Two-wheel movement

By Terri M. Amador

IF I were to lose my legs, I’m sure all those who know me well would understand why, instead of the usual prosthetics, I would rather have bicycle wheels as replacement limbs.

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With them, I would always be off to a rolling start, hit the ground running, and when Haysoos takes the wheel, he takes me with him whether he likes to or not.

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By Haysoos I mean Jim Caviezel, of course. Or Diego Morado. Whichever man floats your boat.

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Or turns your water into wine.

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I don’t own a car, and find that I have no serious need for one. On days when I have to transport heavy stuff or items that won’t fit in my basket, I hail a GDR cab, haul my things onto the trunk, and…give the driver directions to my house.

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Yes, even on those rare times, I still choose to tail the taxi on my bicycle rather than sit in the cab and wish I didn’t have to.

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Most of the drivers are amazed at how they don’t have to wait too long for me or how I arrive AHEAD of them, which makes me wonder if they see me less as a person on a bicycle and more as a three-toed sloth.

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My bicycle serves me well as it serves you. Yes, you, and this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

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Because my ride has zero emission, I do not pollute the air you breathe 17,000 – 50,000 times or more a day. (You’re welcome!)

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I am not the cause of the slow-moving and often tangled mess you find yourselves in during rush hours. Nor am I the reason you have ringing in your ears; you have loud traffic or tinnitus to blame for that.

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The truth is, if more people biked than drove cars, if bicycles outnumbered vehicles on the road, traffic congestion and noise pollution would be greatly reduced. We can all breathe better, hear clearly, and get home early.

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Perhaps then as well we can finally stop giving “Filipino time” as our go-to excuse for being socially tardy.

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Do you know how much money is squandered when commuters are stuck in traffic? According to one estimate, about P3.5 billion daily! As for total Pinoy time wasted? At least in the capital city Manila, 16 days a year!

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In contrast, I am hardly ever stuck in traffic and it takes me only 25 minutes on average to bike from Lapaz to Megaworld even when the flow is particularly heavy. And I don’t have to spend an eternity to look for parking, either.

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I also know I make people smile. I’m not oblivious to the amount of attention I get when I’m on the road or the bicycle lane. After all, you’d be hard-pressed to find another middle-aged woman on a pink bike festooned with flowers, blasting Iggy Azalea on speaker.

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Connecting with people around me even when I’m continuously on-the-go is a perk of biking I love. Strangers wave at me, give me a thumbs-up, even take photos. This is probably the closest I will ever get to having celebrity status.

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So far that star-adjacent status affords my bicycle extra protection, as manong guards keep a close eye on her. That’s well and good.

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But what I really want is for people to recognize me and other bike-to-work individuals as supporters of the environment as well as health allies, not as nuisance. We bike not only for our health but for yours and your children’s, too.  We do not endanger lives; we make roads safer. So why not join us in our movement? Be the change you want to see in our world and make it happen on two wheels.

 

Terri Amador, a.k.a. The Lady on the Pink Bike, is a bike-to-work advocate who thinks she will be inspired to write essays that can help reverse global warming or, at the very least, contain even half a cup of sense. But don’t count on it.