I learned to bike at the age of 18. I was already a sophomore in the university back then. It was the bike that my brother assembled for himself. I can still recall that during those days when I saw him biking, I was really envious because my younger brother can do it, while I, being the eldest can’t. One reason that stops me from riding a bike is when I had a horrible accident when I was young. I bumped in an old and rustic hollow blocks machine (maker? whatever you call it) after my playmate released and pushed me so hard towards that thing. Going back, I forced myself to learn how to bike. It was really challenging at first. I stumbled a few times but thankful I did not get any cuts or bruises.
I can only recall 3 good memories of long biking. The first is when I learned to ride a bike at the age of 18. It may be kind of late but I felt great because I was able to learn it and conquer my fear after that traumatic bike accident. But the experience was cut short after losing the bike. Then, the next one follows after 8 years, which was just last May. We rented a bike in Donsol, Sorsogon and roamed around the sleepy town. The feeling was really incomparable because that was the only time that I realized there are still more to see in Donsol other than the whalesharks. The bicycle travel helped me appreciate the better views of the surrounding scenery like the breath-taking sunset in Funta Waling-waling. And the third one happened recently. A fellow traveller invited us to join an event which they organized. The event was called Spyder Surge: Answering the Call of Adventure. The program aims to strengthen the active lifestyle vision and instill the importance of healthy living to individuals and communities in our country. The event was spearheaded by Spyder Philippines, a fast growing provider of high standard and top of the line quality sports gear and equipment in cooperation with Marikina Bikeways and Firefly Brigade.
Upon arriving at the venue and after the registration, they lent us the bike and also gave us an eyewear, helmet and dry-fit cycling jersey which some of which was given to us after the event. Before we precede, Mr. Sanjay Chatlani, Spyder Philippines’ Vice President for Marketing and Product Development gave us a little background of the company’s humble beginnings and future events and plans. Ms. Mia Bunao of The Firefly Brigade also imparted something about the clean Air Act and the benefits that we get from biking. Ms. Carlota Contreras of Marikina Bikeways shared us the city’s goal of reviving the 52km bike lanes (which I have found out that Marikina is the very first city to have implemented “bike lanes”) to promote the sport among the residents as well as encourage other visitor to explore the City of Marikina with their bikes. Some lucky participants also received Spyder’s premium items in the raffle. After giving us important reminders and hand signals we then grab our bikes and start pedalling. It drizzled just before we start but that did not stop us from continuing the adventure.
I must admit that I was a bit nervous at first because I haven’t tried biking yet in the metro where cars and other vehicles rule the street and move crazy fast. There were also times that I stop because I was not comfortable of biking in narrow spaces especially when a car is just an inch away from me. I always have this feeling that I might get hit or I might scratch their car. But the good thing about this activity is that it taught me to learn control, manage my balance and focus. Besides we are all safe as we were in a group guided by those experienced folks and hey, did I just forget that I am pedalling in safe bike lanes?
The feeling was nostalgic because we passed through the streets were I used to play when I was a kid. Yes, I spent the first seven years of my life in Marikina before we settled in Batangas in 1993. After more than 10km of safe and smooth biking, we dropped by at Pan De Amerikana for lunch. Another thing that I’ve noticed along the way, aside from bike lanes, the local government or even private establishments also provided a bicycles racks for parking, which contributes in making the spaces more organized and uncluttered.
Biking, being an eco-friendly form of transport helps to lessen air pollution and heavy traffic. It also relieves stress and is a good means of exercise. Now, I would like to promote biking as an alternative way of travelling.
Being part of this event excites me more of continuing what I just started. But I need to invest first to own a bike. It was already been my plan since last year, but my savings always ends up being spent with other priorities.
Photo by Nikki Victoriano and Jun Reynales.