This was my first bike packing / cycle tour adventure which happened last February 25 to 26, 2013. We rode our folding bikes from Davao City to Banaybanay, Davao Oriental. The mastermind of epic rides, John Buno, started bike packing since even before I got my first folding bike. He and his Bromptrooper already traveled different places in the Philippines (johnbunoadventures.com). He then invited us couple of frequent riders from the Davao Da-Folding Society (DDS) and Biketas to join him in his adventures. It started out with their very first cycle tour to Cape San Agustine. Unluckily I wasn’t able to join because of my work schedule. And then again on their second one to Sarangani which I still wasn’t present. I really wanted to join but there where certain constraints. Then came the third one. It started out with an invite. One of our trail buddy, Francis, collaborated with John for another cycle tour. Believe me, these cycle tours always come with the tag line “century ride”. So they created the event and decided our destination would be Banaybanay which also happens to be Francis’ hometown. I didn’t want to let it pass without me joining in.
The ride from Davao to Banaybanay is around 130 kilometers. Yet another century ride. Although I have never taken my 20″ folding bike on a century ride before. I’ve always used my mountain bikes on all of my previous rides and epic rides. Well there would always be a first. I was really quite curious on how I would do with a folding bike on a century ride. I mean pedaling a 26″ wheel is way too different from pedaling a 20″ wheel. Talk about traction. Not to mention I’d be carrying a large pack with me which also happens to be a first. I usually just carry my 1.5L Camelbak with me during my rides. So yeah!
We decided to meetup at Gabbies at 2am. I was so excited for the trip that I rode out at 1am and decided to wake up the others. We took our breakfast at McDonald’s Bajada. There’s no other meetup place other than McDonald’s. It’s kinda our default meetup place where we can also take our breakfast while waiting for the other riders to arrive. We took our final preparations and checked our gear before riding out.
When all six riders where set, we then rode out around 3-4am and headed our way. We rendezvous with another rider, Rey, at Holcim, so a total of seven riders joined the cycle tour. We then labelled ourselves “The Magnificent 7”. Well it was just kind of a thing to grill off our fellow riders who wasn’t able to join. We wished they were with us (Haha). We pedaled until we reached our first pit stop at a bakeshop in Panabo. We had our snacks there and small chit-chat. Then we went on. The sun was already up by the time we reached Carmen.
From Carmen, we reached Tagum City around 7am which was good because the heat of the sun was not yet at full blast and it was kinda gloomy. We didn’t really enter Tagum City. Instead we took a right turn which took us straight to the paved roads that lead to Mabini. As I recall we had our lunch there by the bus station. John was already hungry so we really had to take a break. I was also beginning to feel drained. Riding a trail is much different from riding through a straight road where the heat of the sun bounces at you. Well nothing beats a cold drink when you’re starting to get tired.
The next landmark was Pantukan. At least that’s what I remembered as I was just pedaling the whole time. I wasn’t actually looking at the road the whole time. I knew it was just straight all the way. I just took a position with my head facing downwards. I was beginning to feel like riding a road bike. I just maintained my pace and occasionally did sprints after resting. Just before exiting Pantukan proper we waited for two of our fellow riders to arrive. It was getting a bit late and we were already wondering if something might have happened. Minutes later, Francis called and asked us to ride back because they had a road accident. A motorcycle bumped Marce’s front wheel straight on. It was wrecked. We had no other choice but to find a replacement. Whichever as long as we can reach our destination.
The accident basically ate much of our time. We were already behind schedule and we still haven’t reached the boundary of Davao Oriental. We knew though that John was already there waiting for us. Upon reaching the boundary we had the chance to take some rest and some picture-taking. We also had snacks (again). Keeping your energy up is an important thing when it comes to excursions as this. It started to rain while we were eating. I already prepared some of my rain gear before riding out. Funny thing is when we were about to ride out, the rain stopped and it was hot all over again. But it was still good. We had a good view of the mountains and the sea at our right hand side. We still had to cover a lot of distance just to reach Banaybanay.
After hours of pedaling we were able to reach our destination. We did a courtesy call at their municipality hall just before heading towards Francis’ house. Upon finally reaching the house I was already at ease. Finally I could rest and find a decent place to sit. I regretted ever using padded shorts on this ride. Luckily there was a tub at the back of the house. I took a dip in a really cold flowing water. Just really perfect for soothing your body.
By night-time the others already took part on preparing the food. This is what we were all looking forward. Dinner time! We ate a lot. No wonder Francis’ doesn’t want to stay too much there because of the fact that there are many food available. That every time he’s there he would get fat. After dinner the boys or rather the older boys had some booze. I on the other hand took the chance to sleep and recharge as we were still bound to ride out early in the morning to a nearby beach.
In the morning we rode out early. One thing I envy about the place is that its surrounded with nature. There you get to wake up with the view of the mountains and the rice fields unlike in the city. The beach was just a couple of kilometers away. It was a public beach. The sand wasn’t white but it was good nonetheless. Then we headed back after taking a dip. Then I took the opportunity to sleep again. It was Monday and I still had to work. By 4pm we took a bus bound for Davao City. Good thing about folding bikes is that they’re fold-able. Just perfect for bi-modal trips. We folded and placed our bikes on the running board and went home. The end..