From scratch

Over the years I’ve had this blog up and running, I guess one could say I’ve continuously engaged in an equipment and technological arms race with myself. As I steadily got better as a rider, my investment in ever-shinier new things and baubles kept escalating, perhaps culminating ultimately in the preparation for my 2022 Subic-Masinloc-Subic audax return.

It was a good run, and I got a lot of content out of it, but this kind of spending has also slowly become unsustainable. Not on my day job’s salary, and not on the reputation this website has. Some of you may think that I get free stuff or review samples regularly, but the reality is I pay for 99% of what I write about here.

I felt like hitting a reset button.

That came from a former colleague of mine, Troy, who lived just down the street from me and had finally gotten a bicycle of his own. He was excited to get pedaling, but our immediate vicinity didn’t offer the space nor the terrain variety to satisfy his budding riding tastes, and venturing out into the roads leading to the city was a challenge too far for a relative novice.

So I invited him to ride around my usual stomping grounds down south. Lots of room, good variety of terrain, and relatively safe for a cycling newbie. Troy was delighted, finally able to stretch his cycling legs and push man and machine farther. Riding a bicycle in the Philippines is a lot about building confidence in your abilities and your equipment, and this ride was a good opportunity for both.

It was an easy ride for me as I spent the morning leading my friend and showing him around the premises. However, it was also exactly what I needed. Troy’s second-hand hardtail mountain bike barely had anything on it: plastic flat pedals, no water bottle cages, no saddle bag for spares, no bike computer, no sensors, no power meter, and no lights. Yet it successfully reminded me that you don’t really need all that much to have fun on a bike ride.

Sometimes all one needs is to stop being jaded and go back to basics.


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