Geje Eustaquio Looks Forward to Mountain Biking Career After Mixed Martial Arts

By Dan Paulo Errazo


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Reigning ONE Flyweight World Champion, Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio , is considering to take up mountain biking as a professional career after his mixed martial arts career is done.

Eustaquio discovered the sport when fellow Team Lakay stablemate Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly introduced it to him as a supplement to their martial arts training. The two swear by the workout saying it increases their stamina and leg power.

Besides reaping the multiple health benefits of biking, Eustaquio gets to enjoy the cool breeze of Baguio City and its breathtaking surroundings of mountains, rivers, and mother nature.

“I think mountain biking is the perfect cross-training, first off all it develops balance and it also enhances your decision-making as well,” said Eustaquio. “We also develop our cardio by doing this. It helps all of us stay in shape while having fun.”

“Riding bikes is a great workout.”


The combination of being close to nature and the thrill of riding through trails made the flyweight champ think of pursuing professional mountain biking after he has retired from the world of mixed martial arts.

“It is not the same with mixed martial arts. I can’t give my whole time in mountain biking yet,” said the 29-year-old Eustaquio. “Maybe when it’s time for me to retire, I might do professional mountain biking and motocross.”

“Gravity” alongside ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio , former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario , and Kelly go biking in Baguio City’s various challenging and beautiful trails at least once a week during training and more if there are no scheduled bouts.

Being born and raised in the Baguio City, Benguet, they are already familiar with the thrilling terrain and know the ins and outs of the land.

“When we ride, it’s an adrenaline rush,” said Eustaquio. “We love conquering trails and at the same time it gives us access to the most wonderful creations of God.”


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From smart lights to wearable airbags, the best cycling tech to keep you safe

In an ideal world, cycling would be far a more common method of everday urban and suburban commuting than cars. However, for a few reasons – access to safe cycle routes, safety issues on the roads, or maybe just the fact that the weather in

is miserable a good portion of the year – commuters haven’t turned to two wheels in the sort of numbers many would have hoped.

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Help may be at hand in the form of a growing number of gadgets and tech features to keep cyclists safe. Tech has found its way into most past times, and cycling is no exception. And while some of it is “nice to have” rather than “must have”, there are a few things that could help make your bike journeys a bit safer.


Probably one of the most important things you can invest in as a cyclist, good lights can mean the difference between you being seen in bad light, and, well, not. You can still buy regular lights, but technology has made it all a bit smarter, allowing you to control the brightness according to the road conditions, building in crash alerts and even warning you when your bike moves but you aren’t with it.

Belfast company See.Sense has been making its smart bike lights for a couple of years, backed by a successful crowdfunding campaign or two. The company has a couple of products to offer including its Icon lights.

They may look like a normal set of lights, but See.Sense’s Ace  is much more than a few blinkers attached to your bike. It’s much smarter than that, using information from your surroundings to gauge when you are most at risk, making your lights shine brighter or faster to make sure you can be seen. It’s all thanks to a bit of artificial intelligence.

Blinkers gives cyclists a very obvious way of signalling their intention to turn

Blinkers gives cyclists a very obvious way of signalling their intention to turn

Another option is Blinkers (

), which as the name suggests gives cyclists a very obvious way of signalling their intention to turn, a rear light that gets visibly redder when you brake, and a laser light that projects a half circle on the ground to indicate where the cyclist is and how much space they need.

It’s all controlled through a remote that attaches to your handlebars, and works on the idea that the more visible you are, the less likely you are to hear the excuse “I didn’t notice you” when you end up in a one-on-one with a car.

They charge through a USB and you get about 20 hours out of a single charge – enough for a few bike trips at any rate. They’re not as compact as other bike lights, which may be an issue if you like to remove them and take them with you to guard against theft, but it’s a small price to pay.


There are plenty of devices out there that will help you find your way when you are out and about on the roads. It really depends on what you want: an all singing, all dancing device that measures everything from your speed and elevation to exactly where you are at any given time, or something that will just point you in the right direction.

