Monthly Archives: March 2011

Bike Messenger

Pedala Bike Messengers, Inc.

Providing personalized delivery service without the fumes

Contact them at 0920-6987777 or pedalabikemessengers@gmail.com

Rates:
Intercity deliveries only
P50 for one-way delivery/pick-up
P70 for roundtrip/wait & return

LBS

Local Bike Shops (Listed here are those considered as selling “real” bikes (no offense meant to the other bike shops). Ok if you would want to be politically correct about it- they are selling branded bikes. The list below are those which I was only able to visit. There might be others out there and I will just update this as soon as I have the information. Am still thinking though if I will create a detailed blog about LBS as I know most of them and I don’t want to be biased about this.)

ALL TERRA (LIBIS) – 638-2075, 570-6618 www.allterracyclery.com
ALL TERRA (ORTIGAS) – 217-6381 www.allterracyclery.com
ALL TERRA (GALERIA) – www.allterracyclery.com
BIKE FIX (QUEZON CITY) -
BIKE KING (FORT) -
BIKE ROOM (CARTIMAR) – 551-6228 www.thebikeroom.com
BIKE TOWN CYCLERY (PASONG TAMO) – 387-2173
BIKEZILLA (ORTIGAS) – 470-2199
CRISTY’S (CARTIMAR) – 551-2828, 833-6196
CYCLE OPTIONS (GREENHILLS) – 724-9936, 0922-6219324 (Closed)
CYCLING ZONE (ALABANG) – 809-6736, 802-0773
DAN’S BIKE (PASONG TAMO) – 889-5388, 0918-9332650
ENDLESS BIKE SHOP (MAKATI) – 8874624
ENDURANCE BIKE SHOP (BF HOMES) – 0927-8731075
EXTREME (QUEZON CITY) – 373-7100
FELT -
GRAN TRAIL (MAKATI) – 772-1225
HAOOH (TAYTAY) -
JOHN WILKIE (MARIKINA) – 646-8547
JOHN WILKIE (MARIKINA) – 934-7826
JOVEN’S (MARIKINA) – 645-0637, 645-6029, 0919-3966436
KINGS BIKE SHOP (QUIAPO) – 734-0052, 734-0069, 0920-5266986
KNOBBIES (WHITE PLAINS) -
LIFE CYCLE (GREENHILLS) – 584- 2862, 584-2442  http://www.lifecyclebicycleshop.com
LIFECYCLE (PASONG TAMO) -
MT PRO BIKE (PASONG TAMO) – 843-1593, 0919-403369
NEWTON’S MULTI SALES (QUEZON CITY) – 372-5127
PAPIS RIDE – 451-2248, 0905-2077940
PAULINA’S (CARTIMAR) – 831- 9320, 833-7617
POWERBIKES (ROCKWELL) – 898-0377 (Closed)
ROOSEVELT (QUEZON CITY) – 372-5844
ROSS CYCLE (CARTIMAR) – 832-7478
ROX (FORT) – www.rox.com.ph
SABAK (ALABANG) – 771-1768 www.sabaksports.com.ph
SABAK (PASONG TAMO) – 819-1733 www.sabaksports.com.ph
SABAK (SANTA ROSA) – (49) 541-1396 www.sabaksports.com.ph
SHOJI’S (LAS PINAS) – 873-6900
THE BRICK MULTISPORT (MCKINLEY HILLS) -
TRAIL WARRIORS
UNISON – 242-5067, 2425053
VELOCITY (CARTIMAR) – 832-2352
VELOCIPEDE (QUEZON CITY) – 3518488
VILLAMAYOR (ANGONO) – 651-0868
YKK (CEBU) – (32)-255-8853 www.ykkbikes.com

The good thing about this is that these shops are clustered. If you visit one place, you can hit a couple of birds with one stone. The major clusters includes Cartimar in Pasay, Pasong Tamo stretch in Makati (this has been developed recently) and Quezon Boulevard in Quiapo. Some are isolated but can be included along the way to these clusters. If you venture out in Cebu, a visit to YKK is also advised.

