From what I saw, she looked happy and seemed to enjoy being 'rickshawed' by daddy. As for me, I had no problems pulling the trailer with the Brompton. There was drag but it was unnoticeable. So, I'm happy with the product just as she is.
Now, all that's left for me to do is buy a safety flag kit that I'll attach to the trailer to make it more visible to others, and then its off to join the Tour of the Fireflies!

Special thanks to Bobby Leyeza for selling this bike trailer to me at a really good price!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Some photos from the 2012 Manila Folding Bike Festival

Sharing a few photos from the recently concluded 1st Manila Folding Bike Festival held at the The Collective in Malugay Street, Makati City.
The 1-day event was hosted by Folding Bike Pilipinas (FBP) together with Polkit, WOW Pinay, Brompton Club of the Philippines (BCP), Cainta Mountain Bikers, Sugimura Club of the Philippines, Firefly Brigade, PMTB and other cycling clubs. My friends Abel, Nitya, Al, Ariel, Pia and Paul took the lead.

We held a lot of activities, including a bike exhibit that showcased different kinds of folding bikes--from vintage to brand new, small wheels to big wheels, one-tone to multi-colored bikes.
We had a bike flea market ("ukay-ukay"), which I manned with Jeans, Dennis and Echel. I helped out in selling all kinds of used and brand new bike parts and accessories. We even sold whole bicycles!
We had a program hosted by Pia and Ace. First, our bikes were blessed by a pastor. Then, we held folding bike contests: Fastest to unfold a Brompton (13 seconds); Fastest to fold a Brompton (9 seconds); And similar contests for Sugimura and Peerless bikes. The contest and raffle prizes were courtesy of our sponsors (LifeCycle of Singapore, Junni, Dahon, JJRM, Peerless, Tryon, Dakila and Yadu, among others). The grand prize was a Dahon Jack folding bike! Thanks, guys!
We conducted a bike clinic in the afternoon where invited speakers discussed different topics related to bicycling. I was asked to talk about bike-touring / bike-packing.
And that's not all! Our other sponsors provided free souvenir shirt printing and photo booth! At 5pm there was a free concert! Everyone had fun!

The event was such a success that immediately after it concluded, people were already talking about next year's folding bike festival!

Thanks to all those who organized this activity and volunteered their time and energy!

Special thanks to Diane Flaviano, Al Castillo and Bobby Leyeza for a few of the photos in this post. For more pictures of the folding bike festival, please visit:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Video: FBP on GMA News

Here's an 8-minute segment of GMA News-to-Go, taken Wednesday morning (June 20), featuring folding bikes. Paul and Froi of FBP explain to TV reporter Kara David.

Good job, guys!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Video: Bromptons in Manila

Here is an awesome video of our club here in the Philippines made by the talented John Buno taken during our group ride last June 9. When you visit South East Asia, do drop by Manila. We'll take you around!

Monday, June 11, 2012

BCP June 2012 Ride

My, has the BCP grown! From only 9 who biked together 6 months ago, we doubled to 18 last Saturday! It was our biggest group ride yet--not including the other members who couldn't make it that day. I think in total we've reached 40 Brompton owners here in the Philippines!
Anyway, for those of us who were free last June 9, we assembled at Ayala Triangle Gardens. It was a beautiful day to cycle: the sun was out and there were few cars on the streets of Makati. We biked to Salcedo Weekend Market. Walked around.
From Salcedo, we cycled on Paseo de Roxas to Buendia Ave. We climbed the flyover to cross EDSA.
We took the Fort Bonifacio exit.
When we got to Bonifacio Global City, we headed to the Mind Museum to shoot our group photo.
Unfortunately, when we got there we were shooed away by the museum security guards.
We were able to take some pictures, but not the nice ones that we wanted.
From the Mind Museum, we rode around Bonifacio Global City.
We stopped at Bonifiacio High Street for another group photo.
And then we crossed 32nd Street to get to Mercato Centrale. There we rested, made kwentuhan and had brunch. Got to know the other members of BCP like Marlowe, Alex, Sherwin, Mario, Bobby and Dong. Great to meet you guys!
I left them at around 10:30. Cycled Lawton Ave. with Ariel and then we separated at Pasong Tamo Ext. I proceeded to Toyota to pick up my car, which I had them tuned up earlier. I had biked 25 kilometers.
Good ride with BCP. Til the next one!

Special thanks to Al Castillo, Zaldy Austria and Bobby Leyeza for the photos in this post.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Problem With Security Guards...

Head of Security of Mind Museum tried to catch up with us and apologize, but the damage had been done.
The problem with security guards is that they don't think. They just do. Which is okay, I guess, if they're guarding a prison or a concentration camp. But not when they're protecting a business establishment.

The circumstances are different.