Beeline’s follow-the-arrow interface removes the unneeded distractions of Google Maps

Beeline’s follow-the-arrow interface navigates you without the unneeded distractions of Google Maps

If simplicity is what you are after, then Beeline (

) is a good bet. It has a simple follow-the-arrow interface and was designed with cyclists in mind. It links up with a smartphone app so you can set your destination, and then you simply have to attach it to your handlebars before you head off. It ticks a couple of boxes: a sharp backlit display, a clean interface that shows the smart compass, battery life, a speedometer and a clock, and it will take a bit of abuse in the elements. Battery life is about 30 hours, and it charges over USB, so if you ever get stuck you can simply strap a power pack somewhere to your bike and keep on going.Garmin
offers something a little more complex. The navigation expert has a range of devices for cyclists – not counting their smartwatches and activity trackers that will help monitor your actual exercise sessions – that cover everything from the simpler, smaller devices to the full on cycling computers that do everything except massage your legs after a major bike ride.

Garmin Edge tracks your progress but also allows you to find new routes through Garmin Cycle Map

Garmin Edge tracks your progress but also allows you to find new routes through Garmin Cycle Map

A good middle of the road option for touring cyclists is the

Edge Explore

, which will track your progress but also allow you to find new routes through Garmin Cycle Map, which will show you what other paths other cyclists like, and give you turn-by-turn navigation. It can also link up with your smartphone for extra features such as automatic incident detection, which sends your location to an emergency contact if you have a collision, or with other safety devices such as radar and smart bike lights. If you are a bit more invested in your cycling, the Edge 520 or 1030 might be more suitable, or move away from Garmin altogether and invest in a

Wahoo Elemnt Bolt 
Safety Cyclists are more vulnerable than most other road users, so protective gear of some sort is probably in most cyclists’ kit.

There is a debate about bike helmets. On one hand, there is the recent findings from Australian researchers that say wearing one will reduce the likelihood of a serious head injury by up to 70 per cent. On the other, there is research that claims wearing a helmet makes you more likely to indulge in risky moves, and puts people off cycling.

You may not agree with laws making the wearing of cycling helmets compulsory, but


gives you an additional reason to wear one: it has lights built in to make you visible to passing motorists. There are 48 LEDs – 38 in the back, 10 bright white in the front – and there is a wireless remote that you can use to activate your turn signals. A test feature also uses the accelerometer to detect when you are slowing down, triggering a warning signal on the helmet.

If you are adamant about cycling helmets not preventing head injuries, maybe this device will get a bit more support; the

is essentially a wearable airbag that will detect falls and immediately inflate, protecting the cyclist’s neck and head with an air cushion. It claims to be the world’s safest bike helmet, estimating it is eight times safer than a regular helmet.

It’s not cheap at €299 for the initial Hovding, and €135 for a replacement if you have an accident. But it’s a small price to pay to protect against a potentially life-changing head injury.

There are other ways to improve your safety. Using your morning commute to catch up on podcasts or zoning out with music is something you can take for granted in a car, but as a cyclist, it’s not recommended. You need to be able to hear approaching traffic or have your attention on potential road hazards, and bone conduction headphones can be a solution. No, it’s not an elaborate form of torture – or maybe it is, depending on your taste in music – it’s a form of technology that allows you to hear sound through vibrating the bones in your face. That means you can hear music, but still have your ears free. The headphones sit over your ears touching your cheekbones (in this particular case), so you can listen to music but still be aware of your surroundings.

GoPro Hero 7 provides great video

GoPro Hero 7 provides great video

If anything does happen though, it can help to have the evidence to hand. More and more cyclists are wearing body- or bike-mounted cameras on the streets of Irish cities.

GoPro has a series of cameras that are weatherproof and reasonably robust, and the

Hero 7 silver or black

, while an investment, gives some great video. There are other options too, with

also offering action cameras.

