At Bikers Brew we like to share

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Bitcoins, Data Privacy, Cybercrime, E-Business Forum

Any of you guys attending this forum? Looks very interesting. I'll be the first to admit that the topics covered are alien to me but what better way to learn than by attending this. If I am not mistaken, one of the speakers, Lawyer JJ Disini, is a pioneer in the field of cyberspace law. He has built his practice around technology and law. I guess it would be safe to say that he is the authority on this matter.

What grabbed my attention was the inclusion of Bitcoin in this talk. I've been hearing about this as a form of digital money that should revolutionise currency as we know it. What I find to be particularly interesting about bitcoin is the anonymity it provides, the store of value it holds (no central bank twiddling with the supply) and the way that this just might disrupt the traditional ways of transferring funds, buying things and as a potential alternative to traditional investments.

Another topic covered is data privacy. This affects all of us and is of utmost importance. In this day and age where governments are supposedly the biggest perpetrators of mass surveillance in the world (e.g. Edward Snowden revelation on mass government snooping). It would be good to know what our legal rights are and how to beef up our privacy in this day and age of social media.

If you guys find the topics interesting then please register at

This event will be held on April 16, 2015 at the Hotel Intercontinental in Makati City.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Bicycle Tourism

Photo of bicycle tourists by bikersbrew

I first came across this concept while reading a blog I was following a while back. This blog featured a couple, who among other things, used Brompton bicycles in some of their bicycle touring adventures. It seemed amazing! They packed most of the things with them and on their bikes, and just pedalled from destination to destination. They did all this on folding bikes to boot! Coolness!

Have I done it? Why yes I have. Not in the way the couple did in the blog but by joining single day bike tours in places where my wife and I have visited. I'm too attached to soft beds and warm showers to go more hardcore, haha. I also prefer the easy but scenic routes over whole day cycling and the like. I do admire the folks who do self-sustained bike tours though, sleeping under the stars or checking in B&B's, going town to town on their bikes, doing whole day rides. Different strokes for different folks I suppose.

Whichever way you decide is for you, I am sure that you guys will have the time of your lives. Bike touring makes you more connected to the place you are visiting. Things don't just whizz by like when you are on cars, buses or trains. You can stop any time you want, have a brew and people watch, things you can't do if you are in buses or trains.

My wife and I are no hardcore riders by any stretch of the imagination, but we both really enjoyed ourselves while on these bike tours. These bike tours just made the trip more memorable for the both of us. I hope you guys try it, believe me, you will be smiling after.

What makes the experience even better is that you support the areas you cycle in. You spend money on the taking the tour itself, coffee, food and what have you in the shops along the way and this helps support the local communities. It's really win win all around.

Now back to the blog I was talking about. I'm sharing the link to their site as they just beautifully sum up what bicycle tourism is all about.

Keep pedalling!

Image by zirconicusso from

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Whatever happened to Kodak?

Image by anankkml from

I grew up in a time when film was king. My dad was an avid photography enthusiast. We even had a small dark room (for your young 'uns out there, this is where negatives and photographs were processed and printed).

I remember Saturday mornings and there would be a red light bulb on outside the darkroom door. We all knew what that meant, DO NOT ENTER. We didn't mind because we would look forward to the photographs that my dad would be showing us after his darkroom session.

Nowadays that digital format is king, the film medium is a shadow of its former self. And so is the film empire of Kodak. There are still pockets of film enthusiasts worldwide, but their numbers are nothing like before.

Makes you wonder what happened to Kodak, one time king of the film world. Here's a short video by the New York Times that I came across that hopefully answers some of your questions.

For a guy who grew up around film, this made me a little nostalgic. It's good to know though that Kodak, though a much smaller company now, is transforming itself and still trying to make itself relevant in this digital age.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Going Clipless

Image from

So you've gotten more confident on your bike. You're ready for the next step, cycling shoes and clipless pedals.

What are they you ask? Basically these are just cycling specific shoes that attach to pedals for a more efficient way of transferring power from your legs to the bike. Instead of your foot flopping about, slip sliding on the pedals, you clip into the pedals this time for a more secure fit.  Are they necessary? It really depends is the best answer I can come up with. One thing for sure though is that in terms of efficiency, they are a must (just look at all the Tour de France pros, all use one form of clipless system or the other).

Getting used to the clipless sytem takes time and practice though. The more you practice, the more confident you become until clipping in and unclipping becomes second nature.

Here's a short article from Wikihow on how to get more confident in using clipless bike pedals.

Remember, practice makes perfect (and much less road rash, haha).

Top 20 Bike-Friendly Places in the World

Image by digitalart c/o

Ever wondered how Metro Manila would look, feel and sound like if it were a bike friendly metropolis?

