UPON passing Magsaysay Park in Divisoria in front of Dunkin Donuts, you often notice a group of teenagers and young adults playing, spinning and doing different bicycle tricks on their BMXs.
These bicycle riders of Cagayan de Oro City belongs to a group called "Reverence Bikes," composed of bikers who share the same passion and interest in BMX.
According to Keith Isaac Ericsson, the 21-year-old vice president of Reverence Bikes, their group is composed of about 30 members whose ages range from 14 to 50 years old and engage in flatland and street disciplines of BMX.
"Group mi sa BMX riders nga mga kanang mostly lingaw-lingaw lang mi pero ga hold pud mi og mga competition diri... flatland and street nga mga discipline sa BMX (We are a group of BMX riders who mostly engage in the BMX sports as a hobby but we also hold competitions... usually under the flatland and street disciplines of BMX)," Ericsson said.
Before their group was renamed to Reverence Bikes in 2015, Ericsson said it was once called BMX CDO. He added that the name of the group was changed as some of the former members of BMX CDO quit and the now Reverence Bikes is left with the "new generation of BMX riders."
The group is now more than 11 years, Ericsson said.
Even though there are already some bike riders who quit the group, Ericsson said the group was able to keep on going as there are also some people who joined them who shared the same passion for the sport and were able to meet fellow BMX riders from Manticao, Misamis Oriental; Iligan City; Bohol; Davao; Sagay City; Bacolod; Manila; and among others.
"Kana man gyud, as an inidividual, passion namo ni sya nga sport bitaw, dayon heart-warming sya nga feeling na mag get together mo sa uban nga pareha ka passionate sa sports as imong self, so tungod ani naka meet pud mi og new friends, dili ra dinhi sa Cagayan (As an individual, this sport is our passion. And its heart-warming that we were able to get together with those who are as passionate as we are. So because of this, we were able to meet new friends not only in Cagayan de Oro City but also from other places)," Ericsson said.
Other than a form of recreation, they also hold and participate in competitions for BMX riders in Cagayan de Oro, Iligan City and Davao City.
According to the vice president of Reverence Bikes, they hold more or less seven competitions within a year, wherein some are in line with seasonal occasions such as Christmas, New Year's and Valentine’s Day.
The participating BMX riders are judged by the uniqueness and originality of their tricks and the audience impact.
"Mag execute mi og tricks one-by-one then ang among points is kanang gina judge sya (We will execute some tricks one-by-one and we will be able to gain points) according to uniqueness, originality, how many times nga mahulog ka, dili ma perfect, so deduction na sya dayon ang overall showmanship nimo then ang audience impact (we fail to perfect or execute the tricks, the overall showmanship and audience impact)," Ericsson said.
He added that winners receive bike parts and trophies.
Ericsson, for his part, has won nine times as the champion and one as a second placer in about 12 competitions.
Competitions in Cagayan de Oro are held in the park in Divisoria and are legal as they were able to acquire permit from the City Government to use the venue for their competitions.
Ericsson also mentioned that the City Government also provided them with an ambulance in case of incidents during competitions.
"Ang among wish or passion nga gusto mi nga ma-alive ang BMX scene dinhi sa Cagayan. Madala ra sya nga known but ang among main goal is ma-alive lang ang scene, dili sya ma dead na murag 'unsa ma na sya?' or 'sa una ra man na' murag sayang sya. As much as possible i-keep alive namo ang scene diri na naa gyud (What we wish for, our passion, is for the BMX to be alive here in Cagayan de Oro. We also want it to be known but our main goal is to keep the sport alive, with no one asking ‘What is that?’ or ‘That's old-fashioned.’ As much as possible, we want to keep it alive here in the city)," Ericsson said.
He added that at present, he is able to see that even though BMX is not that well-known in the city, the sport still exists.
With their shared interest, passion and bonds, these bicycle riders of Cagayan de Oro, the Reverence Bikes, were able to keep the BMX alive and perhaps someday the sports that they all love will be widely known not just in a number of cities but also throughout the nation.