This morning, I had to leave early for work. It happened to be the hour I estimated I'd have to leave if I wanted to get to work before the sun got too hot, so I paid attention again to the traffic situation and road bike-ability. It turns out that there are lots of commute bikers at that hour, so I won't be alone if and when I work up the courage to become one. I also saw them applying some of the tips Mr. Bluejay supplied.
In particular, I thought that you'd have to ride much closer to the curb (Line A) to be clear of drivers coming from behind. Riding closer to the center of the lane (Line B) is supposed to make it easier for them to see and avoid you, but I'd always assumed that impatient Philippine drivers would only honk and yell at you to get out of the way. This morning, though, I saw a handful of bikers go closer to the center as if it was the most normal thing in the world, and faster vehicles just maneuvered around them. There were noticeably less drivers on the road at that hour, though, but I suppose that's a good thing.
Another thing I tried yesterday was to figure out the safest and quickest route from the house to the office.
I usually take one jeepney from my place (blue box**) to the LRT station and another to Balete Drive. "How Not to Get Hit By Cars" suggests avoiding your usual route, which probably uses busy major roads, and cutting through the quiet neighborhoods instead.
My problem is that my neighborhood isn't very quiet; three or four busy streets cut through it already. And no matter which route I take, at some point, I'll still have to cross EDSA, that mother of all busy streets.
The green, pink, purple, and dark blue lines mark the possible routes I might take. Green is the same as my regular jeepney route. Aurora Boulevard can be a screaming nightmare thanks to those Marikina jeepney drivers, but I'm still leaning toward taking it because I've at least watched other bikers take it. Plus, there are traffic lights and enforcers at the Aurora-EDSA intersection, and motorists tend to obey them.
If I were to cut through the neighborhoods like Mr. Bluejay suggests, to cross EDSA, I'd have to take Ermin Garcia Ave. (pink), a much narrower street with lots of blind spots and heavy traffic in the morning; or New York Ave. (purple and dark blue; wrongly labelled on the map as E. Rodriguez), which is a popular shortcut among motorists and still requires passing through either Aurora or Ermin Garcia at some point. I'm also unfamiliar with the stoplight/enforcer situation at either of these alternative EDSA crossings. And what if there are no crossings, and I still have to take the U-turn slot at Aurora?
All of the routes cover roughly the same distance, though, give or take ~0.2km.
One route I haven't plotted is going straight along Aurora and then cutting through the neighborhood around Betty Go-Belmonte LRT Station. Another is to head further north and take Kamias/Kamuning, but that's just another busy road and would take me too far out of the way for my taste.
Other good bike-related links I found yesterday:
- Tips for bike commuters who get in road accidents, by local female bike commuter Tina Zamora (they exist!)
- I Am Bilog Girl, the blog of another female biker
- Bike Commuting and Living to Tell About It, sort of a condensed version of Mr. Bluejay's advice
- A Scientific American report on how the number of female bikers indicates the bike-friendliness of a city. It makes sense, yes?
Some non-bike notes: I haven't worked much on my popup buildings since I started reading "A Song of Ice and Fire," haha. I did do a practice form during the weekend, but I haven't taken any pictures yet; I want to finalize the diagram first. Maybe this weekend, between biking and my dad's visit. :)
Previous unnumbered bike notes here and here.
* Image © 1998-2008 by Michael Bluejay
** This marks only the general area. This is still the Internet. The address of my office may be public knowledge, but I'm not telling you the name of the street where I live.
*** Made with Google Maps, one of the best websites ever.