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mountain biking

Binondo Tour on Folding Bikes via LRT Nov 30, 2009

Binondo Tour on Folding Bikes via LRT

Folding Bikes on the LRT
Through the tireless efforts of Padyak Project Foundation and Tiklop Society (both founded by fellow members of my beloved UP Mountaineers), folding bikes have become accessible on the LRT lines 1 and 2...even on rush no added charge! How cool is that?

Binondo Tour
Taking advantage of this opportunity, Pio Fortuno Jr. founded the Tiklop Society and organized the first Tiklop event while Jojo Gutierrez provided loaner Padyak bikes to those interested. Binondo Tour - assembly at UP for orientation, bike to the Katipunan LRT, board the train, get off at Recto and bike to Binondo for lunch....and back the same way.

Tiklop Crew

LRT Administrator Melquiades Robles
What comes as a big surprise to me is that the initiative came from LRT itself, through the vision of Administrator Melquiades Robles. Normally, to get government cooperation on such a community project, you have to go through layers upon layers of bureaucratic red tape until you throw-in the white towel, giving up in exasperation, anger and disillusion about the system. Really. It's like pulling teeth. I haven't met Administrator Robles, but I would really like to buy him beer!

What about the MRT?
That was my question too. Apparently, the MRT is privately owned and has its own policies independent of the LRT. According to MRT-Line 3's public relations officer Lysa Blancaflor, the MRT is congested enough and accommodating the bikes mean displacing passengers. This is sad. The MRT plies the dense EDSA route. Accommodating folding bikes will help decongest EDSA. One pressing idea: how about deploying more trains on the MRT?

While it may seem like a small token-gesture on the surface, the beneficiaries of this move are countless:
  • little guys like security guards, waiters, warehouse people who spend a wad on multiple modes of public transport (tricycle, then jeep, then bus, etc). Now, they only pay the LRT.
  • people who now brave commuting their regular bikes along the perilous and heavily polluted Taft Avenue or Aurora Blvd to get to work
  • lastly and perhaps the most promising group, the white-collar types who would rather NOT bring their cars to work. That saves them fuel, parking and a lot of aggravation weaving through traffic. When this program broadens, think of how many cars you won't be seeing on the streets! Totally cool.

There are a good number of places I'd like to go to within Metro Manila with my bike, but the spectre of weaving through congested traffic in this heavily polluted city remains daunting. The LRT changes all that. Far flung restaurants, parks, gigs, provincial bus depots are all just a short LRT ride away.

You can bike to the nearest LRT station and head out as far as Binondo for that authentic lunch (or any other food destination close to any LRT station)...and be back to work by 1! How about taking the LRT to the CCP complex and board the ferry to Corregidor? That was nearly too costly if you had to cab the bike, and outright impossible if you have 2 full bikes.

Ending Thoughts
Wow, Metro Manila just got a little smaller and accessible with LRT's accommodation of folding bikes. I certainly hope other government agency-heads take on Administrator Robles' lead by implementing policies that can vertically integrate the LRT initiative. I could think of a good number - dedicated bike lanes along major thoroughfares, strict implementation of clean air laws, bike parking on government builings, etc.

One guy on a bike cascades to many things on many levels:

  • one less car on the street
  • less use of fossil fuel
  • cleaner air
  • one fit guy
Special mention goes to The Firefly Brigade for mobilizing the biking community in support of the LRT initiative. Of course, many many thanks to Jojo Gutierrez and Pio Fortuno Jr. for organizing this trip and lending us some folding bikes for the event! The planet is greener with you guys around!

--- TheLoneRider

    LRT Ground Rules:
  • Max of 4 folding bikes can be loaded at a time and only on the last car. The 5th bike has to wait for the next train.
  • Bikes should already be folded upon entering the LRT premises.
  • Bike tire should be no bigger than a 24" diameter (bmx size).
    Tips on bringing folding bikes on the LRT:
  • Get a strap cord to keep the bikes folded. Bikes can inadvertently unfold.
  • Apply dry wax to lubricate the chains. Dry lubs don't smear on your pants.
  • Buy the lightest folding bike you can afford. You'll feel its weight as you carry them up and down the stairscase.
    Places to Buy Folding Bikes:
  • V Luna Road Ext. cor Kalayaan Avenue - you'll see folding bikes displayed with some wooden furniture. Owner: Mang Endong

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Reader Comments:

"Let me touch base with you then and perhaps we can find a common time for beer and folding bikes" -- TheLoneRider
Mel Robles
(May 10, 2011) Ok. Call me a few days before you come to Manila. We can even ask our congessmen and senators to enact laws so that the government will be obliged to implement activities that would promote the use of bikes and healthy lifestyle in general. See you.

"Ask me for beer and we can talk about the future of folding bikes in trains..." -- Mel Robles
(May 10, 2011) ...very cool of you to respond, Mr. Robles. It's an honour and privilege to buy you beer. As far as I'm concerned, you Da Man who made it happen. I have however, relocated to Dumaguete. But I will be passing through Manila early June and again early July. Let me touch base with you then and perhaps we can find a common time for beer and folding bikes.

Mel Robles
(May 9, 2011) Hi, I'm former LRTA administrator Mel Robles. Read your article just now after a couple of years. Ask me for beer and we can talk about the future of folding bikes in trains especially now that the prices of gasoline are going higher and higher. I think I can do more things now that I'm in the private sector.

Jim Ward
(Dec 13, 2009) I have a BROMPTON I bought 1997 in Shanghai during my 5 year posting there. Used on my travels to the 9 cities I covered in those days (corporate...before my liberation). Can't wait to take it on LRT...also...anybody out there can recommend a sturdy carrying case for airline check in ? I am going Osaka in Feb and intend to bring it along.

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