Fixie Finally

After several years of being bike-less and then months of planning to get one for the sake of showing Marcus how to bike, I got my first fixie yesterday which I got from sulit.com.ph.

Once again, an adult bike hangs and this time it’s a fixie.

***

Mood: 5/10 Honks! (Rain will last until at least Wednesday. Can’t wait to go biking with Marcus.)

 

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Role Modelling ASABuP

The time has come when our child steps up from just silently observing to mimicking things as they happen. I first noticed this a couple of months ago when he got suspended from using the iPad. As if to win back his favorite toy, he would stay beside me near the kitchen sink every time it is my turn to wash the dishes. At first he just stood there, next days he gets to place the utensils on the rack. As days passed, he became more involved than before. His diligence earned him an hour or two of iPad time every after lunch.

He has also begun to follow some other routines. Lately, whenever he sees me preparing for work he would pace back and forth outside the toilet until I have stepped out and he checks what I would do next. When I brush my teeth, he acts it out; I apply deodorant, he raises his arm and rubs his imaginary Speed Stick. Yes, what I do, he does. (Wifey caught him several instances smelling his underarm after using my wax deodorant. She has transferred it to a higher level since then.) So I now wonder if this is the time to show more role modeling. And the answer is becoming apparent.

Yesterday was the first weekend that we got to test his new set of bike wheels. The bike’s original solid tire and five-spoke plastic wheels have finally broken apart weeks ago so I replaced it with inflatable tires with steel hub, spoke and rim. Upon seeing that his bike this time looks like a small scale of my old BMX, I looked forward to watch him pedal it around the village. But the pedalling didn’t happen—the freewheel made him to just coast and be pulled around by me. It made me feel desperate, so we made a u-turn just a few blocks after exiting our gate.

After quickly putting back the fixie cog to his bike I offered him a deal just so he will go biking again—bring his basketball along. It was our first time to bring the small Spalding ball to the village’s outdoor court so he was excited when we reached the place where he usually spends time biking. Me, not as much.

There was another father-and-son tandem when we arrived. They were playing hoops so Marcus parked his bike and started cheering again and again, “Shoot daddy, shoot! Shoot daddy, shoot!” A few awkward pauses later, I approached him and whispered, “Do you know that it’s bad to interrupt somebody’s game?” Yes, it was an alibi to save myself from embarrassment. I ordered him to continue biking. We left the place.

We went back home after almost an hour and both of us disappointed–me, that I have a son who can’t bike while he, about having a dad who can’t play basketball. So I must do something ASABuP–as soon as budget permits. The plan to get my own bike must be done. Or maybe I could start learning basketball again. Either of the two must happen soon or else we end up with a son who does nothing better than wash the dishes.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (No work, will watch movie with wifey later. Just the two of us.)

Jogging in Bacolod

 

I have come to realize that I haven’t seen or lived at any place that seems better than Bacolod when it comes to jogging or biking. Let me prove that.

 

During my first years in Manila, I lived somewhere in Alabang. The village where I stayed has only four main roads. One will find jogging a bore a few minutes after he’s started. If he decides to go out, he’ll have to take a chance with crazy jeepney drivers along the service roads.

 

Taguig. This one isn’t any better than the first. The place is crowded and hilly; and the roads are quite narrow and competing with the zooming tricycles isn’t really a good idea. If one is persistent enough, he can jog around FTI but would have to deal with weird looks coming from workers of the nearby factories who will likely wonder if he’s some expat who just loves running inside the industrial zone.

 

Cavite and Batangas. Although these places are known for its wonderful resorts and beaches, the places I’ve been to aren’t jogger-friendly – unless a 5 km (or less) run is good enough for you. To break a sweat, the only way where one can jog or bike carefree here, and in the other places that I have mentioned, is either you run using the treadmill inside a gym or you live inside an exclusive village where there’s normally wide road and safe areas to take a healthy jog. Obviously, either one of the two options isn’t free. But not in Bacolod.