The Deeper Lock Pro+ has motion sensors that trigger an alarm when the lock is tampered with, and GPS to track the thief should they actually make off with the bike

The Deeper Lock Pro+ has motion sensors that trigger an alarm when the lock is tampered with, and GPS to track the thief should they actually make off with the bike

Finally, securing the bike itself is an important thing. You don’t need a smart lock as such, but the

Deeper Lock Pro+

, currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter, has motion sensors that trigger an alarm when the lock is tampered with, and GPS to track the thief should they actually make off with the bike.

If you want something a little more subtle, the

Sherlock Bike

is a GPS unit that hides inside your bike frame and connects to an app so you can track it. The idea is that thieves won’t realise it’s there until it’s too late. You have to pay a monthly fee after the first two years, but it’s only €3 to keep the GPS connected.

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Italy’s Alta Badia is the cycling trip that every foodie needs to try

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Unless you’re keen skier, chances are you might not have heard of Alta Badia.

Nestled in the heart of the Dolomite UNESCO World Heritage Site, this popular South ­Tyrolean resort in northern Italy is best known as being a venue for the FIS Ski World Cup for more than 30 years.

But head here in the summer months and you will be stunned by the incredible natural beauty of its breathtaking mountain landscapes and lush valleys, all waiting to be explored by bike or on foot.

Criss-crossed by miles of traffic-free trails, the region has earned Alta Badia the reputation of being one of the world’s best destinations for cycling holidays, whether your steed is a road, mountain bike or e-bike.

In fact, the region is home to the world’s highest e-bike sharing scheme.


Pinarello bikes are available at six docking stations over 6,600ft above sea level and each bike has three power settings designed to kick in when you need a boost.

This means even the least confident of cyclists will find riding a bike an uplifting experience.

And it’s free to take your bike by cable car or ski lift up to the mountain tops so you can cycle over the mountain ranges and enjoy the glorious views (two hours’ rental from €22/adults, €15 children aged 14-18).

Pick up e-bikes from the docking station in La Villa, then head up the Piz La Villa cable car for fabulous views of the La Marmolada – the tallest mountain in the Dolomites with its stunning glacier.

Everywhere you find bike shops offering rentals or servicing while lots of the hotels class themselves as ‘bike-friendly’.

What’s more, exploring on two wheels couldn’t be any easier, with a variety of events running across the summer including guided tours and special biking circuits with different difficulties designed for both families and more experienced riders.

But whatever you choose to do, you’re sure to work up an appetite and that was when I discovered food is hugely ­important here in the South Tyrol.

This year, two new Michelin stars were awarded to restaurants in Alta Badia, meaning the 15 sq mile valley now boasts an impressive total of six.

Norbert Niederkofler, chef of the restaurant St Hubertus at Hotel Rosa Alpina in San Cassiano – a town in the valleys known for its fine eateries – earned a third star to join just eight other restaurants in Italy with a trio of the prestigious gongs.


The summer season is when the tourist board hosts a menu of culinary events both up in the mountains and down in the valley towns.

This year also saw the new ­Sommelier in the Mountain Hut event – a chance for wine lovers to taste the region’s best wines with a sommelier 6,600ft above sea level (€18pp), along with cooking lessons conducted by the area’s best chefs (€15pp).

But the highlight has to be the Dining Under the Stars experience – a seven-course gourmet feast in the centre of Badia, at the foot of the church of San Leonardo. Priced at €73pp with wines, coffee and liqueurs, it’s well worth it.

Alongside its exceptional cuisine, the South Tyrol is also a historically rich area, thanks to its unique melding of Austrian, Italian and Ladin culture.

The local Ladin people distinguish themselves from their neighbours through their language and cultural appreciation of the landscape, farming and craft work.

A visit to the Santa Croce Sanctuary reveals a historic piece of Ladin architecture.

Starting in San Leonardo in Badia you can hike a nature trail that leads you to the foot of the La Crusc Pilgrimage Church, sitting at the base of the Mt Sasso di Santa Croce, 6,750ft above sea level.

