I got the Marin Pine Mountain mid 2017 (got it from Ross Cycles in Cartimar, Pasay) and this is my first plus bike…So far after clocking in 850km, mostly used in bike to work trips/urban rides, a two day bike tour and trails hits, I’d have to say the bike is a nice piece of kit.
Among the available 650b plus bikes in the market, the pine mountain is a solid bang for your buck ride. What I like about the bike is its comfortable geometry fit for touring and xc riding-the Columbus steel frameset is a big plus for its flex and toughness. The SRAM 1×10 speed drivetrain is quite capable in handling different types of terrain with possibilities of upgrading to a fun monstercross. Though the bike is equipped with non series shimano hydraulic brakes, the stopping power is quite adequate given the wide wheels. It’s sure footed on the ground with the nobby nic 27.5×3 tires set on tubeless 35mm rims on asphalt and trails (ive set them up tubeless using the Orange sealant and so far it’s been great). What’s good is that there’s no toe overlap which is a hassle when climbing
I have done minimal upgrades on this bike-I changed into a Surly moloko bar and brooks C17 which are both fit for touring even on off road trips. Moreover, the rack mounts extend the potentials for the bike for extended trips and cargo hauling.
My only gripe with the Marin Pine mountain is the new rear hub spacing (Boost QR, 141×9) which may limit the options for rear hubs in the market.
Overall, the bike will appeal to bikepackers and trail riders seeking a decent built 650b plus bike that wont break the bank (you can refer to the specs of the 2018 model here https://www.marinbikes.com/bikes/pine-mountain)
This past week, we had a long week vacation due to the ASEAN summit. There were several groups and individuals who had multi-day trips and a couple of friends and i decided to do the Infanta Loop in Quezon province, southeast of Luzon, Philippines.
Almost a hundred Kms of flats before the climb to Real, Quezon
Starting in Alabang, we proceeded further south by traveling to Laguna until reaching Famy, Laguna early afternoon. The climb from Famy to Real, Quezon was approximately 15km and luckily it was drizzling making the climb more manageable. After descending a good distance (about 10km), we reached Real around 630pm. We checked in at the Pacific Recreation Kamp and were welcomed by a pack of white dogs (who were really nice by the way)
At the Camp with our white doggy hosts
the long way home
We left the resort at 730 and it was nice 20km stroll to Infanta, Quezon and started our climb back to Manila (via the Marilaque highway). As far as i recall, it was a long stretch of climbs of gradual and some steep sections (around 20km in total at least). As a consolation though, weather was fair (certain parts of the route had a different climate due to the elevation and land mass-that’s why we encountered rain all day) and very few vehicles would pass…the view was stunning as well.
Silent Hill Cycling (Courtesy of JT Tanangonan)
Road Construction-what do we get to the other side?!
One challenge though is that the bridge connecting Infanta to the next part of the highway heading home was under construction and good thing is, the locals and workers helped us transport our bikes to the other side.
At Jariel’s peak heading home (courtesy of JT Tanangonan)
The road home was a bit slow and we got home quite late but the trip was well worth it.
The Infanta Loop is a nice quick tour if pressed for time and for someone looking for training for longer trips, this one is a worthy challenge.
The area is also connected to other off road cycling routes worthy of explorations
Weather is one issue that needs to be considered as there are areas with a micro-climate. That is, it can be scorching hot in the lowlands and heavy rain when you get up.
Since the area is less frequented by vehicles in the evening it is advised that you bring strong lights as there are very few street lamps on the way.
It’s been 4 month since I did a biketour and I’ve been itching to do a short one before I go from a year long break for work.
Since I started doing long distance trips in 2015, I’ve heard of this famous route among mountain bikers-the laiya-lobo loop in Batangas, Southern Luzon in the Philippines.
Perhaps what makes the ride special is the coastal route and challenging off road sections of this loop…so with some friends, we decided to do this trip in a shortened fashion by starting at Lobo and ending in San Juan, Batangas.
We left Saturday early morning and took the bus at South Station Alabang (we took the Goldstar bus and they charged Php180-ticket and bike storage included)
Starting in Batangas City Grand Terminal we headed to Lobo Batangas and passed by a Church up the hill…the climbs and pavement were fine though we got stuck when rain hit hard…
Good thing it was early afternoon (about 230pm) when we reached Lobo town proper and had late lunch…we got to Punta Malabrigo Beach Resort in Lobo Batangas at 5pm and enjoyed the beach.
One of the nice things in this trip is that this was the first time that we got supplies from the town market and cooked our meals (thank goodness to our companions Arnie and Fechi for cooking our dinner and breakfast the next day!)
The next day, we headed to Laiya and this is where the (off road) adventure began…
The Malabrigo Lighthouse, Lobo Batangas
Aside from brutal climbs, we had to contend with off road terrain but we were rewarded with a great coastline view of this place. Though weather was generally pleasant there were stretches where we needed to stop and take a break from the intense heat…
Off road cycling (Courtesy of Fechi Fajardo)
We were able to reach San Juan Batangas around 430pm and took the bus at the Alps Station and got back to Alabang around 730 in the evening.
Though we only traveled 110km in total, the off road section which spanned about 20-25km was a great but physically challenging experience and I look forward to doing more off road tours in the future.
Many recommend the full loop which is about 270-300km if coming from Manila (distance depends on where you’re coming from) but I believe the off road sections will definitely be a test of physical endurance as the terrain can vary from light to harsh (fireroads, rocky paths filled with goatheads which are notorious in causing flats and even unfinished pavement). Therefore, it is strategic to get to Batangas City or San Juan via bus to conserve that needed energy for the climbs and off road sections.