HK Bike Shops

Flying Ball  – http://www.flyingball.com/ 

Tribal Sport – http://tribalsport.hk/,

Escapade Sports – http://www.escapade.com.hk/

Bull Bike – http://www.bullbike.net/eng/index.htm 

TriSports Hong Kong – http://www.trisports.hk
G/F., 20 Haven Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
M: +852-90275365, T: +852-25043323, F: +852-25043303
Skype ID: pkkentwong

Wun Pang Bicycle Firm = http://www.wunpangbicycle.com
Flt K, 2/F, Hung Wai Ind Bldg, 3 Hi Yip Street, Yuen Long, N.T.
 T: +852-24769219 

Chung Yung Cycle Co – http://hkbicycle.com.hk
132 San FungAvenue G/F Sheung Shui, N.T.
T: +852-26703639 ,  852-26709833 F: 852-26795602

P.C. Sportech – http://pcsportech.com
132 San FungAvenue G/F Sheung Shui, Shatin, N.T.
T: +852-29601245

Frame Builder and Painter

FRAME BUILDER

Ave Maldea
16-B Les-Jay Bldg. Parola ST. Brgy. San Andres Cainta Rizal;
cel # 09193679520; landline # 248-1905

PAINTING

Tata Maxie
Landline 02-8716487 or contact through CHRISTY’s at Cartimar.

Aris 
Landline 02-9483203 or contract through Israel Dy’s (John Wilkie)

Republic Powdercoating 
With branches at Sucat and near Project 6

Medy Balahula
His shop is in Estrella St. in Makati (San Antonio village)

Joy Iballa
Mobile 0922-7065460

CARBON FIBRE REPAIRS

Terry Flores
Stage 21, Marcos Hi-way Marikina (near Dela Paz Footbridge near Robinsons Marcos Hi-way) stage21bodykits@yahoo.com
Mobile 0917-2048292

OTHERS

Boyetworks – Machine Shop (Aluminium Adapters, etc.)
Mobile 0919-5933293

Ayie – Stickers
Mobile 0919-5708497

Towhitch
Mobile 0917-5308224

Bike Jersey Contacts

ANDREW CHINALPAN JR
EPIC Triathlon & Cycling Wear, Greenpine Print Inc.
(Customized uniforms and silkcreen/sublimation printing)
Email : a_chinalpan@yahoo.com
Mobile : 09189428506, 09175541345, Office : 026457331, Telefax : 022501468

THE BIKE MATE
#66 Banal St., Barangay 125 East Grace Park Caloocan City
(Customized uniforms and silkcreen/sublimation printing)
Email : thebikemate@yahoo.com
Mobile : 09189255269, Office : 023307542, Fax : 023633034
www.thebikemate.com

ANATOMIC

EDWIN LEE
Espana, Manila
(Bike jerseys, cycling shorts, sublimation printing)
Email : edwin_lee8@yahoo.com  
Mobile :,  Office : 027411837, 027411842

Hindi Lang Pang Sports…

Here are jerseys that I have designed.

This first one was the 2009 MMS Jersey:

2009 MMS Jersey

 This is for 2010 MMS Jersey:

2010 MMS Jersey

And this is my personal Jersey. Still havent been produced as I am still waiting for SMB to sponsor me…

San Mig Light Jersey

 

And if your not into SM Lights…

Red Horse Jersey

My Former Racing Career or the Lack of It…

I have started biking since I was 8 years old but it was only when I was 26 years old when I first tried bike racing. The second time, it was mountain biking almost after 6 years of the first experience. It was only after the second time, a mountain bike competition that I gave a serious look at racing and started entering a lot of these races. Prior to this, I was already joining marathons and adventure races. I think the reason for being a late bloomer in cycling is maybe because before, almost all bike races are geared towards the elite riders or in short, there are no categories, and if there is, most probably its only regarding age. There is no or too little races under the “executive category”. Though this category issue is something controversial (i.e. there were even a race where an employment certificate identifying the participant as in a managerial level became a rule- discriminating the other “blue collared” riders as if short of saying “we create this race that we want to control so that we can increase our chances of winning”); this is a topic I leave others to argue as I am no longer part of the road racing scheme. But one last note on this- as if even in bike racing we would want to create boundaries between the haves and have-nots.

Going back, I consider myself as an under achiever in terms of competitive cycling. I mask this with my motto- “I only race for fun!” I also justify this by stating the fact that I started competitive cycling when I was already past my prime cycling years. And further- as a mountaineer or outdoors-man- I am not really competitive and my sport are usually those that relieves stress rather than create one. This is coming from a man who has a Joe Friel book in his library as early as the 90s. Nevertheless I still dream of one time winning a bike race or two but as years past, this bucket list of mine is something I think I would no longer fulfill.