There are also chair lifts that take you to the 600-year-old church with panoramic views over Alta Badia, and the valley towns of Cortina, Val Pusteria and Val Gardena.

And at the centre of this charming area is Corvara, the cradle of tourism in Alta Badia, buzzing with restaurants, bars, patisseries, tea rooms and chocolate shops.

It’s well placed for exploring the nearby towns of La Villa, San Cassiano and Badia and has seven chair lifts and gondolas to take you to the mountains.

Whether you follow the mountain trails on foot or by bike, you will come across mountain huts offering ­traditional food and drink – these are perfect refuelling stops.

Try ‘turtres’ (fried pastries filled with spinach), ‘panicia’ (barley soup), ‘bales da ciocie’ (bacon dumplings) or ‘Kaiserschmarrn’ (shredded pancake and jam).

For a refreshing and lightly alcoholic treat order a ‘Hugo’ (prosecco, sparkling spring water and elderflower cordial).

Some even offer accommodation if you’re tempted to stay the night and wake up to a sunrise like no other.


The Gardenacia Hut, which can only be reached by hiking from the top of the Gardenacia Chair Lift from La Villa, has comfortable rooms and a sauna with panoramic views of the Dolomites and the surrounding meadows (B&B from €44pp per night. Shower coins €3. Bag transfer service available for €20.

I was more than happy with my base, the family-run four-star Hotel Col Alto in Corvara, and its top-notch spa which has a pool and steam rooms.

As I eased my tired muscles at the end of an exhilarating day of cycling, I was already planning to change my next summer holiday from the beach to something 6,000ft or so higher.


Inghams offer a seven-night stay on half-board at the 4* Hotel Col Alto in Corvara, Alta Badia, Italy, from £866pp based on two sharing next summer. Includes flights from Gatwick, Heathrow, Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds Bradford, Manchester or Edinburgh and transfers.

Book via tour operator


or call 01483 791116.

For tourist information visit the

Alta Badia tourist board website

or the

Italian tourist board website


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E-bike inner tube hack Crazy Biker Adventure

BicycleE-bike evangelist Brian Sarmiento takes a yoga break before leaving California.

Image: chris taylor

I had pedaled the first 20 miles up Big Oak Flat Road in Yosemite National Park, cursing its misleading name — far away from flat, the route gains 7,000 feet in altitude — when my electric bicycle’s battery finally succumbed. That’s when I had one of the strangest good news-bad news moments of my life.

Good news: I had saddlebags containing three pre-charged batteries! Bad news: heave and wring as I might, the new five-pound battery and its clunky hard plastic covering simply would not fit into the slim slot my Gazelle electric bike necessitated.( Too late, I remembered that the Gazelle rep had hassle demoing this maneuver where reference is delivered the motorcycle, and cursed myself for not practising .)

Good news: there’s probably a manual online that will tell me the trick to doing it! Bad news: I lost cellphone reception miles back. You don’t know what you crave from the internet until it’s gone.

Good news: I would shortly reach Highway 120, which would take me immediately to my meeting with an electric motorcycle guru! Bad news: not for another 65 miles — the topography of which was unknown to me.

I was stuck in Clark Kent mode, and Doomsday was approaching.

Good news: at least I still have a Camelbak full of snacks, and water, which I genuinely need in this heat! Bad news: Glug, glug, gl– hssssshhh … Oh.

Et tu, Camelbak ? I felt an uncontrollable, stressed-out kind of laugh bubbling up. What the inferno was I doing here? I’d gone for maybe eight or nine journeys in the past year. I wasn’t the kind of cyclist who could pedal a hundred pounds of bike under my own steam. The batteries were my superhero power. Now I was stuck in Clark Kent mode, and Doomsday was approaching.

I had to laugh again when I remembered the reason it had come to this: because a sales guy in Irvine, California didn’t want to fly to a trade show.

