Biking to work or school is, perhaps, an unusual choice for everyday commuting.
Whether you take public transportation (be it jeepneys, buses, taxis and/or trains), or can afford the luxury and comfort of a private vehicle, nothing will spare you from the hassle that is city traffic. Biking may seem like a good alternative to curb this, except there aren't many bike-friendly lanes to speak of.
But as a recreational activity or serious sport, cycling is gaining a steady following. Indoor studios are popping up one by one across the metro. There's Ride Revolution, partly-owned by actress Isabelle Daza which counts Coleen Garcia, Denise Laurel, and Solenn Heussaff as some of its loyal patrons, and Electric Studio, the pioneering indoor cycling studio in Manila.
And now, stars are taking their love for wheels further by riding their bikes out in the open. Kim Chiu and Xian Lim have been spotted training for a #bikerun all the way in Sierra Madre. Triathlete Kuya Kim and his son, Jose, head to Nuvali to bond and bike.
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Luckily, there are lists available showing other good places to bike in the Philippines, both in and out of Metro Manila. We also did some research from BikeRadar, Fitness Republic, and Livestrong to better understand the advantages that come with cycling outdoors. After what we've learned, we're convinced the sport really does deserve its hype. Read on to know why:
1. You get to appreciate nature. Tired of going to (or even just looking at) your regular gym? An outdoor workout like biking might solve it. The Philippines has some amazing trails to explore like Timberland in San Mateo, La Mesa Mini Forest in QC, and Angeles City's Forest Park Trailhead. Chances are you'll be so distracted by the fresh air and scenic views that the time you spend pedalling will last longer than you intended.
2. Daylight is good for shut-eye. According to Professor Jim Horne from the Sleep Research Center of Loughborough University, exposure to sunlight will "get your circadian rhythm back in sync, and also rids your body of cortisol, the stress hormone that can prevent deep, regenerative sleep.”
3. Riding boosts your mood. As an exercise, biking releases endorphins in your body, which in turn, help lessen stress and make you happy.
4. It's a sport friends and family can enjoy. Actors Gerald Anderson and Jake Cuenca have been pictured biking with friends. So have KimXi! Biking is one of those sports that's fun to do in groups.
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5. Biking aids in fat loss. The body’s metabolic rate (or the efficiency of burning calories and fat) is not only raised during a ride, but for several hours afterwards. Say you biked for about 40 minutes. The calories burned don't stop as soon you get off the bike. You continue to burn for several hours after those 40 minutes. How awesome is that?
6. Your bowel system and cardiovascular system are strengthened. The result? Softer stools and the ability of your heart and lungs to get oxygen quickly, when needed.
7. You're better prepared for marathons. Realistically, riding a stationary bike can improve your stamina as much as biking outside will. But the latter will demand your body to use more muscle groups than it would on a bike stationed indoors, while making you better adept to different terrains and weather conditions that you may encounter should you want to join a race or marathon.
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Photographs from Instagram.com/chinitaprincess, Instagram.com/andersongeraldjr, Instagram.com/mateoguidicelli, Instagram.com/kuyakim_atienza, and Instagram.com/marlonstockinger / Artwork by Jana Jimenez