In San Mateo- The Only Time I Went Ahead of Juboy

As I often fondly narrates- my first bike race experience happened in 97 when I and Rodel Palisoc decided to join a race with out any serious or even non-serious training, if there is such a thing. It was the Morong to Real Quezon Race known as the Rudy Project Classics. It was a funny experience as it was one hell of a ride for us. At the start of the climb in Bugarin we barely made it alive and we still have to climb the Famy-Real road! I remember I stopped in one store in the hi-way were after eating, I think I fell asleep for about 5 minutes and it was a bike race! As we entered Real, we were surprised that a truck going back to Manila has some riders shouting at us to continue on. They have finished the awarding ceremony, took their lunch and rested and then decided to go home while we were still on route to the finish line. It was one first race experience.

The Original All Terra Mountain Bike Team (me- standing R)

That was the only road race I have joined in my life to date. At around 2003 I started joining mountain bike races from the San Mateo races, to the Sabak pump track races, the track installed in the current location of Serendra, La Mesa races to town fiesta races. I didn’t have any remarkable finish ranking in all of those races. While my fellow MMS members who have started biking just recently like Juboy Willkomm and Wiwit Acuna has already started winning races. That and maybe a couple of other factors converged which includes age, reality, time, family, career and my real interest which is bike touring and hiking that made me decide that I’m done with racing. That was the time we have just started the AllTerra Cycling Team.

That doesn’t mean I have shut down my racing career for good. I still join races once in a while. This time its really just for fun…

 

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Building My Touring Bike

I would say, my experience building my touring bike is a hit and miss process and only time-experience brought me to the bike that I firmly believe I am happy with. In this entry, I would like to share the decision points and products that I have hurdled in the hope of helping you decide on your own touring bike project.

Touring Bike the Fast Set-up

First and foremost, a touring bike is a bike that is built for long distance travel, not for road racing and not for off road trail riding as in the case of mountain bikes. However, a road bike and a mountain bike can be used as touring bikes in itself so the qualifying condition, as Lance Armstrong would put it- “It’s not about the bike” but the activity itself. But having said that, a true touring bike would need further adjustments that would deal with the rigors of touring, particularly in terms of comfort for long distance riding and load bearing capabilities for the logistics needed for multi-day rides.

Based on experience there is no one bike to rule them all! (contrary to Pivot’s claim). Not unless your style of touring would be the same all throughout. There are different types of touring. A

Fast Wheels

short one day tour that is less than 100km, a fast one day tour with around 100-200 km of distance covered, a purely road tour, an off road tour, a multi-day tour less than 3 days and those beyond 3 days to 10 days and of course, the ultimate- more than 10 days to a couple of months escapade. Given that, I would say the best touring bike is something that has the capability to be quickly reconfigured to adjust to all of these types of activities.

The start of course would be the base bicycle and I would say, there are 3 base bicycles to use. A road bike, a mountain bike and a cruiser bike. Though all three can be easily reconfigured to cover wider types of activities, i.e. a road bike can be converted to a cyclo-cross set-up to address rough road issues, a mountain bike can be converted as a hybrid with slick tires to become more efficient in roads, there are still other important factors to consider. I didn’t mentioned a cruiser in the previous example as I feel a cruiser bike’s gearing is more limited for fast and long distance riding and its too relaxed set-up would be inefficient for multi-day touring. In my case, I have chosen the mountain bike set-up for five important reasons- first, there are still lots of rough roads in the Philippines; secondly, a road bike position would be uncomfortable for my aging physique (I often experience back pain and shoulder problems for extended multi-day ride); thirdly road bikes has too aggressive gearing for comfort for climbs while bearing loads; fourthly, road bike has limited load carrying accessories and finally, the fact that I can reconvert the mountain bike to a full

Multi-day Set-up

MTB set-up would be helpful to give me a “utility” mountain bike I can use in extreme conditions like adventure racing (as I don’t want my expensive XC to be handled poorly in transit during these mutli-activity competitions), for use for bike commuting and for lending to friends who don’t have bikes and would want to try out mountain biking. So moving forward, the succeeding discussion would be on MTB as a touring bike as I have limited experience using cyclo-cross bikes.

