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How I got into mountain biking

I started mountain biking in the early '90s. I was in high school then and it was all the rage.

I think I saw my first mountain bike in Puerto Galera during my dad's Knights of Columbus outing. It was in parked inside the cottage that we rented and it belonged to a foreigner, who was the owner of the place. I was so amused by the big tires, the flat bars and the derailleurs that I dreamt about having one ever since.

The next time I saw a mountain bike was when I saw my grade school friend riding one. It was sent to him by a relative from the US and he was riding it around the city. It was almost nighttime then but I can't forget how graceful it looked on the street.

This is the Ijufa mountain bike - the same bike I bought for only P4,000!
Then I finally bought one. We got it from Genasco, a shop in Batangas City near the old market. My mom bought it for me. It was an unknown brand (Ijufa, I think) with unbranded parts and a crank arm that wouldn't stay in place. But it was blue with big tires, and I loved it.

I rode around the city and climbed up to Laurel Park and did a few laps there. I brought a full-size ratchet with me all the time, not for protection, but more to tighten the crank arm.

When It was time to go back to Manila for school, I brought it with me. I biked around Ateneo and the neighboring areas, even going as far as Kamias Avenue to buy parts from this now-defunct bike shop called Green Jersey.

My first bike upgrade came a few months later. I sold the Ijufa to a friend and bought a knock-off Haro mountain bike from the Specialized bike shop in West Avenue. It had a nice granite paint job with pink highlights.

Sometime later, I bought a Giro Hammerhead helmet, a pink Uni disc wheel, Brahma bar ends, Shimano Exage brakes, and an aero bar. I also hooked up with other riders from Batangas City and formed the Batangas Mountain Bikers.

The rest is history.
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