Cycling through the New Normal

In a study by iPrice group last year, the Philippines registered a 163% increase in Google searches for bicycles in 2020 compared to 2019.

This is not a surprise because this curiosity is fueled by the glaring deficiencies of the country’s transportation system. During the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ),  the operation of all public transportation vehicles was ordered to stop in hopes of reducing the spread of COVID-19.

This prompted a lot of citizens, particularly the working class who rely mainly on public transport, to consider other cost-effective options.

You know what happened next.

Despite this undesirable reason for the bicycle search spike in 2020, one thing is sure: the overwhelming benefits of using bicycles are slowly creeping into the Filipino consciousness. The circumstances brought upon by the pandemic forced us to rethink the way we commute. Biking is in, biking is good, biking is cheap. But why should we really consider it in the first place?

  1. Using bicycles can help reduce carbon emissions.

If you are an environmentalist, you’ll probably laugh and say, “Hey, that’s pretty obvious. Can you give me some more?”.

In a 2015 study by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (a non-profit organization based in New York), it was found that a 20 percent increase in cycling worldwide could cut carbon dioxide emissions of transport vehicles by nearly 11 percent come 2050. Imagine the increase if a lot more people will use bikes!

On an individual scale, European Cyclists’ Federation offers another interesting statistics about CO2 emissions of vehicles:

Riding a bus will produce lower emissions per passenger compared to riding a car but using bicycles can significantly decrease the carbon emissions by a maximum of 271 percent!

It is without a doubt that actively choosing bicycles over other types of transport is already a step towards a healthier environment. We are cycling our way to combat climate change!

  1. Cycling has a loooooooong list of health benefits.

Have you heard of the phrase, “One good ride a day keeps the doctor away”?

Of course not.

We invented it.

But cycling does have interesting health benefits that can keep your doctors at bay.

Harvard Health highlights the main physical benefits of cycling: it is easy on the joints, it provides an aerobic workout, it builds the bone and the muscle and it can improve balance and endurance. It’s literally a complete workout routine on its own!

It is interesting to highlight that these physical benefits also extend up to our mental health. Because cycling stimulates the cardiovascular system, it also allows for the rapid pump of endorphins and other happy hormones such as dopamine and serotonin throughout our body which promotes feelings of pleasure and happiness.

Want to feel good right now? Grab a bike and circuit around your neighborhood for a few minutes!

  1. Riding a bicycle is cheap.

In the Philippines, a decent bicycle can cost between $100 – $400. Assuming a working citizen spends around $2 a day in public transportation for a total of 10 km ride, you need to ride the bicycle for 2 to 8 months before getting the most out of your bicycle. If you think about it, this is a good return of investment (ROI) compared to buying a car with additional fuel costs. 

BBC explored this deeper and compared the ROI of bicycles in different cities:

For people living in London and New York, the ROI is fast. It also reflects the relative expensiveness of public transport in these cities.

If you think about it, the benefits of using a bicycle over other available public transport is enormous. In Suyo Mobile App, a rising peer-to-peer (P2P) delivery network in the Philippines, bicycle couriers have been recently integrated this February 2021 in its efforts to take part in creating a more sustainable environment. In terms of cost, it is definitely cheaper because the cost of owning a bike beats other types of transport!

Here’s another interesting insight from Visor on why you should consider bicycles on your next delivery requests: Deliveroo, a British food courier company, listed bicycles as their top-performing vehicle (beating motorcycles, cars and motor scooters) according to the data gathered from 13 countries where they operate. If you think about it, in cities wherein traffic gridlock is inevitable, the power of bicycles lies on their size enabling them to breeze through the traffic. They can move like pedestrians and they can even use the sidewalks to avoid traffic which can greatly reduce the travel time. Additionally, bicycles have better parking flexibility compared to other vehicles. It seems funny but other vehicles usually take up a lot of time just to find decent parking. The clock is ticking and it is important to save the precious minutes when you are delivering.

What more do we need to add? It’s obvious that bicycles offer a new way to overcome our current commute and delivery hurdles. Of course, promoting cycling also implies creating better infrastructures (such as bike lanes) to safely accommodate our bicycle riders. We also need to highlight that bicycles have inherent limitations. They rely heavily on human power which means traveling extremely long distances is out of the equation.

What are you waiting for? Download the Suyo Mobile App now in Android and iOS!

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