Just about anyone can ride a bicycle. It’s one of those must-learn skills as a kid (and even as an adult). Today, a lot of people shed their training wheels and in some cases, even their brakes, in favor of a more active lifestyle and just to beat the damned Manila traffic.
Cycling communities of different origins and creeds have popped up around the metro and one of them happens to be the WeFXD community. What started as a weekly hump-day-ride group between friends, WeFXD (Wednesday Fixed, in case you didn’t know yet) is a growing community that boasts at least a hundred riders. They prove that the fixie game is more than a sport, but a way of life. Most of them ride their bikes to work, while others ride all day and all night, going city-to-city. There are also those who ride as far as they can, pushing their limits to reach the unknown.
To further know and appreciate the cycling community, we linked up with three members of the WeFXD community—specifically a workforce rider, an all-day rider, and a long distance rider— to discuss life on wheels, its pros and cons, and what’s next for the WeFXD crew.
Works as a Software Developer
It’s a common thing to ride a bike to work. It’s realistic too; no traffic, less cost, and it’s environmentally friendly. For AJ Trinidad, he uses his love for fixed gear riding on the way to the workplace. Traveling from the busy streets of Bankal in Makati all the way to Eastwood City, he faces certain struggles that only cyclists can relate. While most of us are used to being in a 4-wheel vehicle, whether privately or publicly, AJ treats his ride to work as an escape from reality and, surprisingly, his time for a peaceful mind.
How did you get into the WeFXD Community?
Nakilala ko yung mga taga Muralla, group sila ng student fixies. Dahil sa kanila, nakilala ko na rin ibang bikers from WeFXD. Ininvite nila ako isang Wednesday night ride tapos ‘yun, naging member na ako noon.
Why did you decide to join up? Was cycling regularly a goal?
Goal ko dati yung makakilala ng tao at magkaroon ng regular ride. Pero ngayon, since nakapag-abroad na kami, gusto pa namin ng more international rides.
Why did you decide to ride your bike to work?
Personally, ang traffic kasi talaga. Tapos pag nag ba-bike ako, relax lang ako. Minsan nakakapag-isip ako nang mas mabuti pag nasa bike ako. Escape ko siya, bale.
What is the biggest challenge of biking to work?
‘Yung safety talaga, kasi dito sa Manila alam naman natin kulang yung kalsada. Tapos yung isip sa mga cyclists abala lang sa kalsada. Hindi naman natin masisisi kasi ‘yung iba nga namang cyclists wala talang disiplina. Kailangan both ways pa rin. Pero ‘yun nga, lugi talaga kami sa kalsada kaya dapat ingat-ingat lang.
Any advice for those who wanna start biking to work?
Kung kaya naman magbike to work highly suggested ko talaga siya kasi hindi lang siya workout sa legs, nakakatipid din kasi siya sa budget. Libre pa parking, kadalasan.
On AJ: U Basic Tech Haul / PHP3,990.00
Works as a Bike Messenger for the family business
You know you’re passionate about something when you always crave for that feeling of being in your element. Behold, Justine Allasas, in his own unique sphere: wheels turning, legs pedaling, no stopping. As a bike messenger, Justine lives and breathes on his bike.
He spends most of his time on the road, going from one place to another. Despite the harsh conditions of the urban jungle, the happiness he receives from riding all day outweighs the struggles that come with the job.
Why’d you join WeFXD?
‘Yung WeFXD, sila talaga yung pioneer sa fixed gear community so well known talaga sila dati pa. Even before pa ako lumipat ng Metro Manila, nag-aattend na ako ng mga fixed gear events na organized nila. So after ko mag move, nakakasama na ako sa mga Wednesday night rides nila, tapos doon ko na sila naging tropa and soon naging member na din ako ng WeFXD. Grateful ako kasi mga idol ko ‘yun e, so it was really an honor to be part of that group.
Why did you decide to be a bike messenger?
