March 24, 2023

Stella Maria L. de Guia
Albert Einstein once said, “Life is like riding a bicycle; to keep your balance you must keep moving.”
Jerry Bejar, 38 years old and biking aficionado with four kids shared so many insights and pictures with me in this article.
“In order to make ends meet, I opted to bike-to-work to save on fare. I do not only save money but I gain better health. I also lost weight, strengthened my immune system and gained more friends along the way. I think I became part of the solution by helping in the reduction of traffic congestion and the lessening of the carbon footprint in the environment,” says Bejar.
He also shared that Adam Stones of TedxSherborne, the five transformation impacts of cycling to health (mental health covering stress, anxiety and depression; physical – heart, diabetes, etc.), mobility (transportation ease), community (effect on all age groups as everyone is equal in the cycling world), environment (pollution and the less carbon footprint) and the economic (creative and productive).
He continued: “We all need to follow traffic rules and regulations. Hopefully, our government would provide policies or laws that could provide protection and benefits for the bikers. Since we are now in the new normal, which demands social distancing, the best way to avoid crowded commute is through biking, an ideal alternative, efficient, cheap, beneficial and a sustainable mode of transportation.”
“Karl and I bike as a form of exercise. We also like biking because it is outdoor and brings us to beautiful places,” shares beautiful mom of four Maria Theresa “Coots” Bogayong, who also owns Sweet Stop.
She added: “Karl bikes with Raldy (his brother) every Saturday on trails but on weekdays, he bikes with me. We do not go out on dates anymore. We consider biking our special time together plus it is matipid. We only spend for ‘taho’ when we date and enjoy it even more now because Kage (their youngest son) and his friends ride with us. We make this activity a great bonding experience.”
Vlogger Marcel Badua who promotes biking through his MarcelBikeTV says, “I am a newbie. Medyo naging public ang life ko sa biking. Natawa nga mga friends ko kasi kung kelan pandemic, saka ako lumalabas dito sa lungga ko. Next plan ko sa vlog ko is to tell stories or history depende – which road I am taking.”
I was in for a surprise. There was so much to learn. To me cycling was associated with the “Tour of Luzon,” stationary cycling for exercises and Burnham Park.
On Sunday, I was told that about 400 to 600 bikers participated in the star-studded fun race which passed thru many roads and landmarks in the city before bikers converged at Baguio Convention Center grounds. The bike event was led by Mayor Benjie Magalong, who promotes both biking and running. I understand Kim Atienza or Kuya Kim of the “weather weather lang” fame joined the event.
Some of the biking groups in Baguio are the Daily Cycle Movement, whose founders are James Ward and the late Imam Bedejim Abdullah, Metro Baguio Bikers, Baguio Mountain Bikers, Team Nitro, Nomads, Team Etag, Team Saleng, NextGen, Highland Brotherhood, and Baguio’s Finest Foldies. Some of the competing professional bikers are JT Gonzales, the Hamada-Ramos family and JP Alipio, a cycling advocate from La Trinidad, Benguet. Even my nephews, Kidlat, Kawayan and Kabunian are bike lovers. It is estimated that we have around two to five thousand bikers in Baguio with some do it casually, as a hobby, to bike to work or do errands and some for competition.
Another group last Sunday went to take another route. They were joined by National Action Plan against Covid-19 Deputy Chief Implementer Secretary Vince Dizon and his wife Essie. Karl and Coots Bogayong and the Yabut families with friends went with them on an exhilarating and breathtaking ride to Alphaland Baguio Mountain Lodges located at Km. 9, Ambuklao Road in Itogon, Benguet.
Here, they rested awhile and continued on to Binga Dam. Alphaland Baguio Mountain Lodges, is owned by Bob Ongpin of the Balesin Island favorite destination of movie stars and noted personalities. On their way back, the group stopped by a small coffee shop owned and run by an old John Hay employee, Philippine Team Coach Melvin Ramos Fausto.
According to Marianne Carnece, mother of 12-year-old John David “Jan-jan” a unicycling enthusiast and his 10-year-old sister Rhianne, her children are both unicyclers and monocylers who join bike runs. Janjan started unicycling at the age of five. Her kids are part of the Baguio Unicycle Kids with her husband Julius as coach.
Jerry mentioned there is an ordinance making Sunday as a bicycle day. Councilor Mylen Yaranon also submitted a proposal to promote cycling as a mode of transportation. There were also some projects initiated by the government and private sectors for bike parking spaces. These are located along Lake Drive, in front of Prime Hotel and at the City Hall. Bike lanes are still on the pipe line, but he hopes the mayor will pursue the idea.
A typo error last week on my article, “Here comes the green enthusiasts”.It should be careful “though”… Thanks and Happy World Tourism Day today!