Opting to ride a bike when you travel is a great way to see a place in a new light. There’s always this sense of adventure when you have to navigate the roads on your own. Like motorcycling, you can control your pace and stop anytime you want. Aside from all the health benefits of pedal power, the leisurely pace gives you a chance to discover new places and stumble upon interesting finds – like these unexpected ruins in the midst of a busy city.
Photo op with Pinoy Travel Bloggers: Angel/Lakwatsero.com, me, Roman/Dialogue with a Wanderer, Francis/Behind the Thick Framed Glasses, Robx/The Travelling Dork, Darwin/Tracking Treasure, Marky/Nomadic Experiences, and Nel/Pasahera.
Last Saturday, August 4, I got to join up with other bloggers for a 10km urban bike ride around the Marikina Bikeways for Spyder Surge: Answering the Call of Adventure, organized by outdoor gear company Spyder Philippines to promote biking for a healthy and active lifestyle.
Despite the gloomy weather last week (apparently a precursor to the horrible floods), the event still kicked-off at 6am at the Marikina Bikeways Office. Since Marikina is a small city with narrow roads, local officials aim to decrease road congestion by encouraging people to use bikes, and they are the first city in the country to have designated bike lanes. Aside from the bloggers and organizers, volunteers from cycling group The Firefly Brigade joined the ride and helped marshall the event. The Firefly Brigade is known for organizing the annual costumed bike ride called Tour of the Fireflies (which will be held on September this year) and they also organize monthly Critical Mass Rides to increase the visibility of bikers on the road and promote biking for clean air and a more sustainable mode of transport.
The leisurely ride around Marikina was pretty easy since we were in a relatively large group. The roads were easy to navigate and there were clearly designated and well-paved lanes for the bikes. I also noticed appropriate signs and several bike parking spots where people could chain their bikes in strategic areas. Those who use folding bikes can easily get around and ride public transport like jeeps or the LRT line to get around. The weather even cooperated and there was only a light drizzle when we left. It only rained heavily when we stopped for breakfast at Pan de Amerikana in Marikina, which is a really cool place. Dining in this chess-themed restaurant feels like you’re still outdoors because of the hanging plants and vines and rustic vibe.
The restaurant has this giant chessboard with large chess pieces (which really reminded me of Harry Potter’s Wizard’s Chess) and a collection of different chess sets on display, including a set designed for the blind and a Star Wars set. They also have a koi pond, a treehouse with a small hanging rope bridge, and these grand-looking columns that are just a perfect backdrop for photo ops (which we had a lot of).
The cycling event is just one of Spyder’s events that aims to strengthen the active lifestyle vision and promote healthy living to individuals in the Philippines. They will be conducting monthly programs featuring a different sport that they are involved with, and will be showcasing their latest products and gear to help people enjoy the sports more.
For this event, participating bloggers got matching cycling jerseys (made of ultra-lightweight and breathable fabric) and sporty eyewear with polarized lenses. The organizers even lent out bicycles and helmets to some participants who wanted to try out biking but didn’t have their own bikes. They also raffled off a very useful Spyder Hyrdrabag and a bicycle helmet (which I won!). Since I’ve already been using my own Spyder bike helmet for the past 3 years, I may re-raffle this off. (Details to follow). Spyder is also giving out more high quality gear like eyewear, watches, gadgets, and even a brand new bike in their Road to 10,000 likes promo. All you have to do is like them on Facebook!