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Wanderlust | If there’s a wheel, there’s a way

When Davao City was placed under community quarantine last March 15, in the local government’s effort to curtail the spread of COVID-19, one of the daily necessities that got severely affected was mobility.

All set for their new owners after being overhauled by EZ Bike Shop in Davao City

While many were obliged to work from home, others, especially those allowed to do their daily tasks in their respective workplace by government, had to endure the challenges due to limited availability of public transportation.

This caught the attention of Bike for the Philippines director Joel Uichico, who has done various philanthropic work in distributing bikes especially to disadvantaged students. His organization works with Bikes for the World, a US-based social service group that donates bikes in order to help improve access and promote sustainable development.

Uichico coordinated with Cheryl Leilani Mandap-Gomez, a Dabawenya who’s actively involved in various community development programs, in making use of the spare second hand bikes that they received from their previous project.

However, due to the lockdown, they hit some proverbial bumps in the road, specifically on how to bring in the donated bikes, which they stored in a warehouse in Panabo, to Davao City. The bikes still needed to be refurbished by their partner shops, Cycle for Life and EZ Bike Shop.

Members of the AFP help in transporting the bikes from Panabo to Davao City

“Thankfully, our friend Monica Ayala, a reservist of the Philippine Air Force and an advocate for sustainable transport, linked us up with the AFP for the speedy transport of the bikes,” Gomez said.

Upon delivery of the bikes, Gomez immediately coordinated with various barangays to determine deserving beneficiaries of the bikes.

“We were able to identify a janitor, utility personnel, sales clerk, nursing assistant, security guard, as well as individuals involved in the packing of ration,” she revealed.

The second-hand bikes, now all fixed and ready for use, were received by their new owners on May 11.

“We hope that with our humble initiative, we are able to provide them with much needed mobility, and hopefully contribute in making their lives more productive especially in these very challenging times,” Uichico added.

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