WATCH: Getting around the city on two wheels

Kimiko Sy
WATCH: Getting around the city on two wheels
Mother and son Carol and Keolo believe that the advantages of biking in the city outweigh the challenges

MANILA, Philippines – Biking in the city can be a challenge, especially when you compete with cars and public utility vehicles for road space, but Carol Pobre and her son, Keolo, are up for the challenge.

Every day, Carol would bike from their house near the Libingan ng mga Bayani area to her workplace at the Bonifacio Global City. Her 17-year-old son has been biking to his school in Taguig for almost 3 years now, Two years ahead of his mother. Carol shared that her son inspired her to bike to work.

According to Carol, her travel time from home to work has been slashed to 12 minutes from 45 minutes, since she started biking.

“I’ve calculated so many times and never regretted taking my bike to work [every day]. However, there were so many times that I regretted bringing a car to work because it takes much longer,” she told Rappler.

Keolo shared the same experience. When he used to commute, it took him 40 to 50 minutes to get to school. It only takes him 15 to 20 minutes on his bike.

Aside from cutting traffic time, Keolo was motivated to bike for health benefits. He said he used to be teased as being “fat” before he started biking. This gave him the motivation to step up and pursue a more active lifestyle.

“When I was younger, I was always teased as being fat or chubby. So biking [became] my opportunity [to] exercise, to really push myself to set an example to my fellow schoolmates that [biking] is an option to go to school,” he said.

While biking brings with it a lot of benefits, they also experienced challenges as a minority on the road.

“The most memorable for me would be bike safety on the road particularly [in terms of] those who are quite rude to bikers like me. They would be honking nonstop for them to get through. A lot of times also, since women are not very common on the road, motorists and other bikers would catcall,” Carol said.

Mother and son also shared their experience with rude motorists who would try to push them off the road.

Given the challenges they faced every day, they urged all road users to respect cyclists as they are part of the community too.

“To the motorists out there, I want you to put yourselves in our shoes. It is hard enough to bike to work; you get sweaty and tired. But when other people don’t respect you and make you feel agitated, I just want you to realize that we are part of this community too and we share this road together,” Keolo said. –

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