Get on your e-bike and ride

Meet my ride: the Gazelle Cityzen T-10 electric bike ($3,000).

Image: Gazelle

Every September, America’s $6 billion bicycling industry gathers in Nevada for its largest event, Interbike. And every year, Interbike attendees arrive by plane and car and van and truck — any form of transport, in fact, other than the clean and supremely efficient one they’ve gathered to praise.

“Nobody rides a bike to the bike show,” says Brian Sarmiento, a sales manager and electric bike aficionado based in Irvine, California. “No one even talks about it.” Given that the cycling fans that show up think nothing of “centuries,” or hundred-mile rides, Sarmiento “thought that was odd.”

So in 2017, Sarmiento became the first out-of-town attendee to cycle to the big cycle show. He took one of the e-bike systems he sells for Bosch, stuffed his saddlebags with pre-charged batteries, and spent four days riding the 330 miles from Irvine to Las Vegas, most of it via the old Route 66. The trip was beautiful and easy, he boasted to Interbike attendees: “If everyone knew how cool this was, they’d do it all the time.”

For its 2018 show this week, Interbike moved to Reno — nearly 600 miles from Sarmiento’s home. But doubling the distance didn’t stop him from riding again. This time he invited a handful of professional cyclist friends, and a couple of journalists, to document the five-day journey last week. I was intrigued, and agreed to join what he later called the Fellowship of the E-bike.

The only problem was I couldn’t spare the whole week — this was during Apple’s all-important iPhone launch. So we made a plan to meet at Mono Lake on the east edge of Yosemite National Park, halfway through Sarmiento’s ride. Leaving from the San Francisco Bay Area, I would take the train and bus to the western side of Yosemite Valley. Sarmiento arranged for me to test a ten-speed Gazelle Cityzen, (retail price: $3,999) and mailed four charged batteries.

All I had to do was find my way through America’s oldest and most beautiful national park with an assist from the latest in biking technology, then join the Fellowship on the other side. What could possibly go wrong?

What went wrong

I’m what you might call an aspirational cyclist. I enjoy the activity; I’m also intimidated by it. Living atop the Bay Area’s biggest hill means I can’t simply head out to the flatlands for a joyride — at least, not without anticipating a heart-thumping half-hour of intense sweat and breath loss on the way back.

So the concept of e-bikes has always appealed to me, especially the power assist on the uphill. I’ve awaited their arrival into the mainstream with the eagerness of an electric car fan looking forward to the day the roads are filled with Teslas and Leafs and Bolts.

The wait for this future is maddening — especially in 2018, when Trump’s tariffs on components from China have left the e-bike industry reeling.

E-biking can leave you feeling like Lance Armstrong — cheating included.

This is why I jumped at Sarmiento’s offer. Here was a chance to experience the future of cycling, one that could appeal to beginners and pros alike. If the batteries were portable and efficient enough, perhaps this could be the ultimate health-improving, environmentally-friendly 21st century vacation.

Who wouldn’t prefer an open-air bike tour of the vast American landscape to a stuffy old car trip? Especially when an electric motor is doing most of the work — just enough for a pleasant workout, not enough to leave you wheezing.

The e-bike system I was using has five power settings — from the battery-saving “Eco” all the way up to “Turbo” for those uphills. You still have to pedal, of course, but you choose how much of an assist the bike provides with each rotation. Maximum speed: 28 mph.

At its best, I later realized, e-biking can leave you feeling like Lance Armstrong — cheating included.

When my bike and I disembarked the bus at the Yosemite visitor’s center, however, I discovered that Google Maps had been cheating too. The 41-mile bike route it suggested to the Mono Lake meeting point involved taking a trail out of Yosemite Valley — a trail that, according to an officious park ranger, did not allow bikes.

I’d have to double back and travel via Highway 120, she said. That meant a 75-mile journey, nearly double what I’d anticipated.

But hey, no problem! The day was young and warm, the meeting was four hours away, and I had four fully-charged batteries. Each one had a theoretical range of up to 40 miles. I’d make the meeting with energy to spare. Besides, it’s called Big Oak Flat Road. Sounds easy!

