Yesterday I biked with the Mini Velo Club Philippines. One of the members Edwin saw me biking in Valenzuela City yesterday and recognized me from posts being shared on Facebook. He took a photo of me and posted it and it made it to friends of friends who tagged me. Another MVCP member Edmon saw me biking in Quezon City circle, also recognized me from FB posts and stopped to introduce himself. We got in touch and decided to do a night ride meeting at UP Diliman Oblation. Edmon led the ride through secondary roads like Kamuning, Timog, and past ABS CBN. We passed an area called Scout where all the streets named are named after Boy Scouts who died in a plane crash. I think another interesting project would be to map out Metro Manila by the stories of street names. If only there were more hours in the day...if anyone wants to take that on I'll gladly help!
The streets weren't that crowded actually 730-830pm which was surprising. We were joined by another new member to the group, Dail Deri. It was her first night right and it was also her first time biking solo when she met up with us at UP Diliman. She said after reading my blog she was inspired to make the trip alone from her house to the university. I'm so happy to be connecting with other female bikers through this adventure. Dail and I discussed her apprehensions about biking alone, mostly regarding safety. She isn't sure how to bike on crowded roads and is afraid that she will be robbed or worse. These fears are legitimate and I'm not sure what to tell her. I think joining a bike group is a smart way to get comfortable on Manila streets. When I first started biking in Manila I joined the Wednesday night rides with Manila Fixed Gear. They helped me feel confident enough to eventually bike alone.
Last night the MVCP guys were all gentlemen guides, stopping traffic for us, making sure everyone stayed together, and leading the way. It was a welcome break from having to navigate on my own and fend for myself and I was happy that Dail enjoyed her first night ride.
Afterwards we hung out at the Food Truck Park on Maginhawa. I learned that one of the riders bikes Commonwealth Avenue everyday to go to work. I honestly don't know how he does it. I asked them if they would rather have bike lanes on secondary roads or primary roads. They prefer primary roads, even if there's more pollution because pollution is everywhere anyways, and at least on the main roads they reach their destinations more quickly. Aside from protected bike lanes on roads such as Quezon Ave and Commonwealth, they would like to see secure bike parking and showers so they can bike to work. They would be wiling to pay 20 pesos for bike parking in which there is a security guard and they are given a number along with their bike. They choose places like the Food Truck Park to hang out because they can watch their bikes. They would bike to malls if they were allowed to park the bikes in a secure place; currently, the security guards let them park in secluded parts of the garages which they do not trust. They would also like showers. Apparently there is a Bike Cafe near MOA where you can shower if you buy food and they have also paid 50 pesos before for showers at bike race events like the Audax Ride in Subic where the Mango Valley Hotel allowed participants to pay to use the spa facilities.
This is a fascinating idea. There are numerous spas all over Metro Manila; I wonder if they would offer an early morning special for bikers who want to use the facilities to get ready for work? They could also offer bike parking/storage at the spa. Given the price point identified by these bikers, that's at least 70 pesos for shower and parking that each spa could make per customer. It's possible to fit what, 20 bikes in a parking spot? At least? I would spend 150 pesos to be able to park my bike for the day, use the space, and even have a locker to store belongings while I go to work. This is something I'd like to explore.
Thank you Mini Velo Club Philippines also for my club shirt, bike socks, and my pin! I started this trip to better know the city and that includes the people who make it awesome. Thank you for reaching out and welcoming me!