Cyclists converge for the environment
Manila, Philippines — In line with Earth Day, cyclists will gather at the Quezon Memorial Circle on April 26 for Summer Cycling Convergence: Festival of Fireflies to promote the culture of cycling as a way to preserve the environment.
The event is a pre-cursor to the Tour of the Fireflies happening this November, the biggest cycling event that brings together more than 14,000 cyclists. The Tour of the Fireflies has been held for the last 15 years, organised by The Firefly Brigade–a group that promotes the use of the bicycle for clean air and sustainable communities.
“Fireflies exist where the air is clean. The lack of fireflies in the city is only a testament to the polluted air we breathe. When was the last time you saw fireflies? The fireflies have fled because of air pollution. But we believe that we can still fight for clean air, and bring fireflies back-this is a symbolic call for our own survival–as we struggle to be able to breathe clean air ourselves,” said Katti Sta. Ana, President of the Firefly Brigade.
The Firefly Brigade does not only see cycling as a way to improve air quality in cities; its members also see it as a means of sustainable transportation. And with the traffic in Metro Manila only getting worse by the day, the bicycle may just be the most sensible, environmentally sound vehicle for getting around the metro.
“In spite of the best efforts of our local bicycle advocacy groups, our current state of transportation leaves much to be desired. Our national government still continues to depend on unsustainable means of solving traffic congestion problems, relying on road-building and widening projects that encourage the use of even more private motor vehicles,” Katti Sta. Ana said.
“After 15 years of organizing the Tour of the Fireflies, we think it is time for LGUs to organize their own bike rides to improve the quality of life in their localities. A few of these LGUs have already started doing this and we are enjoining more to have their own bicycle programs through effective bike-friendly legislations and practices.”
To encourage LGUs into becoming bicycle-friendly places, the cities and municipality comprising Metro Manila were invited to participate in the event: with Quezon City as host, Caloocan, Las Pinas, Makati, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Manila, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Paranaque, Pasay, Pasig, San Juan, Taguig, Valenzuela, and Pateros. In addition, the organization will be providing each city and municipality resources that will help them set up bicycle program development plans such as constructing bikeways, planting trees for shade, and holding carless days and bike-to-work days. The convergence aims for local governments to be inspired by the triumphs in cycling advocacy of their neighbor cities, and for businesses to see the opportunities in building upon a thriving bicycle culture that cater to the cycling community.
“We hope that this event will energize the cycling community by informing them of the wide array of cycling-related products available to them and the bike programs of their local governments. By bringing together different stakeholders, we would like to see a convergence of people who join our tour and that this convergence might result to positive actions in terms of support for cycling as a mode of transportation,” Sta. Ana added.
To further promote a culture of cycling, booths will be set up selling brand names such as Cannondale, Cat-eye, Mavic, Tern, Bickerton, California Eco-Bike, Spyder, Lagalag, Lakambini, Larga and Viper. There will also be a bicycle show featuring unique and vintage bikes, a bike tiangge where cyclists will have an opportunity to exchange bike parts or donate to the organization’s Recycle-A-Bicycle Project, and a free bike tune-up for the whole day courtesy of Cycle Shack. And of course, in the tradition of the Tour of the Fireflies, the best costumed rider will get a valuable prize. For the first Cycling Convergence, it will be a Tern folding bike.
According to environmentalist, musician and Dakila spokesperson Nityalila Saulo, “This convergence of cyclists for the environment is a very fitting celebration of Earth Day as the growing interest in cycling not only as a fad but a sustainable means of transportation has greatly contributed in lessening carbon emissions.” Nityalila, leader of Dakila’s Climate Revolution program, led the 1,000 kilometer, 40 day climate walk from Manila to Tacloban last year to call on world leaders to act on climate change. “Dakila supports this convergence of cyclists as their involvement in the advocacy for climate action and transportation reforms is crucial in bringing about public consciousness for a climate-friendly environment and safe and efficient transportation system for everyone.”
Summer Cycling Convergence: Festival of Fireflies is organized by The Firefly Brigade in partnership with Dakila, Manila Bulletin, Newton Multi Sales ad Junni Industries. For more information visit http://www.fireflybrigade.org or http://www.facebook.com/fireflybrigade.org.–
21 April 2015
All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.
Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.