Category Archives: Pit Stops

Batangas Bisikleta Iglesia 2018

BI3.jpgBisikleta Iglesia came a long way. I would assume it all started out of convenience that long rides happen during the long Holy Week break. In-line with the evolution of the actual Bisita Iglesia tradition (from sacred to touristy)- there came a merging point when suddenly, it appears reasonable to do the Holy Week break long ride and merge it with the spiritual atmosphere of the week – and the Bisikleta Iglesia was born. Putting a noble meaning to the long ride of the Holy Week break. I don’t know who first coined this term but as far as I remember, there was no such thing in the 90s. I would think it only appeared mid to late 2000.  A quick search on the internet gives 2010 as the earliest record on this event. So the article I created on this blog regarding our own Bisikleta Iglesia experience in 2011 was a year after that claim.


Cycling itself is a continuous reflection.

Anyways, the tour evolved naturally from rides amongst friends or clubs to those professionally organized whether by the church itself, the government via its LGU or Tourism arm or commercially by a business entity. This 2018, I had an opportunity to join a ‘commercially’ organized Bisikleta Iglesia, the second run of the Batangas Bisikelta Iglesia series hosted by Lima Park Hotel last March 24, 2018.

It was a 50-kilometer route amongst seven churches namely Sto. Nino Parish in Lipa, Marian Orchard in Balete, Divino Amor Chapel-Redemptorist in Lipa, Parish of Mary Mediatrix of All Grace in Lipa, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Monastery in Lipa, Metropolitan Cathedral of San Sebastian in Lipa, and the Parish Church of St. Therese of the Child Jesus in Lipa.


Raffle prizes we have won.

Overall, the experience was great. The fee was reasonable given that it includes a jersey, a breakfast and lunch buffet plus a lot of raffle prizes.  And all four of us won the raffle draw so it was a big ROI for us. The route was also challenging enough especially the climb from Balete. The only issue I have is that they claimed that its a child-friendly ride but it wasn’t. I was ok with the ride but if you have a kid with you as I did, then it’s a bit stressful. The first challenge was the long and fast descent to Balete followed by the steep climb on your way back. Then what I consider as worst is the ride into the inner city limits of Lipa where traffic was very heavy. The team was disorganized and splintered as the pace was fast (not kid friendly) so it was pretty nerve-wracking fending for your kid through the busy traffic of Lipa. I actually jokingly said- that’s the reason why the kids who joined last year were already gone this year- they found out it’s not kid-friendly. I don’t mind those challenges if they have informed us beforehand. But to claim its kid-friendly whereas it’s not is a big no-no.  The traffic near the Mount Carmel area is also not fun- as most of the time, we were navigating the sidewalks. It became an all man for himself to navigate those obstacles. The traffic in that area cannot be resolved even with an organized and escorted peloton. It’s better to avoid that place in the future.

But as I have said, overall it’s a great ride sans the kid-friendly claim. Maybe in the future, they should venture further out of Lipa to avoid the busy streets near Mount Carmel and also if they would invite kids to join, its either they have a separate group and pace for the kids if they cant slow down the entire peloton.

By the way as a side note, since I was the only one with a kid, we were interviewed by ABS-CBN. I thought my daughter’s interview would only make it in the final cut and mine was just a token interview to get my daughter’s interview but I was surprised that in the actual broadcast, mine was taken and my daughter didn’t make it.



10 Ways to be a Dick

Read this article:

10 Ways to be a Dick in your local bike shop


I also have my own list of the other end- the bike shop; and these lists are based on real experiences that if I mention the shop, I bet those familiar with the shop would agree-

10 Ways to be a Dick Local Bike Shop (D-LBS)

1. Use the dreaded word- “bibili ka ba” ? (Are you buying something?) And assess your capability to buy based on your appearance. If they think you don’t have the money- then you will only get token assistance.

2. Grouchy sales people. And the worst- grouchy owner! This has caused a decline of one popular shop.

3. Clueless sales people. If matched with number 2- then its an LBS nightmare. This is common in the Philippines as most bike shops do not employ real bike savvy sales people. They don’t even read magazines or access internet articles to update themselves as they are not really into it. Worst some have stock knowledge and will even contest your well researched opinion based on their limited information.

4. Too much closeness with shop regulars that any “non-regulars” who comes in the shop will feel like an outcasts. When you enter those shops, you would feel like you have entered some private party where you do not know anyone while they knew each other well- so what that makes of you? Gate crasher? Worst is if the discrepancy on how they treat customers is glaring and they are not even discreet about it. So to the shops out there- try to decide if you want to be a bike shop for all or a bike shop for your pathetic amateur bike or tri team only.

5. And to be a “regular” in that shop; to be included in the “in-crowd”- you should have some credentials (short for fame and/or fortune). For mere mortals, it will take you a year of visits and confidence to be included on the list while for the rich and famous- only one visit is required and that is even if they only brought a piece of screw.

