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Manila bike commuting

Pedal to the pebble: why I bike

For the last 3 weeks, I have been bike commuting from Cubao to Makati and back. I do this around 2-3 times a week,  leaving anywhere between 9 and 10 am, and coming back between 8-10 pm.

Aside from the usual reasons for not bringing a car, like saving gas (100 pesos a day) and parking fees (80 pesos a day), one big reason is that it beats getting a cab and riding the MRT. Getting a cab at rush hour is virtually impossible and the waiting uncertain, and if you do get one, you still have to go through the traffic, the driver attitude, and the smelly cab. On the other hand, riding an MRT is also becoming a painful experience, with the crowd and the long lines. In short, to commute is to suffer.

In contrast, going on bike is always a simple hop anytime, and takes the same amount of time to my office (35 minutes), no matter the traffic. Each bike ride is guaranteed to be interesting; compare that to a boring drive in an air-conditioned box. Somehow, all the senses are heightened as the whole environment seems to assault you: cars running behind you, people darting in and out of your path, potholes and pebbles strewn along the way. All of this happens at close range, and things that were barely noticed suddenly seem fascinating.

Of course, this has to do with the fact that nothing separates you from the environment: the wind (and pollution) on your face, your foot touching the ground, you feel each rut of the road, you pick up people’s conversations (and stares). In other words, it’s always an adventure that one looks forward to.

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