Aside from being a means of exercise, riding bicycle has also been an alternative mode of transportation for many Filipinos, especially during the height of the enhanced community quarantine last year when public transportation was completely prohibited. And as we celebrate World Bicycle Day this coming June 3, Iba ‘Yan featured in its latest episode last Sunday, May 30, the inspiring stories of Filipino cyclists who have been using their ever-dependable bikes not only for work and in providing for their families, but to also give hope to other people.
Because many Pinoys don’t have a choice but to continue working despite the limited public transportation, private organizations, such as Life Cycles PH, have given away and lent bicycles to many frontliners and essential workers, which enabled them to drive going to their workplaces. Meanwhile, Bikers United Movement has provided pop-up roadside assistance to help cyclists who would need assistance services during their rides. And last year, former Kapamilya host Gretchen Ho started her “donate a bike, save a job” project that aimed to bestow free bikes to those in great need.
One of the hardworking cyclists who has been depending mostly on his bike to work for his family is Jomar Espino. But aside from being his partner in providing for his family, this has also allowed him to help in their community by willingly accepting errands from their neighbors since not everyone was allowed to go out then.
At present, he has his own online business called Visayas Avenue Mocktails because he also hopes to work as a bartender in the future. He uses his bike to deliver the orders and would earn Php 200 to Php 500 from it most of the time. But, when some customers would cancel their orders, Jomar would decide to give the drinks to the people he would see on the streets. Unfortunately, he got into an accident recently that damaged his bike, compelling him to just borrow or rent a bike so he can continue his work.
Thus, Angel accompanied him for a biker commute training facilitated by bike commuters and active mobility advocates Rowhe Siy, the founder of Mobile in Manila, and Aaron Aranda. They taught Jomar various practical safety tips and precautions that he should apply every time he’s on the road with his bike.
While Aaron further taught Jomar in the dos and don’ts of biking, Angel took it as an opportunity to chat with Rowhe about how her passion for biking began and what prompted her to establish Mobile in MNL. As someone who uses bike as a mode of transportation, she imparted its advantages, such as being able to save a lot of time in commuting, reducing pollution, keeping herself healthy, and serving as a bonding activity for her and his husband.
And since biking has been a huge part of her life, she decided to launch Mobile in MNL, an initiative that could inspire other people to use bike especially when commuting. She also wanted other cyclists who have different professions to share their experiences in biking, so that other people can be encouraged to bike as well. They also launched Bike Commuting for Newbies to help people to learn how to bike commute as they saw a lot of people who were interested in doing it but did not have much courage to do it.
To show appreciation to Rowhe, Iba ‘Yan gave her painting materials, since it’s also one of her hobbies, and an action camera for her bike. Mobile in MNL also received 30 biker starter kits that included helmets, water bottles, and cycling outfits for their program “bike commute for newbies”.
Angel met another bike enthusiast, Michael Ydel, who’s also a vlogger. He originally came from Batanes and just transferred to Manila when he needed to study for college. He was able to finish a nautical science course, but he did not succeed in working in a crew ship. Because he needed to have work already to help in providing education for his younger siblings, he worked as a janitor, dishwasher, and waiter. Even before, Michael has always used bike as his mode of transportation because it’s convenient and it saves money.
And because Michael has a genuine care for the environment, he would always make it a hobby to collect garbage like plastic wrappers and plastic bottles that he would see on the street every time he bikes. He also launched his YouTube channel, CHICHOY21, where he shares with his fellow bike enthusiasts where they could buy bikes that are budget-friendly and suit their needs. In this way, his fellow cyclists wouldn’t take their time to go to different bike shops anymore.
Aside from that, it has also become Michael’s advocacy to help the homeless by giving them food and groceries. He also takes a video of him doing it, hen posts it on his YouTube account so that many cyclists could be inspired and encouraged to do the same, especially if they have the means to do it.
To show support in his advocacy, as well as appreciation to him, Iba ‘Yan gave Michael a bike bag with grocery packs, a ‘tulong kalikasan kit’ that includes garbage picker, trashbags, alcohol, masks, and gloves. He also received law school preparatory books that could be helpful for his preparation once he decided to pursue his dream of becoming a lawyer.
After Jomar learned all the safety tips and precautions in bike commuting and finished the training, Angel told him the good news that the brand-new bike that he used is already his. Aside from safety gears, Iba ‘Yan also showed support to his online business by providing ingredients for his mocktail drinks.
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