How the I stumbled upon the fixed gear scene in Cavite.
While on vacation in the Philippines I had the pleasure of meeting up the dudes from Cavite Fixed Gear. I had been on vacation for almost a month in both PI and Vietnam and had only had a chance to ride a rental beach cruiser so far. I was pretty much going through withdrawals by this point and needed a fix. At some point on my trip I was skimming through the explore page on IG and found @CVTFX.
The Cavite Fixed Gear IG page
I wasted no time and slid right in the DM! It took a while, but eventually someone got back to me. “Where are you located in Cavite? We can hook you up. Just send us a message when you arrive and lets set a ride.”
My heart damn near jumped out of my chest. My wife made fun of me for a solid day because of my sheer glee and giddy behavior. Coordinating schedules took a while but eventually I was able to link up with VJ from Cavite Fixed Gear and get some quality pedaling in.
Now, cyclists are cool people, I can’t stress this enough. Back in the day we would load up someones car with bmx’ers and head out on a road trip, the hospitality never ceased. Sharing spots, meals and couches, the camaraderie among cyclists is unwavering. Eventually I was able to meet with VJ from Cavite Fixed Gear on a day when he was off work and I was not out of town. He was a short jeepney ride away. VJ Scooped me up in his car and brought be back to his house where he gave me the option of riding either of his bikes, sooooo…
The bike VJ let me borrow
Yeah, this NJS banger was HELLA fun bruh! (Thank you again VJ, you the REAL MVP!)
He then hit me off with the ill VELODOOM fit and told me that we’d be riding out to meet his crew for coffee. Sounds like a plan to me. We saddled up and made out way down Aguinaldo Highway.
At some point we pulled off the highway and the terrain became less developed and all I could see was farmland. Then I see a bunch of rollers and some dirt jumps, eventually I remembered the pics from the groups feed where they’re at a pump track and it all made sense. We roll up and there’s a container with a bike shop inside and a coffee dispenser out front, I assume this is the coffee we’ll be having. I live in NYC but I’m not a coffee snob by any means, as a matter of fact there were some spots (I’m talking to you Banaue) where I ordered coffee and they handed me a cup of hot water with a nescafe package. But no no, not these dudes, they had the portable burner and the AeroPress on deck!
Bring out the burner!
Everyone brought mugs, full water bottles to be boiled for coffee, jams, countless coffee blends, and pan de sal (freshly baked sweet rolls) to make for an excellent afternoon at the trails. I was blown away, these folks got chillin’ down to a science! I just need to take a second note: the Filipino hospitality here. Being I had no idea where we were going or what we were getting into, I didn’t bring a mug. One of the guys offered me his mug, before he himself had a cup of coffee. This small gesture speaks volumes about the people of the Philippines and their inherent hospitality.
So AERO my guy
After lots of coffee, snacks, and jokes, the guys got to work. They had been planning an off road race at the pump track and shared a bunch of their ideas with me. Keith, who’s an avid cyclist as well as a professional photographer and videographer, started to do some story boarding for a short video to advertise the race. I was stoked. Haha, getting the chance to hang with all these new people and watch them put together a promo video for their upcoming race was rad! Rankin would be the star of the promo and boy was he READY. After doing a bunch of track sprints in the grass and getting splashed in the face while yelling at the camera he still had the biggest smile on his face. Everyone shared a ton of laughs while the creative process unfolded.
Rankin getting his tracklocross on
Good times were definitely had by all. I really wish I could make it back for the race, I know it’s going to be amazing.
Making the trip to Bmx Cycle Center
At some point during the day Keith mentioned that I should try and make it out to BMX Cycle Center in Quezon City. He told me that it’s a rad shop with lots of inventory and a cool vibe. Sold!
The next week my wife and I made the journey out to Quezon City to check out Mark Astilla at the shop. I really dig the way they have their hands in everything. They throw events, they have their own bmx line, a fixed gear line and of course a full service department… One stop shop.
A couple of The Project’s build outs
When I walked in the first thing I noticed was the amount of product on the sales floor. Lots of frames, a couple of which were raw. I was immediately drawn to the raw frames, which ended up being handmade in the Philippines by master frame builder Ave Maldea. Stoked. I’d done a little bit of research about cycling in PI and had come across his name numerous times. There’s actually a really cool piece on him called “Man of Steel” that you can check out on youtube.
Ave Maldea, hand made in the Philippines
I got to chat with Mark for a bit about the riding scene in Pi and about the projects he has in the works. Good stuff, good people, fun bikes. If you’re ever around Metro Manila BMX Cycle Center is worth the quick jaunt.
Mark Astilla and myself in BMX Cycle Center. Photo, Diana Diroy
Back in NYC
That’s all I got for now y’all! I’m back in NYC and reunited with my babies! If you’re down to pedal, hit me up!
Portrait of yours truly by Keith Dador