Thursday, January 16, 2014

Introduce your kids to bicycles early

Many parents are afraid to introduce their children to bicycles. This is quite understandable. There is indeed danger in riding bicycles. Because for one, riding a two-wheeled vehicle is already a circus act in and of itself - be it a bicycle or a motorcycle.

But here's the thing. It will only be dangerous if the rider is irresponsible, uneducated and if kids are left unsupervised during training. Again, it's better to introduce your kids to bikes early. Make sure to provide ample supervision when you do. The exhilaration of  taking that bike for a spin around the village, and the wind brushing through your face and hair will be priceless.

I also have a daughter who really wants to ride bicycles. Recently, I bought her a hybrid bike, a configuration that's weird to some of you - part BMX, part mountain bike. It has no training wheels (balancers to some of you). So yeah, you can feel free to ask me "Why did you do that?". Honestly, I dunno. I should have bought her balancers, but I didn't. Regardless, training how to ride bicycles require patience. My daughter was very eager and was quite happy when she got the bicycle. But the opposite is true when she started sitting on the saddle. She's terrified because she still do not know how to balance. My wife and I keep turns training her to ride the bicycle and here's the tricky part - different people will have different learning curves. Some people may learn to balance in a few minutes or hours. Some people will take days or longer to learn how to balance. So definitely, if you're like me who's teaching someone to ride a bike, be patient.

On second thought, perhaps I'll just buy those balancers ^_^.


In another note and since it's a Thursday, here's my first throwback post ever. I promised in an older post that I will share with the lot of you pics from my childhood, taking bikes for a spin.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Bicycle Basics: Parts of a Bicycle

As in any equipment or tool that I use, I do some research to become more familiar with them. With familiarity, I will be able to better use the tool and enjoy working or using it.

The same is true with bicycles. And since I decided that having a bicycle is a long term endeavor, I decided to get to know my bicycle a little bit more. I'm just glad that the internet contains a wealth of information about bicycles and it could be quite overwhelming sometimes.

A quick Google search has turned up the page at which includes an illustrated bicycle with most, if not all, bicycle parts named and listed. It certainly is very, very useful.

Bicycle parts (image courtesy of

"Snakebite" and Tire Upgrade

As I have mentioned in an earlier post, I experienced the first snakebite (tire puncture) from a glass shard since I got my el cheapo mountain bike. Later in the day, I ran to my favorite small bike shop and got me a new rear tire.  I'm glad that I took the time to go to the shop. The owner was nice enough to give me pointers about MTB wheels and tires. I learned new stuff which are priceless. I also learned that the bike vendor didn't do a good job assembling the wheels and tires. At least, now I know some really good points which I will definitely share with you guys in a future post.

The tire was made by a local company called Leo Tires and the tire model was hilariously called "MuddyMax" (L-027-013 red side wall) sized 26 x 1.95 . Although the stock tire on my bike was a 26 x 1.50, I opted for the 1.95 for the beefier look, and the grooves are larger on the new tire compared to the old one. The new "MuddyMax" tire set me back 248 bucks.

Sure enough, the rear is beefier than the front but it's ok. I'll be replacing the front tire soon. Oh, and the old tire will be patched tomorrow by a local tire patcher.

 Pictures after the jump.

How to choose MTB tires from Art's Cyclery

I just had a tire puncture a couple of hours ago and it sucks. Really sucks. Pro guys call it a "snakebite" I believe. Regardless, it is rather disappointing. The culprit was a minute glass shard that lodged itself between the grooves of the rear tire. Sucks.

I will definitely need to get this fixed.

In the meantime, I was looking around for some information related to my new predicament and sure enough, I was able to find a video from Art's Cyclery over at Youtube.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Rode 7.99 km today

I woke up early to send my daughter to school. The day was cloudy with a possibility of a slight drizzle. The weather was cool so I decided to go on a ride.

