While I’ve used my Sunday morning long rides to test my fitness gains, such as hammering out a personal-best individual time trial effort around the Daang Reyna road loop, I’ve also learned there are instances where it’s nice to kick back and take it a little slower, for a change.
One chilly mid-January morning, I rode out to Bonifacio Global City (BGC) on an invitation from JP Cariño, he of Gruppo Veloce Sportivo, and an old pal from my car club days. He invited me to join the January 2018 roundup ride of the Manila Coffee Cycling Club after having seen me ride around his area while I ran an errand.
This was the first time I’d be joining them. Given that cycling and coffee tend to historically go hand-in-hand, and I’ve got a cursory knowledge of coffee drinks (I like a hot cafe americano, and take flat whites wherever they’re available)…this seemed interesting.
I arrived at Caravan Black Coffee half an hour early, even accounting for the three laps around the block I took trying to find the cafe, as it’s actually sandwiched between Ascott BGC and the Net Plaza building. Fifteen minutes later, I got joined by a few other invitees as we rode around a few more laps around the same block to warm up.
JP arrived on the hour. After assembling our little group, we rode laps around Uptown Mall and the International Schools road loop at a relaxed pace, while trying to work around the road closures due to a footrace that went on at the same time. Most of the guys were chatting away while riding, but I kept quiet for most of the actual ride. It was a combination of shyness and trying to make sure we were moving safely on the road. That’s just the bike commuter survival instinct in me, I guess.
We returned to Caravan Black, dismounted from our bikes, and ordered up some coffee and chow. Due to conflicts with other events – the PruLife Ride PH 100 km fondo in Subic, most prominently – this roundup was a little small, but that was fine by me. Our motley group was composed of road cycling enthusiasts, a couple of bike shop owners (Glenn of Primo Cycles and Leroy of The Brick Multisport), cyclists in active competition, and blokes like me who were simply there for the ride.
There we were, eating cake and pastries while talking shop about the UCI pro peloton and the local road cycling scene, discussing potential local fondo events and Chris Froome’s salbutamol overdose controversy. True to the club’s coffee theme, some of them had ridden to the town of Amadeo in Cavite the previous day, the so-called coffee capital of the Philippines, and they narrated just how windy the descent was. This was the kind of sharing and deeply informed conversation I enjoyed having.
I thank JP for inviting me and all my new friends for the warm welcome, and I look forward to joining future roundups over hot cups of joe.