TP-RIDE01: Manila

Photo courtesy

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, for a ride around Manila.

Photo credit

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.

Photo credit:

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.

Photo credit:

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.

Photo credit:

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.

Photo credit:

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.

Photo credit:

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.

Photo credit:

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’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.

Brian whooping it up for the camera. Photo credit:


Sleeping habits vs. Sunday morning long rides

The past month, I have missed all my Sunday morning long rides.

A typical Sunday morning long ride will start with me waking up at 4 am or thereabouts. Following a shower and some breakfast, I’m out the door by 5 am.

For a long while now, I’ve been able to keep this routine up every weekend. My main handicap is my work shift. Five days a week, I come into the office either at noontime or in the afternoon, and leave late at night or at midnight.

Trying to pull back my sleeping hours on Saturdays to fit in a Sunday morning long ride is getting frustratingly more difficult by the day. Not helping things is the general fact that I need to get my brain tired before I fall asleep, and when I do get my forty winks, I’m a light sleeper at best.

Making up for it with the turbo trainer, even with a two-hour session, isn’t quite the same.

The past month, I have missed all my Sunday morning long rides. And I’m not exactly proud of it. There’s always next month, I guess.

Manila Coffee Cycling Club: April 2018 roundup

Photo credit Lito Vicencio/Colnago Manila

For the April 2018 roundup, the Manila Coffee Cycling Club recognized the call for a longer ride. Setting out from Toby’s Estate in Bonifacio Global City, our target this time was Rizal Park in Manila.

Photo credit JP Cariño

Photo credit JP Cariño

Due to a couple of riders suffering punctures before leaving BGC, the group split in half. We spent a few minutes parked beside Philamlife Tower along Paseo de Roxas waiting to regroup, but apparently they had gone on ahead.

Photo credit Ricardo Ledesma

Photo credit JP Cariño

Cutting through the streets of Makati and Manila, we made a short stop along the Roxas Boulevard boardwalk for a quick photo opportunity.

Arranging the bikes to conform to the “rules” of bike-against-a-wall photos. Photo credit JP Cariño

Photo credit JP Cariño

We set off to close the remaining short distance to Rizal Park, where we met up with the rest of the group who had actually arrived earlier.

Photo credit JP Cariño

After that, it was back to Bonifacio Global City by way of Gil Puyat Avenue and Kalayaan Flyover. This was the point where what was supposed to be an easy ride degenerated into a sprint-fest, especially on the run up to the Kalayaan Flyover on-ramp. I’ve written before that even on Sunday mornings, Gil Puyat Avenue remains ridiculously busy, and the urban bike commuter in me won out…so perhaps some of it was my fault.

Photo credit JP Cariño

Bums off saddles and on chairs, we reconvened at Toby’s Estate BGC, and gathered round for coffee, breakfast, and friendly conversation.


Photo credit JP Cariño

Photo credit JP Cariño

Photo credit JP Cariño

Tuna melt and flat white a la Toby’s Estate. Just a tad too many potato chips for my liking, but the coffee is as good as they say

As with previous roundups, this bunch brought out their “Sunday best” bicycles.

Hyro bookended by a 3T Strada and a Colnago C60.

Quite a few Festkas and BMCs in attendance, too.

Personally, though, my eyes gravitated toward Elbert Cuenca’s custom SyCip gravel bike.

The white steel frame, built by Fil-Am frame builder Jeremy SyCip, is paired with a carbon fork and runs a SRAM Force transmission motivated by a White Industries VBC crankset. The cockpit has interrupter brake levers on the tops, and white brake hoods on the SRAM DoubleTap main levers, which then pull on Avid BB7 mechanical disc brake calipers.

All the brown you see comes from a Brooks leather saddle, leather bar tape, and tan-wall Soma Cazadero 700C x 38 mm tires, made for Soma in small-batch manufacture by Panaracer. They match the brown logos on the frame too.

The top-tube cable routing is taken right out of old-school cyclocross race bikes – right down to the pulley on the seat tube, which redirects the shift cable to work with the bottom-pull actuation of road bike front derailleurs.

For discerning bike nerds like me, this is an impressive machine.

Photo credit Lito Vicencio/Colnago Manila

Good riding, great coffee, and gregarious company. All told, this was a good day.