Sunday, August 2, 2009
The true king of the road.
Do you own a bicycle?
Unlike in China and other Asian Countries where bicycle is a mode of transport, here in Manila you won't see many of them in the road. Yes, there are many kids riding their BMX bikes from neighborhood to neighborhood, but the ones on long hauls never number more than a handful. Sometime I see cyclist in their cycling gear riding their bikes and I cannot understand how they survive Manila's awful roads with those thin tires. One has to literally have iron balls to ride a racing bike in the city.
If you are riding on a mountain bike, you are allowed to travel via the main roads, service roads, sidewalks and any other path. I see riders passed all motorized vehicles which sit and wallow in the constant gridlock. They cut in and around traffic, ride on a sidewalk, ride in the wrong way down a one way street. They even run red lights. You see, bikes here are given total leeway. A person on a bike can do as he pleases!
I understand that on a mountain bike, one can easily get around much faster than a car when you're in Manila. Don't get me wrong, of course, using a car or public transport is faster, but only if every single person in the city came down with a flu on the exact same day and called in sick to work.
But riding a bike has its set back - one arrive to work hot as hell, perspiring and stinking to high heaven. Some people though just don't care what their office mates think about their cologne, Eau de Traffic, as long as they get to the office on time!
I am not surprise anymore why bicycle riders are bold. It's because the surest way to an accident here in Manila is to go out there in the street and be timid and hide from rampaging cars, buses and jeepneys, all of whom so courteously follow one law - the law of the jungle! So that means, in a bike one has to make himself known. He has to put himself out there for all to see. Because while the driving habits of Filipinos are generally atrocious, they are, nonetheless, quite defensive drivers. In fact, there are far less car accidents in Manila and this is not because drivers have any overriding concern about the fellow human being. It's just that they are terrified about getting a scratch on their car! God forbid a Filipino gets a little scratch on his car!!!
Oh I would rather ride a bike in the province where I will be cruising up and down lush green hills, through gorgeous valleys and around shimmering bodies of water while enjoying fresh air and nature's beauty.
So, when did you last ride your bike?