Iniisip ko talaga ‘yung fare, ‘yung traffic. Lalo na dito sa Manila, best mode of transportation mo talaga is ‘yung bicycle. Sobrang enthusiastic ko din talaga sa bikes and na-influenced din kasi ako ng father ko simula pa nung bata ako kaya siguro kung papipiliin ako kung sasakyan or bike: bike pa rin talaga pipiliin ko.
What struggles do you face as a messenger on a daily basis?
‘Yung daily struggle talaga dito sa Manila is ‘yung designated bike parkings sa mga establishments. Although marami-rami na naman sila like sa mga malls or minsan sa mga car parkings. Pero sana madagdagan pa sila in the future para hindi din magtake ng risk ‘yung ibang bike commuters na iwan yung bike nila somewhere na alam nila na hindi safe pero no choice na rin sila. I’m sure kasi pinaghirapan din nila na mabili or mabuo yung bikes na yan kaya gusto din nila na safe yung parking.
What do you think the city needs to improve on in terms of giving bikers more benefits?
More bike lanes talaga. And strict implementation dapat, kasi mapapansin niyo naman na ang dami pa ring motorists na ginagamit yung bike lane kahit alam naman nila na bawal sila doon. Also additional shower room siguro sa mga private companies para sa mga nag ba-bike to work na rin para naman they look presentable pa rin pagdating nila ng office.
On Justine: Cabin Zero Classic Hip Pack / PHP1,490.00
Competitive cyclist, and works in the family business
Rocky trails, mountain roads, the terrain doesn’t matter for Calvin Marwood. This guy takes long-distance rides seriously. As a competitive biker, no one’s stopping Calvin in his pursuit to ride as far as he can push himself.
It was a breezy Tuesday morning when we drove to Tagaytay and met Calvin. He trains for all those long rides mostly by riding up, down, and around Tagaytay as a resident of the popular city in Cavite. However, that’s just a tiny part of his experience riding long-distance.
First, tell us about being part of WeFXD.
May friend ako sa WeFXD tapos in-invite niya ako mag ride. Originally, be-bentahan niya lang ako ng bike niya, pero sinama na rin niya ako sa WeFXD ride nila. Ever since, ride pa rin kami nang ride.
What’s the appeal of long-distance riding to you?
May nabibigay siyang parang spirit sa akin eh. Peace of mind; masarap ‘yung feeling na naglo-longride. ‘Yung wala kang iniisip kundi ‘yung destination lang. Nakakapagod siya pero fulfilling sobra.
On Calvin: Pacsafe Dry Lite Backpack/ PHP6,090.00
What was your longest bike ride?
End of 2016, inikot namin ‘yung North Luzon Loop. That’s 1250km for six days. Tatlo kami tapos it was for a charity ride. Naisip namin na since gagawin na rin namin ‘tong parang challenge na ‘to, ginawa na rin namin siyang charity for kids fighting for cancer.
As a competitive biker, how do you prepare and recover after a long-distance ride?
Preparation ko talaga is mahaba dapat ‘yung tulog. Mahirap bumiyahe kapag kulang sa tulog e. Of course, dapat ‘yung bike din make sure na maayos lahat. Since long-distance mahirap na masiraan sa gitna. Sa recovery naman, tulog din. Malakas dapat sa tulog ang biker.
When’s the next out of town ride?
May pinaplano kami ngayon na Manila to Davao ride. So basta lupa, nakabike kami. Pag sasakay na ng boat, ang ride namin is papuntang Sorsogon then to Samar, then next is Leyte to Surigao. Surigao is Mindanao na so bike na ‘yun all the way to Davao. Sana matuloy.
Life will definitely throw curves as well, but as we learned from the WeFXD guys: don’t stop. When a turn comes up, lean with it—don’t swerve the other way.
All bags highlighted in this feature are available at Urbanize PH stores.
Photos by Rendrick Estrella
Special thanks to Maylan (Calle PH)