The blue line that wasn’t, and the red line that was.

Image: google

Some 7,000 feet of elevation later, I discovered that “Big Oak Flat” is merely the name of a hiking trail to which the road leads. “This road sucks, man,” said a sympathetic CalTrans worker as I pedaled hard on the Turbo setting — yet still barely registered nine miles an hour. The two-lane blacktop rose vertiginously over the valley in relentless switchbacks, and cyclists must share it with RVs and SUVs whose cranky drivers were eager to head home.

Oh yes, and the road presented several long rock-walled tunnels with no illumination inside. My Gazelle’s dinky automatic light was no comfort in the vast inky blackness. I tried to breathe and just keep pedaling, ignoring the sudden panicked sensation of floating in space, and also trusting that those headlights in the distance were not coming straight at me.

That horror was barely behind me when the first battery died and my Camelbak ran out. Not knowing what else to do, I kept pedaling my hundred-pound, suddenly non-electric bike. After two more punishing, dehydrating uphill miles, I stopped again and tried jamming the battery into its slot without the clunky plastic cover on. My screen returned, the range mileage now reading a satisfying “30.” Success!

But I wasn’t out of the Yosemite woods yet. Shorn of its cover, the battery was exposed to the air, which was increasingly becoming thin and chilly. As anyone who has pulled out their smartphone on a winter’s day knows, lithium-ion batteries deplete way faster in the cold. My range dropped to 20, then 10, then 5, much faster than the miles I was actually making.

Talk about range anxiety. Some three hours and another 3,000 feet of elevation later, I’d burned through three and a half of my four batteries. A freezing headwind had picked up, slowing me even on the downhills. More and more uphills kept rising around every curve, oblivious to my outraged protest.

My legs began to cramp. There was no water stop in sight — and perhaps more importantly, still no cellphone service. Occasionally I’d receive a worried text from Sarmiento, but the brief single-bar signal was too weak to let me reply.

Reaching Tulomne Meadows as the sun plummeted towards the horizon, I found the first faucet in 50 miles. Water never tasted sweeter. Then another long uphill depleted my final half-battery, even though I had been pedaling almost entirely in Eco mode by then.

My bike was officially out of juice, as was I. Half-seriously, I considered bunking down in the  meadow for the night. Bears and freezing temperatures be damned. Then, to my eternal gratitude, a kind-hearted Swiss couple in an RV offered me and my bike a ride to their campsite, which happened to be at the top of Highway 120’s final hill.

From there I coasted at 30 miles an hour down a road that dropped 6,000 feet of altitude to Mono Lake at 30 miles an hour. Which was terrifying, as the headwinds had now become wobble-inducing crosswinds. I noted a distinct lack of guardrails, and the sides of the road fell away into I-dared-not-look.

At the lake, I finally had cellphone service again. I phoned a relieved Sarmiento, who had just called 911. He’d been tracking my progress on his iPhone via Find My Friends, which was showing me stuck in the same place for hours. The dispatcher had insisted there was no way anyone could ride this stretch of the 120 (also apparently known and dreaded as the Tioga Pass) in one day, much less a casual cyclist.

Score one for e-biking.

I also learned that the e-bike Fellowship had experienced its own problems. The headwinds had been so brutal on the first day out of Irvine, the only other writer on the trip had dropped out. (I won’t mention the name of the reporter’s outlet, but it rhymes with Puffington Host.) Luckily, the reporter had hired a car instead, with which Sarmiento was able to pick me and my dead bike up and take me to our hotel for the night.

I waited in the Epic Cafe in the lakeside town of Lee Vining, and had the best goddamn beer and the finest goddamn swordfish steak in the whole history of the goddamn universe.

Hell on an e-bike. Heaven on a plate.

