A little exploring-A A +A
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
ME AND my big mouth. The prevailing winds didn't prevail. For Sunday's bicycle “Ride for the Eagle.” It didn't even rain - at least, not where I was. Forgot my watch, time something like three hours; nor did I catch a glimpse of the mob, but then I was probably off on a diversion or sitting at a carenderia putting into practice my definition of “fun ride” which doesn't include slogging around Davao in company with several hundred other bikers.
I recce'd the course Saturday morning - time spent on reconnaissance is never wasted - noting bicycle traps, roadworks, refreshment halts and, given TV's pessimistic presentation of cloudy weather on its way -sorry, tropical depression Caloy - didn't hold out much hope for Sunday morning but how wrong can you be; ideal biking weather, overcast, still and dry. A bit later on the sun making a hazy and welcome appearance.
Back to the fun. The outstanding advantage of the bicyclist over the motorist is his ability to stop and gawk or take off down a side street or alley for a little exploring and I'm not alone in this pastime. Forget celebrity tour 'experts' posturing around town followed by TV cameras - there's the folks who go off on photo walks (Wonder what happened to them) and not so long ago another Davao newspaper, then a weekly, ran a series of Davao walks about town supported with aerial images of the route and landmark information. I thought this a fine idea, not all Davao's attractions and curiosities are parked on main streets; many are tucked away in corners or side streets and seen only by walkers or bikers. Who would have thought, for instance, that on University Avenue there is a modest folk arts museum that looks to have a fine collection of period prints and photographs (Not open to curious passers-by though. Permission to browse must be obtained from the nearby Philippine Women's College).
There's the fun of observing life going on. Early mornings, especially weekend mornings, are primetime viewing opportunities for people watching in the city's parks. I like Magsaysay - one of my diversions Sunday morning - despite its effluent-stinky onshore breezes. There's formation exercises, last week the Lambada, this the Zumba; joggers, solitary PT enthusiasts, slo-mo Oriental calisthenics, power walkers and, at the very back, often a curious ritual. There'll be a couple or three high end sedans parked. Long, low, gleaming, old money, not the crass and flash show-it-off Hummers with spinner hubcaps. Drivers lounge nearby. Wait a little and the owners will jog up. Chinoy ladies and gents of a certain age, kitted out in immaculate track suits and genuine trainers, not dayglo-orange knock-off Nikes. They'll chat a little; early morning assignations? Planning a cartel? Investment gossip? Drivers used to stub out cigarettes - no longer - doors are held open, sedans glide off.
So for me, it's goodbye to massed fun rides. They're not even sociable - bicycling neighbors may exchange a word, biking pals chatter, marshals marshal - with little elitist flags - but otherwise it's heads down, serious, nobody wants to suffer the indignity of being last unless saved by a flat.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 27, 2014.