5 Reasons Why You Should Consider Riding a Bicycle When In Manila
The roads of Metro Manila are filled with vehicles of all shapes and sizes, but one particular type of transportation seems to be in a minority where numbers are concerned: the humble bicycle. While the trend in many European countries seems to go away from cars and back to more environmentally friendly ways to get around, the streets of the nation’s capital are filling up with fossil fuel burning people carriers faster than ever before. As a reborn cyclist, I think that’s a shame and am hereby presenting you five reasons why I think you should consider getting a muscle powered two wheeled transportation device:
1. Beat The Traffic
When you travel on two wheels, the notorious Manila traffic just isn’t a problem anymore. No matter what time of the day it is, you will never spend any time stuck in a traffic jam, ever. There is always enough room for a bike to fit through, making any cyclist the fastest person on the road on many occasions. Put bluntly, the only way to get through Payday Friday Rush Hour faster is by helicopter.
2. Save Some Money
Travelling by bicycle is one of the most cost effective ways to get around. A little pre-owned Japanese runabout can be yours for PHP 2000 or less, while a bog standard mountain bike like the one I’m using every day comes in at under PHP 10,000 brand new. It really only depends on the type and quality of bike you’re after. Then there is no annual registration to pay, no gas, no insurance, and maintenance costs are also minimal. On top of all that, you don’t have to put up with traffic enforcers and their appetite for random fines, while parking is also free and plentiful.
3. Meet The Neighbors
Metro Manila is big and offers plenty to see and explore. Just driving around by car is often impractical due to the aforementioned traffic, so what better way to meet all your 20 million neighbors than riding around on two wheels? Since I took up cycling, I’ve managed to visit and explore areas of the Metro that otherwise I would have never even noticed or known about. It gave me vastly improved road knowledge, let me to see cultural sites at my leisure, and allowed me to have a much better idea about the cities and areas around me.
4. Fight Pollution
Air pollution in Metro Manila is a real problem and anything that reduces the amount of emissions blasted into the atmosphere every day should be welcome. If more people cycled to work or when going to the mall, then fewer cars would be on the roads, resulting in fewer emissions. Many European countries actively encourage their citizens to cycle instead of drive, and it would be great to see similar initiatives here. This would require the creation of more cycle ways and also incentives for employers to create changing room facilities, where cycling employees can grab a quick shower and change into their work clothes before heading to the office. It’s being done elsewhere and the warm climate here would make it an ideal cycling city all year round. All it needs are some decent initiatives and incentives by the government and Manila could be rivaling cycling mad cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam in no time.
5. Cycling helps you stay fit
The main reason I took up cycling again was to combat weight gain after I stopped smoking. As I wrote here earlier, when you stop smoking your energy levels go up sharply, so getting a bike and riding about every day seemed like the perfect way to stay fit. Of course many people will now say “but what about the air pollution out there? That’s not healthy at all!” and you are right. Thing is, though, the more people cycle instead of using a fossil fuel powered car, jeepney or bus, the less air pollution there will be. It’s a bit of a Catch22 situation, where many people say they are too scared of all the traffic and air pollution to start cycling, but unless more people start cycling, traffic and air pollution are unlikely to go down. Someone has to make the first step and some great initiatives are taking place already. The city just needs more of them. More cycle paths, more bicycle sharing schemes, and more incentives by employers and the government to use bicycles on a daily basis.
So those are five reasons why I think everyone should get a bike. Did I miss anything? Do you cycle or have any great cycling stories to tell? Let us know in the comments!
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