Image: chris taylor

On the second day…

The Fellowship’s ride the next day was its longest yet, longer than my Yosemite death march — some 120 miles from Bridgeport, California to Lake Tahoe, California via Nevada Highways 395 and 50.

But because it was relatively level — and warm enough to sustain battery life — the day was the polar opposite of my Yosemite ride. Sarmiento and I coasted up and down gentle chaparral hills. We kept pace with hawks as we wound past soaring cliffs and roaring riverbeds.

And somewhere, I could have sworn, someone was playing the theme from The Magnificent Seven.

A cattle-filled panorama on Route 395.

Image: chris taylor

I was also grateful that Sarmiento was taking it slowly. The other two remaining members of the Fellowship (a German e-bike employee and a Southern California e-bike shop owner) were both pro racers. They started half an hour later, but caught up to us at the California-Nevada border. We didn’t see them again until Tahoe.

To make his task more difficult, Sarmiento was effectively riding two bikes. For every battery I burned through, he was burning through two. His electric Tern GSD (which stands for Get Shit Done) was towing an electric mountain bike he planned to ride in the second annual Boogaloo, a pre-Interbike race at Tahoe that Bosch had sponsored.

That made the total weight of his ride more than 400 pounds. Which pressed down on the GSD’s 20-inch back wheel so much that any obstacle Sarmiento ran over was a potential puncture hazard. Which in turn meant he got three flats.

The second time it happened, Sarmiento’s inner tube was punctured. It looked like we were stuck once more under a baking sun, with no cellphone reception to call our impromptu support car.

Then Sarmiento had a MacGyver-like brainwave — he slashed the back tire of his mountain bike, plucked out the tube, origami’d it down to a 20-inch diameter, and popped it into the broken wheel.


Our final obstacle of the day was Highway 50 from Carson City to Lake Tahoe. It was the longest climb of the entire 600-mile journey, and much like Tioga Pass it teased you repeatedly with the promise that somewhere close, perhaps just around the next bend, was the summit and the final, blissful downhill.

By the time we rolled into King’s Beach, Tahoe, my thighs were practically screaming. My butt — because not even e-bike seats seem to be designed for people with butts — had gone completely numb. Riding an e-bike may be like an easy spin class, but even doing an easy spin class for six or seven hours will wear you down. (Several days later, I discovered I’d shed a full 3 percent of body fat.)

But for nearly all of the day, I noticed, there was one other physical effect: I couldn’t stop smiling.

There they were, these people rushing past in their glass-and-metal boxes, so keen to get from A to B. They could be me on any other day. Their scowls spoke of the mental prison of driving, the way windows divorce you from nature and the speed is never enough: with all this technology, why can’t we just be at B immediately?

On an e-bike, you notice everything. If the gradient isn’t too steep, you’re doing a solid 20 mph — not always that much slower than the cars — but you have time to look around you. Hours melt away with the hypnotic rhythm of the pedals. I’m a huge Spotify fiend and a fan of music on long rides, but with all the wild and varied sights, sounds and smells of the American west surrounding me, I didn’t once think of pulling out my headphones.

Bicycle race

Get on yer #electricbikes #boogaloo #bicyclerace #iwanttoridemybicycle

A post shared by Chris Taylor (@futurechris) on

The next day Sarmiento competed in the Boogaloo on a borrowed mountain bike. Even with a fresh inner tube, the one he’d towed 600 miles had failed to work. Still, he had a blast, and regretted nothing. “I chose to make an adventure of it,” he said.

The day after that, he rolled down the final hill from Tahoe to Reno for Interbike to collect some well-deserved kudos. He plans to do it again this year, with an even larger Fellowship.

We may not have nearly enough biking infrastructure on the roads of America for family e-bike vacations just yet. Dedicated bike lanes across the country would be a start; gas stations with dedicated chargers and swappable batteries would be better.

And long-distance e-bike mapping may still leave something to be desired: Google should check its route recommendations against reality. Long term, it or some other smart mapping company should consider creating an algorithm that will tell you how long your bike battery will last, given the altitude and temperature on your route.