This article I came across on the world's top 20 most bike-friendly cities can help give you a clue on how much better Metro Manila could be if only bike commuting was planned into the system. The article lists the top 20 cities, why they are ranked as such, and what improvements can be made to the system.

One thing for sure is that it takes the government and its citizenry to work hand in hand for changes to happen. Urban planning should be inclusive of the bicycle as part of mobility options. Metro Manila will thank you for it.

Singapore's Walk and Cycle Program

Image from

No one can deny that Singapore is a very well planned country. When the government targets to accomplish something, they announce it to the public, and more often then not they achieve what was set out. Just look at their public transport system. Efficient, accessible and constantly improving. Though lately there have been some breakdowns, I still believe Singapore's public transport system is one of the best around.

Recently, the government has come out with a Walk and Cycle initiative hand in hand with the National Cycling Plan. The goal is to make alternative modes of transport safe and convenient. The target is that by 2030 the infrastructure is there to make this possible. Talk about planning, wow!

I hope to see something like this in the Philippines someday. But then again, I may just be dreaming.

So you guys have an idea of what Singapore is doing to make itself a more bike and pedestrian friendly nation, check out the link below:

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Super Fast Folding Bike Friday Tikit

Image by

Ahh, if only I had the extra cash to splurge on another foldie. This, my friends, is the Bike Friday Tikit, one of my dream folding bikes.

Made in the good old USA, Oregon to be exact. Just a drool worthy foldie in my opinion. They make various models, but in this short post I'll be featuring the extremely fast folding (not necessarily the smallest when folded, I believe that honor goes to Brompton, another dream bike of mine) Bike Friday Tikit.

They also make the bike to measure, meaning they will get your dimensions etc and build a bike specifically for you, how cool is that? In this day and age of off-the-rack, ready made choices, bespoke items are really super cool (and yes, super expensive) but hey, if you have the extra dough, this just might be the foldie for you.

Check out this video c/o Bike Friday that shows you just how fast and easy folding this bike is. Sure blasts my Dahon Speed D7 out of the water (but I still love you dear bike of mine, no need to be jealous).

So are you guys ready to see this? Here goes...

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Punk IPA

Hey guys, just got a chance to taste this, Brew Dog Punk IPA from Scotland. Pretty darn good! I'm a beer lover but no connoisseur, so I searched for a review on this beer just to see how more astute beer lovers think about it.

Personally I like the bitterness with a slightly sweetish, not too overpowering floral finish. But that's just me.

Sharing with you this post I found, best to enjoy this with an ice cold brew :)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

New Balance + Urban Cycling = Coolness

Image taken from The Radavist Website

Don't you just love it when hip shoe makers create bike specific products? Just shows urban cycling is becoming more mainstream and becoming cooler and cooler. Sharing this from something I came across on The Radavist page while surfing the web this morning. Good job New Balance!

I want!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Foldie love

Lady riding her Brompton, so cool!
But kids don't text and ride, totally not safe.

I was not a fan of foldies before. They seemed to be little bikes for little kids. They looked odd and you looked funny riding them as well. I am glad to say I got over myself and decided to get one around a year or two ago. Boy, I am glad I did. My Dahon Speed D7 is now my favorite bike to go cycling around my neighborhood. They are just so maneuverable, easy to ride and really quite a revelation.

My other bikes are in storage now, seldom seeing the light of day. It's just so easy to grab your foldie and go. Another plus is for space challenged homes and apartments (like mine), these fit the bill perfectly. Even in their unfolded position they take up a much smaller place, more so when they are folded. They are perfect for mixed mode transport (train/bus and last mile rides) and even for long distance cycling and touring. They are just so versatile.

Foldies come in all price ranges as well, from the uber expensive bromptons, bike friday's and birdy's to the more affordable Dahon, Giant etc. Try to steer away from the very cheap supermarket foldies though. Those can be really awkward to ride (wrong dimensions, improper gearing, terrible ergonomics). Those can really give you a bad impression of foldies.

So if you are still on the fence on whether to get one for yourself, please do yourself a favor and try one. Leave your preconceived biases and ideas behind. You might be in for a pleasant surprise.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Cyling and my first taste of freedom

I remember when I learned to ride a bicycle. It was both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. Looking back, it doesn't seem to be that big of a deal, but as a young boy, it was everything. In my opinion, learning to ride a bike is the first true act of independence a boy can have. Once you learn to bike, your boundaries get bigger, your world suddenly expands from beyond the front of your house, beyond the street you live on, to a much bigger world that you can explore. As long as your legs have the strength to propel you on, your adventure continues. If you get tired, you just stop, rest, and the exploration resumes once you have caught your breath. It was just an amazing time.

