In addition to the monthly ride hosted by Manila Coffee Cycling Club on every second Sunday, July brought a second ride a week earlier than usual. Leroy and Miguel of The Brick Multisport collaborated with one of their retail partners, Indonesian cycling kit brand TempleProject.cc, for a ride around Manila.
After weeks of grinding away on the turbo trainer, this was my first long Sunday ride in a while; it had been long enough that I actually forgot to put on sunscreen before heading out the door. Apart from Brian of TempleProject, I was the first guy at the meetup point, The Brick Multisport’s shop at McKinley Hill. The plan was to gather everyone for a 6:30 am departure and to ride to Rizal Park, where we would continue on to Binondo before doubling back around Quirino Grandstand and spinning to our coffee stop, Toby’s Estate BGC.
As an activity meant to foster good will and boost his brand’s presence, as part of the “TP-RIDE” series, Brian had with him a small crew of photographers aboard a chase car and a motorcycle, which followed us around as we rode. His girlfriend Elle wasn’t able to borrow a bike to join us on the ride, so she became part of the coverage crew.
Having arrived so early, I was able to chat with Brian himself, and found out he is Filipino-American, living in the country for a few years before moving out. He used to be an active racer, but moved on to more adventure-oriented long-distance riding such as audax events.
Due to the vagaries of my schedule until recently, I had been absent from Manila Coffee Cycling Club’s rides for a while. This was the first time I’ve seen participants show up on mountain bikes, perhaps best represented by Pao Moreto’s cross-country hardtail bike, sporting a wicked -25 degree Ritchey WCS stem slammed on its headset and powerful legs to match. Joshua Lambojo also rode a mountain bike, but used three-bolt cleats and pedals.
Our group cut through an unusually busy Gil Puyat Avenue, the Taft Avenue junction especially crowded by buses that crawled in all directions. By the time we got to Roxas Boulevard, the urban jungle had calmed down considerably, but it was still tight going in places.
Eventually we did reach Rizal Park and had the obligatory photo session. The rest of the ride went well, and in usual Manila Coffee Cycling Club fashion, the group went all-out motoring along Ayala Avenue and McKinley Road on the way to our coffee stop.
I am grateful for the many new faces I met this day. Now that my work shift has changed to something a little more workable for Sunday morning rides, I hope to attend more rides like this in future.
Do try to check out TempleProject.cc’s jerseys, bib shorts, and complete kit on The Brick’s online store; their designs are quite neat. Also, check out their Instagram account for your dose of their really rather awesome photography.