But for all the insanity of the Yosemite portion of my journey, I couldn’t wait to get back on the road and to plaster across my face another unshakeable smile.

Rather than take another road trip in an oil-powered box, I choose to make an adventure of it.

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Turning the Wheels in Support of Survival

Cochrane cyclist, John Clubb, put his pedal to the metal for six long days in support of an amazing cause.

Travelling 600 kilometres in total, Clubb was the only Cochrane rider out of the 19-21 riders who hit the pavement for this year’s Cancervive Ride in support of Alberta Wellspring Centres.

Motivated by his own survival story, Clubb rode through wind, rain, mud, and cold temperatures as he tackled many hills through Southern Alberta and the Canadian Rockies pedalling anywhere between 80 to 160 kilometres a day, over the six-day period.

Turning the Wheels in Support of Survival

Part of the Cancervive family since 2015, it was John’s diagnosis of prostate cancer which got him involved. Competing in numerous Iron Man competitions as well as the Boston Marathon, Clubb doesn’t take life for advantage. We caught up with Clubb on day two (September 12) as he rode over 160 km from Canmore to Radium through wind and rain.

While Clubb was going to participate in Cancervive last year, his hectic racing schedule kept him tied up. Riding from Calgary to Edmonton in his last Cancervive experience, he shares it was a great ride. “It’s different from racing because you’ve got so many different levels and everyone is so supportive of each other. Everyone finds their own pace and you support each other just to get through the day.”

Although Clubb went through his own diagnosis he shares he never accessed Wellspring services but wishes he had. “I look back when I was diagnosed and it was like a hammer smashing you on the head, you sometimes don’t know where to go. The doctors don’t always have time to support you and you can end up being a little lost, so I see a lot of benefit for people who can go in and get that type of support. I had a friend that supported me but it would have been nice to sit down and have someone, not too involved, support you and that is where Wellspring comes in.”

This year’s experience is slightly different for Clubb as he pedals thinking of others who have lost the battle. Being involved as a soccer coach, Clubb says he thinks of Reiner Sattler who was a driving force in building the Cochrane Rangers Soccer Club. “I remember seeing him out late last fall as I was riding around Cochrane and I bumped into Reiner who was 82 out on his road bike, riding as good as anything. It didn’t take long for cancer to set in and take him away, so you’ve got to live while you can. Everyone is impacted by cancer, so it’s great to ride together and give back.”

Cancervive is a fully supported ride which would not be possible without the help of many volunteers. Good food, entertainment, a comfortable sleep in a hotel room and lots of support is what makes the ride unique and attractive to cyclists who range in experience. The one common thread, shares Peggy Brosens, with Wellspring, is that every rider has been touched by cancer in some way, with many being survivors themselves. While some days were cut short this year due to busy highways and adverse weather conditions, Brosens, says it was still a great year. “The ride itself was a success even given the bad weather we had. It is a great group of people, even though they were cold some days, had mud on their faces, they still had smiles because they know why they’re doing it.”

While donations were down from 2017 just due to the number of riders, currently, the fundraising totals sit around $80,000 for Calgary and $10,000 for Edmonton with anticipated final dollars for the Calgary centre coming in around $85,000.

The two Wellspring Centres in Calgary and one in Edmonton offer services and programs that support individuals who have received a cancer diagnosis as well as their caregivers and families. “Wellspring is there so no one has to face cancer alone. They can take any programs and we provide them for free. A lot of the classes are exercise based, mediation, nutrition, we also do courses on returning to work, brain fog, and we have specific programs for caregivers as well. We are just recently starting to introduce more kid-friendly classes, where families can bring younger kids under the age of 18.”

Classes are done in a group setting but individuals are able to access one on one support if need be.

Thinking you have what it takes to survive ‘Cancervive’?! Information for next year’s ride will be available early on in 2019. Cancervive route changes yearly so whether you are a first or multi-year participant, you will be challenged in a new way. For more information, go HERE .


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