With public transportation growing scarce, more Pinoys are turning towards cycling as a primary mode of commuting. But truth be told, not everyone can afford to buy brand-new bikes. And so, the hunt for budget bikes in Metro Manila has long ensued.
Months ago, John Terry Aboyme noticed the need for more affordable bikes. Along with Kim Bautista, he now mans the BUDGET BIKES 5K BELOW ONLY METRO MANILA (bawal 5k up autokick) Facebook group.
John started this Facebook group on 12 May 2020. Since then, he hasn’t stopped sharing the news that people can now have easier access to budget bikes in Metro Manila. “Hindi ko po inakalang wala pang isang linggo, aabot na ng 500 yung members,” John tells TripZilla Philippines. As of writing, the group has 46,757 members to date.
We asked John what inspired him to start a Facebook group for budget bikes in Metro Manila. Is he a biker himself? Was it a passion for the sport that led him to found this community?
His answer: Hindi po ako biker. Isa lang po akong simpleng siklista na trabaho at bahay lang.
What really pushed John to found this Facebook group is a narrative: “Nakabasa po ako ng Facebook comment ng isang taong naghahanap ng bike para sa asawa niya. Kailangan niya raw ng bike para makapasok sa trabaho. Umutang siya ng ₱5,000 para may pambili siya ng bike, kaso walang pumapansin sa kanya kasi halos lahat ng bike nasa ₱6,000 pataas.
Naisipan kong gumawa ng Facebook group para sa mga tulad nila. Ramdam ko kasi yung hirap, makahanap ka lang ng bike na pasok sa budget para makapasok lang sa trabaho.”
Since John started this Facebook group, many members have successfully purchased bikes of their own. “Marami nang nakabili dahil sumusunod sila sa rules ng group,” John says.
The rules are simple: Respect every member; no posting of non-bike related posts; no scamming; do your own research before purchasing a bike. If John sees a post defying these rules, he is strict to ban members.
“Kadalasan, meron din mga hindi sumusunod na members. Pero mas marami pa ring sumusunod at nagpapasalamat dahil sa group page na iyon,” John tells us. “Masaya po ako dahil nakakatulong ako sa ibang tao kahit sa gantong paraan ngayong pandemic.”
As it turns out, the COVID-19 crisis has truly highlighted the privilege — or lack thereof — of many Filipinos: Some of us can stay at home, comfortably watching the news. Others cannot. Some of us have the liberty to resign from a job that demands every day commuting. Others cannot.
Like so, some of us can buy brand-new bikes when an ordinance prohibits public transportation. For others, this has never been an option. This said, we are thankful for every soul trying to help out others in times of need. Sometimes, merely creating a Facebook group for budget bikes in Metro Manila can be life-changing for someone out there.
Kind words and deeds really go a long way — pandemic or not.
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