Very few stores can be seen along the way and therefore it is important to stock on water and small snack items to keep you going.
Punta Malabrigo Beach resort charges 2500 for a night good for 4 people in its cottage. You could also camp for a cheaper rate as they have a wide variety of options. We just got a room since weather wasn’t really all sunny.
There are very few restaurants along the way and it’s advisable to get food to cook from the public market in Lobo Town Proper.
Suspension forks will be a great plus as the rocky terrain will definitely shake your body during the trip.
Here’s the strava route of our trip if you’re interested in doing this as well
This was one trip where i regret not bringing a bicycle…I was fortunate to attend a conference in Yogyarkta, Indonesia and on the side, i was able to take a stroll around the city on foot and on two wheels. Luckily, the hotel where i stayed (Royal Ambarrukmo Hotel. http://www.royalambarrukmo.com/) had bikes to use for free for guests (Ms. Awalia, one of the hotel staff helped me out with my route and other concerns during my stay).
Since traffic was heavy in the city, it was manageable to stroll through roads considering that vehicles were slow (had to be careful though with motorcycles and most of the streets are one-way)…from the hotel, i got to Malioboro Street, the popular tourist location where many key sites are found.
If you intend to visit Yogyakarta, you can’t miss the temples at Borobudur and Prambanan as well. I wasn’t on a bike but these massive sites will definitely give you a great workout as you walk through these structures.
Perhaps next time, i’ll bring my rig and tour Indonesia as it is definitely worth it!
Cycling may be a bit of an adjustment since vehicles move with a left hand drive orientation (it’s right hand in the Philippines).
Uber works in Yogyakarta! since Borobudur and Prambanan was about 40km away from my hotel the driver struck a deal with me to drive me on both sites and bring me back to the hotel on a lower price.
If you visit Borobudur and Prambanan, consider getting the combo ticket (about usd 40 to save 10 dollars)
Food is cheap but very spicy so dont forget when you order to say ‘gak pedas’/’tidak pedas’ or not spicy
After touring the Philippines by bike (which you can read stuff about the tour here by the way https://pedalpowerphilippines.com/2017/04/05/biketouring-the-philippines-preliminaries-and-leg-1-manila-to-matnog-sorsogon/), i decided to take a rest from long distance cycling and for three months, I’ve taken shorts trips around the metro.
Since 2012, i’ve ridden exclusively in paved roads (well, except for occasional unpaved ones in routes we’ve done) and curiosity of doing trails bit me. Since my Surly Troll was an off road touring bike by design, I had the bike reconfigured into a single speed off road rig.
Frame: Surly Troll 2013 model
Fork: Epicon 2011 model, 100mm travel
Araya TF840 rims, 32 holes, Surly Ultra New Hubs (Front), Hope Pro 2 Trails Single Speed Specific Hub (Rear), Origin 8 Spokes, WTB Race Nano Tires (26×2.1)
Truvativ Firex 1.1 with Hope 36 chainring, surly cog 18t
Stem: Ritchey 90mm, Handlebar: On One Fleegle, 25.4 clamping
So far, ive tried this rig at the Filinvest and Malipay Trails down south and handles quite well in the xc portions and the bike is stable with climbs and some jumps (not to high though!). In the future, i look forward to doing tours on the off road path and for now, this build is helping me develop a new skill set for exciting new routes in the future
The placed was packed with people and aside from descriptions of their adventures, we were treated to wonderful photos of their exploits of their trip from Canada, Alaska to the Mainland US and parts of South America.
What i found interesting is the pieces of advice i got from them such as running tubeless for tours, keeping costs at minimum, taking the lesser known routes, knowing the mother tongue of the place your heading to and anecdotes of experiences that shows a nuanced and fulfilling experience.
For those who may be experienced in doing tours locally but are still clueless on how is it like to go on two wheels in a foreign land, Dean and Dang’s experiences paves the way for most of us dreaming of going out of the confines of home on a bike.
I first visited Decathlon earlier this year when i was in Singapore. A friend told me that this superstore had a range of sports gear for different activities at friendly prices. Since ive been on the look out for small parts for touring, i wasnt disappointed with Decathlon’s inventory (got my bikestand and cage mounts here!). This month, Decathlon opened its first branch in the Philippines and didnt disappoint. Occupying a large area on the second floor of Festival Mall, Alabang, a couple of friends and i visited the branch.
True enough much like their Singapore counterparts, Decathlon Philippines had a wide variety of sports items (even horseback riding!) at friendly prices.
For the bike tourer/cycling enthusiast, the house brand called BTWIN has decently priced bikes with satisfactory specs (i predict these can even rival the budget friendly Trinx brand that’s popular in the Philippines). What appealed to me is the large inventory of small items for the bike tourer-bags, accessories such as bike stands, pump, and even cages as well as racks. In addition, the camping gear section also has budget friendly items -sleeping bags, tents and hammocks which may be expensive in some stores.
What i found also appealing is that the staff were really courteous and spent time talking to us about our gear and cycling trips. hopefully, in the years to come, the staff will maintain this to attract more customers.
While i cant say that the cycling/touring gear will be topnotch as opposed to established brands (dont look for ortliebs, revelate designs or a Surly here), Decathlon addresses the needs of those wanting to try bike touring or even bike to work at very minimal cost…so go check it out!