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Improve quality of life through bike commuting

Romar Fernando

June 10, 2020

  • With the gradual easing of certain restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic here in the Philippines, the people are also gradually going back to basics as they are now required to report on their respective workplaces.


    Photo Credit: Philippine Daily Inquirer

    The numerous provisions on the general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) policies of the national government give some burden to the commuting public primarily because of the continuous prohibition of mass transportation like jeepneys and UV express vans. There are still limited bus routes augmented by the Department of Transportation and backrides on motorcycles are still banned for ordinary citizens.


    Photo Credit: Top Gear Philippines

    Of course, instead of sulking inside homes and let their families suffer in hunger, some workers and employees resort to something that is not so common in our thoroughfares, bike commuting.

    In a culture where mobility means owning a vehicle for work or for business, traffic congestion will be always the endpoint. Obviously, Metro Manila roads are not bike-friendly. Even policy makers are not bike-friendly saying that cyclists should utilize the narrow sidewalks of EDSA, with trees and electrical posts along the way. Bike lanes are not even part of policy making among local government units (LGUs); Marikina, Pasig and San Juan cities would be the popular places with devoted bike lanes for cyclists.


    Marcos Highway Bike Lanes / Photo Credit: Caught in Traffic

    Our neighboring countries have been so efficient with their cycling culture. In Japan, there are approximately 120 million living there and yet the number of bicycles is approximately 72 million, roughly 60% of the country’s population. In China, data stated that approximately 35% of their 1.3 billion population use bicycle in daily activities.

    A European country, Denmark, approximately 4.5 million people own a bicycle, 80% of their population of 5.5 million. And lastly, the Netherlands, with their 16.6 million population in the country, 16.5 million own a bike. About 27% of their travels, both recreational and for occupational purposes are done with bike commuting, daily.


    The Netherlands / Photo Credit: The New York Times

    Maybe now is the time to rediscover the benefits of bike commuting.

    “More cycling will benefit all Philippine cities, big and small. Low cost, pro-poor, quick-to-implement, environment-friendly, and health-promoting! If city mayors and national officials are looking for projects that can be delivered within the next 3 years, cycling infrastructure should be high on the list,” said transport advocate Robert Siy in one of his columns in 2019.

    For some, the time they got tired of public transportation mess will be the time to decide to improve their quality of life. Bike commuting can reduce traffic congestion in streets and can reduce daily stress as well. It saves money from poor transport service and on health care costs because of pollution.

    Aside from the common-sensical benefits, bike commuting and cycling can help in our cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and flexibility. It can improve posture, coordination, balance and helps become more fit and lose weight for an instance.


    Photo Credit: Manila Bulletin

    If you are resolved to pursue bike commuting, why don’t you give it a try?

    But in pursuing bike commuting, just like any other mode of transportation, safety is always the penultimate matter. Bike commuting is not a competition nor a race. Safety should always be prioritized. Always yield on roads.

    Don’t forget your safety gears. Always wear your cycling helmet, your knee pads, the hand, and elbow safety pads, if there’s any. Wear a jacket if you want to be protected from the heat of the sun. Secure a rain coat if ever a heavy downpour will greet you along the way.


    Photo Credit: Multisport

    Aside from the basic gears, of course, do not forget to be protected from contracting to and from other people. Always wear your face masks. Bring some sanitizers and maintain self-cleanliness every time you’re out of home.

    Always check your bike: the interior and exterior tires, the brakes, the body, the safety lights, the bike chain; make sure that all these stuffs are well-functioning.

    Bring water for hydration.

    Obey traffic rules. Maintain proper etiquette on the road.

    Pursue bike commuting to improve quality of life.


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