Fridate with Danny MacAskill

•December 4, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Ride. That’s what all the boys tell you. Just ride. You would be a lucky lady if there is a briefing on the gearing ratios, the feathering techniques, the weight displacement, the tricks.

One survives the first ride, and either falls in or out of love. If you do, it’s the most exhilarating experience to be one with your bike and move in synchronicity to the music of the outdoors, gravity, your physical and mental abilities.

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They also never tell you about Danny MacAskill. Wouldn’t you know it, but another lady rider introduced the gentleman via the film The Ridge! As of this date, the film has been viewed over 46 million times, and continues to bring world awareness to the man and the sport in a refreshingly warm and human way. Indeed, the word skill is eponymous to the man! As should grace, agility and inspiration as he makes you believe that you can get better, too.

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Vermosa Sports and Lifestyle Complex brings to Manila world-renowned street trials rider Danny MacAskill on the weekend of December 3 and 4, 2016 for a jaw-dropping Drop and Roll exhibition with his team mates Duncan Shaw, Fabio Wibmer, and Ali Clarkson.

Presently on a world tour, this is the team’s first visit to the Philippines as they launch the Asian leg with the Vermosa Active Revolution. Local riders, bike enthusiasts and the curious (!) have the chance to witness up close the skilled bike handling and inventive performances of Danny and team at 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. on December 3, and 4:00 p.m. on December 4. Access to the show and a meet-and-greet with the stunt bike superstar, and team, may be reserved with Ticketworld at PhP1,350. Begin your love affair, ladies.

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Danny and his crew, despite their fame and skill, are quite down-to-earth. They quietly arrived last Tuesday and have been enjoying the urban terrain of Nuvali to acclimatize and stay sharp for the weekend. The lucky crowd of riders in the township have chanced upon their practice rides first hand. That would be quite an ordinary ride in the streets of Nuvali…except for the fact that these are global headliners in the biking world! And, they are savouring the Filipino brand of hospitality, too!

We spent Friday with the crew observing their prep for the weekend performance. They were hands-on, and collaborated with the local team quietly and efficiently. It was a joy to spend the day with them. In between, a quiet moment with Danny.

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Q: How do you come up with new concepts for the films you make? Or, does it come to you  in the middle of the night?! (shared laughter)

Danny: Sometimes it does! Sometimes on the trips I make. Or, from a piece of music I can imagine would tell a story like Way Back Home, from experiences I feel are great to share like The Ridge, or even a tribute to a place as in Epecuen…I have a notebook, and write down those ideas.

Q: Epecuen is an unexpected place to pick for a ride. As a scuba diver, I can imagine its beauty underwater and appreciate its stillness now. But, it may seem desolate to most.

Danny: I wanted to bring attention to the place as very little is known about it. It hasn’t even been on National Geographic. For one of the largest natural disasters of its time, it had zero human casualty. I wanted to respect that.

Q: The soundtrack in your films are a break from the usual rock genre often associated with the sport. You must indeed be inspired by music or are very involved in the production aspect of the film.

Danny: I like music. I find that it tells its own story, and lets the viewer experience the beauty of the ride. The music enhances rather than distracts like in The Ridge.

Q: The Ridge is its own celebrity. How did you decide on the Isle of Skye, and what preparations were necessary? You had me at rowing, but wasn’t Cuillin a dangerous ride?!

Danny: I grew up on the Isle of Skye. (smiles) It wasn’t as difficult a ride like, say Cascadia, except for some climbs. And, the sequence with the front flip.

Q: Is that (the front flip) the most difficult trick you’ve done?

Danny: (thinks) Each trick is different. It would be hard to say which one is the most difficult as circumstances vary each time. Every new place brings its own challenges.

Q: In The Ridge, you are on a mountain bike. But, you’ve been filmed using different bikes, too. Which type is the most difficult to use?

Danny: Bikes differ depending on purpose. I enjoy trials bikes as it allows me to do more tricks. I’ve always been a trials rider from when I was younger.

Q: On tour, you seem to gravitate towards your younger fans in the audience.

Danny: It wasn’t too long ago since Duncan, Ali and I were young ourselves and doing tricks. Fabio is the youngest in the crew, but we were all young once and we still remember how it felt to see the tricks live. As a kid (signals with his hand to show a tyke’s height), to watch the tricks from the ground looking up, it was an amazing thing! It means a lot and we remember that.

For the curious, the newbies, the uninitiated, various cycling clinics and bike rentals for the two-day event is available at the Vermosa Bike Skills Park. The first of its kind in the country, the skills park has purposely built features designed to develop basic skills needed for a more enjoyable ride in the trails.

Bans Mendoza, UCI National Commissaire and Track Builder, likens the design to skills parks developed abroad as a proper venue for riders to develop and gain confidence with their handling. “In terms of the community growth in numbers, it has grown tremendously over the years. In terms of level of racing, it has not grown as how I would like it to be as compared with what I see and experience outside the country.”

Cycle Ministry operates the Vermosa Bike Skills Park. It offers riders a complete cycling experience, at whatever skill level, with the skills track. There is a facility for mountain bike rentals, repairs and needs. Even better, personal training may be arranged by appointment! And you know what’s better than that? A snack shack set to open soon! So, ladies, all you’ll need is a sense of adventure, some sunblock and the courage to learn something new.

