Biking, Then and Now

Burnham Park, Baguio City. It was a luxury going to this place back when I was a child. we didn’t have much during those times and going to town was not part of our daily schedule, not even on weekends. But I remember that it was in that place where I first learned how to ride a bike. The moment that I was able to balance myself and pedal without support was probably one of the happiest childhood memory I have. After falling for a lot of times and earning some bruises which leaves scars somewhere, I succeeded! One of  my childhood best friend is fortunate enough to have her own bike. She would usually ask me to accompany her and we would ride the bike around our place. Since we only have one bicycle, we would take turns. I was just happy I learned how to ride a bicycle because if I didn’t, maybe I would just be waiting for her until she gets tired cycling. Uhmm, that’s not fun at all right? I always wanted to have my own bicycle but we just can’t afford it. So, every chance I get to be in town, we, whoever’s with me, go to Burnham and rent a bike. We rented the same bike at the same stall every time. The rent then was 30 pesos until you decide to return it, now it’s still the same price but only for an hour. So we would spend the whole afternoon, enjoying every moment of the freedom we feel while cycling. It was not a sort of exercise, it was plain joy.

Fast forward when I was in high school, finally, our house had a bicycle. It was not my personal bicycle, it’s a small one and it’s for everyone, mostly for my brother. But during those times, my best friend’s no longer around the place. They moved somewhere in the land of honey and milk. The childhood plans of biking around the area together never happened. During those times too, going to the park to ride a bike is no longer part of the plan when going to town. The place has also changed. And probably because there’s no one who shares the same interests existed, I only met them later in the university. So I didn’t have the chance to make use of that bicycle in the house. My brother did, at least.

So that’s just my very few experiences in biking. One of the sports enthusiast friend always tells me to buy my own bike and join them in their biking sprees but it’s just too expensive for me and I just can’t afford it and there’s just a lot of things that’s on the line before a bicycle.

 I found myself loitering here in Thailand. Thought I could finally have my own bike but 6 months here and I still don’t own one. Fortunately enough, I have a colleague who’s so much into cycling. I was just trying my luck when I asked him if he would lend his spare bike to me. I didn’t even know if he has one extra. The universe was kind enough to me and the next day, he came and lend it to me. It was the biggest bike I’ve ever ridden. It’s a mountain bike.

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The Red Beast.

I was scared because it was too high and I’m only used to riding the small ones. Anyhow, I used it at first mainly to exercise as jogging was too tiring and I just got so lazy.

Later did I realize what it really feels like to be on it. While trying to make myself busy to stay away from the danger of over thinking about the heartbreak, I rode the bicycle and went out without knowing where I was heading. I lost myself many times, I’ve a poor sense of direction, but I managed to find my way back. It was on  that ride that truly didn’t think of anything else but the beauty of the environment. No heartaches. No problems. No haunting memories. No pressure. It was plain appreciation of the scenery around. I was thinking straight! Got back home feeling so relaxed and calm.

I never thought that I would love biking so much. So, every time I have the chance to borrow the bike, I would and I’ll go out with it to chase sunrise or sunsets.

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I thought 7 km was long enough for me.

I thought wrong. I found myself being able to finish a 68.31 km in 3 hours and 30 minutes the other day. Wow! I’m so proud of myself!!! It was a hell of a ride with the pro. I was on his mountain bike, he calls it the Red Beast, and he’s on his road bike, his baby. Initially, we thought we would only do a 40 km ride, but he realized I could do more and so we pushed it on a little longer. He was impressed (while I was surprised) that I was able to do it. I would quote him saying, “A remarkable performance, Yurie. Very impressive. I can’t help but wonder how you would enjoy a roadbike (racing bike). Amazing. Really.”  When I will be having my own road bike, I will let him know. Haha!

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First stop after 10k. Had a 10 minute break.
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The mentor on his road bike.

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Vibrant! It’s at 2 in the afternoon.

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Though it was too hot and I could say it was really exhausting, at the end of the day, I was recharged. Was able to reflect all throughout the ride. Now I’m looking forward for a 130-260 km and experience a little bit of France in Chanthaburi, a neighboring province of Rayong.

In climbing mountains, there’s a feeling I get when I am in the summit that I don’t want go down because I would not like to leave the majestic view on the summit. In biking, when I’m about to reach the place back, I get a feeling that I don’t want to get off it because I don’t want to let go of that momentum of sanity. “It’s the magic elixir of cycling”, he says.

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