Bisikleta Iglesia came a long way. I would assume it all started out of convenience that long rides happen during the long Holy Week break. In-line with the evolution of the actual Bisita Iglesia tradition (from sacred to touristy)- there came a merging point when suddenly, it appears reasonable to do the Holy Week break long ride and merge it with the spiritual atmosphere of the week – and the Bisikleta Iglesia was born. Putting a noble meaning to the long ride of the Holy Week break. I don’t know who first coined this term but as far as I remember, there was no such thing in the 90s. I would think it only appeared mid to late 2000. A quick search on the internet gives 2010 as the earliest record on this event. So the article I created on this blog regarding our own Bisikleta Iglesia experience in 2011 was a year after that claim.
Anyways, the tour evolved naturally from rides amongst friends or clubs to those professionally organized whether by the church itself, the government via its LGU or Tourism arm or commercially by a business entity. This 2018, I had an opportunity to join a ‘commercially’ organized Bisikleta Iglesia, the second run of the Batangas Bisikelta Iglesia series hosted by Lima Park Hotel last March 24, 2018.
It was a 50-kilometer route amongst seven churches namely Sto. Nino Parish in Lipa, Marian Orchard in Balete, Divino Amor Chapel-Redemptorist in Lipa, Parish of Mary Mediatrix of All Grace in Lipa, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Monastery in Lipa, Metropolitan Cathedral of San Sebastian in Lipa, and the Parish Church of St. Therese of the Child Jesus in Lipa.
Overall, the experience was great. The fee was reasonable given that it includes a jersey, a breakfast and lunch buffet plus a lot of raffle prizes. And all four of us won the raffle draw so it was a big ROI for us. The route was also challenging enough especially the climb from Balete. The only issue I have is that they claimed that its a child-friendly ride but it wasn’t. I was ok with the ride but if you have a kid with you as I did, then it’s a bit stressful. The first challenge was the long and fast descent to Balete followed by the steep climb on your way back. Then what I consider as worst is the ride into the inner city limits of Lipa where traffic was very heavy. The team was disorganized and splintered as the pace was fast (not kid friendly) so it was pretty nerve-wracking fending for your kid through the busy traffic of Lipa. I actually jokingly said- that’s the reason why the kids who joined last year were already gone this year- they found out it’s not kid-friendly. I don’t mind those challenges if they have informed us beforehand. But to claim its kid-friendly whereas it’s not is a big no-no. The traffic near the Mount Carmel area is also not fun- as most of the time, we were navigating the sidewalks. It became an all man for himself to navigate those obstacles. The traffic in that area cannot be resolved even with an organized and escorted peloton. It’s better to avoid that place in the future.
But as I have said, overall it’s a great ride sans the kid-friendly claim. Maybe in the future, they should venture further out of Lipa to avoid the busy streets near Mount Carmel and also if they would invite kids to join, its either they have a separate group and pace for the kids if they cant slow down the entire peloton.
By the way as a side note, since I was the only one with a kid, we were interviewed by ABS-CBN. I thought my daughter’s interview would only make it in the final cut and mine was just a token interview to get my daughter’s interview but I was surprised that in the actual broadcast, mine was taken and my daughter didn’t make it.