‘Bike’ to Basics

Parking space – This is the most common problem of people having cars in Manila, whether it’s going to school or work, parking space is getting more expensive and more cars are on the street as the years go by but parking space development is at a slow pace.

This past week, the office building I’m working at ┬ádecided to shut down the open parking space and start constructing on what I think is another condominium building, which you all know takes around 3 to 5 years to build. This is a major problem for us who drive to work, not only us, but the residents of the building too!

I thought about commuting again but the problem is that I live in place with a maze of steep up and downs and our house is situated near the end of the village and grabbing a tricycle ride would mean having to walk at least a kilometer to get to a terminal, and again, the steep up and down hills.

Not only that it’s hard to get a ride, it’s overly expensive! The office is less than 2 kilometers from home but it’s a Php50 ($1) ride already, that makes it $2 a day to the office and back to home. Rude drivers also are a problem, I remember riding one time and was surprised at how much he was charging me, he told me to just pay and fuck off. – Not wanting a violent confrontation I just paid him and vowed never to take a tricycle ride from the office again unless absolutely necessary.

Then last Friday I remembered how I used to ride the hills of the village with my dad’s mountain bike… Eureka! I’m biking to work! – ┬áBut I didn’t want the style of mountain bikes anymore, and I wanted to put a creative side to the first bike I’ll get now that I’m old (The cash gifts every Christmas gets smaller when you get old, yep, we all hate that)

I was looking at some bike designs and remembered one that I really liked, it was in a video of Hale called “Sandali Na Lang” years ago and I really liked how the frame of the bike sloped. I started looking around the net for that bike and all I was seeing were at least $200 to $350 and that was way out of my budget, especially that my intention was just really to have a ride going to work and back.

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Screenshot from Hale’s music video “Sandali Na Lang”

Growing desperate of never finding a bike less than $100 I just clicked and clicked until somehow I was in a Japanese Surplus Bike Shop – It was heaven from then on. Old memories of biking came back to me and I was like a happy kiddo shopping via Facebook Fan Pages.

But the word “Surplus” meant that defects come with it, I later learned that it technically isn’t “Surplus” but more of “2nd Hand” bikes from Japan – Old discarded bikes that were shipped here in our third world country by the thousands to be used again on our streets.

So wanting to have one but I have to be sure of what I’m buying is not literally scrap metal, I decided to go on a Sunday morning to visit one of these shops. – Sunday Morning, Hale playlist, with Iced White Chocolate Mocha (No Whip) – I was riding like I was going out of town.

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When I got there, like 7:30AM ( Because I go to church at 6AM and then went straight there) I was welcomed by the store clerk who was washing the bikes that early – Maintaining the bikes, that’s a plus.

They said that choosing bike is like choosing a horse, it speaks to you. (Nah, no one said that, I said that one.)

And then there she was, the bike I was looking for, I never took my eyes off it, even tested it. It had a few rusts on its plate, but generally the parts are okay, small rusts aren’t a problem and can easily be removed with the magical WD-40.

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The price? $70! Yes, it was that cheap and I would say I got a 7/10 bike. When I got home I started checking on the other parts and found out that there was more rust than I initially saw.

While I was reconditioning the bike it occurred to me that this could be my project for next year, yes! A Restoration project, because I figured that I need to repaint and overhaul the gears and tires. And I think I’m dedicated to sticking to it. I’m just a little bit scared of the cost that the restoration will bring.

I don’t even have a helmet right now but I researched and saw one I really liked, that one costs around $80.

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Next up is to put in gears for it, did I mention that it was only a one-speed bike and climbing the terrain is so hard that when I tried it and got off, my legs were wobbly and my knees buckled, this is really the priority item that I need to get. The gear will set me back around $150 at least. – I just learned that authentic and quality bike parts are expensive, but I’m sticking to this project no matter what.

A new paint job and tires but a wheelset will at least cost me another $300, it’ll be a long and expensive restoration but it’s one that I really think will be worth my time for next year.

If you want to sponsor some gear, damn I’ll take it. (HAHA SHAME ON ME)

I’ll update you guys on this restoration project and I hope you’ll join this journey with me.

Cheers!

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