August 01, 2003

Manila’s Fireflies Ride Again, Celebrating “Peace and Pedals”

“Fireflies are very sensitive insects, and very beautiful too. They are, however, dying in Metro Manila because of pollution,” said Dinna Louise C. Dayao, a member of the Brigade. “Like them, we are dying too, albeit slowly, because of pollution. We bike to show everyone that we want clean air, now” she said.

This year, Lufthansa Airlines, the Tour’s main sponsor, awarded a free trip to Bangkok to the winner of a costume contest and one member of the Firefly Brigade. While in Bangkok, they plan to meet with local cycling advocacy groups to trade strategies and experiences.

This year’s Tour of the Fireflies was also significant because organizers noted a large increase in the number of women and children participating.

“The tours have always been organized with their needs in mind ­ it is always moderately-paced and trained marshalls provide support during the ride, said Joyce Javillonar, a member of the Brigade. “Of course, a lot of the enthusiasm also stems from being a part of a creative, fun, and colorful event, with most of the children riding in their costumes.”

Since it was organized in 1999, the Brigade has grown from a small core group of volunteers to a much larger organization. One of the group’s current projects is working on transforming the University of the Philippines in Diliman into a bike-friendly campus. The campus oval has been rendered car-free on Sundays so people can walk and ride bikes without interference from car traffic.

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