I learned to bike in, of all places, Burnham park in Baguio City (that's a province in the northern mountain region in the Philippines). We were on summer break, probably first grade then, and to escape the heat of Manila my folks decided to bring us all to the City of Pines, Baguio's other name. I don't remember the name of the rent-a-bike guy who served as my one on one instructor as well. All I remember was getting on an easy rider (those were the cool bikes for kids back in the day), placing my two feet on the pedals, and the guy on the bike just pushed me on. He was holding on to the back of the seat as I pedalled away, knowing that he was helping me with my balance (in effect he was the human training wheels) and we just cycled around the oval, which was a segregated area for bikes only. I was so nervous. I kept looking back at the "trainer" and each time I did, the bike would wobble as I would temporarily lose control of my steering and I would be weaving around the lanes. But the guy never lost his cool, he just kept holding on to the back of the seat to keep me upright and continued to say "tingin lang sa harap, huwag sa gulong, sa harap lang kung saan mo gustong pumunta"  (look ahead, don't look down at the front wheel, look to the direction you want to go). Then without me knowing, the guy let's go and I am on my own. When I looked back, I saw him a few feet away from me, of course I panicked, my steering wobbled as my confidence did the same, but he just kept saying "tingin lang sa harap. So I just kept pedalling away and boy was I proud of my accomplishment. I can't explain it, but I guess it's as close to pure joy as one can come.

When we got back to Manila, my dad got me my first bike from the neighborhood bike shop. It was an easy rider, electric blue, and in my eyes she was a beauty. I'd always find an excuse to go to that bike shop. I didn't have much money but I'd always get a sticker or reflector, or have my cotter-pins replaced (yes cranks used to have cotter-pins) or just ogle at the other bikes and all the stuff they had.

I also got to know some of my biker neighbors. We were a group of three, all on easy riders, and we'd be riding around during weekends and summer break, rain or shine. We just kept biking for fun. We biked everywhere (at that time everywhere was the village we lived in and the immediate surroundings), until we got tired, thirsty or hungry which served as our signal to head back home. It was also much safer then, so our parent's didn't mind us cycling our days away.

Boy, did we feel free. Biking really gave us our first taste of independence and freedom.  Simple pleasures. I've kept biking ever since.

The photo above is not my own, but our bikes were something like that, cool huh? :)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Bicycling and the sense of well being

I love cycling. I love bikes. It doesn't matter what bike brand, gear or whatever stuff you have, the feeling you get from cycling around town (it doesn't have to be hard core at all) just liberates you. I am still not sure why riding a bike makes me feel better but I am sure of cycling's effect on my overall sense of well being during and after my ride.  I don't think I am alone in achieving this feeling all because of a humble bicycle.

I guess it has something to do with the focus you need when you're on a bike. You can't afford to be distracted by anything else unless you are in the mood for some serious road rash or broken bones. The act of cycling forces you to focus. It may sound simple, but I am surely not alone in my belief that there are so many distractions out there. Sometimes you don't even realise you are distracted with all the various demands, things, ideas all vying for your attention at the same time.  Cycling forces you to forget all that and just focus on, you got it, cycling. You can hear your breathing, you can hear yourself think, you can feel your muscles pushing against the pedal to move the crank that moves the chain that moves the cog that turns the wheel. One pedal stroke, one revolution at a time. There is just something that is zen about it. You just feel connected.

Get on your bike and pedal away. You won't regret it.

Photo courtesy of artur84

Monday, March 2, 2015

Blog entry #1 (Hooray for me!!)

I have never been into blogging or anything of the sort. In fact, I am not into social media all that much. I set up an old blog site years ago that I never ever used. Not one single entry. I want to change that. I want to try this blogging and social media thingy.

However, this poses a dilemma on my part as I am normally a very private person. The primary reason why I created a Facebook account was for the birthday function.  My memory is just terrible so I was so happy to know that there was a birthday alert function, quite a life saver! Also, as I was moving to Singapore with the wifey, Facebook would be my lifeline to all things Manila and gave me a platform to get in touch with friends and family. So yahoo for FB! But in terms of things personal, I hardly update my status (you know, the how are you feeling today blah blah under your status thingy), I am just starting to post pictures (normally I am just tagged), and I usually just press the like button for stuff I see entering my FB feed.

I am hoping to change at least some of that. Though I doubt I will ever really pour my heart out on whatever social media medium there is, I do hope to start sharing things I experience in the realm of cycling, food, coffee, beer, whisky, attempts at fitness, travel and whatever else I find interesting.

So for those of you who still find life crazy, fascinating, heart breaking, joyous, unpredictable, mundane, wondrous and what have you, please join me in my blogging adventure or misadventure as the case may be.

Photo courtesy of tungphoto