Whether you haven’t graduated from training wheels or can easily tell a band clamp from a braze-on derailleur, there’s always a reason to enjoy bike rides. Most people know it keeps them active and healthy, saves money, and reduces traffic and pollution.
This World Bike Day, experts weigh in on the often unsung benefits of cycling based on experiences in their different organizations and from riding countless hours in the saddle. From the big to the small, here are five not-so obvious reasons to hop on a bicycle today:
- It helps the economy
Cycling drives economic growth. Not only does it get people to work on time at little to no cost, it also creates jobs in bike tourism, repair shops, and courier services, among others.
“Cycling hits so many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” said National Bicycle Organization head Benedict Camara. In fact, a study shows that it can positively impact the world’s future by helping save nearly USD $6 trillion globally over the next decade.
- It fosters a sense of community
When Ekong Caruncho and friends started biking to work, it led them to form what would become Bike to Work Philippines. “We were still curious about how to repair our bikes, what routes to take, etc. This curiosity prompted us to create a group, a small one at least, to learn from others. By word of mouth, the small group began to grow exponentially,” he said.
Aldrin Pelicano of MNL Moves shared a similar experience when people found his Facebook page: “Followers became friends along the way and sharing the same vision of a walking and cycling Metro Manila has helped grow my personal advocacy into a community.”
- It promotes equality
On the road, all bikes are equal. Moreover, cycling advocates that everyone, regardless of gender or economic status, should be equal.
“Cycling presents opportunities for a better life in helping people get to work, school, and markets. It is also a gateway to gender equality, especially in societies where females are kept from driving motorized vehicles. Safe infrastructures can encourage more women and girls to use bikes,” said Camara.
- It teaches everyone to be kind
Cycling can help people adopt a more compassionate worldview. “Biking everywhere helped me experience what is lacking in terms of policy and infrastructure for the majority of commuters who travel outside of motor vehicles,” said Pelicano.
At the same time, non-bikers are urged to share the road, respect bike lanes, and be cautious around bikers. “Adapt and be kind. Biking is new for most of us, so if some of us are slow and uneasy, it means that we’re learning as we go,” said Caruncho.
- It transforms our cities for the better
“Who would have ever imagined segregated, protected bike lanes on EDSA?” cited Sunny Sevilla of the Move as One Coalition. “It’s starting to happen!”
The pandemic became a tipping point for the government to address its transport problem. With limited public transit options over the past year, they focused on the capital’s growing number of cyclists. Recently, San Juan and Manila both partnered with Allianz PNB Life to launch the country’s first solar-powered bike pit stop and themed bike racks and art installations.
Together with these local governments and biking organizations, the major life insurer advocates for bike-friendly and sustainable cities, starting with Metro Manila.
“Allianz PNB Life promotes bike safety and education with the Ride Safe campaign. Through our various partnerships, we are able to widen and enrich our advocacy to empower more Filipinos,” said Chief Marketing and Sustainability Officer Gino Riola.
The ultimate goal is not for cycling to be considered an alternative, but rather a mainstream mode of transportation.
“At Allianz, cycling is not just a way to get through the pandemic. It is a long-term investment towards a healthier, more progressive Philippines too,” said Riola.