Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Just Get Out and Bike (And Have Fun)

I turned vegan in November of 2016. From that time on I really felt the connection of eating meat and ingesting the animal's fear and stress in the process. After I did away with my meat eating habits, I felt a lot better, lighter and I feel I can do anything. Age suddenly became a number. In December 2017, I considered myself as a more serious bicycle enthusiasts. Everything began to fall in the right place at the right time. I mean, becoming vegan has made me more connected to what I buy and what I should do in life. I considered that biking is one great way to channel my new found energy into an endeavor that is both healthy and environment friendly.

My Specialized Diverge A1 (2017)
Aside from chess, biking is taking more of my time recently. These two activities make me feel that a day is not enough. I have to juggle my time taking care of my Chihuahuas and working in an office that demands a lot of my time. In order that I can squeeze biking into my already busy schedule, I knew that I have to wake up earlier than usual. What I consider as "earlier than usual" is at 4 in the morning. Thereafter, ride my bike at 5 am and get to work before 9. I have been considering this and I actually did woke up several times at 4 am but it was not that consistent. There were times that I have to sleep very late (sometimes later than 12 in the evening) because I just need to do a lot of things either personal or work related.

What is very uncanny is I find the time between 4 am to 7 am very fast! If I woke at 4 am and get a few minutes shut eye, time seems to immediately move without a moments notice leaving me without time to actually get out and bike. It is actually very difficult to move the way I want to be from 4 to 5 in the morning as my body wants to continue sleeping. In other words, it is really difficult to get out of bed and go at 4am. During this time frame there are practically a lot of things I need to do that all of the sudden, the clock strikes 7 and I have to get ready for work. Definitely, the work schedule of 8 to 5 (Monday to Friday) is a work routine that takes away the best time of your life. An 8 to 5 or 9 to 6 schedule hardly gives you enough time to do what you really want. It does not even give you the time to exercise.

Now, I have decided to do something different. I will do more of a "bike to work" kind of existence. I plan of taking my bicycle to work from my residence in Fairview, Quezon City all the way to the vicinity of UP Diliman. This means I have to navigate and survive Commonwealth Avenue which is considered as one of the most dangerous roads in the country. I will try to be very careful and aware of everything around me. Given the constructions taking place along this road (MRT Line 7) traffic is becoming snail paced which I think will be very advantageous to a lot of bikers riding to work on this area.

Just like all other bikers out there, I will not be reluctant in going to work on a bicycle if there are safe and integrated bike lanes. It is really the lack of bike lanes that prevent most people from taking their bicycles to work. There is really no issue on how using bicycles can be very beneficial to the environment and to our health. What should be done however is to further encourage their use by more people to ease, if not totally solve, the  notorious traffic problem we are currently experiencing right now.

I want to ride my bike not only because of its known advantages. I ride bicycles simply because it is a fun thing to do. Riding a bike provides a very uplifting feeling the moment you pedal to your destination. While there may be some scientific advantages in using those "recommended clothes, gears and other stuff", I really think that biking should be a "fun" experience for everyone. I mean, it is always best to have a "just get out and bike kind of attitude" without caring too much on whether your bike is of carbon or aluminum frame, or whether you are using a flat or clipless pedal, or what kind of clothes or shoes you are wearing. What is more important is your personal comfort and safety. Grant Petersen's book "Just Ride" is definitely an eye opener for every rider who wants to bike to work, commute  on a bicycle or join Fondo Events without being unduly influenced by anything unnecessary. However,  it is a better move to buy original or authentic bicycle components but not necessarily high-end bikes.

My personal preference are flat pedals either in my mountain, hybrid or road bike. The road bike that I use right now is the Specialized Diverge A1 with flat pedals. I thought of using clipless pedals but given its inconvenience and safety issues, I think it is a better move to stick to flat pedals instead.  I do not have anything against clipless pedals. I may use it in the future. However, I find it more fun and simpler to use flat pedals where I can just use practically any shoe that I find comfortable. I do not want to be restricted to a very specific type of shoe that is compatible with clipless pedals.

Biking is supposed to be fun and simple!

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