Two years ago, the Manila Coffee Cycling Club convened for its very first regular Sunday social coffee ride, with the theme of riding your city and discovering and appreciating its sights. On its second anniversary, things were no different, as the main focus was the newly restored Jones Bridge, connecting Taft Avenue into the Chinatown of Binondo.
On the morning of December 8, 2019, the group convened at Toby’s Estate in Bonifacio Global City, as a nod to its very first ride. While most riders were on road bikes, JP Carino and Gavin Ng showed up astride pedal-assisted Bromptons, which were a good fit to the more relaxed nature of the ride.
After Brian Sy and I tended to a crashed fellow cyclist along McKinley Road, we rode through Ayala Avenue, Gil Puyat Avenue, and Roxas Boulevard. I ended up becoming tail-end Charlie with four or five other riders, and we got separated from the group, so we turned into Intramuros in the general direction of Jones Bridge.
Eventually, with good riding and a bit of cyclocross wannabe hike-a-bike, we ended up meeting the others at our destination. The beautification and restoration of Jones Bridge and its fixtures is still ongoing, but it’s remarkable how it’s become a minor tourist attraction in itself almost overnight – mainly due to the row of intricately etched wooden street lights painted in an old-world bronze finish.
A bit more hike-a-bike was required, as we went downstairs from the bridge at Escolta ferry station to ride alongside the Pasig River.
As the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games were going on, we decided to take a visit to the renovated Rizal Memorial Stadium along Pablo Ocampo Sr. St. Soldiering on, we pedaled through quite a bit of Manila on our way there.
In between Quirino Avenue and Pablo Ocampo Sr. St., we ran across multiple road closures due to the SEA Games…which led to the group taking a detour through a pretty narrow alleyway that was an actual barangay.
In the end we came out right by Agno Street, which is a familiar street food haunt for De La Salle University students and alums.
We landed at the newly renovated Rizal Memorial Coliseum, stopping for just a while before moving on to our cafe stop – Elbert’s Pizzeria.
By 9:00 am we packed ourselves into Elbert’s Pizzeria along L.P. Leviste Street in Makati. Proprietor and friend of the club Elbert Cuenca had fresh coffee and warm pizza on the house for all, and we had our fill.
It was a nice way of capping off two years of these social rides. Many thanks to JP Carino and Carlo Peralta for organizing these rides; Elbert Cuenca and the crew of Elbert’s Pizzeria for the wonderful coffee and pizza; and Lito Vicencio and Patrick Olympia for the great snaps.
William A. Jones Memorial Bridge. Quintin Paredes Road, Binondo, Manila.
Rizal Memorial Coliseum. Pablo Ocampo Sr. St. corner Taft Avenue, Malate, Manila. +63 2 85250808.
Elbert’s Pizzeria. V Corporate Centre, 125 L.P. Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City. +63 2 79788325.