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Finding my Wheels in Tacloban City

By Chloe Elizabeth Hill

Hello, my name’s Chloe and I’m a cyclist. I’m not a professional athlete or anything; in fact, I’m actually rather slow. But I enjoy cycling. It not only gets me from A to B but it wakes me up in the morning and it keeps me fit (to some degree at least). I get to see, hear and smell things that other people don’t on their daily commute, and it is a fantastic way to explore a new city.

The functional bike lanes of Copenhagen

The functional bike lanes of Copenhagen

My love affair with bikes began in 2012 when I moved to Copenhagen, the city of cycles, where 42% of people commute to work or school using the designated and highly developed bike lane system. The high tax Denmark sets on vehicle purchases, petrol and parking means that biking just makes sense. Biking is everywhere and is even perceived as being fashionable.

After moving back to Australia, and later Germany, I took my love of biking with me. Now I’ve started biking in Tacloban, where traffic is far more chaotic and certainly not for the faint-hearted but somehow more of an adventure. Although Tacloban initially seems like a less than bike-friendly, the compactness of the downtown area and the close proximity of shops, services, markets and sites mean that biking is one of the fastest modes of transportation. However, as I biked I began to realise that not only were there tricycles, Jeepneys, multicabs and sneaky pedestrians to contend with but also brand new SUV’s, Hilux’s and other luxury cars.

Despite the many benefits of riding and the surprising high number of bikes in Tacloban, there is also a large and seemly growing number of these new luxury cars. Perhaps the lack of available public transport is forcing people to find other forms of transportation, be it more sustainable or much less. Of course, biking isn’t for everyone and isn’t always convenient. Let’s hope the development of our solar-powered transport fleet can provide a better alternative for all those non-bikers out there.#

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One of the many new bike shops in downtown Tacloban

In the first photo: Me, finding my wheels in Tacloban while having to dodge more than 10 vehicles during a

5 minute-cycle…

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