Cycling champ Aira Lopez ventures into TV hosting

Bot Glorioso - The Philippine Star
Cycling champ Aira Lopez ventures into TV hosting
The 23-year-old cyclist brings the joys of biking to the small screen via Cycling Unlimited on CNN Philippines.
Photo from Aira’s Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — Cycling champ and vlogger Aira Lopez makes her hosting debut in Cycling Unlimited. The block time weekly program of CNN Philippines will feature stories about bicycles and cycling aficionados, who pedal their way to places all over the country and at the same time share to televiewers best cycling practices and the benefits of riding a bike.

“We are happy to launch this kind of show that will cater not only to cycling enthusiasts but also to those who wish to try bicycles, especially since the pandemic hit, and this is the best way to travel,” said producer Romeo Martin during the media conference held recently.

Director Pete Mariano, on the other hand, declared that it will be the first time on local TV to have a show that will focus on bikers and their community.

“There are different types of cyclists. Their purpose also varies, merong for health, recreation and also, there are professionals who compete for the country. So, we are going to cover their journey,” direk Pete shared.

Cycling Unlimited will also highlight different types of bikes for beginners and professionals. Romeo added they saw Aira fitting as host for her skills and experiences. Co-hosting with her is Kyle Maceda, who is also into cycling.

Aira usually shows her bike routines and road trip adventures to her over half a million subscribers on YouTube. This time, she is set to bring to the small screen the “joys and pains” of biking and the many exciting ride experiences with her “ka-cyclists,” as she put it.

In the same media conference, the 23-year-old former flight attendant admitted that she initially dreamt of becoming a courtside reporter since she’s an avid basketball fan. But fate led her to explore the world of cycling that also paved the way for her to be in front of the camera.

“I started going on a ride six years ago. I think I was in first year college when I was encouraged to go with my cyclist father,” began Aira. “He had spare bikes so I got curious to go with them sa mga rides nila; with groups of bikers. Masaya pala at naging bonding na rin ng family namin since pati mga kapatid ko sumasama na rin.”

Aira found joy in pedaling that she also began joining in races. Among her favorites is triathlon, a multisport race composed of swimming, biking and running.

With co-host Kyle Maceda.
Photo from Cycling Unlimited Facebook page

“My very first race was a failure because I collapsed,” she recalled. “I was 16 years old when I had my first duathlon at ‘yun nga nahimatay ako kasi siguro wala pa akong diskarte. I went all-out that drained my energy even before the bike (leg) began.”

Thus, she decided to undergo strength training and attend practices for endurance events. She eventually received awards beginning in 2016 as champion in overall sprint (women’s division) Bike King Duathlon; ninth placer National Age Group Triathlon, 2017; champion age group category in Pilipinas Duathlon, 2017; Pilipinas Duathlon champion, 2018; and two-time Bike King Duathlon champion, 2018 and 2019.

Asked what she is going to do in Cycling Unlimited that people haven’t seen in her vlogs yet, Aira said they will travel outside Luzon. “We usually go on a ride in Tarlac (her hometown), then Baguio. This time, we’ll go farther and then, we will feature bike shops at mga kainan na dapat i-try ng mga bikers all over the Philippines.”

Does she consider her being a host as a stepping stone to showbiz?

“I haven’t imagined myself yet to be in showbiz. Until now, I couldn’t believe that I was offered to do this kind of show. I am thankful for this and whatever blessing that comes (my way), I will gladly accept (it). I just hope mag tuloy-tuloy ito.”

In fact, Aira played as a double for actresses in the past, particularly in ABS-CBN.

“I doubled for an actress, whose role called for her to swim, bike and run. But it was top view (camera shot) so walang mukha, ganun lang, sexy lang,” she enthused.

(Cycling Unlimited will air its pilot episode in March, 2022.)


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