I want to promote the use of folding bikes as a means of transportation here in the Philippines. This blog is meant to share my experiences as a folding bike user. I chose a Brompton for its classic style and compact fold, but other brands like Dahon, Strida, Bike Friday, Flamingo and Peerless produce good foldies as well.
Last 29 May 2016, Brompton Philippines organized the the first Brompton Urban Challenge (or BUC) in South East Asia. BUC is Brompton’s version of an alleycat race, where teams of four Bromptoneers bike around town on a treasure hunt doing all sorts of challenges and taking photos of objects or landmarks (it’s like a local Amazing Race on folding bikes).
B-Tols getting ready for the race.
The event was held at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. A total of 18 teams showed up at A/S Parking Lot, 7am that Sunday for what was going to be a morning of adventure and excitement. I joined BUC-QC 2016 with three of my Brompton riding friends, Dr. Arman Lee, Eugene Buenaventura, and Larry Ronquillo. We called ourselves the B-Tols (a play on the name Beatles with B standing for Brompton and 'tols' as a shortcut for utol—never mind, it’s a corny name).
Anyway, the lead marshal of the event, Brian Rivera, called us in at 7:15am to explain to us the mechanics of the race. He then gave all teams the race cards containing the instructions, clues and challenges. Arman, Eugene, Larry and I reviewed the race card and planned out our route. The race started precisely at 7:30am.
Our chosen first task was to ride on a UP IKOT jeepney. Eugene did this task.
I split from the group and dropped by the International Center to do another challenge. I had to count the number of flagpoles at the IC. 14.
I then caught up with my teammates at the UP Shopping Center. Our third task was to find as many Brompton stickers around the SC. It was so difficult. The stickers were so small. It was going to take us forever if we stayed, so we decided to go on to the next task, which was to look for a Brompton item at the Bahay ng Alumni.
We found a Brompton book in the display case of Art Cafe. We took a group photo and hurriedly left.
dOur fifth task was to go to the Carillon and take another group photo in front of it. It was just across the Bahay ng Alumni, so we were done in minutes.
We then proceeded to Quezon Hall where the Oblation statue was situated. We did three tasks there.
We took a track stand photo in front of the statue, we taught a stranger how to fold and unfold a Brompton, and we crammed our Brompton bikes in a tiny e-tricycle.
From Quezon Hall, we biked around the UP oval to the Sunken Garden. We carried our bikes to the center and posed for another group photo. This time in front of the UP standees.
Team B-Tols then rushed back to the A/S Parking Lot. Our final task was to answer trivia questions about Brompton the company. Silly me, I didn’t read the instructions thoroughly. It said to log on to a blog for the answers. Instead, we searched for the answers using Google. After we filled it up, we biked straight to the finish line.
Doc Arman, Eugene, Larry, and yours truly.
We were the first one in! We clocked in at 52:58.
However, when the checkers reviewed our race card, they penalized us an extra 5 minutes for the wrong answer as to the number of Brompton stickers in SC, and another 5 minutes for not following instructions on the trivia questions. So our official time was 1:02:58.
I was so nervous. I thought for sure I cost the team the win.
While we waited for the others, we refreshed ourselves with drinks from Pocari Sweat and Gold Leaf Tea. We also got our loot bags, which contained a BUC-QC 2016 dri-fit shirt, a cotton shirt, a Camelbak water bottle, Edlee arm socks, some drinks, and bread. Not bad! Not bad at all! (The registration fee was PhP600/member)
Brompton slowest race
Brompton Philippines also organized other contests such as fastest folder, fastest one armed folder, a relay race, and a slowest race.
At around 11 the organizers announced the winners from fifth to first place. Believe it or not, 10 minute penalty notwithstanding, Team B-Tols won the first Brompton Urban Challenge in the Philippines!!!
First prize were Suunto Ambit 3 Sport HR watches for each of us!!! How awesome is that?!?!
Photo courtesy of Brompton Philippines
Thank you Brompton Philippines, Suunto, Pocari Sweat, Gold Leaf, Edlee Designs, other sponsors, Brompton Club of the Philippines and BUC-QC 2016 volunteers! I had a blast! Can’t wait for next year’s BUC!!!