Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Tern/Xtracycle Cargo Joe folding bike

Photo grabbed from www.bikerumor.com
An Xtracycle cargo bike THAT'S also a Tern folding bike? Oh my God, I want this!

BikeRumor.com recently wrote about the new Cargo Joe folding bike unveiled by the two bike companies in Interbike 2012. It's not yet on the Tern website but Bike Rumor reported that the bike will retail for US$999 (or PhP 41,600.00).
The wheels are 26" so the fold will be anything but compact. But at least, the bike will be small enough to fit the trunk of a mini-van or at the back of a pick-up truck. Besides, you can uninstall the Xtracycle cargo extension and attach the standard Tern rear wheel to convert it into a regular Tern folding bike.
I've always wanted a cargo bike, and with this new folding bike hybrid from Tern and Xtracycle, I'm sold. I imagine being able to carry both my wife and daughter on the rear rack to go to the grocery store! Can't wait for the Cargo Joe to be available here in the Philippines! 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Types of Bicyclists

Illustration by Serge Bloch for the Wall Street Journal
Here is an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal, written by Nancy Keats, comparing bicyclist-watching to bird-watching--as there are different types of bicyclists just like there are many kinds of birds.
First on Nancy's list are the Roadies; followed by the Beach Cruisers. Third are the Cyclocrossers (I'm not sure if we have those here in the Philippines). Next are the Commuters--the type I think I fall under. Finally, Ms Keats caps her list with the Vintage Riders. Her article is fascinating because not only does she describe the bicycles, but also the riders themselves--down to the extent of what shoes they wear. Her descriptions are funny because they're true. Especially the one about Commuters almost always travelling alone. Hahaha!

Nancy did leave out other bicyclists in her list. She forgot about the biggest group, the Mountain Bikers. Also, Fixies, BMXer and the most important sub-group, Folding Bike Enthusiasts!

Did I miss any one?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

BCP 1st Anniversary

Brompton Club of the Philippines celebrated its 1st year Anniversary last weekend (September 15) at South Hampton in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. It was well attended by Bromptonauts from all over the Philippines. Sad that I wasn't able to attend the momentous event due to scheduling conflicts.
The club is definitely growing. Every week or so we add a new member to our roster. I think Brompton owners number more than 50 already here in the Philippines. Some guys even own more than one Brompton. Which brings me to a point--we need parts and accessories. As of the moment, we have to fly to Singapore or Hongkong just to get a needed replacement or an upgrade. I hope Brompton, the company, considers opening a shop here in our country. I know some friends who are willing to invest and become the authorized dealer. They just need the go-signal from Brompton.
Anyway, I digress. Congrats again to Brompton Club of the Philippines! Happy 1st Anniversary! May our tribe increase!  

Friday, September 14, 2012

Mini Bike Tour of Iloilo City

I flew to Western Visayas last weekend to accompany my wife to attend a seminar. Brought my folding bike with me so that I could explore the central business district on my own.
I took a Cebu Pacific flight to Iloilo. Packed my Brompton in the new Vincita B-132B Transport Bag (I really like that it's smaller and much more compact than its predecessor).  The bike and the bag weighed a total 17.5 kilos. Had no problem checking it in at the airport.
The flight took an hour. Was quite impressed with the Iloilo International Airport. The place looked new, sleek and shiny.
Once I got to my hotel, I unzipped the B-132B bag to check the bike. Inspected it for any deformities or cracks. Didn't find any. I put air in the tires with the stock handpump. I think I put in 100 pumps per tire. Worked up a bit of sweat there.
After the tires were inflated, I went down the lobby and pedaled away. I biked 3 kilometers to the ferry terminal to buy my ticket to Bacolod for the next day.
From there, I turned around and visited the provincial capitol compound.
Here's the old capitol building. I think the governor plans to convert it into a museum. Speaking of which, I also stopped by the current Iloilo Museum. I was out of luck because the museum was closed.
After taking some pictures, I biked to my next destination, SM Iloilo. Took my customary SM souvenir shot.
I had merienda at local favorite, Deco's. Tried their La Paz Batchoy. It was a bit salty for my tastebuds.
On the way back to the hotel, I passed by the newly inaugurated Iloilo River Esplanade, a 1.2 km pathway along the Iloilo riverbank. I wanted to cycle on it but I was stopped by a security guard.
It was getting dark so I biked back to my hotel. And that was my afternoon tour of the Iloilo central business district. They said I should've visited the area's other attractions like Miag-ao Church, but that's 40 kms west of the CBD. I didn't have time to cycle that far. May be next time.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mini Bike Tour of Bacolod, Negros Occidental

