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National Bike Day and the Hell Ride on Edsa

National Bike Day

A gathering of the tribes

I like long solo rides or epic rides with a small group. I like rides up in the mountains where the view and the fresh air make it worth the effort. These are the kinds of rides I usually do—the kind of bike rides I really enjoy.

But I also see the value in joining critical mass rides or CMRs. These are gatherings of hundreds, and sometimes thousands of bikers to ride on streets normally claimed by cars and other motorized vehicles. I believe that biking should not just be a means for having good, clean fun outdoors; it should also be a means for keeping the outdoors good, fun, clean and free from toxic suffocating oily halitosis that seems to perpetually choke our cities. And yes, I believe the urban landscape is also part of the great outdoors.

As a former tibak from Peyups, I also like the idea of thousands of cyclists taking over the streets to demonstrate their collective power. Last Sunday, November 23, cyclists from all over Metro Manila joined the first National Bike Day (NBD). Thousands more joined them in the provinces in a nationwide push to promote cycling as a viable means of urban transport, and to pressure the government to make the roads safer for cyclists.

Interestingly though, it was also on this day that Kara and I found out first hand just how unsafe Metro Manila’s most well-known road is for bikers. Calling Edsa unsafe is putting it very mildly.  Para kang nakikipagpatintero kay kamatayan is more like it. 

National Bike Day


We originally wanted to do the less challenging NBD North Loop which would pass through San Juan, Manila, Navotas, Malabon, Caloocan, Quezon City, Marikina, and Pasig. But we wound up at Tiendesitas instead where thousands of eager bikers were itching to test themselves on the much longer and harder NBD South Loop going all the way to Muntinlupa and Las Piñas before going back to Pasig.

Since we had joined several Firefly tours before, we thought we knew what to expect in this ride. But the sheer length of it still surprised us. I mean, it’s not everyday that you get to bike from Pasig all the way to SLEX and Las Pinas. This is a route normally traversed using cars or buses.

As the ride went on, the ‘peloton’ got stretched and thinned, and we got separated from the main group along the way to Macapagal boulevard. Kara and I decided that the best way to rejoin the group was to do a shortcut. But because I was unfamiliar with the road layout of Roxas boulevard, we wound up on Edsa. Big effin mistake.

National Bike Day

We took over C5!

National Bike Day

Nothing like a CMR to get a sense of community

National Bike Day

One of the many chokepoints along the way

National Bike Day

It would’ve been cool if we could just keep riding, but chokepoints like this are a fact of life in CMRs

National Bike Day

Kudos to the Paranaque gov’t for arranging a bike lane for the participants of the NBD

National Bike Day

Bikes get swamped by the traffic

National Bike Day

We couldn’t pass up on a photo op like this

National Bike Day

Next time we’ll try to see the church with the bamboo organ

National Bike Day

Filinvest could rival BGC in terms of cycling friendliness

Edsa is really the pits. It’s one thing to bike through kilometers of trails and mountain roads bereft of smoke belching buses and irate Suvs of b*tches. It was another thing to ride smack straight into the thickets of Car-mageddon.

The MMDA’s much hyped “bike lanes” were of no help. At certain sections of these sidewalks deceptively rebranded as ‘bike lanes,’ the width of the pavement got so narrow that even a kid on a Stryder would’ve had a hard time getting through.

Bike lanes kamo? Magseryoso naman kayo. E kahit pedestrian di gagamitin to.

Edsa Bike Lanes

This bike lane on Edsa Makati looks OK at first, but it’s revealed for the fakery it is along the way

Edsa Bike Lanes

Gusto nyo mag-bike?

Edsa Bike Lanes

Anong klaseng bike ang kasya dito? E kahit 3-year old na sakay ng Stryder di makakalusot dyan eh

Edsa Bike Lanes

Dear MMDA: Pls try harder. Di matatawag na bike lane ito

A lot of times, we had to get off the unbikable bike lane and ride on the road itself–a feat which scared me more than riding downhill on Shotgun in the downpouring rain. One bus overtook another bus and passed at full speed just inches away from us. Scary as hell.

We were finally able to exit this hell road on reaching the Edsa Central complex. Exhausted by this ordeal, we opted to just bike our way home to UP instead of going back to Tiendesitas.

The silver lining here is: we made it just in time for the Pacquiao-Algieri fight! Unfortunately it was a boring beat down. Or maybe that ride along Edsa had already drained me of any capacity for excitement.

Sayang ang feature na ito ng Word of the Lourd. This should have been shared days before the NBD ride.

Anyway, to the brave souls who brave Edsa on bikes to get to their jobs, I salute you. You are way more hardcore than any downhiller on Earth.

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  • Nice one Sir! Dapat ata magorganize ng panibagong discipline sa cycling na ‘death rcycling’ tapos sa Edsa ang route. Then Super Black category talaga siya.

    Sobrang nakakatakot po talaga magbike sa mga main roads natin dito sa Metro Manila. Sobrang siga ng mga PUVs! Hopefully makita naman ng mga mambabatas natin yung halaga ng cycling sa community at magpromote ng mga bike safety rules, bike lanes at syempre, mandatory bike parking spaces sa mga establishments.

    • kung magbibigay sila ng isang lane sa edsa for bikers, ang laking ginhawa sana nun. at dadami pa ang maeengganyo na mag-bike

  • Nakakalungkot po talaga ang mga kalsada natin dito sa Pilipinas. Kanina lang halos lahat, sasagasaan ako sa bike lane. Mapa-motor, truck, at jeep.. Sana magkaroon tayo ng maayos na kalsada para sa mga bisikleta.. Pati na rin po parking ng mga bike sa mga building o sa malapit sa mga LRT/MRT stations.

  • If I was permitted to shoot all the drivers that tried to kill me in EDSA, I would have probably committed mass murder a long time ago.

  • Hello sir,
    I did not join the NBD event due to a tight schedule I’ve got that weekend. Lol..although caught up with the peloton heading towards Solaire Aseana Blvd..traffic went to a sudden halt as this stretched peloton went through–much to the dismay of some motorists. Aha…that bike lane in EDSA Makati area…minsan amoy ihi dun..excuse me po! Going that way is no pleasant matter. For sure participating in the NBD event is fun in some way. I hope to participate next year if ever there will be another NBD event. Well more power to you sir.

    • Hi arturo,

      Yeah. Masaya naman ang National Bike Day. I wouldn’t mind joining it again, pero siguro dun sa mas maiksing ruta 🙂