Sunday, March 18, 2012


The Municipality of Liloan hosted the Xterra yesterday. I could not help but note (and learn from a participant himself, also a friend) the despicable attitude of the people towards cyclists. I never experienced this in other places except in Liloan and Consolacion (probably it happens in other places too except that I ride here more often). First, people are overly critical of cyclists. A lot of times that I have gone downhill after a climb, I would hear those jobless idiots shout at me, "pag-hinay oi" (slow down). Dear loser, I am not going fast. I wouldn't want to ride recklessly. I have a job, a girl-friend, and I just turned 23. I would not do anything that would put my life and consequently that of others and your kids in danger.

Second, they enjoy mocking cyclists. An old woman remarked of my friend who came in second to the last on the bike yesterday, "Last na siya dong? Kaluoy pud" (is he the last rider? What a pity). Third is schadenfreude. They love seeing others in misfortune. They think of cyclists as actors in their world of low-rate slap-stick comedy. And they have no qualms about exaggerating just so they can laugh at cyclists. One time I got off my bike because my chain dislodged and I guy from a distance hurriedly gathered his friends and shouted at me "haha! natumba" (haha! he fell off). So they think that getting off your bike seat in the most normal way is just the same with falling over.

Fourth, they are not afraid to curse you. Yesterday, a group of kids asked, no "told," my friend to give them his water bottle. He wouldn't because he needed it to finish Xterra. The kids got disappointed and wished that he would fall down. They also said "kapoy no? gaba" (it's tiring, no? you deserve it"). It's a shame that this enmity towards mountain bikers (and probably cyclists in general) extend from the adults, to the kids, and even to people in their prime.

I haven't even mentioned the daily mocking that I get from habal-habal (motorcycle) drivers at Capulay, the market intersection I have to pass through to get to our place. They are there all they long read to mock. I could not figure out why because I have never engaged in any conversation with anyone of them. So what's the point of what they're doing? Still, I love to ride and no amount of mockery can keep me from riding. 

Now that Liloan is becoming a popular host of outdoor events, the local government should start educating the people around here. They hosted the previous Xterra off-road triathlon and before this year's edition, they hosted the Columbia trail run. I think a simple "respect cyclists and runners" sign in some places should do enough.

Mockery is a sign of lack of education. It is one's way of degrading others so one would feel superior. This is a video of Olympic athlete Derek Redmond. Surrounded by an educated crowd who have a true understanding of what being an athlete is about, he is able to send one of the strongest messages of inspiration in sports history. Redmond was injured at the middle of his run. He stopped for a while and limped towards finish, aided by his father. Inspiration, beyond the meagre grasp of words. If it happened here, would it have the same meaning to the spectators?

No comments:

Bal Marsius