I took the challenge of riding the “anicycle”, the bicycle on a steel wire crossing a deep ravine, when I was in Bukidnon, Northern Mindanao, Philippines, which was the primary reason why I spent a week in that beautiful province, The word “anicycle” was coined by the owner of the resort after his daughter, Annie. The bicycle ride was the first in Asia but many have copied in the country with different names tagged. I have experienced a similar ride already in some parts of the country but “anicycling” was a different kind of experience. More scary, more heart pounding, and more challenging.
When I set foot at Dahilyan Forest Park in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon, I was really adamant of making a way of knowing its whereabouts despite of rains and the distance. My first question to the guide/driver of the motorcycle I rented on my first day was, “Do you know where that bicycle ride on air can be found”?
It was left unanswered. My guide didn’t know either. My query was hanging for the moment as we traversed the long and winding dusty road out of Dahilayan. For the mean time, I was enjoying the Del Monte pineapple plantations along the road. It was planting time and my wish to have a photo with the pineapple planters planting pineapple tops was overwhelmingly secured that I did not mind how much of the time we would be losing. We left Dahilayan in rains now, it was sunny. That’s the behavior of the weather in Bukidnon which is suited for pineapples, as my guide explained.
More or less, in two hours we arrived at where that bicycle ride was. I guessed my guide scouted for the place. The name, Kampo Juan at Diclum, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. We were the only visitors for that day. It would take some queue line to be able to ride when there are many visitors but during that time, it was all ours.
Nervous, was my first reaction as they prepared us for the scary bicycling or “anicycling” to the other side. I wanted to back out as my knees were trembling for the terror-stricken ride was waiting to be expertly experienced. Advancing a few meters from the starting line proved disastrous as my body swayed left and right on the bicycle. “I can make it”, I kept telling myself. “I can make it, yes, I can”.
The guy manning our departure from the zero point was also nervous as repeated mistakes would mean the derailment of the wheels from the steel rope. That was the purpose of signing a waiver. I was also good in bikes but not that kind of aerial road to pass. A little force on the wheels, a meter of forward movement. I could now balance my body.
I couldn’t take my sight at the river below and that made the movement more unstable. They were shouting to look up front to the other side as if there was no steel rope at all, and not to look down below. I took the clue right and pedaled fast up to the finish line.
There were three lines of two-lined steel wires wherein the center line was for the photographer for easy picture-taking of visitors whether at his left or right. Sometimes he would shout to stop for shots but I wouldn’t. If I stop, my body had the tendency to sway left and right making me unbalanced. It was better for me to continue and pedal my way to the end line without stopping.
It was not for the rate but, going back using the bike again meant double payment. It was another push for my bravery nearing its limits. It’s a two-way trip. Going back was a non-stop trip even if the photographer was yelling for a stop to pause for a shot.
At the starting point, they were all smiles but were annoyed and tense. After I embarked from the bicycle, my heart was still pounding fast as I yelled, “I did it”.