AS THE COUNTRY girds for the “new normal” brought about by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, one of the ideas being floated is to promote cycling as a mode of transportation, something the organizers of Le Tour de Filipinas support.

Seeing bicycles as very adaptable to the guidelines on social distancing being pushed by the government as a means to mitigate the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19, Le Tour proponents said tapping cycling should be seriously considered and that a unified plan of action should be crafted for its proper implementation.

“Using the bicycle or similar two-wheeled vehicles is advocated globally. The experts are correct, there is physical distancing when you are riding your bicycle,” said Alberto Lina, Le Tour founder and chairman of the Integrated Cycling Federation of the Philippines (PhilCycling).

His views were shared by daughter and Le Tour president Donna Lina, saying, “It has always been our advocacy for cycling not only as a competitive sport, but a healthy mode of transportation.

The Linas said that during this time of COVID-19, the use of bicycles would go a long way in containing the disease, the vaccine of which is still being worked on by experts.

“There is no guarantee for a virus-free public transportation system. Many people, if not all, would be reluctant to ride jeepneys, buses and trains, even taxis,” Mr. Lina said.

But for it to work, however, the Linas said a uniform push is needed, with key stakeholders, including the Department of Transportation and local government units, signing off on it.

“This new advocacy could go deep into the government’s ‘Build, Build, Build program,’ which should incorporate the use of bicycles, even the electric bikes,” Ms. Lina said just as she suggested that bicycle lanes be given more priority and space in major roads and thoroughfares.

“The Le Tour de Filipinas organization will be convening [virtual] to draw its own suggestions or proposals for the new advocacy in the ‘new normal,’” she added.

The Le Tour de Filipinas moved to cancel this year’s edition of the race after 10 years of racing over concerns on COVID-19. The Category 2.2 event in the International Cycling Union was supposed to take place from May 1 to 5 in the Ilocos Region. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo