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The essay is all about life's journey as described in mountain biking

Submitted: January 30, 2018

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Submitted: January 30, 2018




Elpedio Toco-Vesera, Jr.


Metaphors about life can be intricate as life itself. Some are quite simple, one-dimensional while others are profound and thought-provoking. But why reduce life and all its complexities with mere symbols and pictures and ideas and thousand other images?  Probably, there is an assumption that life is a mystery and to understand a bit on its multi-dimensional nature, assigning or attaching a symbol provides a substance easier to comprehend.


Mountain Biking and Life could be one of those dim-witted metaphors. Life and bike, bike and life-there is a nil resemblance except that both terms have similar vowels when taken in alphabetical context. But for some kind of a connectivity, bike and life has become a personal merger and if one has to look beyond what is visually obvious, then perhaps-just perhaps a lighted bulb pops-up and a degree of understanding come rushing through.


Mountain biking.  It is a personal favorite.  There is an evolution of mountain bikes in my row.  There was that cold, steel frame and rigid fork MTB. It was my first.  Bought that in Baybay together with a buddy in school and right then and there, we had our first 40 kilometer- trip astride in our shiny, new deep purple MTBs on a then dirt road!


Things change later and then that Iron Horse. It was a knight in brilliant red and yellow frame-dual suspension just fitted for my type of a ride.  Friends of similar passion come conglomerating in and thus the Pedal Trekkers was born. Riding in group on weekends becomes a balm that soothes our stress-drench soul.




One set back of riding in group however is on the bike.  Personalizing bike is hyping biking to a wrong platform.  Looking at your own steed and then looking at the other “upgraded” units create a thirst.  And so the search for a lighter, more compact, latest and mechanically sophisticated bike parts and components began. The other bike seems to be better and cooler.  We swapped and upgraded and swapped again and then become lost in the dots established earlier. The Specialized frame, Shimano LX component follows and finally deciding to get out of the messy ‘upgrading” cycle, settled for that Orbea with Shimano Deore components.

However, when it was time for me to get  into the “show”, group biking trips get less and less frequent and finally dissipates into thin air forcing me to go solo.


This is where biking mirrors life.  The basics of life are the basics of life.  But then human creates and invents needs.  And the crazy, frenzied search for a bigger house, thicker wallets and cooler gadgets and faster cars cuts along the unpretentious, well-defined lifestyle into an inflated and advertised one.  Life shifted paradigm faster than the market trends of urbane mountain bike parts and components.  We forge relationships with bank accounts and mountain biking with light weight frames, toothy-tires and 180 mm travel suspensions.  When we are already on the top of that greasy pole, we found out that the prize on top is cheap and fake.  Then you realize that you have to grip the life’s handlebars and pedal for just another humdrum existence.


Where life continues to exist, there are always possibilities of derailing because of dreams deferred or unparalleled expectations and broken promises just as there are always derailed chains because of  broken derailleurs. Life seems stuck in a mire of vicious fight for a debilitating disease or addiction as V-brakes or disc brakes jammed because of dried and brittle cables for mechanical braking system and absence of mineral oil for hydraulic braking system.  


Life becomes an uphill climb when storms blow at its fiercest and who stands out are not the fastest nor the strongest but the one who continues to hold-on to the handlebars and stay in the saddle.  The mountain top experiences are the sweet successes and magnanimous victories. Trials and difficulties are technical rides where obstacles and gaps are scaffolded ramps for long, airy bike jumps. 


There are dry rides, wet rides, slippery rides, long rides, singletrack rides, river trekking, climbs, and downhills as there are moments of life when one has to laugh and sigh and cry.  All along, bike converges into thousand other realities of life. 


A shiny, immaculate bike might be clean but the moving parts such as the bottom bracket and the hub or the headset might be squeaking and creaking express a plain and simple life of hypocrisy-clean on the  

outside, worn-out malfunctioning within. Scratches and dents on the frames or in the wheelset and in the crankset are dents and scars of life’s battles. 


Finally, after all the skirmishes that weather life, one has to look at it, long and contemplative.  Perchance light will shine through and understanding few of its complications might follow. 


If by any means that dark and nasty cloud of bafflements doggedly stay, then ride a bike. You never know. Introspection perhaps will begin on the handlebar.


Personal life storm blows its hardest lately. Shaken and dazed and ostensibly thrown off-track, nevertheless God’s graces are amazingly firm and steady keeping me on the saddle and handlebar of life. Bafflements persist but these days, you can see me frequently astride on my bike…


Life is bike and bike is life.









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