There are several reasons why Bacolod is such a conducive place.

  1. The place is relatively flat. In fact within the city proper, there are only few areas that would render a weekend jogger breathless; imagine how easier and enjoyable is it for regular bikers (sadly, BMX sighting has decreased significantly, or they must have gone underground).

  2. Traffic is fairly light compared to Metro Manila, even Cavite;

  3. and despite that, most vehicles are traveling at a safe pace. Though adrenalin-pumped rich kids and crazy jeepney drivers are always around – you just can’t escape them.

  4. Forget Starbucks or CBTL, but small coffee shops seem to be available everywhere you go.

  5. Bacold City’s lagoon area is still a good place to jog (we used to bike inside the area until the late ’90s but it was later prohibited) whether it’s early morning or late in the afternoon.

 

I’m not being biased but, the truth is, Bacolod is where all you need to have a good jog is a pair of running shoes, a shirt, and a short. Putting these on and waking up early though is mandatory. Hahaha.

 

***

 

However, here’s a caveat: I can’t help but notice the alarming number of places where people are burning garbage. Coming from our subdivision and until near the lagoon area, it seems that every kilometer or so, people are trying to personally incinerate their trashes. And this is very very bad especially for those who loves jogging around.

At first I thought that it was only confined to a few places where garbage collection isn’t regular that people had to burn it to avoid piling and accumulation – at least that’s what my nanay said and do so even until now. So does this mean that garbage collection around the city is also as irregular as the rest of the residential areas? If this is the case, the city mayor has to do something aggressive about it unless he has plans to make Bacolod “a city of smile and smog”. Hopefully not.

 

***

Well, this morning, after another long jog going east – to Sta. Fe, I decided to pay one of my best friends a visit. And how delighted I was when I saw this posted on their gate:

 

He also gave me several other fliers which I brought home along with me.

At least, I now know that an information campaign is being done by the good mayor – Bing Leonardia, and I hope that with this effort (and with the cooperation of his constituents) Bacolod will once again be awarded as one of the “Greenest City” like it was so many years ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honk: 3/10 Honks!

 

Ride Of My Life

Prelude:

I was trying to write a blog post this week with the pressure coming from my publisher/editor-in-chief/my wife. But with me having a flu (I haven’t had one for almost a year) my lazy bones took over. My mind stopped functioning, grammar worsened and my gray matter preferred holding the TV’s remote instead. I tried to fight back by reading a book, Digital Fortress, but every time I sniff I get distracted and it left me no choice but to put it down often. I had to cancel badminton and gym sessions as well and confined my activities within our sofa, bed, sofa, bed and the ever attractive TV.

Luckily, TV shows lately are quite new, at least for me, and I enjoyed most of it. Last night’s Amazing Video’s episode: Stunts Gone Bad had my sadistic side pumped up as I was laughing my heart out while skateboarders and BMX’ers crash and burn. And just before I went into deep sleep, I heard David Letterman mentioning that Kevin Robinson achieved a 27-foot ramp flight. I know he must have been clueless who first set the 25-foot mark. Only an avid BMX’er knew about that—and I was one of them.

That’s me doing a backyard at Bacolod’s lagoon when it was still legal to do it.

So today I tried to go back to a book review on Mat Hoffman’s book which I’m very sure I have posted. However, I almost freaked out when I can’t find it on my multiply.com site, Blogspot and even here on WordPress. I don’t know, but I got quite confused and began to suspect if the TRANSLTR really exists. Haha. I got it all mixed up now. TRANSLTR is a fictional (is it really?) powerful machine capable of intercepting emails (or blogs?) and other electronic signals that may have the sinister intention towards Uncle Joe’s government. Thankfully that’s fiction, thanks to Digital Fortress. Intercepted by the TRANSLTR or just stuck on my files, here’s the book review.

 ***

Once a rider, always a rider. In the old school days, everyone in our group knows at least one bit of Mat Hoffman. We were into BMX flatland back then and despite Mat being famous in the vert sessions, no one really cares. Anybody who is rad, we idolize.

