Craving for an adrenaline rush right before the year ends?
While COVID-19 continues to disrupt everyday lives, there are many activities that you can still enjoy while practicing the standard health protocols, like physical distancing and wearing a face mask. One such activity is mountain biking.
Biking is one of the outdoor non-contact sports that’s allowed in areas classified under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) and lighter quarantine categories as determined by the inter-agency task force (IATF) for emerging infectious diseases. Because of this and the challenges transport restrictions have posed on personal mobility, many Filipinos took up this sport to be able to get around and get their exercise amid the pandemic.
You can go for a simple bike ride around your village or by the beach or dare to go mountain biking. Thankfully, for bolder cyclists, the Philippines has a wide range of bike trails where one can enjoy both a quiet bike stroll or a physically challenging afternoon adventure.
Before mounting your bike, understand that this sport is not for the ill-prepared. Ample preparation is needed before one can jump into difficult trails, especially if it’s your first time. Take time to start on easy trails to train your bodies before heading to tougher mountain bike trails. Make sure to come with groups of people who have the experience and are willing to give you a helping hand when things go south.
To get you started, below are some of the best mountain bike trails in the country, based on a cyclist’s level of skill and experience:
If it’s your first time biking, consider the 493-hectare university campus as your training grounds. The University of the Philippines is a bike-friendly community perfect for beginners. If you’re looking for a little off-road training, the campus also has a trail near Ylanan St. that has small bumps, short climbs, and fast descents that’ll help you get control of your bike.
Metro Manila may be a little unfriendly to bikers, thanks to heavy traffic and lack of regulations and policies to protect pedal commuters; but this is not the case, in general. While much of the metro is dangerous to bikers, it also has a fair share of mountain bike trails located in Alabang, namely the Filinvest Mountain Trails.
Filinvest’s trails are filled with sudden uphills and winding pathways that can help you practice your handling skills. The ‘Heart Attack Trail’ is another Filinvest Trail to test your skills on. With gradual uphill climbs, drop sections, joint rattling pump tracks, you’ll surely be able to hone your mountain biking skills here.
Just outside the busy streets of Metro Manila are Nuvali’s Pump Bike tracks in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. Nuvali offers a lush greenery space for mountain bikers, which is quite a unique offering, especially for city bikers who are looking for a change of scenery.
Nuvali’s off-road bike trail is almost 50 kilometers long and developed for both inexperienced and seasoned mountain bikers. The trail is a combination of smooth pavements, short slopes, bumps, and roots for that unpredictable sense of adventure.
If you think you have trained enough and you have attained a pretty good grip of your mountain bike, then it’s time to go to greater heights (literally) with these advanced bike trails around the metro.
Located just beyond Metro Manila in San Mateo, Rizal, Timberland Heights is considered the “Mountain Bike Capital” of the country. This location is an all-time favorite trail of cyclists of various levels of experience.
This prestigious biking trail has over five trails cyclists can choose from. As a welcome challenge, cyclists would need to go through the two-kilometer trail called “The Wall” to get there. Mind you, this trail is quite steep; so get your legs ready. If that’s not your cup of tea, you can take the “Shotgun Trail” instead.
Trails in Timberland Heights have their own scenic routes for trails and have various difficulty levels for cyclers. These trails include the Green Zone, Blue Zone, Black Diamond, Roxas Basic Trail, Ten Commandments Statue in Mt. Sinai, Sandugo Basecamp Trail, Pump Track, among others.
If you’re looking for an adventure in the great outdoors without having to go too far, you can have a one-of-a-kind biking experience at the La Mesa Eco Park Bike Trail in Quezon City. The Eco Park’s trail includes a natural cycle trail for all kinds of cyclers, providing you that great outdoor adventure vibes while you practice your mountain biking skills.
This trail offers a unique experience for bikers in the country. If most trails mentioned before offer a natural scenic view for bikers, the Camp Aguinaldo trail offers an almost zombie-apocalypse-like trail for cyclists. The trail is a good place to practice your cross-country biking skills. This difficult terrain is almost 5 kilometers long.
If you wish to go a little farther, visit the La Mesa Nature Reserve in Novaliches, Quezon City for your mountain biking adventure. Located near SM Fairview, this biking trail is a 52-kilometer bike trail inside a dense forest filled with singletracks, dirt, and fire roads. Trail guides are ready to lend you a hand for your training, especially if you’re a beginner. It’s a pretty big place; so best to gear up accordingly.
If you’re experienced enough and are ready to take on something even more challenging, consider heading to Mt. Balabag in Rodriguez, Rizal. This uphill trail is filled with large rocks that will test your handling and braking skills. This trail will also hone your decision-making skills, as this route will give you little time to decide whether to avoid or carry on with the trail.
Heading down the mountain is also a challenge. Because of its steepness, biking downhill may be risky. Having to trail down while on your bike will be a great accomplishment for you.
Metro Manila may not be as bike-friendly as you think, but its neighboring cities offer quite an adventure for novices to expert mountain bikers. While waiting for the COVID-19 pandemic to end, why don’t you try this sport for a breath of fresh air?