[PH Travel] Biker lingo 101

Oliver M. Mendoza

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A biking enthusiast educates us about the biking community's vernacular.

THEY SPEAK BIKER. "Visa," "padyakoldaway," and "upgraditis" are as much a part of these bikers' lives as breathing. Photo by Oliver M. Mendoza.

MANILA, Philippines – One of the first things a newbie learns is that Pinoy mountain bikers have their own peculiar lingo or “biker’s speak.”

I noticed that bikers use words and terminologies that only they understand when I again started biking several years back. I saw that learning the language is a must to become accepted in a group and, after a couple of years of riding again, I am now fully conversant with biker lingo. Today, I can hold my own in discussing the merits and demerits of a “full-sus” versus a “hardtail”; I use words like “visa,” “padyakoldaway,” and “halimaw”; and suffer from periodic bouts of “upgraditis.”

Word #1: “Visa”

Perhaps the most commonly-used biker term is the word “visa.” To the typical Filipino, a “visa” is a document which allows a person to travel abroad. Similarly, a “visa” to a biker is a “travel permit.”

The only difference is that his “visa approval” is not granted by the embassy consul but by his wife (or girlfriend). Thus, a “half-day visa” to a biker means that he has permission from his wife to ride for half a day, a “whole-day visa” for one day, and a “multiple visa” means that he could go to Sagada or Bicol for a couple of days. To better illustrate, this is how bikers normally use “visa” in a sentence:

Biker 1: “Pare, paspasan na natin at kailangan ko na talagang maka-uwi. Half-day lang kasi ang visa ko e.” (Man, let’s ride fast. I really need to head home already. I only have a half-dauy visa.)  

Biker 2: “O sige pare mauna ka na. Whole-day pa ang visa ko e.” (You can go ahead, man. My visa’s for the whole day.) 

“Weekend warriors” – or bikers who have day jobs and as such can only afford to ride during weekends – typically only have half-day visas. On Saturdays and Sundays, these 30-something boys wake up very early so that they could be at the trailhead by 6:30 am and be home by 12 noon. Whole-day visas are hard to come by. Multiple visas, in my experience, are extremely rare. 

Visa extensions

But bikers can be quite ingenious in finding various ways or “techniques” to “extend” their visas.

For example, if one only has a half-day visa, one common “trick”  is to go home at 2:00 pm (when the missus is having her traditional weekend siesta) and telling her that you arrived before 1:00 pm and that she was asleep.

One biker I know has found a clever way to obtain whole-day visas: he “distracts” his spouse by buying her DVDs, especially series like Prisonbreak, CSI, Game of Thrones, etc. (which takes several days to watch). Others take their girlfriends out on Fridays so that they will be allowed to ride on Saturdays and Sundays. Bikers who cannot afford to do so on a regular basis would offer to share with household chores (e.g. laba, plantsa, bantay-bata, etc.) just so the spouse would not grouse and nag him about spending too much time with his biking buddies. 

It is safe to assume that almost all bikers have at some point encountered “visa problems,” and that for married bikers the issue is the usual cause of marital trouble. I personally know of one halimaw – or a “monster biker” who can climb mountains and ride all day without seemingly getting tired – who got so “carried away” that he eventually found himself in Quezon province “without really meaning to” and had to spend the night in that town.

Needless to say, his wife was livid when he came home (again almost at sundown, for Quezon is quite far) the next day. Certainly, the “bottomless visa” is an ultimate biker fantasy. But fantasies are fantasies precisely because they are plainly unattainable. Realistically, the only way I see for a biker to get a bottomless visa is to get the wife and the kids into the sport.

But then, mountain biking would lose its escapist, “I’m-a-carefree-boy-again” allure if one brings his family along for the ride.  

Word #2: “Padyakoldaway”

Another major word in biker’s slang is “padyakoldaway” (literal English translation: “pedal all theway”). As such, padyakoldaway means biking “all the way” from your house to the destination trail and back to your house. In actual usage, the conversation typically goes:

Biker 1:“Pare, nagdala ka ba ng oto?” (Man, do you bring your car?)

Biker 2:“Padyakoldaway ako pare.”  (I ride my bike from the house and back, man.)

Bikers who padyakoldaway can be divided into those who do it by choice (i.e. they have cars but choose to ride their bikes) and those who do it by necessity (i.e. those who don’t have cars).

Nowadays, bike roof racks, bike carriers, surfboard carriers, and baggage roof carriers have become the “in” thing, the reason being that it supposedly sends out a message that the owner of the vehicle leads an “active lifestyle.” Bike carriers have become status symbols – a garden-variety Thule Roof Rack System can set you back by about ₱35,000 – and on weekends one can usually see vehicles mounted with all types of bike carriers parked at the foothills of a popular trailhead destination. 

Word #3: “Upgraditis”

“Upgraditis” (pronounced upgrade-day-tis) is a common “ailment” among bikers. Some of its symptoms include:

  • an uncontrollable compulsion to purchase the latest bicycle parts in the market
  • an incessant need to surf the web to search for news and updates on the latest bicycle brand releases and to discuss ad infinitum with other bikers similarly afflicted the various fine points of the different bicycle brands
  • at times, a person with upgraditis would become “delusional” – i.e. he would hear “squeaks” in his fork or his pedals when there are none and delude himself into thinking that they need replacing. I also know of some bikers who would eat lunch at a Jolli-jeep or even skip meals just so they could be able to purchase their latest desired upgrade. 


Like a virus, upgraditis is highly-communicable and usually transmitted through contact with other bikers. But unlike most viruses, upgraditis has no known cure to date. I used to believe that I was immune but hanging out with other bikers can get you “infected.” A biker with an advanced stage of upgraditis is often seen as suffering from  “kanser” as in:

Biker 1:“Bago na naman ba yang crankset mo bro?! Kakabili mo lang ng crankset last month a!! Pare, mukhang di lang upgraditis yan… kanser na yan!!!” (Is that a new crankset again? You just bought a new one last month! Dude, looks like you don’t have just upgraditis… that’s kanser!)

Biker 2: (laughing sheepishly) “Mas magaan daw kasi ‘tong new model by 22 grams. Bilhin mo na yung lumang crankset ko pare, mura lang…. presyong adik. Kailangan ko lang kasi ng pera pambili ng bagong wheelset.”  (I heard this new model is lighter by 22 grams. Buy my old crankset, man. I’ll sell at a cheap price. I need money to buy a new wheelset.) 

One could easily tell if a biker is afflicted with upgraditis. An early warning sign is when the biker cannot seem to stop talking about cranksets, wheelsets, frames, and forks. He usually possesses an almost-encyclopediaic knowledge of all the bicycle brands and prices, which bike shop is currently offering a discount sale, where to look for a hard-to-find exotic brands, etc. – Rappler.com


(Want to learn more biker lingo? Visit the Pinoy Mountain Biker (PMTB) website. Do YOU have a travel lingo? Tell us about it! RAPPLER wants to hear about your travels and adventures around the Philippines. Email your story and photos with subject heading PH Travel to desk@rappler.com.)

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