Garganera challenge

If the Academy Awards, which unfold tomorrow in Hollywood, were to give an Oscars trophy to the category, “Best Sport this Covid-19,” the runaway winner isn’t… running.

It’s cycling. On Sundays from 6 to 9 A.M., try climbing from JY Square to Marco Polo and you’ll witness a spectacle: 

Hundreds of two-wheeled vehicles crawling upwards to Busay. Grinding, sweating, pushing one leg after another to encircle that pedal, they’re gripping that handlebar tight. Many are painted with multi-colored jerseys, all body-hugging. The bikers are wearing gloves, arm sleeves and Sidi shoes with cleats; water bottles and reflector stickers adorn the two-wheelers. Their bikes range from MTBs to Giant fat bikes to Ebikes to an S-Works Venge that costs P549,500.

Biking means freedom. It means the wind blowing in your face. It means happiness — “You can’t be sad while riding a bicycle.” It means social interaction during this anti-social time. Biking doesn’t have walls. It means exercising minus the pushing-and-elbowing of basketball and running’s foot injuries.

I love biking because, on flat asphalt, it’s effortless. On downhills, flying at 42-kph, it’s horrifying. And while your bike is pointed to the sky and you’re on your softest gear and your body is rocking side to side and you stand to deliver extra oomph to your leg-powered vehicle, it’s punishing and painful but fulfilling.

Biking during this Covid-19 year is a winner because people long for the outdoors and free space. Trapped in our homes during those ECQ days, pedaling offers immunity from isolation.

I love cycling because of the 7Fs: Friends. Freedom. Fitness. Free. Forward. Fun. Fast. 

PANDAY CHALLENGE. Biking is also for another F: Females. Although majority of riders are men, an increasing percentage are women. 

Take the “Panday Challenge” of Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera. I’ve known Cons Joel for many years now and we’ve ran countless kilometers together but one vivid memory of us together happened in a Pipti-Pipti Triathlon event in Catmon in 2009. We both swam alongside each other and started the bike leg in tandem, exiting the Bachao Beach Resort — when Joel’s bike chain suddenly broke. We stopped, tried to fix the chain (to no avail), and ended up laughing. That was a memorable experience.

With the Panday Challenge, this is like the AWUM (All Women Ultra Marathon) — also co-organized by Hon. Garganera — except that it’s biking and the distance is not 50K. It’s scheduled this April 27 (Tuesday) and is named “Kadaugan sa Sugbo Cycling Event.” The climb is from JY Square to Willy’s; it’s open to women only and it’s for free. The first 150 to reach Willy’s will be given a free jersey.

BIKE QUOTES: “You can’t buy happiness but you can buy a bike — and that’s kind of the same thing.”

Albert Einstein: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

“A bad day on a mountain bike beats a good day at the office.” 

“Four wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul.”

By John Pages

I've been a sports columnist since 1994. First, in The Freeman newspaper under "Tennis Is My Game." Then, starting in 2003, with Sun.Star Cebu under the name "Match Point." Happy reading!

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