A fun ride?

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By Gary Covington

Looking In

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Pedaling down Sandawa the other day, in training for Sunday's charity bike ride - wait a minute - it's not Sandawa any more is it? Our honorables have come up with the idea of re-naming some of Davao's streets; an idea, I suspect, that in future months will be trumpeted about as one of their 'landmark' ordinances. Also, no doubt, we'll see our honorables tooling down the newly named streets in their equally new city-bought vehicles which, I trust, will soon display large SP decals on their flanks. Wouldn't do to have public vehicles being put to private use would it? (And I seemed to have missed the make and model - still, for P690, 000 new, we're not talking inertia-reel seat belts, are we?)

Anyway, Sandawa is now Guillermo E. Torres Street and never mind that this mouthful will soon be reduced to plain Torres or that we've already got a couple of Torres. There was a brief item on the early evening news, the camera panning over the new street signs - two signs because immediately below the new name is another reading 'formerly such-and-such a street'. What viewers didn't see, 'cos the camera didn't pull back far enough, was a third sign 'formerly formerly such-and-such a street' and even a fourth 'formerly formerly formerly... '

Back to Sunday's bike ride, the 'Ride for the Eagle' which aims to benefit the Philippine Eagle Foundation Conservation and I've a P400 bone to pick.

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Why is the registration fee - that P400 - so high for what is billed as a fun ride? Why? To pay for all the 'free' stuff of course. A 'free' T-shirt, 'free' snacks, raffle prizes and, according to a news item of February 24, 'trophies and certificates for the top three finishers'. A fun ride?

I'm wondering how much of that P400 will find its way to the charity after the organizers have deducted for all the shirts and scoff and, of course, their own expenses. What's the point? Bicyclists are generally an amenable lot. Willing to cough up a modest amount for a good cause without the need of a T-shirt/snacks/trophies/raffle carrot. Look at December's fun ride. That one was organized by Philcycle from their modest office cum ukay-ukay store down off Magellanes rather than in partnership with a hotel looking for a bit of promo. A P100 registration, no gimmicks and, despite being held on a Friday night when most people are heading gratefully home for the weekend, a good turnout.

I'll be there on Sunday but don't look for me in the mob because I'll be cycling in the opposite direction. Why fight prevailing winds? Easier grades. More finished cement on the Boulevard (If it's still called that). Safer turn from Quirino to MacArthur. A bicyclist's take on the route rather than that of the organizers who are so obsessed with their own organizing they forgotten the biking.

If I were you I'd turn up at any old time, set your watch, and pedal off. Forget the speeches and organizers telling you what wonderful organizers they are and how Marco Polo were so kind to provide the snacks, blah, blah, blah. It's a fun ride. Have fun.

Headline of the week, 'Customs exceeds 2013 last quarter target'. Collectors were asked to turn out their pockets.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 20, 2014.

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