A nostalgic tour of Cartimar, cycling’s original melting pot
By Mon Garcia
For many long-time cyclists, the go-to place for all their shopping needs has always been, and likely always will be, Cartimar. Here, we feature three of the big shops on Leveriza Street where people come together to shop, get repairs, hang around, and hob-knob with some pros and big names in Philippine cycling.
Paulina’s Cycle Center
Everybody knows the original hand-painted sign outside Paulina’s
Established in 1978, this cornerstone business was one of the first to take initiative in catering to the needs of the emerging cycling market. Beyond catering to the suave triathlete of today, the classy roadies and the laid-back mountain bikers, they still stock and repair old bikes used by local traysikab/pedicabs. These days, Paulina’s showcase brands like Felt, Cube, and Scott at their new shop in the family-friendly Blue Bay Walk complex (where they offer a very affordable yet thorough bike cleaning and tune-up service) yet their shop in Cartimar remains an accessible and “caters-to-all” cycling hub that people have come to know and love.
The frontage to the unofficial cyclist’s tambayan
If there was a place considered as the cyclist’s hangout in Cartimar, it would most certainly be Ross Cycles. Here, cyclists of different interests (road, mountain, triathlon, fixed gear) and skill levels (newbies, enthusiasts, elite racers, and professional cyclists) gather to share stories and have Ross’ skilled mechanics, who also ride their bikes regularly, check up on their gear.
The mechanic’s touch is something people come back for
This atmosphere is the draw to a bike shop that was set up in 2001 in the middle of the mountain bike boom. These days, they feature brands like FSA, Mavic, Argon, Kuota and Ridley—well-known components and bikes that serve a lot of triathletes in their race endeavors. They are also the dealers for Fizik saddles and Lazer helmets, so if you’re looking to check out the latest from these brands, Ross is the place to go.
VeloCity Bike Shop
VeloCity is home to Seven Cycles
What started as an idea among a bunch of bike buddies back in 1995 turned into one of the first highly regarded boutique bike shops in Cartimar. VeloCity has always been known for bringing in the best and latest from high-end brands to the Philippines, and presenting it in a spacious, comfortable, and elegant space. With its air-conditioned shop, carefully groomed displays, and wide range of upscale gear, VeloCity is Cartimar’s cycling tech central.
They are the authorized dealer of Seven Cycles, one of the most sought-after brands for custom-made titanium bicycles. For triathletes, they carry the range of Rolf aerodynamic wheels and the different models of Adamo triathlon-specific saddles. They are also the official dealers for Giro and Bell helmets, which are some of the finest lids you can put on your head.
Tradition, tambay, and tech. Each of these shops has them in great measure, and that’s what makes a trip to Cartimar a nostalgic, pleasurable, and enlightening experience.