“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them”Ernest Hemingway
98 Rides. 2,055 km distance. Ride climb as high as 566 masl. That’s how a year of cycling through the pandemic looks like from my Strava. At least the ones I were able to log. It’s been a year since I had En, what I call my Dahon Route folding bike. What the stats doesn’t show are the loads of cargo my bike handled running grocery errands, the sense of freedom riding a bike brought in the constrained world of community quarantine and pesos I saved and possible COVID19 transmissions I avoided by using my bike as an active transport.
My Beast of Burden
It was in June 17 when I excitedly unboxed my Dahon Route. I considered myself lucky buying the last silver unit at Raptor when bikes were selling-out fast in the market. When public transpo was suspended, many shifted to cycling. Hence the huge demand.
Several reasons for buying a Dahon folding a bike instead of a full-sized bike for me;
- Space saver. We have a small home and I want something compact at home. It was easy to just fold and store.
- Portability. It was easy to take a folding bike around. It can be brought inside malls, a few establishments and even in boats and trains. If ever I get a flat (which happened twice already), it was easy to fold it up and take a taxi. In the future, if ever we can freely travel again, I am planning to take the bike on trips too.
- Durability. It took me a while to choose the right bike for me. There were a lot of good ones but I chose to go with Dahon’s legacy. I even thought it was a local brand before pronouncing Dahon as a leaf but it was really “day-hon”. I had no regrets.
My Dahon had been sturdy and reliable. Able to carry my weight and more efficiently. And the mileage it is capable, seen from other Dahon Route users is amazing. (Check out the Dahon Route Philippines Group at Facebook)
Active Transport & Better Infrastructure
Since the pandemic started, I could count with my hands the number of times I took public transpo like jeeps, UV Express and buses. Somehow, I find it a lot more convenient just to take my bike to go around the city.
And with a number of advocacy groups and organizations pushing for better bike infrastructure, I had seen our roads and establishments becoming more bike friendly. We now have plenty of bike lanes. While not yet optimal in design, it’s a good step in the right direction.
Bike to Explore
Cyclists see considerably more of this beautiful world than any other class of citizens. A good bicycle, well applied, will cure most ills this flesh is heir to”Dr K.K. Doty
My greatest takeaway from biking is being able to explore. It served me well keeping my sanity and mental health balance of not being able to travel as I usually do. Getting on the saddle, propelled by pedaling, I was able to go places in and around the city. It gives greater satisfaction that I used my energy and sweat to get me where I’m going. See the city more intimately in this slow pace of travel.
For a year I have rediscovered my fondness for places within my pedaling powers. The cool highlands of Antipolo and the rest of Rizal. The wonders of South Luzon alike. It kept that sense of wonder in wandering alive.
Beyond the Horizon
The future still looks a bit vague at the moment but one thing is for sure, we’re still moving forward and keeping our balance. That what has biking has thought me.
I’m excited for another year with En, my Dahon Route. Maybe this time I can take it to places.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.