Learning to BIKE is just as learning to WALK, once you have learned, it is known and remembered FOREVER. So the say……..
The last time I have ridden a bike was still sometime 1993 when then I and my son DAX got hooked to mountain biking. But, that was 17 long years ago. So when I and the family opted to spend a weekend with some balikbayan relatives, we decided to take our balikbayan relatives to a 26km trail biking at Tagaytay Highlands. We usually take our visitors to the Taal Volcano, however, due to the present probable eruption of Taal Volcano, all tourist attraction in the area has been closed.
I booked for 6 riders inclusive of bikes and safety helmets and the package has compulsory “guide” who shall ride with the group guide to provide not only his local knowledge of the route but his expertise in mountain biking. Then there is also a “safety officer” (uniformed security guard) who will travel with the group on a motorcycle as a safety person and a sweeper for anyone who is lagging behind or wants to quit.
The following were with the group, me, my son DAX, my daughter-in-law PAMELA, our balikbayan relatives BERNIE CARPIO, his son BERNARD CARPIO and my nephew RYAN DE CASTRO.
We checked in at Tagaytay Highlands Sports Center at 8:30am on 26Jun10. We were introduced to EMIL our guide who immediately provided us with our bikes and safety helmets. We then were given 10 minutes to ride around and get used to the shifting gears. We were all gather after and a comprehensive briefing on procedures, safety, trail route was conducted. Before ending the briefing we were provided the opportunity to ask questions and clear matters in our mind. Lastly, we were checked if we have provided ourselves with the necessary hydration fluids. Having all done these, the guide EMIL asked that we offer a short prayer before proceeding with the bike trail.
At 9:09 we started our bike trail from the Tagaytay Highlands Sport Center using the cemented roads on a descent for about a kilometer distance. My mind was saying “what is it this simple?” Before we could get any further and be comfortable of the situation, EMIL stopped at a ravine and should as that we now have to start using the trail which I could not hardly identify if there was such a trail as what I can only see is the deep ravine and landslide effects that has eaten what was use to be a trail. A last minute check on the bike was conducted.
The trill and excitement started. Lifting and carrying you bikes over landslide areas, mud, water, rocks, more mud and more mud. I can not describe the trill and the route and have instead taken pictures and share the same to you.
At about 5km distance BERNIE CARPIO was already winded and I asked Bernie if he can still continue and opted instead if the security could bring him to BISTRO SARATOGA where we could ask a pick up for him. One down and five remaining.
At about 8km distance RYAN DE CASTRO was already “walking in muddy water” head down and dragging his bike. By then the security/sweeper motorcycle was back with us and we have to ask EMIL to bring as well RYAN to Bistro Saratoga. Two down and four remaining.
At about 11km EMIL told me that we will stop at a sari-sari store were we can purchase cold drinks. This was welcome notice and I gladly confirm our approval of the same. We were then back again on cemented barrio road. We took about 15 minutes rest and drinks before proceeding. What I thought then would be the easier part of the tour in as much that we were on cemented roads was actually the hardest part. We started to assent for a distance of 700 meters to a height of about 500 meters. It was a very stiff rise that there was no alternative by walk with your bike reaching to a point that you were just like crawling and dragging your bike. It almost burst my lungs open. Then it was again a downhill ride.
At about 15km we were at back at the Batino Gate of Tagaytay Highlands at the junction of Bistro Saratoga were we met up with the BERNIE and RYAN who earlier quit the ride who by then were already being picked up by our friends to be brought to our place. It was during this meeting that we also saw the mother of BERNARD who was concern of her son’s condition that she insisted that we leave behind BERNARD and proceed without him. How do you argue with a mother? Three down and three remaining.
From then on it was basically downhill ride on mostly cemented roads leading our path all the way to FLAMENGO RESORT which was in Talisay. At about 21km distance we reached the National Road at Talisay which required of us to ride on the main road and flow with the main traffic. At 25.92km distance mark we finally reached our destination, Flamengo Resort.
My daughter-in-law PAM finished with a lot to spare and DAX, my son more or less coasted to finish. But in the the end there were three to finish PAM, DAX and me. An hour after finishing we were rejoined by all of our guests and family at the Flamengo Resort for a great lunch and a thousand tales to tell and joke about.
It was a great experience to all of us and I think I shall do this adventure again in a very near future.
I guess what they say was true….. you will never forget how to ride a bike once you have learned it is forever!