‘BICYCLE, bicycle, bicycle. I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike. I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like.’
Marc Pingris could be humming this classic ditty by the rock group Queen as he rides on his two-wheel bike on the way to practice of the Star Hotshots.
Yes, ‘Pinoy Sakuragi’ isn’t shy to admit he goes to the Ronac gym in San Juan from his house in Valle Verde, Pasig just by biking – the pedal-powered version and not the motorized vehicle so common today in the streets of Manila.
The veteran forward said he’s been into the hobby for a long time and of late, he included his travel from home to the team practice as part of his itinerary.
“Hindi naman lagi. May mga time lang na darating talaga ako sa practice ng naka-bike,” disclosed Pingris. “Siyempre, mausok din sa kalsada at tsaka mainit.”
Other than being a hobby, he said riding the bike also serves as a cross training for him.
“Minsan kasi bugbog na rin yung tuhod mo. Jogging, tapos takbo pa sa ensayo. At least kung bike, maiba naman,” added the bike enthusiast.
On free days, especially during the off-season, the 34-year-old Pingris would join his friends as they travel around the metropolis on a bike.
He’s been to the elevated roads of Antipolo, Rizal, and of late, Bulacan.
“Maghapon lang 'yun. Alis kami ng umaga, pagdating sa pupuntahan namin kakain lang, and then balik na uli kami,” he said.
The native of Pozzorubio, Pangasinan said teammates such as James Yap and June Simon, along with Rico Maierhofer are among the players who are also into biking, although Yap and Simon have not tried going riding to practice riding on their bikes.
He did remember one incident though, when he got the ire of former Star coach Tim Cone for reporting to the gym in his old reliable bike while the Hotshots were in the middle of a PBA finals.
“Sabi niya sa akin pagdating, 'Marc, what are you doing?' Tapos sunud-sunod na yung paalala niya na baka maaksidente ako, baka mapilayan ako, eh finals pa naman,” he said. “Siyempre, naiitindihan ko naman yung concerns ni Coach. Kaya naman always may protective gears ka like helmet, face mask, leggings, tsaka iba pa.”
His wife Danica approves of his biking activities, but doesn’t want him to try one thing.
“Ayaw niya na mag-motor ako. Mas delikado daw,” said Ping.
But Pingris admits a 6-3 guy like him will not find it easy to remain anonymous while traversing the streets of Manila.
“Traffic kasi kaya kumapit ako sa jeep, dahan-dahan lang naman yung takbo. Balot na balot ako pati mukha, halos mata na lang ang kita sa akin,” he recalled of one incident.
“Pero yung mga nakasakay sa jeep, nakilala pa rin ako. Sabi nila, 'Si Pingris!, Si Pingris!'”
And the thing that gave him away? His height.
“Siguro sabi nila sino itong ang laki-laking mama na naka-bike,” said a laughing Pingris.
So the next time you see a tall, well-covered, mestizo biker roaming around the crowded roads of Metro Manila, he just might be no other than Marc Pingris.