6. Selling used items without informing you that it’s second hand.

7. The alleged “distributor” without any support nor other significant product from the supposed brand. They only have a handful of items and that qualified them as distributor.

8. Selling something without the corresponding required product- i.e. you brought an expensive frame, only to find out there is no headset and bottom bracket and they do not have the required headset and bottom bracket for that very frame they have sold you so you will end up ordering from the web, or scouring the other shops or worst- waiting for another month to get that product.

9. Selling fake products without informing you that its fake or in their own “sanitized” term- “OEM” or “Replica.” So whats the difference between a fake and a replica?

10. Give a lot of freebies only to find out the product was way too over priced from current market price. And the freebies are their ways to offload non moving stocks.

Mountain Bike History

Ave Maldea

Bike Magazine Asia features Ave Maldea- the bike builder I grew up with living in Taytay Rizal- a stone throw away from their shop in Cainta Rizal. I remember I had my bike frame repaired by Ave when I was in college in 1990 and lately when my daughter tried duathlon, I had him create a bike frame for her since her size is difficult to find in the store-

The Birth Place of Mountain Biking

Tam2Though this is not related to biking in the Philippines, just want to share an opportunity I had last October of 2015- to visit the sacred grounds where mountain biking was born…

Hope to be back and next time around- to pedal the very same roads where the pioneers rode before us.



My First Bike Clinic

As requested by members of our Outdoor Group- I held my first bike clinic this May. Here are pictures of the said event:

We started the day with a short ride that has some technical portions to assess each one’s skill.


Yuri doing the jump

The first exercise was how to change a flat tire.


The most basic skill

A lecture on parts of the bike.


Hard Tail

More technical stuff.



Bike tuning/ tune up.


Tuning the derailleurs

Bike fitting.


Che being “measured”

Advance mechanical work.


Crankset Installation

Added bonus: Bike weigh-in.


Looking who has the lightest bike

We did another ride the next day as the second day focused more on bike handling skills.

Here are the participants of the bike clinic:


L-R me, Arin Desembrana, Cherryl Delos Reyes, Helem Jamilla, Jomai Cumpa, Paulo Marasigan, Angela Alejandro, Psyche Verano, Anna Labao, Joenas Biocarles, Mau Romarate, Yuri Desembrana, Tan Montales

Ride Na!

Another attempt to create a “one site to rule them all!”

De-cluttering your bike (converting to a 1X set-up)


My 1 X 10 Set-up

This article will not discuss whats the fuss about 1X11 (or 1X10) or what’s the justification why one should shift to this gearing. There are already a lot of articles about that in the internet. Shimano just released their new XTR with a 1 X 11 option this 2015 and it is expected that the rest of the models will follow suit in the coming years. What I will focus on is how to go about converting your existing 3X10 or 2X10 to a 1X10 set-up (yes 10 speed cassette is the minimum requirement but of course you can convert even a 9 or 8 speed but that would defeat the purpose of still having the useful gear combos) in the Philippine setting (local store recommendations).

The key point in the conversion is having the smallest cog- 11-tooth and changing the biggest cog from 36-tooth to 40-41-tooth. This is to cover the granny gear combo that you will be removing with the introduction of only 1 bigger chain wheel. But while your “uphill gears” can be covered by a 30 chain wheel and 41 cassette cog gear combo, the “flats gear” (30-11) will be an issue which is the reason why the natural 1X11 has a 10-tooth cog as the smallest.

As mentioned- this is about conversion of an existing 10 speed set-up; if you are to buy new components, then I recommend that you just out-rightly purchase the 1X11 group-set- that’s pretty obvious. The difference between the actual 1 x 11 to a converted 1×10 is not only the extra gear (11th speed) but having the smallest cog with 10 tooth as previously mentioned. A converted system would start with the 11 tooth cog and while you will find out later that you have an option to change any cog (i.e. the 15 to a 16 tooth cog), this is not feasible to do with the 11 tooth to a 10 tooth cog as it would require the next gear/s to be upgraded as well (the first two gears in a cassette should be one gear step-up only to ensure smooth shifting) thus there is no manufacturer who ventured into this path as conversion will not be economically feasible anymore. But note that there are already options to buy a complete 10 speed cassette designed for 1×10 set-up by third party manufacturers as they found there is a market for such product. Its advantage would be a better gear spacing that starts with a 10 teeth cog. We just hope Shimano itself would sell such cassette for existing system who don’t have the money yet to go to the 11 speed set-up.

