ILOILO CITY–The MORE Power fun ride early this morning got serious pretty quickly when a record 1,407 cycling enthusiasts showed up to register for the activity at the Freedom Grandstand before dawn.
The event dubbed “Bisikleta Ko, Ka-Date Ko” is this year’s biggest cycling event so far for Iloilo City and a historic first as far as two-wheeled fundraisers are concerned in this southern metropolis branded alternately as the Most Bike-Friendly City and the Bike Capital of the Philippines.
Proceeds from the event—the culmination of a month-long celebration of MORE’s 2nd franchise anniversary and 1st operation anniversary—will fund the improvements to the bicycle lanes as well as the construction of additional bike-friendly infrastructure in Iloilo City.
MORE Power president and COO Roel Z. Castro was awed by the show of support from Ilonggo cyclists ranging from the seasoned to the downright beginners.
“We are proud to sponsor this event as our way of helping the city government with its biking advocacy, which we in MORE wholeheartedly embrace ourselves,” he said.
“We never thought we would reach this number, and this means we will be turning over P140,700 to the city government for the beautification of bike lanes by replacing the current flower pots with concrete flower boxes that would make it safer for the bikers,” he added.
“Overall, we are really overwhelmed with the turnout of biking groups from as far as Dumangas and the provinces. This is a reflection of the help we are getting especially for the projects we do for the city. And it is very fitting that this coincides with our anniversary.”
Across the country, but especially in Iloilo City, cycling had emerged as a resilient mode of transport amidst prohibitions and lockdowns due to COVID-19.
“We recognize how biking has become a critical lifeline for many Ilonggos in this pandemic, and MORE would like to contribute to making cycling accessible and safe for everyone,” said Castro.
The oldest participant, 83-year-old Antonio Jayme, said he was very grateful to have joined because he and his group are always on the lookout for fun rides especially on weekends.
Another participant, Dan Mark Macero from Mandurriao District, hailed the fun drive, saying, “Daw kasadya gid nga mag-entra sa subong sini nga fun ride, fund drive kay maging kabahin man kita sa pag-improbar pa gid sang mga bike lanes sa ciudad [It really feels great to join today’s fun ride, fund drive because it means I become part of the movement to improve the bike lanes in the city].”
The 28-kilometer leisurely route saw the biker-participants passing through all the seven (7) districts under the franchise area of the power firm, starting and ending at the historically-storied Parola Wharf in Fort San Pedro.
A P100 registration fee meant each participant not only got a loot bag but also automatically qualified for the raffle draw in which 2 sacks of rice, various bike accessories, and 10 mountain bikes were given away.
The oldest cyclist and the youngest cyclist also received cash prizes as special awardees./iNEWS