Biking for a sustainable future

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Biking enthusiast and champion TJ Isla turns his hobby into an advocacy as he joins the Cordillera Challenge

BIKING. A sustainable mode of transport. Photo by Jijo De Guzman

MANILA, Philippines – People have different ways of advocating causes they believe in. Some march on the streets. Some write stories. Others bike. 

TJ Isla, a 32-year old biking enthusiast and champion, bikes for his cause.

Aside from being an human resources officer of ABS-CBN, TJ belongs to the PLDT BikeKing Triathlon/Cycling Team and is a member of the Firefly Brigade and the Philippine Skyrunning Association. 

Starting Young

Like many of us, TJ has been biking since he was a kid. It was one of those activities that got him physically active during his childhood. According to him, he used to bike around Laguna where he grew up.

“I can still remember my dad teaching me how to bike, it was special,” TJ added.

 “I love the freedom of biking. You play and go places with it, at your own pace,” said TJ regarding his attraction to the sport.

Even though he’s been biking since he was a kid, however, it was only in 2003 when TJ got serious with the sport. TJ joined the Firefly Brigade, a citizen’s action group that advocates for clean air and habitable environment.

TJ saw biking as a way of helping out with the advocacy of sustainable transport systems (bike commuting). 

Reaching Places

After joining the Firefly Brigade, TJ started joining adventure races, triathlons and cycling races. He’s been all around the Philippines and in other countries with his bike.

According to TJ, his most memorable biking experience was the 2011’s MVP Unleashed Challenge, where he won as champion.

“We swam, biked, kayaked, ran and did adventure challenges all over the Philippines. I rode a Kawayan bike, on and off-road, on the trails of Anilao, up to rolling hills and howling winds to Pagudpud,” remarked TJ on his experience. 

TJ recently joined Vuelta Dagupan, where they raced to Baguio via Marcos and Kennon Road. He is also currently in Thailand, with his bike, for a 5-day cycling race called Tour of Friendship.

CAUSE AND EXERCISE. On the road to a sustainable future. Photo by Keno Tapan

Biking as a solution

TJ said that our leaders should be more conscious of the environmental problems that we face. He sees biking as a major solution to such problems.

According to TJ, our leaders need “to include biking as a sustainable mode of transport to solve environment and urban traffic problems.”

“The Clean Air Act must be strictly enforced,” he added.

TJ is currently thinking of initiating a project that will promote the strict enforcement of the Clean Air Act.

Taking the Cordillera challenge

TJ will be joining the upcoming Cordillera Challenge 3 on May 5. According to him, he sees this cause and advocacy as very “worthy.”

“Taking care of the environment is everyone’s business. We should take an active role in saving and conserving the environment,” added TJ.

TJ also said that saving the environment will make our future sustainable.

“I am helping out because I would want the future generation to see the beauty of our environment,” he said.

For TJ, biking is not just a hobby. It’s an avenue to advocate for the change he believes in. – with reports from David Lozada/ 

(Rappler is a media partner of the “Globe Cordillera Challenge 3,” an uphill adventure that spans 27 kilometers. First launched in 2010 by the Cordillera Conservation Trust and Globe Telecom, the Challenge will involve 280 bikers nationwide who will race for a cause: awareness about reforestation. Click on the interactive map, follow the trail, and discover more about Cordillera’s forests, watersheds and environs.)

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