I went to my mom's hometown, Bacolod, last weekend. As far as I can remember, it was my first time in Negros since I was a toddler. And I brought my folding bike with me so that I could tour the Central Business District.
Brommie Skywalker at the 2GO Ferry Terminal in Iloilo City
I was coming from Iloilo City. I took the 7:30am 2GO Supercat Ferry. A round-trip ticket set me back P580.00 (US$14.00). The boat ride from Panay Island to Negros Island took an hour and twenty minutes. I arrived at the Bacolod Roll-On Roll-Off (RORO) Port at 9am. 
The weather was fine that morning--sunny, blue sky with some clouds. It was a wee bit hot though. Anyway, I unfolded the Brompton and cycled towards the CBD. My first stop was the town plaza along Rizal Street. I rested under the shade of a tree and took pictures of the nearby fountains, gazebo and war memorial.
On the opposite side of Rizal Street is San Sebastian Cathedral, more commonly known as the Bacolod Cathedral.
From the church, I rode along Gatuslao Street and stopped at the Negros Museum. I wanted to go inside. Unfortunately, the museum was closed that day. Sayang, I heard it had nice exhibits.
I continued cycling north until I hit the Negros Occidental Provincial Capitol. The Negrense have a really nice looking capitol. Clean and lots of open spaces.
In front of the capitol building is a huge rectangle lagoon. I hear it looks pretty at night. Too bad I couldn't ride my bike within the grounds. A security guard stopped me.
Afterwards, I biked back to Rizal Street and headed to SM shopping mall. Took my customary SM photo and waited for my relatives to pick me up. 
The whole bike ride starting from the port to church to capitol to SM was just 5.5 kms.
My cousin Tel passed by for me at SM. I unfolded my bike and loaded it in her car. She took me north to Silay City.
On the way there I observed that Negrense people (at least those living along the highway) planted nothing but sugarcane. For 13 kilometers I just saw sugarcane, sugarcane, sugarcane. Didn't see any ricefield at all. No wonder Negros is famous for its sweets. The dentists must be making a killing down there. 
Tel toured me around Silay and I was pleasantly surprised to discover it to be a beautiful heritage town. The people of Silay were so historical and cultural conscious that they preserved a lot of their old buildings and houses--even to the extent of having them declared historical landmarks by the National Historical Commission. Maganda talaga ang pag-preserve nila. I was really impressed.
The tourism officer, Ver Pacete, was a very friendly and helpful guy. They offer walking tours of their heritage district. If I had more time, I would've done it.
After the tour, Tel brought me to their house and we had lunch with her family. We ate the local specialty, chicken inasal.
Later in the afternoon, Tel brought me back to Bacolod, but not before taking a sidetrip to Felicia's pastry cafe along 6th Street for cake and coffee. The cake was very good. Next time, I have to try the other Bacolod favorite, Calea's. 
Tel dropped me off at the RORO Port for my trip back to Iloilo. By this time rainclouds enveloped the sky. I thanked Tel for taking me around and promised her I'd return with my family and stay longer. And I definitely will. I want to visit the Lacson Mansion Ruins in Talisay.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Bike Crash Kit App

Have you ever been involved in a traffic accident as a cyclist? Do you know what steps to take immediately right after an accident (assuming no one's hurt)? Well, a New York law firm developed a Bike Crash Kit App for iPhones to assist cyclists in such road mishaps. I just downloaded it and here's my review. 
I like the app because it's simple and straightforward. When a bike crash happens you just click on "New Crash" and start encoding the necessary information on the app to document the incident (i.e. license plate of the car, the driver's particulars, witnesses names and contact details). Then you can push "Location" to pinpoint where you are on a map and you can find the nearest hospital and/or bike shop. When you press "Media," you can access your iPhone's camera, voice recorder and notepad. In addition, you can make a sketch of the accident. Another helpful feature is called the "Accident Info Guide" which summarizes New York City and State bike laws, among others.  
The app is FREE on iTunes. There must be a catch, right? Well, yes, there is. After typing the details of the accident and you push "E-Mail," the law firm Flanzig & Flanzig LLP gets a copy of your report, makes an assessment and may give their initial legal advise on the incident. Now you may or may not retain them, that's ultimately your choice. But, they've got their foot in the door, so to speak.
I wish a local law firm here in the Philippines can come out with a similar app. God knows Filipino cyclists need all the help we can get when encountering truck, bus, jeepney, car, and tricycle drivers while navigating the mean streets of Metro Manila.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bike-cation, another term for Bike Touring and Bike-Packing

Treehugger recently reported on the decline of stay-cations and, inversely, the rise of bike-cations--a new term essentially having the same meaning as bike touring and bike-packing. Anyway, in this video, Laura and Russ (of Path Less Pedaled) promote bike-cations in the US northwestern state of Oregon. It looks very inviting.
Meanwhile, here in the homefront, I'll be taking my own bike-cation in Iloilo and Bacolod this weekend. I will take the Brompton with me and explore Western Visayas by bike. Safe travels, everybody!