So here is how to go about the process:


SRAM X0 Cranks with 32T Chainwheel

Step 1- Crank set from a 3 or 2 chain rings to 1. In a 3 chain ring crank set, the recommendation is to use the mid chain so that the chain is centered from the rear derailleur. Of course using the other two options would also work but it will introduce cross-chain. For a two speed crank set, you can use either of the two but in most cases, the lower one is used especially if you will be installing a bash guard on the outer chain ring. Now what is the ideal chain ring size? Based on computation- it should be between 28-32, with 30 the safest. Of course it will also depends on the usual terrain you are riding- 32 or even higher if you usually ride on flats and 28-30 for trails with mountain climbs. One option is to have both and interchange depending on where you are riding- yes it defeats the purpose (in fact in such cases- on frequent changes on extreme ends of types of riding I think a 2X10 or 2X11 would still be the best) but if those changes doesn’t happen that often, then the benefits of having 1 chain ring and changing it once in a while is still worth the conversion. Before you buy the chain ring, you need to note the BCD measurement of your chain ring. Most big local buy shops sells chain rings but better to call first so as not to waste time. If you have a Truvativ or SRAM product- Lifecycle is a good start. Grantrail is the local distributor of Wolf tooth- a popular chain ring manufacturer. If you will replace the entire crank set with a true 1X type; currently you can only buy SRAM or Truvativ as Shimano only released their 1X model this 2015 and is not yet available in the local market as of writing. But don’t worry, the SRAM and Truvativ crank sets works with the Shimano rear components. Can you use the existing chain wheel? Yes but it has lower tooth profile which may cause chains to drop. The chain wheel recommended for conversion are really designed for single setups with high tooth profile.


Torqq 42 Tooth Cog

STEP 2- Acquire the 40 or 42 tooth rear cog. This is the critical component of a 1X system. You increased the number of teeth of your 1 remaining chain wheel from a smaller mid or lower chain ring (usually 26-28) to ensure you can catch up on flats but you need a bigger rear cog to ensure that this increase will not be a problem in climbing steep slopes. This is the hard part on the conversion as this 40-42 rear cog usually cost a lot- 100$ or 4,000 Php up. Currently, you can only buy this from Paulinas (Torqq) and Gran Trail (Wolf Tooth).  You can buy it cheaper from Ebay but only if you can get one lower than 50$, Anything higher plus its shipping cost would not be practical- just buy it locally if available.

Then you will need to remove the 17  tooth cog to accommodate the new 42 tooth cog.


Remove the 17 tooth cog and its spacer.


Comparing the 15 tooth and the 16 Tooth Cogs

Step 3- Replace the 15 tooth cog with 16 tooth. The process of converting by installing the 40-42 tooth cog requires removal of the 17 tooth cog to accommodate the addition of the big cog. But this creates a big jump from 15 to 19 (sequence 13-15-19 with odd numbers in between). So replacing the 15 with a 16 would even out the spacing  (13-16-19). You actually don’t need to change this as it will still work but I tell you the feeling is weird with the big jump and sometimes it affects the smoothness of the shifting. A mechanic told me that some people removes the 11 tooth instead of 17 so as not to require the replacement but the consequence  of this is the needed small gear when riding on flats. This may be OK if this will be used purely on trails. Buying the 16 tooth is a bit of a challenge. In the US, some conversion manufacturers already includes this cog in the conversion kit. Locally, Gran Trail has the 16 tooth cog (Wolf tooth at 750 Php)- so you now get the idea that the best store to go for conversion is Gran Trail. After having these parts, install the cog.


With the 15 tooth cog.


With the 16 tooth cog.


Comparing the existing screw with the replacement 25mm M4.

Step 4 -Replace the derailleur B tensioner screw with a longer one. Most instructions from manufacturers says that in most cases, you don’t need to replace this screw. In my case, I need to. So I guess its the other way around as my bike is pretty much standard. Why is this required? The normal derailleur are made for 36 tooth cog as the maximum so the replacement of a 40-42 would need to push the derailleur to shift from this big cog. This can be done by buying a normal M4 screw with 20-25 mm length (derailleur usually comes with 10 mm length). But that is easier said than done in the Philippines, as I went to a lot of store to buy this type of screw and was not successful. Guess what- Gran Trail has one.

Step 5- Remove the front derailleur and the corresponding shifter. You are now one step to a clutter free bike.

These are the recommended changes to convert. But one manufacturer (One-up) adds the replacement of the rear derailleur roller cage to something that is “optimally” designed for this purpose (I think it mimics the cage design of the Shimano Saint which according to them is the best for this kind of gearing- so some actually uses the Saint RD itself). I say this may be correct as the challenge I had initially encountered was that the existing cage is the one that prevent shifting from 42 tooth down to the next lower cog. I was able to fix this issue with the longer B tension screw but I think it would be great to have both changes working hand in hand. But again this is already a”luxury” and is not necessary to make this thing work. Here is a link to the One-up product –

Of course you need to tune and adjust the shifting and do some test run before we call it a successful conversion.

In my case- so far so good. been riding it a couple of months now and didn’t missed any gears that I have removed.


One less cable.

Here is a youtube instructional from MBAction on how to uprgrade:

Every Trail Not Working

Lately, the Everytrail maps I have inserted on my post are no longer appearing. not sure if WordPress has restricted these contents but anyways, for those reading my blogs- you can visit the actual trip information from this site