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The Trouble With Riding Bicycles During the Pandemic

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Avatar for LucyStephanie
Written by   225
6 months ago

Have you learned to bike because of the pandemic? How far were you able to go on a bicycle due to necessity? For me the most memorable was the first time I had to go to work and back home for a total of almost 18 kilometers! Oh the pain. 😆

I have never biked as far as that until last year. 💀 When I was in grade school until high school, we used to bike around town. After that I have not used any bike at all. Last year I started biking again and man I realized I am so unfit. 😆 Yes I still am even up to now because I don't bike regularly.

TL:DR;

Commuting Thoughts Before 2020

Three years ago I hated commuting. Everytime I go to and from work, the traffic was just terrible especially during rush hour. When I was working in the BPO industry I didn't experience such problems because the roads were always without traffic. Unfortunately I left that career and became a real estate agent. Boom, suddenly going to work and coming home sucked. And I was also sweating most of the time because I got used to working in a cold office.

Image from Pixabay

As a result, you'd have to leave work early so you won't have to "battle" others just to ride a bus or train home. You'd also have to leave home early to avoid long lines and not be late to work or meetings.

In 2019 I began to think about buying a bike so I can use it to commute to work. I was so tired of everyday commute that I imagined having a bicycle would make my life easier. And then 2020 came, boom! Suddenly people had to stay home and quarantine.

The Year Quarantine Happened!

Who would have known 2020 would be a hard year? First the Taal Volcano erupted here in the Philippines and then boom, COVID-19 suddenly arrived.

On March 15, 2020 we all experienced a short-term lack of freedom to walk and travel anywhere. Daily walking/commuting stopped and then we saw the air was suddenly cleaner again. Jobs were laid off or temporarily halted. However people still had to eat so most of us would walk far before we can go to the nearest grocery. On top of that we had to carry heavy bags while walking back home. Oh man.

Image from Pixabay

How I Got My First Bike!

By mid-April I was sort of getting antsy. One day I saw some local fresh Carabao milk being sold online! Wow I have never tasted any before so of course I bought some and posted my haul online. 😂

Thanks to that I began selling milk and yogurts too! Heck why not when I became a No Work, No Pay individual. I also didn't feel like writing to earn extra cash at the time. I'm not sure why but I stopped doing everything I did to earn money when the quarantine happened. Who knows, maybe that was my way of coping with the situation? 🤔

Anyway Thank God I found a source of income then otherwise I wouldn't be able to stay active and buy a bike! God is good indeed. By mid-May though, I was too tired to keep selling the milk products. Those were heavy, especially when a customer buys several bottles you know. I also couldn't afford to buy a chiller to increase my stocks so I stopped selling instead.

It took me a few more days before I could decide to use the money I earned to buy my very first bike. By that time the price of bikes had already doubled so I ended up buying a Japan surplus folding bike instead.

My first bike. I sold it and got another bike though. Haha.

At First, Quarantines Made Traveling Harder

June 2020 came by and finally they eased the travel restrictions. Metro Manila, most commonly known as the National Capital Region, changed from Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) to General Community Quarantine (GCQ).

Finally some businesses were allowed to open, malls were minimally authorized to open necessary shops, etc. Too bad transportation wasn't enough for frontliners who needed to get to work. Many people didn't know how to get to their workplace since some companies didn't have shuttle services available to their employees.

Eventually people started donating and/or buying/selling more bicycles than usual. That augmented the lack of jeepneys and buses provided and allowed by the government. Who would have known that there's more to just buying a bicycle to commute and get to our workplaces?

Screenshot of image via ABS-CBN News

Bicycles Made Traveling Easier But...

By the time June came, I stopped selling dairies but still went out for food or groceries. It's better than being stuck at home doing nothing. At least I could exercise from time to time. I also had to buy a helmet for safety. ⛑️

By mid-June 2020 I was able to get a new job. We had a short online training and voila! I was hired and told all new agents were going to work at home! Then again, we were informed we had to go to a meeting at the office soon. Uh oh.

It's good I already had a bike then. I could avoid traveling in public utility vehicles and reduce the risk of getting the Corona virus. However there were more things I should have considered.

July 1st was our general assembly date. That meant I had to bike to and from work in two different cities: Quezon City and the City of San Juan! 😲

The 18 km Biking Experience

If you've been cycling for years then this would sound funny to you. As someone who started biking again after more than a decade, this was not easy at all! Can you imagine being unfit and only rarely biking short distances then suddenly you have to bike for almost 18 kilometers in one day? Dear lord, that was my most memorable and longest bike trail experience as an adult!

