Urban Commute through Biking

According to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), over 2.4 billion pesos are wasted due to daily traffic in Metro Manila. But money wasted is not the only issue; everyday, commuters and motorists spend hours on congested roads to get to work and school. Time spent on traveling is time wasted, which is a shame, because we all know how short life is.

With public transportation still not up to par in quality and quantity, many urban warriors still rely on their private vehicles to get to their destinations. According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), vehicle emissions contribute to 69% to the country’s air pollution—90% of which comes from Metro Manila. Based on reports from the Land Transportation Office (LTO), more than 6,000 vehicles have been added to the road from 2012 to 2014.

But aside from riding a carbon-emitting vehicle, another alternative is available; one that’s both eco-friendly and good for the health—biking.

For 43-year-old Allan Pascual, biking has been his preferred mode of transportation since 2012. During the work week, he pedals his way from Barangay Wawa in Taguig City to Villamor Air Base in Pasay City, where he works as a logistics assistant. What would normally take him hours to get to work by using public transportation only takes him 30 minutes.

A firm believer in the advantages of city biking, Pascual currently serves as the administrator of Bike2work Advocates Philippines, an online group that promotes biking as a means of transportation. Biking not only saves money, it also promotes fitness, helps ease traffic and reduces carbon footprint. With Bike2work members sharing their experiences and advice, the group is a valuable source of information for those wanting to try out urban biking.

Though biking paints a rosy picture, Pascual admits that Metro Manila has yet to be accommodating to bikers. Based on his experience, motorists in general, are still not equipped with proper driving etiquette. Instead of sharing the road, they see bikers as detriments to their driving.
To encourage more Filipinos to take up the green cause, Pascual wishes for more designated bike lanes on big roads like EDSA and Commonwealth Avenue. He also urges the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to enforce more laws in favor of cyclists.

If you’re planning to follow in Pascual’s footsteps, here are some biking tips:
• Make sure your bike is always in good condition. Regularly check its wheels, drive train and brakes.
• Get enough rest before riding your bike in the morning. Seven to eight hours of sleep is ideal to keep you alert on the road.
• Eat energy-giving foods like rice and boiled bananas. It’s also important to keep hydrated.
Pascual ends with this advice: “By biking the harsh Metro Manila streets, I learned how to be street smart and have a strong sense of self-preservation. To be a good biker, you need to adapt and stretch your patience.”

By Angelica Catapang – PanahonTV Intern