‘CYCLING CITY’: Iloilo welcomes over 2K cyclists on Nat’l Bike Day

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor and Mariela Angella Oladive

The streets of Iloilo City were filled again with thousands of cyclists and bike enthusiasts nationwide as it hosted the National Bike Day (NBD) Awards and Recognition from November 24 to 26.

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas said hosting the NBD shows the city’s commitment to fighting climate change through the promotion of sustainable transportation.

“Today is not just a celebration of biking as a culture but a demonstration of our shared commitment to fighting climate change by advancing alternative modes of transportation in line with our vision for a greener and more sustainable country,” he said.

The mayor said the city is honored to host the biggest biking event in the country.

“As the country’s bike capital and a three-time Gold Awardee for both mobility and bike lane awards, Iloilo City is truly honored to host this year’s National Bike Lane awards. We are proud to showcase our multi-awarded bike lanes and facilities.”

Emphasizing the value of collective effort for a healthier and more sustainable future, Treñas encouraged everyone to make cycling a way of life.

“Let’s continue pedaling forward as we strive to build better, healthier, and more sustainable communities for all.”

Around 2,000 cyclists reportedly participated in the different biking activities of the three-day celebration.

“As the host city, we take pride in welcoming cyclists from different parts of the country,” he added.

It is the first time the NBD was held outside Metro Manila since its inception in November 2014.

The three-day celebration includes a bike expo, exhibit, and tour scheduled for November 24; a criterium race for road bikes, an active mobility forum, a bike fashion style showcase, and a bike fun ride on November 25.

Around 1,000 bike enthusiasts reportedly participated in the bike fun ride, covering a 20-kilometer route with 7 stopovers, starting and ending at SM City.

On November 26, a kiddie fun race, criterium race for mountain bikes, and a community recognition awards ceremony were held.

To assist in managing traffic and ensure participant safety, more than 300 personnel from the Public Safety and Transportation Management Office, Iloilo City Police Office, and auxiliary agencies were deployed.

Architect Wilfredo Sy Jr., National Bike Day Celebration director, emphasized the event’s role in supporting local businesses and serving as a training ground for young athletes, besides promoting biking culture.

According to the organizers, Iloilo City as the host city could not join any contest categories but would serve as a judge for the 17 awards.

The awards are the following: Notable Public Official for Active Transport, Notable Competitive Cyclist, Notable Commuter Cyclist, Notable Leisure Cyclist, Notable Storyteller, Notable Bicycle-related Corporate Initiative, Notable Bicycle-related MSME Initiative and Notable Advocacy Initiative. Other awards include LGU Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards, Bike Lane Infrastructure Quality Award, and End-of-Trip Infrastructure Quality Award.

The organizers also cited the city’s recognition as a two-time Gold Awardee for the Most Bicycle-Friendly City by Mobility Awards and earning the Galing Pook Awardee in 2022 for its I-Bike Program.

Just in time for the city’s hosting of NBD, it was again recognized as one of the Most Bicycle-Friendly cities in the Philippines for 2023 and awarded as Gold Awardee by the Mobility Awards for the third time.

“We are happy with these achievements, but there is more work to do. We will continue to invest in infrastructure and programs and work with neighboring local government units to promote biking, not just as a means of recreation but as a mode of transportation,” Treñas said.