As more people enjoy biking for exercise and leisure amid the pandemic, a mountain trail in Bulacan has garnered a strong following among biking enthusiasts.
Located in Barangay Camachin, Dona Remedios Trinidad, the Teban Trail or the Teban Tres Sendr line covers 3.5 kilometers of long, pure downhill trail that is a part of Mt. Lumot.
It was named after the late Mayor Esteban Paulino who did the reforestation project in the area.
A group led by Patiis veteran trail builders Larry Laya, Stevel Adler Paulino and their friends teamed up with residents of the area to develop Teban Trail in 2019.
The group created the Kandila Gravity Riders, which was later changed to Bulacan Gravity Riders, to make it more inclusive to all riders in Bulacan.
“Trails in the mountains give us an option to exercise and have fun without being exposed to viruses in cramped gyms or other poorly ventilated venues,” said Paulino.
He said other bike trails and parks around the National Capital Region were closed during the pandemic, so the group decided to make their own bike trail.
“And some trails simply did not have the appropriate tracks and features that are needed to maximize the full potential of the enduro and downhill bikes,” he said.
Paulino said other good trails are too far from Metro Manila, and the high fuel prices discourage other riders from joining.
“It was hard to organize the community at first, since it was their first time to hear about the concept of downhill riding or gravity bikes. We also had to consolidate the lot owners and explain our goals and objectives,” he said.
Wikipedia defines downhill mountain biking as biking practiced on a steep, rough terrain with jumps, drops, rock gardens and other obstacles.
When the project was conceptualized, the KDR, now known as BGR, wanted to create the longest and most challenging gravity trail in the Philippines.
The group wanted to maintain a sustainable all-weather trail and make Bulacan the mountain bike capital of the Philippines.
Through the Teban Trail, they hope to develop new riders through progressive jumps and features.
They said all elements of a good trail are present in the Teban Trail, such as rockies, steep sections, road gaps, river gaps, ruts and roots.
“It is arguably the most technical and longest DH trail in the Philippines right now. All elements to make a proper DH track are here, rocks, roots, ruts, steep sections, natural tracks, progressive jumps, drops, gaps, and the soil composition is mostly silica, which makes it rideable even during the rainy season,” he said.
The Teban Trail is also self-sustaining as it generates income from collections from riders, which provides the locals with weekly funding to maintain the trails.
“We are still planning to create new lines, bigger and better features. We also are currently talking with Philcycling to make the trail compliant with their standards,” said Paulino.
He said trail also led to bike races. The group already organized three bike races, which are supported by a medical team and rescue for the safety of the riders and received permit from local government units.
The previous race was limited to 400 riders from all over the country because of health protocols. They hope to bring in more riders to the next races.