Editor's Pick

The Roads Must Roll

With a biking culture that’s shaping up, who knew Guimaras was ripe to become the next mountain-biking paradise?

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The current trend for mountain bike trails is to be purpose-built: locations are surveyed, and design decisions are made based on additional factors such as soil erosion, technical features, risk management, and even rider skill level. Much like how amusement parks, or golf courses are built. While Guimaras has its own share of man-made trails, the bulk of the mileage is still on natural, untamed, and minimally-managed tracks. This harkens back to the early days of mountain biking, where riders hopped on their bikes, headed off in this (or that) direction, explored, and got lost. (Maybe not the getting-lost bit, but sometimes that goes with the territory.)

“In 1995, it was mostly barangay roads, steep climbs, footpaths (aka daang-tao”), and natural singletrack,” reminisces Iloilo-based rider Richie Gabayeron, when asked about the first time he rode in Guimaras. “It was like having a playground in our own backyard with killer views.” he continues. In fact, Most of the riders who frequent Guimaras are from Iloilo, as the rolling hills of the island are but a 20-minute boat ride away from the relatively flat locale. “You’ll have to ride, or drive, half an hour out of the city to get to comparable riding,” says Gabayeron. Aside from that, there’s less traffic in Guimaras; the roads are wider, and the locals are more “cyclist-aware”.
There’s something to be said about riding “natural” trails, the unpredictability of the terrain keeps the rider on his or her toes, and the smoothest line through some sections may be different from one day to the next. Such conditions pose another challenge, though: rider safety and ease of access. The Bike Paradise Project goal is to build a network of trails, which requires proper trail markers, directional signs, trail maintenance, and management—a noble cause considering the sheer number of trails that can be ridden on the island.
 
~ An excerpt from “The Roads Must Roll” as published in Volume 8.
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