For a moment, I sat on the concrete bench, gazed at the blue sky and clouds mirrored at the still lake. It was a tranquil space in the midst of greens. Jamboree Lake was unknown to me until a fellow outdoor enthusiast and biker, Cha, posted her visit here on social media. I got curious of this lake found within the city of Muntinlupa. Much more when I learned it was the smallest natural lake in the country. With the pandemic prohibiting our movement, it was a challenge to find a patch of nature to explore and enjoy in the stifling concrete landscape of the city. So this was a good starting point for adventure.
CNN listed the bikeways at Sun Moon Lake as one of the “10 Cycling Routes in the world that will take your breath away”. I get to find out for myself if this isn’t just a hype. During our luxury stay at Fleur de Chine, I made sure to wake up early and maximize my morning by the lake. We have a biking activity in the morning but there were still hours to spare for quick morning stroll. After seeing the star studded sky, placid lake and mountain gradients from my room balcony I was just too eager to get close to the lake.
One thing I really like about Taiwan is how bike-friendly the country is. Bikeways are some of the main attractions in Taichung. Still at Houli district coming from the Chungse Tourist Flower Market, we found ourselves near a horse ranch and city park where there are several bike rental services in the area. The area is part of the Houfeng Bikeway (also called Hou-feng Bikeway). An extensive 4.5 km bike path running along an old mountain railway. It offers a unique experience of varying sceneries from the country side, the longest railway tunnel and a steel bridge.
It was almost pitch black. I was extra careful riding my bike as I could only see only about 6-10 feet of the road ahead of me. I was thankful for the cheap LED light I bought before flying to Batanes as I could never have ridden in this darkness. I left Basco as early as 5am so I could catch the first falowa to Sabtang island. After a day’s rest, I decided to continue biking in Batanes while I still have a group to join with, this time to bike Sabtang island. I wasn’t sure at first if I can handle the terrain but our guide Rene assured me Sabtang is a lot manageable than our North Batan Island ride to Tukon we did the other day.
“Adjust your seat higher. It would help.” Our bike-tour guide Rene told me as he saw me struggle on our uphill ride towards our last stop for the day, the Vayang Rolling Hills. With my armpit at level with my bike saddle, I stretched my arm towards the crank center to determine the proper height for my saddle. I adjusted my saddle accordingly to let my legs fully extend on pedal. We continued our ride and I felt more at ease to somehow find my right cadence. Wow! They could have told me this earlier when we were trekking from Tukon Hills to Valugan Boulder beach. As we near the day’s end of our bike trek in Batan Island, I thought biking in Batanes is the most fun I had on the island on wheels.
I watch in amazement as Roel, a known local biker here in Bohol, gains momentum and speed as his bike descends on the rough slope leading to a short ramp which is the start of the biker’s trail. For a moment he and his bike were suspended in the air and instantly he dashes on a curve on to the rough mountain bike trail of Mongo-ol, Baclayon, Bohol. I know how to bike, but Roel, along with his fellow bikers here really know how to ride their mountain bikes easily on this mountain trail like riding on a pavement. They make it look so easy.
I noticed there are many people who have an active lifestyle in Singapore. Every night I didn’t fail to spot one or more joggers in the street. A few bikers and some people I met regularly go to the gym after their work. But once in a while it can be a drag in the city. The concrete streets and buildings can never replace the rugged outdoors. I do know some friends of mine yearning for something different would head out of the city and go to Pulau Ubin, an Island getaway from urban Singapore and a famous hub for outdoor activities.