Modifying a bike from its normal set-up to a bike touring set-up would put it in the “hybrid” category that would, for others, as a goofy or awkward looking set-up. But in the final analysis- the consideration would be efficiency and comfort rather than aesthetics. The modifications I did with my mountain bike for touring includes a change in tires from knobbies to slick. I do have a 1.75, 1.25 and 1.0 tire diameters slicks which I interchange depending on the type of touring activities I need to do. Of course, the 1.0 would be for a fast one day ride covering 100- 200 km. I still retained the knobbies in cases of a real off road

touring. I have also selected a riser bar for comfort and have used an Ergon grips with large flat ends for resting my palms. I was also thinking of having a bar end (Ergon has one with an integrated bar end) as it offers more hand position which you will definitely need after a whole day ride to ease out the strains and cramps on the hands. I am also considering using an aero-bar

Tour Divide Champ with his Bike

extender used in triathlon bikes for efficiency as I have also seen most participants in ultra long distance bike races such as the Great Divide and Tour Divide uses such set-up, though it would raise a lot of eyebrows. On my part, I have removed the third chain ring or the granny gear as I don’t have a use for it on road touring. On the area of packing stuffs for the ride, there are a couple of options. I have invested in most of them so that I am more flexible to decide on which load to bring depending on the ride (ROI on these packs are also better if the bike is used for bike commuting). A hydration pack, a saddle bag, sets of panniers with an easy quick release frame that goes with it, a front tray and smaller gear bags that can be attached on the bike for small items such as cameras and GPS are some of the stuff I found useful. You will only find out by experience which works and which doesn’t or which still works but is not efficient (i.e. I found out that bringing panniers slows me down and increasing my  riding efforts due to wind drag on the bag so its not advisable for fast rides and only for comfortable phased rides). My bike frame has two water bottle cages so that in shorter rides, I can do away without any hydration packs. For safety, a blinker, good head lights and bike head lamps as well as a kid’s bike bell is also helpful. For the stuffs to bring- its something that experience and your preference will tell you. But some quick pointers includes- bring light and quick dry stuff, avoiding bringing too much stuff, and consider buying some of the stuff on the road rather bringing it yourself.

Set-up

Choice of saddle is also crucial especially if you have sensitive butts. All of these comes out after more than 8 hours in the saddle. I have one so for long distance rides, I use a Selle Italia Sportourer but the downside is it’s weight so I also retained a lightweight saddle for lesser day tours. One decision point that may be particular here in the Philippines is regarding safety. As light weight bike is ideal for touring for power efficiency and since light weight is equivalent to expensive components- security issues of your bikes being stolen or forcibly taken is also a serious consideration. If your bike is inexpensive, you will have fewer things to worry but it’s a reality that it’s heavier to drive. So for me, I sometimes replace parts with a less expensive one if the destination has security issues, though its too much work to do, it’s not that often do I encounter this situation.

Heavy Load

Overall, the accumulated experience in doing long distance riding gives me more confident in future rides, knowing that my ride and the stuff I bring would be sufficient to complete the tour successfully. This is the same advice I would give for those considering doing bike touring. You can heed all the advice here but in the end, it’s your preference that will tell you which one is for you. But that is something you will not find out without making your first steps- your first long distance- or multi-day tour.

My Bike Touring Specs (Note that majority of the components here were hand me downs from my upgrade of my XC bike and were not bought specifically for this bike):

Frame : Schwinn MOAB 2

Fork : Rigid Aero Fork (Mosso) but am considering using suspension when majority of route is rough roads.

Handle Bar : Easton EC90 Monkeylight Riser Bar/ Oval Carbon Straight Bar

Grips : Ergon

Stem : Easton EA90

Seat Post : Easton EC90

Saddle : Sportourer / Selle Italia XC

Group Set : XTR 2003 less granny gear, hydraulic brakes but still contemplating of returning to V-brakes for weight, easy maintenance and lower cost (remember security?)

Wheelset : Token hubs 28, 32 holes, Wheelsmith spokes, SunRingle 28 and Mavic Rims 32 (reason: no local available rims with 28 holes so brought the 28 hole rim in the US. reason in the first place- wrong delivery of Token hubs from Taiwan- one is 28 and another is 32, more difficult to return back to Token directly).

