By Val Amiel Vestil

The first day of March. The last day of biking class. That was the culmination to end all culminations. Contrary to the various P.E.
Culminations, the first ever Biking class did what no other P.E. course could do: go the extra mile… 5.6 miles to be exact.

Last March 1, the pioneer students of the new P.E. Sport Biking, with Prof. Dionesio V. Piñero II and Dr. Earl Jude Cleope as its instructors, pedaled all the way to Valencia City as their final examination and in fulfillment of their PE 22-Biking Class.

From mountain bikes, to lady bikes, to BMX rides—you name it, bikes of all sizes and shapes braved the rough terrains of a Dumaguete-Valencia trip. More than 40 students breathed an air of success after their tracks finally took them to the streets of Valencia. They were also rewarded with Valencia’s tasty bodbod and tsokolate.

But was the whole experience really just a bike ride? Were the drops of sweat that trickled down our faces just in fulfillment
of a course we enrolled in? As I enjoyed what seemed to be an infinite downhill breeze, realizations came rushing in to me.
Here are 4 life lessons from biking class that I will probably take with me to my grave:

Biking was never about who made it to the destination first, so it definitely wasn’t a race. In biking, I learned where to position my bike on the road. I learned that in the busiest highways, you and your bike can’t just take a stroll in the middle of the lane since that’s for big, rushing cars. We were taught road courtesy in biking, always preferring to bike at the right-most side of the lane where our only dangers were J-walkers and the fear of tipping off the edge. This eventually led me to slow down when biking, making me ever wary of the hazards that might come about.

The same line of thought is given to this generation’s situation. With the coming of extremely fast and portable technology, time can just fly by so fast even if you’re not having any fun at all. During rare dinner dates and study-outs with friends, we prefer to find refuge in our smartphones and tablets checking if our profile pictures have been liked, or to see if our tweets have been retweeted a couple of times already.

So I say drop the fuss and slow down. When we isolate ourselves into the world of likes and retweets and shares, we contain ourselves in a very fast-moving vehicle to end the day, to cut conversations, to put social interaction to a halt. Why rush life when you can just sit back and  talk about why your friend looks her happiest lately? Why rush the road when you can just pedal and enjoy the view?

Much has been said about failure. They say when you fail at something, “try again and again” in order to be successful. If not again and again, “try harder this time.” If you’re not trying hard enough, “find a solution to correct your wrongs.” If you can’t find a solution, think again because “you can’t settle for less.” Well, let me tell you in five simple words, it’s ok to give up.

There were times, especially when we were two-thirds into our journey to Valencia, that our legs lost the battle of pedaling. We were within arm’s reach to the Japanese Shrine when most of us found out that despite our practice with gears and with what to do during uphill roads, we just couldn’t bike all the way to the top. So we dismounted from our bikes and walked to the top, along with our bikes. Of course there were some students who felt the need to push the hardest and make it to the top without dismounting from their bikes, but it didn’t make me any less of a good biker seeing them.

And it was there I felt that the decision I made to just dismount from the bike and give up trying was actually very empowering. We’re human beings, not machines and either our bodies, our minds, or our hearts are going to give up. So give these a break. Sometimes, letting go of the fact that it’s not going to work out anymore will be less painful in the long run.

The road to Valencia is steep and a hiker would very well take on the challenge of getting to Valencia by foot. It is an equally difficult way up on a bike too and that early morning proved to be very rough for all of us biking enthusiasts. We had to cross a river, escape the barking of the dogs, avoid Carabao’s dung, be keen not to stray from the path, keep away from potholes as if they were landmines, and endure the extremely rocky terrain which wasn’t very friendly on the buttocks. As if the sweat and exhaustion weren’t enough, some bikers also got minor scars and bruises, and at rare times dealt with a bike mishap (a Red Cross team was following our trail, so bruises aren’t anything to worry about). It was supposed to be just a culmination for our biking class but it turned out to be more like the Hunger Games, dodging some hazards to get to Valencia.

In life, some people will pull you down, they will ruin you, they will try and strip you off of your potentials, and they will most probably stop you from reaching your dreams. That’s reality. And you have to deal with that reality. So don’t expect that you are going to be CEO of your dream company or a Victoria’s Secret Angel without having to go through troubles.


But don’t worry—YOU WILL GET THERE.
As soon as we reached Valencia, we just had to stop, grab the cameras closest to us, and start taking pictures of the view because it was as if we were on top of the world. We needed to have something tangible to remind us that despite the near-death experiences on the way to Valencia, we made it to Valencia.

The view was breath-taking, and the downhill track back to Dumaguete was even more breath-taking as we did not even need to pedal because the slope just took us to where we wanted to be.

And yes, you are going to become CEO of your dream company. Or a Victoria’s Secret Angel, heck even the next Ms.Universe! You will just have to push with your best, try your best, and attract the best. It will be a very rough ride, but it will all be worth it.

The first day of March. The last day of biking class. All ends with beginnings. As our bikes retired to park in our respective places, waiting for the next biking adventure, we saw the beginning of a braver and hopeful self all thanks to PE 22 – Biking.

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