The former is black-and-white. No ifs, no buts. Rules should be strictly followed. The latter, however, is fluid and ever-changing. A rule for one customer may not be applicable to another. That's why, for guards assigned to shops and retail stores, they should assess the situation first and then decide whether to enforce an order or not.

Sadly, a lot of security guards here in the Philippines belong to the first group--those who just do, and not think. They act like robots and it drives us private citizens crazy!

Case in point, my friends and I biked to Fort Bonifacio yesterday. We went to the Mind Museum with the hopes of having our group picture taking there. While we were assembling our bikes, a security guard approached us and said, "Bawal mag-picture taking dito, sir." (It's prohibited to take a picture here, sir) Apparently, according to him, we were obstructing the free passage of potential museum visitors (It was a Saturday and we were practically the ONLY people there).
We told him that our photo wouldn't take long and proceeded to set up. After 30 seconds, we left and went to another spot (further away from the building) for another group photo. We thought we would be left alone. But no. The security guards followed us and insisted that we could not take pictures. This was OUTSIDE the museum, mind you, and we were arguing that its a public place and we weren't obstructing any passage way.

And then things escalated. One female museum officer walked out of her office and asked us who we were. By this time, my friends were already fuming mad. The way the question was framed kasi was insulting.

I answered her, "We are Brompton Club of the Philippines." 

"What's the purpose of taking photos? commercial or personal?," she asked.

I said, "Personal. It's for the group photo of our club."

According to her, that was their only concern--that the photos were not intended for commercial purposes.

I told her if that was the only concern, then THAT should have been brought up at the very beginning, when the guards first confronted us.

But instead of THINKING, the guards just said "Bawal ang picture taking dito." (You can't take pictures).

THAT IS A MILE DIFFERENT from "If its for commercial purposes, then I'm sorry, you cannot take photos. But if its for your personal use, then by all means, shoot as you go."

A whole lot of difference!

Later that day, I had another mis-encounter with a security guard. This time at a Seven Eleven in Eco Plaza, Pasong Tamo Ext., Makati.

I parked my folding bike in front of the convenience store and the security guard told me it was prohibited. I told him I'd just grab a bottle of Gatorade and it wouldn't take me more than 2 minutes. At that point, he should've assessed the situation and thought to himself that it was just going to be a couple of minutes. No biggie. Let me slide.

But no. No such thing as 'thinking' for this guy.

As I was inside Seven Eleven (and I was there for less than 30 seconds), this security guard carried my bike and took it away with him.

Without a warning. Nothing. He just took it.

Now I don't care if bikes are prohibited in front of a business establishment. Security guards HAVE NO RIGHT TO TAKE THEM AWAY.

That to me is STEALING.
So after paying for my drink, I walked out and caught up with him. I said he had no right to take my bike. He repeated himself and said it was prohibited.

I just shook my head and took my bike away from him. No sense trying to reason with this guy. I'll just write a complaint letter to his superior on Monday. What a douche.
The guard's name was JJT Daguio. He should learn some manners.
There are rules, I know, but not all circumstances call for their strict implementation. "No eating or drinking inside" does not mean one cannot bring an unopened water bottle in the shop. "No picture taking" should not apply when a person is taking a picture outside the establishment's premises. And "No parking" should definitely not include a person leaving his bike for a few seconds just to grab something from a store.

I wish security guards wisen up and apply their intelligence when doing their job. And I wish their bosses allow them some leeway to think and make simple decisions.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Calhoun Cycle hosts 2012 US Brompton Championships reports that Calhoun Cycle will host the 2012 US Brompton Championship in Minneapolis this Sunday. The article is very informative on how the race is set up. I'll list the pointers down.
 1. Participants must ride a Brompton folding bike.
 2. No aerobars allowed.
 3. Participants must wear a button-up shirt, tie and blazer.
 4. No sponsor logos allowed.
 5. No Lycra exposed.
 6. Participants must wear a helmet.
 7. The course runs for 6 miles (9.6 kms) around a half-mile (800 meter) circuit.
 8. Whoever crosses the finish line first, wins a round-trip ticket to the World Championships
     in Blenheim Palace, England.
 9. Registration fee is $32.00 (PhP1,390.00)
Once our number here increases to more than 50 Brompton-owners (we're about 35 already) I'll propose to organize a Philippine version of the Brompton Championship. For now, we have to settle watching from the sidelines.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Video: Brompton Bike Tour of NYC

I wonder if R.O.X. (or any local bike shop for that matter) can also do this here-- take tourists on a free bike tour of the city. That would be awesome.

They can start in MOA and bike along the baywalk up to Luneta. Take a picture in front of the Rizal shrine, and the proceed to Intramuros. They make all the historic stops and the bike all the way to Chinatown for lunch. From there they get picked up by an R.O.X. van and return to MOA. That's how I'd do it. : )

Anyway, good one, NYCE Wheels! Way to be innovative!