When Benson Batty was working here in the Philippines back in 2014, he decided to ship his fixed-gear bicycle from his home country, the United Kingdom. He could have easily bought a bike here, or borrow one from friends. But we totally understand him, it’s so much different when you’re using your own.
“I’ve put a lot of time customising it and I love the way it looks visually that it would be a shame to just give it up, I believe they call this the Ikea effect. So I shipped it to the Philippines via a balikbayan box that arrived 2 months later,” Benson told First Bike Ride. “I think the bike follows me wherever I go now.”
“When I eventually moved back to the UK, I left it in Laguna for about a year and took it back on the plane with me after one of my trips to the Philippines,” he said.
Benson, who is currently living in London, admitted that he hasn’t cycled for over a year. But since he’s coming back to work again, with the rising cases of Covid-19 in his city, he uses his bike to commute from time to time.
His travel time from home to work takes a bit more than an hour and he admits that it’s very long. However, he thinks that he can cut this commute to less than an hour since he’s working on his endurance and in getting back to his old form—he used to be able to cycle for 18-20 minutes at full speed.
He told us that he’s happy that cycling is now becoming popular in the Philippines.
“I was working in an office in the Philippines and I proposed to colleagues that I would cycle to work if I lived nearby. The response that I got was along the lines of ‘yung mga nakikita ko lang na nagbi-bisikleta ay ‘yung mga karpintero’ and it was followed by a laugh,” he said. “Although I’m sure they did not mean harm by it but this mentality may still be around today.”
He ended our conversation by saying that “its rise in popularity has brought on good for the Philippines.” We definitely agree, it breaks stereotypes and encourages biking to work across social classes.