One of my personal favorite rides, especially on Sunday mornings, is to do my 8 city ride around Metro Manila. There are multiple reasons why I do this:
- I bike to work. So this is a good practice for urban biking and getting to know the different roads and routes around the cities.
- Since it’s Sunday morning, there are fewer cars around and you can actually enjoy your ride.
- The total length is similar to riding out into the province especially the likes of Pililia, but I feel a bit more complacent since I’m alone and if I experience a mechanical failure, I can easily find shops around to help me. Kinda hard if you’re alone and get a bad break in the middle of Rizal.
So now I start my ride in Marikina City (One). I ride out to climb usually up Marcos Hi-Way going to Katipunan which would be my first climb. Now I’m in Quezon City (Two).
I would ride around Xavierville and basically go through Kamias and cross EDSA from there. A few “climbs” and I turn right on Timog Avenue. From here I go around the area of Timog and Tomas Morato a few times (there’s a couple of one-way climbs around here; I especially like the steep one across Burger King Tomas Morato).
Either through Quezon Avenue or other side roads, I’d pedal towards Manila (Three) which I enter through Rotonda and into España. I make this a priority because my Alma Mater is here: the University of Santo Tomas!
After that, I make my way to Roxas Boulevard. There are a few routes from here but one of my personal faves is through Quiapo since there are a lot of bike shops here and I can browse if I so choose. But if I’m feeling a little hungry I make a stopover to Binondo (I’ll have a different article about good food to eat there!) and get some quick bites in before heading into Roxas Boulevard.
Roxas Boulevard, especially in the morning, is a great place to bike. Calm, peaceful, and a view of the sea. There was one time that it was especially calm. Like, there were ZERO cars around. Apparently, they just closed off the roads because there’d be a procession in a few hours and I had the road all to myself!
I usually stop over the side of Ocean Park to get this great view of Manila Bay plus some personal reasons and memories.
And of course, since I’m along Roxas Boulevard why wouldn’t I take an obligatory picture with KM 0?! I think this is my most photographed landmark of Manila proper.
Now I speed up and turn right by CCP. Basically, we are in Pasay City (Four). Make a run by Star City then turn left by Sofitel. To the right, there’s a theater which I normally climb because it’s steep. But from my last run, I believe there’s now a sign that says bikes are prohibited from climbing (sorry if I’m part of the reason…but in my defense, I literally just climb, take a quick picture and go back down. I don’t spend more than 30sec there).
Anyway, from this point I usually have two options; make it a shorter ride and turn to Buendia to start my way back home which would skip Taguig and make it a 7 city ride, or go on to complete 8 cities.
If I do the latter, I’d keep going straight, past Mall of Asia and the other new buildings around until I reach Coastal Mall. I turn left and cross Roxas Boulevard to get to airport road. From here I bike to McKinley Hill which is now Taguig (Five).
From McKinley, I make my way to BGC and cross over again to Makati City (Six). I use Buendia then turn going to Rockwell. I cross the new Makati-Mandaluyong bridge and we are in Mandaluyong City (Seven) Barangka Road.
This is the extra fun part because there are a couple of climbs in here.
I move to Shaw Boulevard and cross EDSA again going to Ortigas in Pasig City (Eight!). I use the bike lane along EDSA from Robinsons Galleria to White Plains. At the intersection of Boni Serrano, I usually opt to go right and down to Marikina River and my way back home.
There you have it! My usual 8 city ride. There are a lot of options along the way and a lot of detours that can be done which is why it is exciting. I’ve never had two completely similar rides doing this because of the different routes. Sometimes I can incorporate San Juan City as well to make it 9 cities even!
All in all this ride is more or less 60KMs.
If you want to attempt this ride just make sure to keep safe, wear your helmet, and bike defensively. The point of this ride is to explore, learn new routes, and just enjoy yourself. It is not a race; which is a bad idea given that this is Metro Manila.