Nearing the half-way mark of my favorite (and only?) route, the drizzle came. Honestly, I was ill-equipped :). I wore only outdoor sandals, shorts, tshirt, no headgear, and no gloves. So yeah, I'm sure the lot of you will just do a facepalm so sue me ^_^ (kidding!).

Despite the shortcomings in equipment for today's ride, it was fun in earnest. The recipe is clear - cloudy, drizzle, and yes mud. MUD! It was my first time in years to be actually able to ride under the rain, over muddy, unpaved road, and yes, negotiating the various deep, chocolate-colored puddles that pockmarked the rough road.

Again, it was fun. Oh, and did I mention I managed to burn some calories?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

My Humble Ride

Here is my humble ride, a cheap mountain bike of unknown brand. Although it does have the mark "Assassin" on it, I am not really sure what the real brand is. You know how it is. I'm not sure if this is locally made, or Chinese made. But one clue is that the grips are SunRun. I think those are definitely made in China. The rest, I am not so sure.

Newbie that I am, have no fixed idea what the speed is (although the store I bought it with said it's a 7-speed bike), what the brands of the parts are, and so on. What I do know is, I was able to afford it, the size is right for me, it runs well, and I can upgrade it later with better, more precision parts (when funds become available). Oh, and it was light. When transporting it, I merely held it on one hand while I was riding a jeepney (I was able to mention I'm in the Philippines in a previous post).

This bicycle was originally a rigid build so I decided to upgrade to a cheap RST Racing suspension fork. I also replaced the pedal with a set of cheap alloy pedals (unknown brand) from a local bike shop. The bike originally had plastic el-cheapo, China-made pedals. The frame is also standard size (not oversize), and the wheels are 26-inchers.

This bike set me back PHP 2,900 brand new from a local shop. The suspension fork set me back PHP 550, and the alloy pedals cost PHP 130. Total expense for this riding joy is PHP 3,580.

I'm pretty sure some of you might think I should have gone with an oversized frame and 29er set of wheels. Unfortunately, I am on a very tight budget and this is the only ride that I can afford for the time being. But definitely, I am already contemplating on something better in the future after being able to find new bike shops that recently carried new bikes with very decent specs which are quite affordable (but still beyond the current budget I had).

Here are some more pictures for you guys. Enjoy!

A Big "Hello"

Hello to you fellow newbie MTBer!

I started this blog to serve as a point of reference, a bookmark of sorts, and as a journal of my MTB journey.

First, a little about me. I am 34 years old and living in the southern part of sunny Philippines. I first started biking (formally "cycling" according to other pundits to distinguish it from bikers who ride motorcycles) when I was around 2 or 3 years old. I can still remember riding a steel trike with white and blue paints. I'm not so sure if I still have an old picture (perhaps I'll ask my mom when I visit!) but when I find one, I'll post it up in here.

I started "real" cycling when I was in primary school, probably Grade 5 or Grade 6. My dad, who was a municipal cop (municipal police chief), would bring the whole family over for the weekend to the municipality where he was assigned. It was a laid back, rural, coastal town. Every morning we'd get fish by the shore which is just behind the town hall, way past the jail block. No worries, the inmates are kind and were obviously victims of circumstance than anything else.

Back to cycling. I learned to ride the bicycle "for real" here in this town. It was where I learned to balance on my own, and properly pedal. I can still remember that the bicycle I practiced with was an alloy-framed BMX bicycle that I used to frequently borrow from one of the cops on duty. The town hall's wide lawn, and sleepy, wide roads allowed me to practice riding the bicycle in relative safety and it's far from the highway. I would circle the town hall's front yard which was lined with five fully grown Narra trees, so tall that the two-story town hall dwarfed in comparison to them. Their leaves and branches are so wide that the sun's rays never get to shine underneath them.

Fast forward to the present. I picked up cycling again after more than 20 years. I decided to ride the bicycle again for exercise and to rekindle the old feeling of going around that humble town hall during my childhood.

As to what I have now? It's something that deserves another post so stay tuned.