Rotors : Ashima

Tires : Michelin Country Rock 1.95, IRC 1.25, Schwalbe  Durano 1.0, Kenda Nevegal for off-road.

Bike Computer : Wireless Cateye

GPS/ Media Player : Nokia E72

Lights/ Blinkers : Cateye, Mammut

Panniers / Bags: Giant, Deuter, Camelbak, Louis Garneau, Belkin, Lowe Alpine

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Laguna to Legaspi Trip

Bicol at Last!

(Article came out on March 2011 edition of Weekend Warrior Magazine)

This is our Laguna to Legaspi trip. A story of 3 weekend warriors who stepped out further from their weekend sorties and decided to bike from Laguna to Bicol in 4 days.

We were actually not real hard core riders, just wannabes; though we were into cycling outside of our juvenile biking since 2001. But more than cycling we were into adventure and exploration so it was natural for us to progress into long distance touring.

A few years back, I and Dindo were talking about cycling the entire Philippines in some undetermined future. That was really a proposition without any commitments as the most challenging part in doing this is time, which both of us doesn’t have the luxury of at this point in our life. But the plan was still in the back of our minds so every opportunity to do a portion of our future route is something we grabbed on. We joined the Tour of Hope last March doing the Manila to Baguio ride and then on we decided to continue at least doing a segment once or twice a year and maybe once confident enough, then do our Bike Philippines Project. For this coming All Saints day break, we decided to do the Manila to Bicol route. We posted the plan with other friends early on but as the day came close, only the three of us confirmed the ride. It was Dindo Narciso, me and another lady friend Deonitta Cas.

We decided to start our Bicol ride from Pagsanjan Laguna as we do not want to start in the busy, congested and polluted streets of Manila and the best route going to Quezon would be the Pagsanjan to Lukban route though it would entail a climb to Lukban.

Day 1

Unloading at Pagsanjan Parish Grounds

We left Manila at around 4:00 AM. We arrived at Pagsanjan at around 6:00 AM. We had our breakfast at Pagsanjan and at around 7 am, after biding goodbye to our service car, off we went to start our adventure. We already did the Pagsanjan to Lukban route about a year ago so the terrain was a bit familiar. It was really challenging and for us then; with newbies in tow, it took us half a day to reach Lukban. This time, we reached Lukban at around 9AM (a 30km of uphill climb). The route passed by Cavinti and Luisiana Laguna, dubbed as the little Baguio of Laguna, before reaching the popular

My Ride

tourist town of Lukban. Too early for lunch, we decided to just have a quick brake then proceed immediately towards Tayabas. Anyways, we already had our Lukban Longganisa at Pagsanjan so no need to taste the treat. From Lukban, we passed by Tayabas, then Lucena, then Pagbilao and it was in Pagbilao when we first felt the stress of our ride from legs to buttocks. Deo chanced upon a father and son tandem who were biking for a day from Liliw Laguna to Tagkawayan in Quezon for the All Saints Day traditions. They accompanied Deo up to

Gumaca Sea Scape

our designated re-group point and rest stop. After Pagbilao, it was then to Atimonan and taking the Quezon National Park route where the fabled “bitukang manok” is situated when; we were demoralized to see the steepness of the climb. It was not actually a long one but how it present itself gives you the shock and awe. We scaled the hills one stroke at a time, heads bowed down, until we finished the entire route. But this second mountain pass already took a toll at us. We were already tired after leaving the park and it was still about 70 kms to go. We had our lunch by 1:45 pm at Atimonan, around 90km along the way and then we proceeded to Plaridel. Riding the sea side roads of Plaridel, Gumaca and Lopez was refreshing but that was not able to take away the feeling of tiredness after a hundred kilometer ride. It was already dawn by the time we reached Calauag at 5:48 pm. We checked in at Villa Lin El Inn. Overall we biked a total of 145 kms from Pagsanjan to Calauag to cap off our day 1.

