The kingpins of Philippine cycling started putting their act together to instill a culture of cycling come the “new normal” brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lina Group of Companies’ Bert Lina (AIR21), Ronda Pilipinas’s Moe Chulani (LBC) and Go For Gold’s Jeremy Go kicked off the virtual organizational meeting via Zoom on Tuesday morning, aiming to chart the route that would make the bicycle a major mode of transportation during and after the quarantine.
Le Tour de Filipinas President Donna Lina and race project manager Sunshine Joy Mendoza, 7-Eleven Cliqq Roadbike Philippines AIR21’s Ric Rodriguez, Lina’s chief of staff Titus Reyes and national team coaches Ednalyn Hualda (Go For Gold) and Reinhard Gorantes, also of Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance, joined the initiative that also seeks to assist government in the establishment of regulation bike lanes in national, city and municipal roads.
Lina, in his capacity as chairman, and Chulani along with Jun Lomibao, as members of the board of directors, represented PhilCycling in the meeting.
This marks the first time in Philippine cycling history that the sport’s major stakeholders, race organizers and team managers banded together amid government’s effort to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus by making public transportation safe.
“There is a need to develop a proof-of-concept (POC) design adopting the bike lanes that have already been launched,” Lina said. “The group could come up with a proposal to fix the existing bike lanes.”
Chulani said bike lanes have already been established in Antipolo City, Iloilo City, Quezon City, Marikina City, Pasig City, among others, and stressed Ronda Pilipinas’s full support to the endeavor.
“Ronda Pilipinas launched two cycling lanes in Iloilo and Antipolo two years ago,” Chulani said. “The bike lanes are maintained by private groups.”
Go concurred but stressed the configuration of bicycle lanes should prioritize the safety of riders. “A separate bike lane must be created and cyclists must also learn to follow the traffic regulations,” he said.
The concern regarding bicycle lanes is one of several objectives the group aims to accomplish. The other major concern is on how to instill a cycling culture in the community.
Rodriguez, citing the Indonesian model, said cities and municipalities should be encouraged to observe a regular cycling holiday when all motorized vehicles are banned in a particular area in favor of the bicycle at least one day each week.
The group said it will be supporting congress’s efforts favoring the use of bicycles. Representatives Karlo Nograles and Jericho Jonas Nograles filed in 2016 House Bill No. 174 that seeks the creation of the Local Bikeways Office while Senator Pia Cayetano filed last week Senate Bill 1518 that aims to establish a network of pop-up bicyle lanes and pathways during the pandemic.
The stakeholders said they also hope that Senator Francis Tolentino revive the cycling advocacy he established when he was the chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.
Lina also pinpointed the Central Luzon State University as a potential pilot venue for the advocacy.
The group would be creating a data base of cycling clubs and organizations to expand the advocacy’s reach, as well as connect the effort with the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission.