Bike for Pencils:
The Purpose Driven Riding
Many of the public school children in the archipelago walk to school. An advocacy is riding bikes to give them the supplies that they need.
As a purpose-driven group advocating change, Bike for Pencils has circumnavigated the Philippine archipelago with the goal of educating its volunteers, stakeholders, and beneficiaries about the realities existing in the country, and the changes that need to be made.
Founded by Ramon Jose, a philosophy and human resource development graduate, Bike for Pencils began as a ride that raised funds to build school buildings in Sulu. It then evolved into an annual activity that has seen its members and volunteers pedal thousands of kilometers around the country, advocating a number of causes: from building schools and gathering school supplies for marginalized groups, to helping people gain access to hospitals, water, and electricity.
“It [Bike for Pencils] started as an idea, an inspiration I got from Edward Santos’ Folding Bike Tours,” shares Jose. “In 2013, I just wanted to bike from Manila to Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte on a folding bike, testing what it could [do] on long distance and multi-day rides. Then it dawned on me, that it’s not just about doing long distance rides. I wanted something more; my ride should have a purpose.”
Jose also says that biking for a cause inspires Bike for Pencils members and volunteers. The thought of helping change other people’s lives fuels them through the grueling long rides.
“It gives them inspiration and something to think of. This is not a race,” Jose notes. “We’re not here to break records and to compete against other volunteers. We are here to help people and raise awareness about the conditions they are facing around the country.”
We have discovered a lot of concerns. It’s surprising that some communities 30-minutes away from the NCR (National Capital Region) have no access to hospitals or electricity. When we go around on bicycles, we see a different view of life and get to appreciate a lot of things,” Jose says.
They have recently given out school supplies as donations to the Mangyans in Mindoro through a partnership with Edicute, and participated in a Bahay Kalinga Outreach program in Bulacan.
They may have different backgrounds, but they are unified by a desire to help. There’s an unmistakable passion found in Bike for Pencils members—a passion that elicits an inner urge to hop on two wheels and ride for change.