DAY 2

View from our Balcony

We woke up early and by 7:30 am and after taking our breakfast, we started our ride. The weather was cool, cloudy and pleasant, a wonderful day for riding. We took the Quirino Hi-way on our way to Camarines Sur. Though it was not a mountain climb, the numerous ups and downs on the hilly route were actually more challenging than the mountains of the first day. If we add up those hills, it may come out as steeper and higher. The towns are also sparsely located so in this 90 km stretch of Quirino Hi-way, we passed only 3 towns- Tagkawayan, Del Galliego and Ragay before reaching Sipocot. We decided to have our lunch at Tagkawayan, at a restaurant within the Petron gas station. It was around 11 am, exactly 50 km from our start at Calauag. We tried the Bicol Express, though technically we were still in Quezon. There was a short drizzle

Tagkawayan Grind

while we were having lunch and it stopped by the time we started our ride so the weather up to this point was still pretty much cooperative. Counting the kilometer markers in Quirino Hi-way is heart breaking as the towns are far apart. I must have been dreaming when I declared to Dindo and Deo that after Ragay, it’s all downhill. Though it was actually more on the downhill side, the terrain was still pretty much the same. I stopped at a store 2 km

Pleasant Ride

before the junction at Sipocot for a re-group and I was glad I did as the resort we about to stay was actually a few meters back track from that store. We reached Sipocot by 4:30 pm, a total of 118 km (6hrs ride time). We stayed at Villa Esperanza, the only lodging in the place. But based on our experience in terms of cleanliness and service, we would rather bike another 30 km than stay in this place. The challenge with this segment is that Quirino Hi-way is a hundred plus kilometers. From Sipocot, the next town is still 35+ kilometers and it’s also not as urban as Sipocot (Pamplona). The next best place is Naga which is another 40+ km. It’s actually doable but really challenging and for mortals like us- Sipocot is our only option. We spent the night at the store where we re-grouped as they have better meal offers than the resort and beers were also available.

Day 3

Rainy Start of the Day

We left Sipocot at around 8:15 AM. It was a little bit late due to lack of sleep from the noise from Villa Esperanza’s karaoke machine which was up until 2 in the morning. It was raining hard this day so we wore our rain gears. Since the route for day three is the shortest at around 44 km, we were thinking of extending further to Iriga thus equalizing the distances between this day and the last day. We rode from Sipocot to Naga and arrived there at around 10:30 am. We looked for Biggs fast food outlet, to try something different while in Bicol. After the lunch we passed by some errands- ATM machine to replenish the beer money and a trip to a bike shop to fix Dindo’s rack. Then we decided to go to Iriga while considering ending the day at Pili. If we felt like resting in Pili, then we will stay at Pili

At CWC

than Iriga which according to locals is still 30 to 40 kms down to Legaspi. When we arrived at Pili, we decided to look at CWC since Dindo and I haven’t been there. While we were inside, we were enchanted by the place especially the cabins that seems really cozy. We met Jun De Leon, the famous photographer who covered our Tour of Hope ride earlier this year, wakeboarding in CWC. He further convinced us to stay at CWC. So for day three, the total ride was only 57 kms. We spend the rest of the day discovering CWC, drinking and a short visit to SM Naga to buy food, supplies and beer.

The next day, we found out that Iriga was not really that far. But still, considering the accommodations at CWC, we felt it was still better to stay at CWC.

Day 4

Local Power Bars

After a good nights’ rest and a packed breakfast from last night’s dinner, we left CWC at around 7 am. It was still raining so we still wore our rain gear. But this time, we decided to leave our packs at CWC and just asked the car that will fetch us later in the day to pick it up on its way to Legaspi. It was a classic example of “desperate times brings out the creativity within a person.” All of us were already tired with muscles aching. Our first stop was at Nabua passing by Bato and

Approaching Mayon at Camiling

Iriga. The weather improved from hereon so we removed our suffocating rain gears. Mayon Volcano became visible from Libong so the more we got excited. From Libong, the towns were near each other except Polangui which has the longest stretch in this leg. Jollibee stores were also already present in these small towns so it was another visible counter for us. From Libong to Oas to Ligao City, we had a couple of picture taking stops whenever we see wonderful views of Mayon. Then in Guinobatan and Camaling, grades become steeper and since we were already tired, it was painful doing those segments. Head winds were also strong thus adding the challenge. I was really struggling this fourth day and I found out the next day after going home that the disc brake locked up thus the wheel was not

Mayon Saudi Shot!

free spinning. We decided to go straight to Cagsawa ruins to have our lunch so we arrived there at around 11:30 am. After several pictures we proceeded to Legaspi where we looked for a motel to freshen up and wait for our service car. After the car arrived, we decided to celebrate the ride at Gerry’s Grill Embarkadero, with beer in one hand and the refreshing sea breeze and Mayon’s shadow on one end. We headed home the same day arriving Manila at around 2 AM. With ego’s satisfied- we wanted more. We have also officially christened out team, “the drunken bikers.” GPS data and other information at my Everytrail site (everytrail.com). Just search using related key words.