My wife got this from a book sale section in SM Dasmarinas while I was having my caffeine fix in a Dunkin Donut shop. Little did I know that the espresso load will become a warm up for what I’d be reading for the next hours until a few days more. The book sent adrenaline rush all over my body, it was as if I’m just in front of Mat Hoffman’s life as it unfolds. If I could have gotten myself on a BMX at that very moment, I would have delivered a couple of my favorite old school routines just like I did way back in late high school. Perfect trick or not, it wouldn’t have mattered.

The energy that the book brings is infectious. Reading Mat Hoffman Ride of My Life (with Mark Lewman) from start to finish sent me cringing, smiling, sighing or just plainly amazed—very amazed.

Nostalgic BMX daydreams, of course, come in every now and then in between pages. An ex-BMXer like me just can’t stop it. Needless to say, my BMX experiences weren’t even near Mat’s. In his ramp scale, mine is just a mere tiny curve past flat bottom. Yes, it was just that. Even then, my riding years gave me great memories, not to mention bruises and countless embarrassment. “No pain, no gain” as we always used to say.

The 311-page, hardbound book comes with a great compilation of awesome photos—just in case one wonders what in the world a can-can is—which covered almost every aspect of Mat’s life. Here I learned that he was just five years old when he started riding—horses first. But his need for speed and flight developed in no time. Mat was destined to be the Condor.

Influenced by his older brother, he soon got introduced to motorbikes, ramps and their roof. Yes, you read it right, roof. Riders, or riders in the making, have different perspectives of common everyday things: a roof is to ‘air time’—when I was a kid I jumped a couple of times from our roof top into piles of leaves. (If only I had a bike at that time.); an innocent hand rail is to grinds; a plywood sheet is to ramps; a dry swimming pool is to jam sessions and the list goes on. Mat’s list is one that most of us just can’t predict or let alone imagine.

Mat’s skills eventually got him into a manufacturer-sponsored team and went into either doing demos or competitions, starting as an amateur. (I was surprised to learn that during this time Dennis McCoy, another BMX icon, was already doing pro.)

Of course, his honeymoon with the bicycle scene didn’t come without any hitch. This was when the BMX recession happened. But it was also when Mat proved his love and passion for the sport. Instead of just quitting like everyone did, he founded Hoffman Bikes so he could manufacture bikes at his own specification and in his own backyard—he was 17 years old then. Soon enough, this backyard industry grew to become one of the biggest in the BMX business.

As his riding skills and confidence progress he started inventing—no, this doesn’t involve lab work—sick and original tricks, one of which is the famous 900. Think of it as two and a half bike turns while on vertical flight—just one turn or a 360 already requires superb bike skills.

Another thing that no one can take away from Mat is his famous, over spec ramp and the amazing height that he achieved from it. That ramp was 21 feet high and he was able to get another 25 feet of vertical flight from the coping which made more believers and, as expected, some skeptics. Until now, no one has come close to that feat. Not one even dared.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves bikes especially BMX as one will surely enjoy reading about the evolution of tricks, bikes, apparel and riders’ skills. Fans of the Jackass will appreciate this as well. By the way, an advice to non-riders: avoid randomly picking and reading the pages as one might end up thinking that he’s reading a medical book or a maniac’s death wish. The long list of Mat’s injury, mostly from doing his bike stunts, is enough for someone naïve to place it alongside a surgeon’s or nurses’ reviewers section. And lastly, while reading this book having an air sickness bag right behind may be a good idea.

***

Postscript: Now I remember, I sent this review as an entry to Philstar’s My Favorite Book but it looks like they wanted it to remain just my favorite. Hahaha. I’m thinking though that not much people can relate to this book anyway. Besides, BMX riders prefer the streets and I bet that they’re unlikely to pick and read the Philippine Star—and this makes me a “has been.’ Ti abi.