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Is it really about the bike?

Is it really about the bike?

Being a bicycle and clean air advocate, I’ve always espoused that biking, whether as a hobby, a sport or as a practical means of commuting need not be fancy or expensive.

Bike to work. Red parked at Sugarcrafts, Inc., Pasig City

Heavy Metal Red

I’ve been using my 2nd hand “Specialized” generic bike, “Red” for the past seven years. I have used it for fun rides, races, and for bike commuting. We have traversed many roads together, traveling long and short distances on practically a daily basis. Through the years, Red has become nicked, battle-scarred and dirty so much so that even a bicycle thief would not give it a thought. LOL!

TRI-UNITED 3 2012

However, no matter how battered looking, Red has gotten me to targeted destinations at roughly the same time as some of my fellow cyclists riding their hi-tech, uber expensive bikes. (Yay for me!) and faster than the gas-guzzling vehicles stuck in traffic (Double thumbs-up for sustainable non-motorized transportation!)

RED in the far end, amidst sleek bikes

Conversation Piece

In November 2013, while waiting for the BGC Cycle Philippines ride to begin, three-time Tour de France sprint champion, Robbie McEwen, kidded me: “Time for a new bike, aye?” Then, during the ride, he asked if my bike had a name. I answered, “It’s RED although at the rate the paint is going, it may no longer be RED”.  We both laughed and he said: “For as long as you’re comfortable, that’s what’s important.”  Take note, I managed to chat and smile while pedaling uphill maintaining Robbie’s pace (which was arduous for me.)

Almost an hour after kick-off, Robbie called out: “Doing good, Karen!” It was music to my ears coming from the Tour de France green jersey holder and 3x sprint winner. Red and I rolled past the finish line in one piece… and just within seconds after the elite pack. My recorded ride time:

33 Crisostomo, Karen  1:21:55.

Eva Penny, Robbie McEwen and Karen Crisostomo at BGC Cycle Philippines 2013

New Blue

For Christmas 2013, my husband bought me a brand new Cannondale frame at 50% off from Glorious Ride Bike Shop (great bike store with a café) which was then situated at Anonas St, QC. For two years my new bike adorned our living room wall because I continued to use Red. Then, on January 2, 2014, I finally took BLUE out on its maiden ride and wondered why I had waited so long!

Choosing a Bicycle

If one of your goals is to get into cycling, here are some practical tips on choosing a bike: No technical jargon here.

First, ask yourself, what will you use your bicycle for?

Personally, because I was just so comfortable using Red, I used one and the same bike for various functions:

  1. As a utility bike for short distance trips that did not require the use of a car. For example bike to the bank; bike to the grocery store, to Church…
  2. As a commuter bike for traveling anywhere from 5 – 25+ kms within the city to bike to work, attend meetings, events, visit friends.
  3. As a racing bike for fun rides, races, mini-triathlons, duathlons
  4. As a bike-packing bike for epic / century rides out of town (100+kms)

Second, how much are you willing to spend for a bicycle?

Depending on the material used, the type and the brand of the bike, bike prices range anywhere from as low as P2000 to P200,000++.

Ateneo de Manila University Theology professor Michael Liberatore opted for an XiX Commuter Bike for approximately P4000 while Geoanna Corneby and Ruben Mendoza both opted to buy folding bikes known for its versatility. I own a folding bike too and it is great for bi-modal trips. An MK Velocity Folding bikes costs around P7000+.

The type of bike that you choose matters, the brand does not. It is the cyclist’s mentality and will to keep going that will determine the way or how much a bicycle is used and enjoyed.
But for whatever purpose that you do decide to take up cycling, be it for recreation, for health reasons,  or as a solution to address  environmental and social issues such as air pollution and traffic congestion make sure that the bike you get has the right fit and is comfortable. The worst thing you can do is to buy a bicycle (whether cheap or expensive) that you won’t use or have fun using.

Before I leave to enjoy new Blue, let me end with a quote by John F. Kennedy:  “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.”

 

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