Victory Party and Welcome Drinks!

OK one last picture shot:

Sorry guys, this is not Dindo and me- It’s Hans Rey and Brian Lopes when they visited Mayon Volcano. (Photo by Bill Freeman)

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My Cross Country Mountain Bike – Weight Weenie Contender!

My XC Bike- used and abused at Pinatubo

When I first assembled my mountain bike, the world of mountain biking was dominated by hard tails. Dual suspension was sort of a curio species. Nowadays where full suspension bikes are part of the mainstream and where, according to Mountain Bike Action Magazine survey, is rapidly becoming the norm rather than an exception in terms of new bike purchases (that is in North America); I still stayed on and stuck with my hard tail as my primary mountain bike. But I am still open and would consider having a full suspension in the future. Maybe later in life when the body is too old for the punishing rigors of the trail.

My first mountain bike was a Schwinn Moab (now converted as my touring and commuter bike). The components were the recently extinct LX series (I remember I also did had an Exage parts back in college, the oldest mountain bike Shimano parts I ever had). As I eventually had the opportunity and capability to upgrade, I became a weight weenie. It’s actually addicting, I may call that state as being “weenie-holic”. I read a lot of publications and the internet to satisfy my quest for the lightest but durable parts as it became an obsession. So the product is my ultimate racing cross country mountain bike. I am not sure if to date, this is still the lightest out there lcoally but I would definitely bet my money on it (Saw this site and was amazed on the lightest bikes out there- http://www.light-bikes.com/. I entered my bike here). Last time I checked, I was able to reach the sub 17 Ibs mark. I used this reference for products but I would say some of his parts are also not the lightest based on actual tests – (http://luckynino.blogspot.com/) but a great reference indeed.

During our early mountain bike days, we practiced naming our bikes with girl’s names (as we often “ride” them- no pun intended). I remember I named mine Diana. But after my wife nagged me into why I have chosen Diana, the practice died down as males are known to rather “drop it rather than explain it”. So just between the two of us- this is Diana II.

So here is my ultra-light cross country mountain bike specs:

Frame : Merida FLX 2000 Carbon Hard Tail 2008. But last time I checked, the newer Merida FLX was even lighter. There was also a Scott version that claimed to be the lightest. But since frames cost a fortune- it’s not like the other parts where one can easily sell, replace and upgrade, I have decided long ago that I will stick with this for keeps.

Fork : Rock Shox SID Team 2004. The newer SID’s have bigger stanchion diameter for stiffness but I would tend to think it’s heavier than my older version. The World Cup version, especially the one with the carbon steerer is definitely lighter than this but I am still not sold to having a steerer made of carbon plus the cost is already bounding the obscene. There was this fork I have researched to be lighter at a lesser cost- it’s the Spinner Ti but the problem is, it is not only unavailable locally, it’s also difficult to source even in Taiwan where it was manufactured. Nino claims the DT XCR Fork as the lightest at 1.257 grams but I bet it will cost a fortune as most European parts do.

For the stem, its Token. I had the Easton EA90 stem before, which is even lighter compared with the EC90 but after I weighed in the Token stem, it was lighter by some grams. I have replaced the bolts with titanium bolts to further reduce the weight for both the head clamps and the steerer clamps bolts. I would tend to agree after more than 3 years since I bought it; there might be newer products out there which may be lighter but I guess I am half cured of my being weenie-holic.

I used the Token Scandium handle bar. This was lighter than the Easton EC90 nor the Oval and other handle bars out there.

Brakes- the Formula R1 Disc Brake, the lightest out there. Though it’s the lightest, it has better stopping power and modulation than the other cross country brakes I have tested. I encountered one problem though, I lost the brake lever bolt once when I was riding, rendering one brake useless. But I am more optimistic that this is an exception to the rule rather than the norm. Or maybe my love of this product blinded me. Besides, I am satisfied with their service as Formula sent me replacement bolts directly from Italy after the issue has been reported. I have used a different titanium bolt to mount the calipers to further decrease the weight.

