Feb 22, 19By Mia Dela Torre
Bustling streets and standstill traffic—these are the familiar scenes that the average Metro Manila dweller must brave through on a daily basis. Recently, more and more people are ditching their usual multiple transfer commute with a much simpler, but still very familiar alternative: the bicycle. 

Biking is no new concept when it comes to a way for people to get around places. But what does biking as a commuting alternative in Metro Manila actually entail? Mark More, an avid biking enthusiast who was able to translate his passion for biking into a convenient way to commute, shares his thoughts. 

The alternative commute lifestyle 

When asked why he considers using the bike as a mode of transport, he admits that it is mainly to avoid the hectic and stressful commuting situation in the country. According to him, it only takes about 30 minutes on average to bike from his home to his workplace in Bonifacio Global City. If he chooses to take the usual commute, he estimates that it takes him 2 hours for a one-way trip to work. 

Mark also adds that apart from avoiding traffic, biking also creates an opportunity for him to exercise while traveling. He said biking to and from work nowadays is a cardio workout routine and allows him to have more time to spend on other things that he needs or wants to do for the day.

Apart from it being a healthier and time-saving option, especially now that there are dedicated bike lanes strategically placed around BGC, More said biking has zero environmental impact. 

“You’re not adding pollution to the air, and you’re actually not leaving any carbon footprint,” he said.

The tradeoffs
That being said, choosing the simpler, healthier commuting option comes with certain tradeoffs.

“You need to carry more clothes. You have to have your biking clothes and, of course, you have to have your office clothes,” he said.

The weather and metropolitan environment can also pose as a problem, he continues on. 

“When it rains, you have to have your raincoat. And when it’s raining hard, sometimes you need to wait until it stops,” he added.

He also said that riding on a bike means that you are more exposed to pollution, and emphasized that bikers need to wear masks to avoid breathing in the smoke and other aerial pollutants.

More observed that certain cities in the metro have structures that welcome bikers. When asked about how convenient it would be to commute via bike, he said, “I would say BGC is pretty bike-friendly because the roads are very wide and recently they just added a bike lane along the wide sidewalks. You will find bike racks everywhere in parks and malls.” 

He also mentioned other communities that are well-established for their bike-friendly structures like Marikina. “I think they were the pioneers of putting bike lanes on their main roads. You’ll also see a lot of bike rentals along Riverbanks,” he added. 

Commuting by Biking 101
So how does one actually get into biking? Naturally, you’d have to have your own bike first. Mark recommends getting a mountain bike due to its versatility for certain roads and trails. Speaking from his own experience, he said, "For beginners, mountain bikes are a little less complicated to learn compared to other types of bikes.” 

When talking about price, Mark mentions that decent entry-level bikes cost about Php7,000 to Php20,000. The price varies and increases depending on the number of special components that come with the bike such as the brakes, the drivetrain, and the fork.

Knowing what kind of bike you want, and allotting a budget for it is one thing, but it also helps to know where you can actually buy one. Mark shares, “The most famous locations where you can buy all types of bikes are in Cartimar, Quiapo and other specialty stores around the metro.” 

Will you try biking?
Having a bike and the gear isn’t all that it takes to take this alternative commute option. Mark also stresses the importance of knowing traffic and safety rules, and hand signals. But don’t worry, he says. The rules are pretty straight forward, including these three:
  1. Respect pedestrians  
  2. Wear safety gear (helmet, gloves, and reflectorized vests)
  3. Gesture to the left or right when making the corresponding turns 
He also shares that there is a strong online presence for biking enthusiasts in Facebook groups such as “Pinoy MTB – Filipino Mountain Bikers,” “Cup Cake Bikers 143,” “Bike to Work Pilipinas,” “GT Pilipinas” and “Tropa Bike Community” where people plan long trips together and share recommended destinations ideal for casual rides. More also blogs about biking on his YouTube channel “markmore” and as well as on his Facebook page “Make a Mark.”

A solution to ease the worsening traffic situation may not dawn on us anytime soon, but biking appears to be a quick solution to anyone who wouldn't want to waste their precious hours in a standstill. While cities like BGC are developing neighborhoods and pathways to encourage more people to spend less time traveling and spend more time enjoying authentic experiences, biking perhaps is one lesson to remind us all that the solution to our problems always starts with ourselves.

Want to live in a bike-friendly community? Navigate BGC and look for your future home at www.signetproperties.ph!