Tips for Biking to Work
Living in the city has its pros and cons. One major drawback is traffic congestion, especially in cities with poor public transport infrastructure. This congestion costs us both time and money. In 2017, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) calculated that the Philippines was losing PhP 3.5 billion daily from traffic congestion in Metro Manila. And this figure is projected to grow to PhP 5.4 billion by 2035 if this problem isn’t solved.
According to JICA, distributing economic growth across the country and vastly improving public transport will solve this problem. However, this will take time and a lot of government investment. In the meantime, what can we do to ease our burden of daily urban commuting? One way we can beat traffic is by commuting by bike! Here are Ciclo’s five tips on how to bike commute to work:
Start in your comfort zone
Riding in the city can be a challenge, especially for those not used to riding on open roads. Getting used to it is a process that will be rewarding in the end. Try riding your bike on streets near your house, a nearby park, or any location where there is little to no vehicular traffic. As soon as you get used to riding in your comfort zone, you can venture out little by little until you build confidence to completely ride outside. It’d be better if you have bike riding companions as you build your confidence.
Choose Your Bike
There are different bikes for different types of terrain and purposes. Most commuters use folding bikes that can be easily carried on buses, trains and taxis. For longer rides, standard commuter bikes will be sufficient. In the Philippines, mountain bikes work well because roads are usually of poor quality, similar to those of mountain trails. For more info, you can read our tips for Choosing Your First Commuter Bike.
Plan Your Route
Knowing your route is useful for any kind of bike ride. For bike commuting, you can choose roads that are more bike friendly such as those with bike lanes, smaller streets, and slower cars. You may also choose a multi-modal commute where you take public transport for longer distances, along with using your bike.
Bring Extra Clothes
For a tropical country like the Philippines, you will sweat on your bike ride. Bring an extra set of clothes if you’ll be going to work. Destinations with showers are of much help for bike commuters too.
Campaign for Better Public Transport
Once you ride your bike on the road, you will be exposed to all sorts of problems with transport in the Philippines. But instead of just accepting it like it is, we can campaign to improve our travel experiences! This is important especially in Metro Manila, where 70% of residents rely on public transport despite only being allocated 22% of road space. And this grave inequality has resulted in heavy traffic congestion and extremely long commute times.
Campaigning for better public transport will push policy-makers to act on this problem. Filipinos need to have more options for commuting, instead of experiencing a jam-packed four hour commute or sitting stuck in traffic in their private vehicles. We need sidewalks and bike lanes for shorter commutes, and buses and trains for longer ones. And we need seamless connectivity between these transit lines.
Better public transport will improve everyone’s commuting experience. It’ll save us a lot of time and money. And with these savings, we can spend more with friends, family, and on activities that matter more to us. And hopefully, this is how we can all become a little bit happier.