A doctor’s reason for getting a bicycle? It’s an escape.

Cardiology fellow Alena Bantolo wanted to have an activity that would relieve her stress from the heavy hospital workload. She saw people on her social media feed that are jumping on to the bike lifestyle and thought of giving it a try. But she has no idea on where to get a bicycle. When she learned about First Bike Ride, she asked help and the motivation of finally making her purchase.

“I’ve wanted to try cycling because honestly, I’m in need of a distraction. Pre-pandemic, whenever I feel overwhelmed with my work in the hospital, I’d usually book a car and just meet up with non-med friends to reset my mind.

Now, the community quarantine has limited my options to recharge when work gets too much. My work as a fellow doesn’t end in hospital duties and as such, bulk of my job is actually on a work-from-home setup lately. One of my friends said, ‘the line between work and home has been blurred thanks to this pandemic.’

I thought of biking. Going out somewhere is actually a brief escape from everything that’s happening. Plus, it’s another form of exercise.

I found a second-hand Japanese bike via Facebook. It took me about a week before I found one that seemed to suit me. My ride is a Japanese Bike with a Dunlop Steel Frame and a 6-speed Shimano shifter. I honestly still have a lot to learn about this bike but what I’m really happy about is that it’s working without issue!

I just did my first bike ride in Manila. It was liberating and fun! It’s been years since I last rode a bicycle but I’m glad that there’s a lot of muscle memory kicking in. What’s funny is that I’m actually more scared of bumping and scratching into parked cars than of me getting hit by a moving vehicle. But I guess with more practice, I’ll be a more seasoned and mindful biker.”

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