Biking is more fun in Cebu
EVERY POUND COUNTS - Alan Choachoy (The Freeman) - June 7, 2014 - 12:00am

Cycling is not new in Cebu. Fact is, the bicycle has been part of everyday life since Pierre Lallement of France invented it. Biking has grown in leaps and bounds in terms of technology. Today, the most popular kinds of bikes are the road bike, the mountain bike, the folding bike, the Fixie, and the BMX.

I started biking when I was 10 years old inside my cousins' compound in Banilad. We would ride around the compound for hours imagining faraway places we have reached with our bikes.

In 1998, a friend of mine introduced me to the world of mountain biking. The popular brands during that time were Giant, Cannondale, GT, and American Classic. I used to ride a rigid mountain bike. Rigid means that the bike has no front and rear suspension. It was just like a classic road bike except that our tires were fatter and thicker. Bikes were less complicated during those days. I was close to 280 pounds when I took my first uphill ride to Busay to that famous place called Willy's which is about six kilometers with an altitude of 300 meters from where I came from. I reached Willy's in about 45 minutes to an hour. Along the way, I would pass by people walking uphill. There were times that these people would walk faster than me riding the bike!

Fast forward to 16 years later, the world of biking has changed a lot. The sport of downhill bike has evolved. Triathlon is now a big sport in Cebu. There are also off-road triathlons, duathlons, trail rides, among others. There are bikers everywhere, from recreational to serious riders. If you go out early Sunday morning, you will see a bunch of cyclists with tight-fit shorts and colorful helmets going up the hills of Busay, and sometimes reaching Ayala Heights. It is at Willy's where cyclists spend some light moments after their daily routine, feasting on banana cue, boiled eggs, and 'pancit'.    The amazing thing about Willy's is that their food always tastes good, even their instant coffee.

Back to our main topic, I would like to share some survival tips for biking in Cebu:

1.Always wear a helmet. Better be safe than sorry.

2. Eye wear is also important as you might get dust in your eye while going downhill.

3. Gloves are important because when your hands are starting to sweat, it will be easier to maneuver and apply the brakes.

4. Bike shoes (specifically rubber shoes) are optional. What is important is your feet are covered.

5. Bring enough hydration and nutrition. Put your gadgets in a ziplock plastic bag just in case it rains. 

6. Avoid wearing dark colored shirt. Bike jerseys have a reflector at the back or you might opt to buy a blinker.

7. When biking on the road, stay within your lane. Avoid swerving or making sudden changes in direction. Remember that there may be cars or trucks right behind you.

8. Stop, look and listen at every intersection. Follow traffic rules.

9. When you are slow, give way to other vehicles. But if you are cruising along 25-30kph, try to get your own lane instead of staying along the side of the street. This will make it easier for car drivers to spot you.

10. Always be mindful of other vehicles. Expect the unexpected jeepney drivers that are most likely to make sudden stops and close you out to pick up or drop off passengers.

11. Bring some cash.

Biking is definitely more fun in Cebu because of accessibility and lesser traffic. For just a short 5-10km ride, you can already see beautiful sceneries along the route like in Nivel Hills, Busay and Ayala Heights. Take off-road trails like in Budlaan, Pulangbato and Guba. Or you can take a traffic-free bike ride to Tuburan or Tabuelan from Balamban One can also ride up north to Liloan, Carmen and Catmon. If you see or meet some bikers along the way, give way or share the road. Say 'hi' or beep to them.

Next week, I will be sharing some tips that will make you a faster and stronger biker.

SIDELINE: Congratulations to Team Kendaya Fitness Gym for winning the first Metafit Fearless Showdown held last May 31, 2014 at the Pueblo Verde in Lapulapu City. Good luck to all the triathletes seeing action in Tabuelan 111 this Sunday, June 8, 2014.

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