Life in the Fast Lane


Back to a Childhood Love

By 1:34 PM , , ,

I'm on a roll, I suppose, because I feel like writing another entry. Not even writer's block can stop me right now. Ha!

Anyway, I decided to write about something which became quite close to my heart. That's biking.

A lot of my childhood memories involve biking. I remember my very first bike. It was completely orange (it was a favorite color back then). I was five years old and it was the best birthday gift a kid could have ever received. Shortly after, however, someone stole it and I remember crying my eyes out. It wasn't a surprise to receive another bike (this time, a red one) for my sixth birthday.

Me at seven years old in Burnham Park, Baguio.
You could (and still can, to this very day) rent bikes and bike around a winding dirt road.

Cuts, bruises and scabs were very much a part of my growing up years. Band Aid boxes lined our medicine cabinet as did bottles of antiseptic. When I outgrew my training wheels, finally, it was the most liberating experience. Second only to figuring out how to stay afloat while stroking the water (that's for another blog entry; I will and should write about my love affair with swimming).

Even in my preteen and early teen years, I was still biking. In the sixth grade, my girl friends and I would bike around a friend's village to spot the neighborhood basketball heartthrob. I asked for a 7-speed mountain bike for my 13th birthday. In the village where I lived, my neighborhood sidekicks and I would spy on our "enemies" and race back to the village park whenever we were caught.

Years later, as I grew older and busier, biking became obsolete. The surface area of rust that ate into my bike became directly proportional to my interest to pick it up. My mom won a bike in a supermarket raffle when I was in college and I didn't disagree when she asked if we could give it to our then driver. I had other things to do, like studying, going out, meeting up with friends, and yes, swimming.

When I started to work and listen to my colleagues' stories, I was intrigued by what they were sharing. A number of them would bike for long distances. A few of them engaged in dirt trail biking. I'd see pictures of their biking adventures and wish that I had a bike so that I tag could along. But I didn't and couldn't afford a decent one.

What I learned about bikes (which I obviously didn't know as a kid or even a teenager) was simple: you get what you pay for. This, I remembered suddenly as I remember seeing visions of myself fixing my bike chain while my rich neighbors, who owned imported Huffy mountain bikes, would cruise along without interruptions. To be able to bike for 20 kilometeres on average, or to overcome the various bumps and curves involved in trail biking, I'd need a mountain bike with front suspension and branded gear (i.e. Shimano). In my first jobber's mind, USD 195 (or around PhP 9,500) was a lot of money to shell out for a decent mountain bike.

So I let the envy pass and accepted the fact that I would be a biking spectator for a while, listening to their stories, seeing their photos, and wishing that I could try what they talked about. More and more people started to get into biking and this made me really pray for an opportunity to get one of my own.

And an opportunity finally presented itself to me just in June of this year. My boss, who owned a two-year-old Merida Kalahari Six, decided to upgrade to a newer bike instead of spend money to upgrade his bike's individual parts.

Photo taken from the Merida website.

Soon enough, I was sucked into the world of mountain biking. I read up on its various parts and on the different brands. I made sure to note what I needed (i.e. helmet, gloves, hydration pack, odometer, bike bag, bike light, etc.) as I learned more and more about my bike.

This was taken the weekend I got my bike.
My accessories, obviously, were pretty basic.

Then I started to look forward to trips to bike shops as more officemates became equally addicted to biking. I'd make sure to buy at least one accessory every time we went somewhere. Which meant hello to a depleting savings account. Not that I minded, really.

Photo taken on my first biking "trip" with colleagues.

As I started to update people on my biking progress, I soon discovered just how many of my friends were actually into biking. I guess you really have to be in the loop to pay attention to who else shares the same hobbies or passions. Prior to this, I probably would've never been on the lookout.

I found out later on that a good friend from college, Mia, used to bike a lot before. When we were in college, apparently, she and other common friends of ours would bike in school after classes. I never knew that until she told me. I wonder if I would have picked up biking had I known that I'd have friends to bike with.

She said she was inspired by my rekindled love for biking that she was determined to get a bike for herself as well. Just a week after that conversation, she asked if we could meet up. To my surprise, she did get a bike.

With my sister (left, on a generic mountain bike that the family now uses) and Mia (right) with her Fuji bike.

I've since found out about church friends and fellow advertising geeks who bike regularly. A number of us have even formed a non-exclusive, non-serious Facebook group. With matching bike jersey designs to boot, I might add.

Also, since buying an odometer, I'm now more conscious about the distance I cover, even for quick workouts. Since I don't get to really bike every weekend (by "bike", I mean long distances or trail biking), I try to make up for it by going around my village or in the university campus where I studied. I try to log in between 10 and 15 kilometers per session. I'm getting kinda bored of biking around the village, though (imagine whizzing past the same streets, houses, and scenery over and over again, just to reach 10 kilometers).

With friends from the advertising industry.
Biking is love!

I'm still a dirt trail n00b, however. I've yet to work my way over and around bumps and master the very difficult art of climbing.

But I really can't wait to really get my tires muddy and work up a good 30 kilometer-induced sweat. I hope this happens real soon.

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  1. nice read! i i really like it. let's go this weekend :)


  2. Thanks, thanks! Yes, please! I'm excited! :D

  3. Tina, make drills out of your 15km laps around the village and you'll see things in a different light. Think of those same bumps, dips, curbs, jumps, potholes, what-ever-else-the-streets-have for you as constants in an ever-changing world (on two wheels). Traffic is unpredictable, your skill-set improves, the weather changes, your mood swings?... but those obstacles will always be there. Each time you go over them try a different approach; the first time you might want to ride over, the next you could do a quick evasive maneuver- that sort of thing. who knows you might even learn to bunny-hop. The only variable is yourself, so if you end up crashing, you'll know it wasn't the road. Constancy is one thing you can never have on a trail- and I've never heard anyone say "lemme try that again" after eating gravel on a botched drop out in the woods. All said, keep the knobby side down. Oh yeah, lose the sidestand if you haven't yet. (that'll be like skipping five meals)

  4. Gosh, I've always loved to bike but I don't do it enough now. It's not that I don't have a good bike it's other things like all the hills here and the fact I'm lazy. LOL! It looks like you'll have a great time biking more and more. :D

  5. @ flyin_flip: Thanks for the tips! Will keep those in mind the next time I bike. Oh, and as for the stand, I only put it on when I bring it in the house since we have no place to hang it. It has to stand on its own. Otherwise, I remove it. :)

  6. @ bleubug: Thanks! You should pick up biking again since it looks like you have a good bike. And at least you have hills to practice on. :)

  7. I used to bike a lot, too, when I was younger. But my mom told me it'll make the muscles in my calves big, so I stopped. Lol. I want to get one of those foldable bikes that fit into a car's compartments though, so I can join my 'rents when they leisurely bike around the our subvision :)

    Yay for fitness!

  8. Hey, those foldable bikes are a pretty big hit now. It's worth investing in one. Go!

    And yay, fitness! :D


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