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The weekend activities are divided into three zones:
1 Kinetic. A high-octane extravaganza to rouse local riders and enthusiasts alike.
a Drop and Roll exhibition with Danny MacAskill
b Cycling clinics and bike rentals
c Motocross
d The Ninja Academy, a parkour obstacle course
e Poi LED exhibition performance by Planet Zips

2 Inspire. The biggest sports and lifestyle expo south of Manila with the country’s hottest retail brands such as JB Sports, KTM Bikes, Fox Gear, Columbia, top bike shops and many more.

3 Refresh. Good eats with Cavite’s first gastro food truck park, and sound beats by acoustic artists and DJs.

 

Credits: Ayala LandCycle Ministry, Dodie Legaspi, Vermosa

 

Singapore Sling

•April 25, 2010 • Leave a Comment

My first international trip was to the Lion City. Even then, there was no touristy activity in the line-up. It was pure cosmopolitan agenda juggling between shopping all day and partying all night. There was very little local colour in the trip except for visits to Kopi Tiam for delicious fried chicken, and fresh fruit. After so much of the cosmo flavour, and the unique essence of Singapore in the food, fried chicken akin to Savory was a much needed respite. Tender with flavourful gravy and steamed rice. Hmmm…..dreamy. Indeed the frying and the fat was a great antidote to the previous night’s debauchery.

I loved the cleanliness, the organization, the sense of safety, the ease of commuting, and pretty much whatever conveniences a business hub could afford. That pretty much summed up my impression. Future trips were relegated to business purposes. There wasn’t anything extraordinary to the city.

But, Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix changed that. Apparently, there was so much roar in the Lion City I had not uncovered before. With only the evenings for the main race events, I had 3 whole days to fill up. Being more familiar with the city, and having more friends to visit, I set up dates months ahead of the trip.

F1. First of first with an evening race in this city.

In between lunches and dinners, I traced the streets like fingers moving on a wall as you walk, and embraced whatever encounters came my way. There was always something tucked away in a corner, people to share new experiences with, cultures to explore, sights and sounds.

Poetry is written on the walls.

All aboard the express mosaic.

The underground movement is a tactile experience.

The local fire station is art in architecture.

I stared and stared, but couldn't get it.

Until I stepped into, first the red box, then the blue box.

Rest for the weary traveller with a delicious cooling, gentle and natural foot spa with fish.

It's never a boring walk.

Neither does it feel like there are back doors when images fill service entrances.

Images of local color lends character.

Chandeliers dance as though in the ballroom of Beast.

Singapore Sling became a beautiful and colourful liquid experience that had different nuances on its travel down to a deeper appreciation of the city.

I will own the world today.

•February 12, 2010 • 10 Comments

That was my morning runner’s mantra.  Maybe because when my body learned to run the distance, my feet responded back by showing me what a bigger world I could conquer.  By no means was I a competitive runner who took stock of stats, gear and conditions.  I just wanted to run and explore new places, meet interesting people, secure a license to load on carbs and earn a stronger body along the way.  Best of all, it made me happy and well.  As mundane as it may sound, it was true.  I ran for whatever reason there was — happy, sad, alone time, time with friends, sunny, rainy, dawn, mid-afty, evening, flu, colds.

I will own my body today.

That was my woman’s mantra.  I loved the change in my body.  It was both familiar, yet strangely new.  Not in the visually physical sense, but in its ability to endure and move forward.  Even the mind became a powerful thing.  In spite of the eventual physical pain that comes with training, the mind conveniently deletes that information in anticipation of the happy flush of good energy.  I wanted to keep running, to keep feeling that wonderful fountain of happiness wash over me.  I wanted to stay connected to my thoughts, my body, to the very ground that moved with me, and allowed a communion with the inner self in the silence that comes with running steadily for 4 hours.  I love the “quiet time”, though it really never is completely quiet.  In the first hour, a stream of consciousness strings together disjointed ideas.  By the second hour, it shifts between the stream and physical consciousness as the heat and the pounding begin to hammer the body.  By the third hour, the stream turns into persuasion of the body to keep moving as though a prayer in itself.  Running became my body’s communion and prayer.

I stopped running.

Slowly, insidiously.  I woke up today, and realized that I had lost the world, and I no longer owned my body.  And sadly, it was supposedly for the pursuit of some greater elusive thing called self-actualization.  In losing the communion and prayer of running, I lost the ability to listen to my body.

Slowly, insidiously.  I began to wake up with a heavy heart.  What was there to conquer today other than the drudgery of work, the endless scheming, and the disappointing realization that all I owned today was a cause no less than my pay check.

Slowly, insidiously.  I realized that I was losing myself.  Bit by bit the moral standard of the majority was threatening to marginalize my values.  When I opened my eyes today, it was to the cold truth that very soon the majority would persuade me to the other side.

Slowly, insidiously.  It did chew off bits at a time … nothing too large to make it too obvious, but certainly small and frequent enough for it to happen slyly.  I began to believe I had no right to conquer the world, nor any right to embrace my self.

I became unhappy.

So, I ran again today.  Not because I want to own the world, but because I want to regain myself.  Because whatever the reason, we just simply have to pick ourselves up, dust off and run.  Along the way, I know, slowly and insidiously, I am going to find the runner who wants to own the world, and the woman who wants to own her body.

Hello world!

•February 4, 2010 • 1 Comment

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