I was lucky that my father was also a cycling enthusiast. I heard of some of his stories when he was also an avid cyclist in his younger days. I remember we followed the Tour of the Philippines year after year, as far as I can recall. When I reached the age of 8, he decided to build a “grown-up” bike so that we can graduate from the tricycles and pedal powered toy cars we were playing with. I remember my first bike then has this antique pre-war frame we got from our uncle’s pre war dump. It was a rare specie that we were only able to acquire its spokes at one shop in Marikina, then the cycling capital of the Philippines and it was after a long frustrating search. But since the wheel was too big for us then, my father brought a smaller 24 inch wheel for the rear end so that we can use the bike. It was a goofy looking set-up, short of looking like these 1800s bike with a small rear wheel and a gigantic front wheel.
Growing up, the bike gave me my freedom to explore our town. There were solo rides, ride with my childhood friends and rides with my schoolmates. Epic rides and simple rides; but one thing is for sure- all of those experiences are things I can still vividly recall. My childhood fond memories. Like the time we went inside an exclusive village and was escorted all the way as bikes were not allowed inside; or my solo Good Friday ride (during those times, the best day to ride was during Good Friday as there were no vehicles in sight on that day) where I got the big scar I have in my foot.
After my junior and senior years and early college years, it seems that I had a short hiatus from my bikes as I became busy with other boy’s stuffs (though admittedly, I was also not lucky in that department so I should have just stucked with my bikes). But in the last years of my college days, a friend of mine also got interested into biking so we both built our racer bikes (it was the first time I have chosen what my bike would look like). I got the money from savings from my allowance. I remember we often go to COD in Cubao to drool at the bikes displayed in their sports section. The dream bike of mine was this aluminum Kestrel (Al was the exotic then as most bikes were of steel)- worth a fortune that time. There was also this mountain bike shop in MegaMall which I consider a pioneer in mountain biking in the Philippines (I will try to trace it for a later blog entry). It would take a long time for another high end bike shop to setup inside a mall (first one was Powerbikes when it started inside Rockwell then AllTerra in Galleria).
Currently I have a mountain bike, a touring bike, and a road bike, plus another mountain bike I have reconfigured for my wife’s use. I am currently teaching my two daughters to ride a bike and am already planning for their bikes when they grow up. For me- ready to ride the sunset and happy that I will have passed the torch to my children.