Cycling Diary: Bulacan Bikers Team Community Ride
Text and Photos by: Marco Solomon
Almost always, leaving the busy week that was and getting dirty on two wheels as a (read: occasional) weekend warrior has been my way to commune with myself—a reset, a reboot.
Last Sunday, April 3, was no exception. Bulacan Bikers Team pioneer Jose Luis “Weng” Barillo, along with Czyrus Pacheco and a handful of volunteer marshals, have organized a community ride hoping to bring out Bulakenyo bikers out of their usual routine and into their rusty yet rolling rigs.
BBT, as members aptly call it, has been organizing cause-oriented fun rides, outreach programs on-a-bike, and even last-minute getaways on two wheels throughout the year. This time, the troupe was heading to Mt. Lumot, a 561 MASL (meters above sea level) spot in Barangay Camachin in Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan.
DRT town is known to many as a vast, remote, and hilly side of the province, yet it offers surprises when it comes to eco-tourism to the uninitiated. There were around 49 pumped-up bodies who hit the road early on that weekend leading to the trails later in the day.
Point persons were assigned to assemble riders joining from elsewhere. Jossel “Grizzly” Pilares assembled bikers coming from Southern Bulacan while Jomar Paguiligan took care of riders from up north. Meanwhile, William Santos gathered those situated in between.
It was my first time riding to Mt. Lumot, so my interest got me into it when I received an invite from the group. Simply by checking Google Maps, I found out that there are several ways to get there, depending on where you’re coming from and what route you’re taking. However, I highly recommend the Tukod-Casalat-Akle trail route, traversing San Rafael and San Ildefonso towns just before the roads turn uphill to DRT.
The portion of the Sapang Pahalang-Tukod Road where the pavement ends is where the fun actually starts: a rocky yet forgiving fireroad will lead you to a small river, yet deep enough to drench the tires, pedals, and even your feet as you cross it to get to the other riverbank.
For me, river crossing is something not I encounter that often, so this is a big plus early on. Next, the dusty path crossed through terraced fields and the sunny Bulacan countryside. The gentle breeze and sloping path had kept me company as we went on for a few kilometers until the pack passed by a cement plant facility in Akle, San Ildefonso. Oh boy, it was dusty all over as soon as we get to this spot.
An intersection welcomed us then we took right on M. Valte Road and a small yet busy marketplace served as a stop over and as a converging point for all riders. In 30 minutes or so, bikers arrived to re-assemble and re-hydrate. At that point, almost everyone had logged no less than 30 kilometers on their early-morning ride but still have the legs to keep moving to our next target: the unforgiving uphill path to Mt. Lumot.
The first few kilometers were paved and rolling then a sudden uphill turn put our legs to the test head on. This “up-hell” will go on for a few kilometers with minimal recovery until we get on the unpaved track.
At this point, the loose dirt on the track put our tires in deep trouble. The gradient was supposedly manageable for most of the seasoned riders of the pack but the loose earth had moved most of the riders off balanced. Despite this, an awarding view of the Bulacan plains and watersheds on the right livened up our drained spirits.
A few more kilometers uphill brought us at a rather welcoming yard where the lady owner was generous enough to offer us freshwater to re-hydrate. Most of the riders also took the time to regroup, chat, and gain needed leg power to finish the course.
In less than an hour, the dusty path led us to a spot that supposedly the point where lush woods lead to a trekking spot towards the summit. 10 to 15-minute trekking led us to the summit landmarked by an obelisk with a steel flame atop resembling a lit candle, hence the name “Kandila” monument.
The group had spent less than 30 minutes on the summit, taking photos. Afterwards, we trekked back to where we left our bikes and started to head downhill. The several hours it took us reaching the top only took us less than an hour going back to the foot of the hill. And that was where we were after in the first place. Everyone took a breather for a late lunch at an eatery in Barangay Akle. From here, rides took separate ways back home but brought the same spirit that bonded us together that day.
About the Ride:
BBT Ride Point Persons: Jossel “Grizzly” Pilares – South Bulacan | Jomar Paguiligan – North Bulacan | William Santos – Central Bulacan
BBT Ride Organizers: Jose Luis Barillo and Czyrus Pacheco
Main ride Objectives:
1. To promote Bulacan’s eco-tourism through biking
2. To explore and recommend trail destinations to Metro Manila and nearby bikers
3. To introduce Bulacan Bikers’ Team as the biggest biking group in Bulacan to the Philippine biking community