Of course I checked on my routes beforehand to prepare for the meeting. I got too excited about my first bike-to-work day that I couldn't sleep well the night before. On top of that I forgot to stretch and warm up on the day itself so guess what happened? 😂

Image via Pixabay

❌ The worst part:

On that day, a lot of inconvenient things happened to me:

  • A car swiped me while I was on the bike lane.

  • Some motorcycle riders used the major thoroughfare bike lane as if it was their lane.

  • When I got to work my hair continued to drip with sweat for hours. Oh gosh.

  • Going home took too much effort because I was too tired to pedal.

  • My muscles ached terribly until I got home. It got worse the next day. 😂

✅ The best part:

Surprise surprise, there is still no shortage of understanding/kind drivers and motorists! My first time to bike on a major highway and other roads was still a success! It warms my heart that:

  • Some people assisted / guided me towards the bike lane/s and such when I couldn't get to it.

  • Guards were kind enough to watch over my bike since I didn't have any bike lock and chain yet.

  • People in an online biking group also shared words of encouragement regarding my ordeal. This encouraged me to be more active to make long distance biking easier.

Image from Pixabay

12 Biking Lessons To Avoid Cycling Troubles

Because of what happened I learned having a bicycle is not as easy as I thought when I was younger. If it is just for leisure, sure there's no problem but if a bike is important to get you to work then it is a serious matter.

Should you need to continue using this even if there are more public vehicles to ride now, feel free to read my tips. Let me share with you what I learned from my entire experience. 😅 Biking to work can be easier only if you bear in mind the following:

  • Before buying a bicycle, find out which one is the best for your body type. If you're new to using a bike, the wrong one will be a pain/problem.

  • Join local bicycle groups in social networks like Facebook, etc. This is so you can find like-minded people who can help you out if you can't find the info online. You can also learn from the experiences they share.

  • Study your bike and the basics of how to maintain it. Also learn the biking do's and don'ts. Biker hand signals are important too. It's better to be safe than get into any accident.

Image via Pixabay
  • Find out and buy bicycle items for safety and maintenance as soon as you can. You never know when you'd need to pump air in the wheels, etc.

  • Bring a fresh set of clothes including toiletries. In case there's no place to shower at work you have to freshen up the right way too. Should your office provide a personal locker/drawer, then you won't need to do this all the time.

  • Plan your route at least the night before. This is so you can avoid longer unnecessary routes just to get to where you need to go.

  • Don't stay up late and have enough sleep the night before. You need complete focus and energy to stay safe on the road.

  • Use sunblock. If you don't like to get sunburnt then don't forget to use this.

  • Always warm up and stretch before leaving home. Otherwise you'll suffer muscle aches for a few days afterwards.

  • Leave early. It will give you enough time to rest so you can freshen up and change clothes at work in case there's no shower.

  • Do not use a heavy sling bag. Avoid pain in the neck (or shoulders) by using a backpack. Otherwise make sure your bicycle has a bike rack/basket for you to put your things in.

  • Own the bike lane or the IMAGINARY one if there isn't any. Being a defensive driver will bring you to the gutter. Make sure to follow traffic rules and still be careful while being on offense.

And with that I hope this helps you to be better at using your bicycle. Even if the pandemic finally ends, one needs to remember these things. Yes cycling isn't as simple as it seems but these can make it easier for everyone.

What do you think of my list? Any other lessons you'd also like to add? 😁 What's your quarantine biking/commuting story?

XOXO,

@LucyStephanie

(Lead/header image from Pixabay)

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Comments

Been teaching my 2 sons how to ride a bike before the pandemic unfortunately because of the pandemic their bikes are rusty now and didn't learn how to ride on their own yet😔

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6 months ago

Huh? Why all rusty immediately? Awww that's too bad. It can still be used for sure. They just need to be motivated enough to learn. :)

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6 months ago

Yeah, forgot to put some oil before keeping them.. 😔

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6 months ago

Maaalis pa yang mga rust ang alam ko. Lagyan lang ng oil and tanggalin mga rust ok pa. Unless nag-deteriorate na mismo yung metal?

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6 months ago

Biking can be dangerous for us. I have a lot of friends, doing biking. Especially at the road where there a lots of transportations. We should be aware with this...

God bless you sis..🙏❤️

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6 months ago

Yes it is dangerous but now that there are more bike lanes it is getting better as well. Thanks and God bless too. :)

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6 months ago

Ah yes atleast it will lessen the terrible incidents.. you're always welcome sis..

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6 months ago

not a fan of biking and also on the road competing with big vehicles...

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6 months ago

Naku gagi kaya pala nagko-Korea ka na lang. Hahaha.

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6 months ago

hahaha kaya nga eh hahaha

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6 months ago