Sometimes, it only takes one friend to make you realize that you are leading to a bad life and that you need to change. And there are moments when a bicycle can help you solve your problems.
Nico Samaniego was thankful that his friend gave him a “real talk” and introduced him to cycling. In his early 20s, he was addicted to motorcycle drag racing and it includes a lot of alcohol and cigarettes.
“Hindi healthy ‘yung pag-drag race ko. Alak, bisyo, sigarilyo. Itong kaibigan ko, sabi sa akin na ang pangit daw ng lifestyle ko kasi lagi na lang akong lasing,” he admitted. “Sabi niya sa akin mag-bike daw ako. Try ko raw.”
His friend lent him an old mountain bike and Nico found enjoyment with downhill rides and trails. It was easy for him to love this. He’s into adrenaline-induced sports, anyway.
He stopped drinking and eventually found himself not participating in dangerous motorbike races. It was as if he got into rehab and cycling was his treatment.
However, our guy here relapsed into bad habits. His friend went abroad to work which demotivated him to cycle. Nico got back on his motorbike and found himself getting drunk and puffing cigarettes everyday again.
“Ang nangyari, wala akong kasama kaya bumalik ako sa inom. Everyday talaga,” he said.
From overseas, his friend came to the rescue.
“Kinausap niya ako. Sabi niya, ‘bumabalik ka na naman diyan. Subukan mo mag-road bike. Pag-uwi ko diyan sabay tayo. Mag-ride tayo,’” he said.
And then a dreadful thing happened. Nico got into a terrible accident while drag racing. It became the biggest turning point of his life.
Last year, his friend went back to the Philippines and Nico got his own road bike. As of today, our biker stopped doing motorcycle races and has totally eradicated drinking and smoking in his lifestyle.
“Ngayon, totally naalis ko na ‘yung bisyo ko kasi sabi niya hindi ka lalakas kung may bisyo ka,” he said. “Humaba rin ‘yung pasensya ko kasi mainitin ulo ko dati noong umiinom pa ako.”
Good for him. Bicycle made a better version of himself.
We asked him what his most memorable ride was. It was his first century ride, Subic to Zambales.
“First 100-km ride and pinaka-masaya pero hindi ko makakalimutan kasi bumigay ang tuhod ko. Kaya naman ako pumayag doon kasi ang usapan ay 100 kilometers lang, 170 km pala,” he said.
“Budol ‘yung mga kasama ko kasi alam nilang hindi ako sasama kapag sinabing malayo. Sumakay ako ng tricycle pero naka-130 kilometers naman ako.”