Rotors- Alligator Cirrus Rotors. The lightest rotor out there that seems to be reasonable. The Cirrus model is even lighter than their Ti coated models. I found an interesting replacement though but I was not able to buy it before I lost interest in weight reduction. It’s the Scrubs Rotors. The Scrubs is too expensive and needed to be ordered from the US. The Stans Al rotor on the other hand has been pulled out of production so it may not be that reliable (using Al as rotors- what are they thinking ?!).

For the wheel set, I have combined all of the lightest products out in the market. I used the Alex Scandium rims (I went to Binondo just to get one), the Wheelsmith spokes (lighter than the DT Swiss models) and the American Classics hubs- I should have brought the complete wheel set and just take out the hubs as the prices for both are not really that far apart. I could have ended up with extra rims and Sapim spokes.  For rim tape, I have just used the transparent 3M duct tape for lesser weight.

Just for road or light trails or for “show” and not recommended for technical riding (so that I will not be blamed later)- the tires I have used is the Maxxis 310 which is 310 grams each. I just brought the Maxxis 320 after I saw the 310 so ended up with 2 sets of tires. For the tubes, the Bontrager XXX Lite outweighs all standard tubes out there but there is this upcoming transparent plastic tube that would beat them all. Not sure if this is the same one as the self healing being sold locally (Update- got this transparent tube from local bike shops- It was promising as the label claims an 80 grams weight but after getting back home and weighing it- its actual weight was around 110+ grams while the XXX Lite was just 95 grams).

For the group set- I used the 2009 XTR trigger shifter. Then the same series front derailleur and rear derailleur, replacing the rollers and bolts with after market options and not the Yumema. For the crank set, the 2003 XTR is lighter than the 2009 but didn’t trade off the small weight for the uniformity of having the same model series. Though I am looking forward to using the Agilis crank set which seems to be lighter plus to try out the oval rotors- if it indeed has its benefits. For the cassette, I also use the XTR and same as with the crank set, the 2003 model is lighter by a few grams but again I stucked to 2009 for uniformity. I have a “show case” cassette though; a lighter Ti-Al KCNC cassette. Didn’t use it as my everyday cassette as nothing beats the Shimano HyperGlide shifting and the Al parts of the KCNC will deteriorate faster if used frequently so better use it for show. Haven’t compared the newer Ti cassettes though. By the way, I have removed the granny rings from all of my mountain bikes as I don’t have a use for it. Not that I am powerful in climbs, but my logic is- if I use the granny gear, then I will just rather walk as I am faster walking than riding in granny’s. Anyways, I don’t have issues walking as I value intellect more than brute force. I think even McIlvan and RC of MTB Action agrees that a 2 X 9 is the most effective combination not only because of gear ratios but more so because of cross chain issues. Manufacturers on the other hand agrees with the 2 but claims a 10 is better as it has better gear transition from the tightly spaced cassette. But of course, a 2 X 10 is lighter than a 3 X 9 but a 2 X 9 is even lighter.

Now that the 10 speed XTR is out- am planning to evaluate this in the future- if budget permits.

Others includes: seat post – KCNC Ti (the Token was lighter but since its a 27 and the frame is a 30, the added weight of the shim makes the KCNC lighter- but I think the Woodman is the lightest out there), Saddle- Selle Italia Carbon SLR, an Itune Ti seat collar, an Alligator iLink Al cable housing (lighter than the more expensive Nokon), a synthetic PowerCordz cable from the US (I bet one of the few installations here in the Philippines), foam grips by Ritchey and Crank Brothers 2Ti for pedals (my budget didn’t reached the 4Ti), and KMC 9SL Gold Chain.

I often hear the word “it’s not about the bike” when somebody notices your passion and investment on bike products. I do agree to a certain point but if the motive is only about sourgraping, then I guess it’s a negative vibe. As these same people will do buy one if they have the money. If everything else is equal or near equal, then its about the bike- that’s why pros spends millions of dollars to invest on these. And most importantly bike riding is a separate thing from the  admiration on the technical ingenuity of man particularly in this human contraption called “the perfect machine”, the bicycle. (It was said that if an alien sees a bike, without seeing a human being, then he can figure out what kind of form a human beings has). These falls as a hobby and passion on the bike technicalities itself and not the riding. Much as people spends money on collectibles and hobbies, this is just the same. Lucky for me, I am both a bike riding enthusiast and a bike technical enthusiast!

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