Mon. Oct 18th, 2021

The restrictions and dangers of public transportation amid the pandemic have caused many Filipinos to consider buying their own vehicles for personal mobility.

In the past year and a half, there’s been a surge of people buying their first bicycles, e-bikes, e-scooters, motorbikes and other personal transport vehicles as a practical and safe means to get around the city and deal with new normal challenges.

In case you still don’t have your own form of transport yet and are wondering which one is best for you, I’ve listed some of the pros and cons of the most popular transport options available in the Philippines based on personal experience using the different types of vehicles.

Pros:

  • affordable; the most budget-friendly option
  • great for fitness
  • the most eco-friendly of all options
  • doesn’t require gas or parking fees
  • cuts across all classes
  • can be used in floods and rain if needed
  • great for leisure and touring
  • lots of styles & models to choose from (mountain bike, folding bike, city bike, etc.)
  • can be customized to your liking
  • no license required to drive
  • you can use it on bike lanes and sidewalks
  • you can use it in rough roads and all types of terrain
  • cheaper and easier to transport for bi-modal travel (ex. can fit in car trunks, can be brought on boats, folding bikes can be brought on trains, etc.)
  • easy to find spare parts, or someone who can help repair in case you get a flat
  • fun to use
  • makes short distances feel more like an adventure
  • less likely to be flagged at checkpoints

READ MORE: Best types of bicycles for beginners

Cons:

  • requires pure pedal power and extra effort
  • some models can be tiring to use for long commutes especially in uphill areas
  • easy target for thieves to steal
  • may be harder to carry a lot of stuff if you don’t have racks or baskets
  • exposure to pollution and elements
  • vulnerable in traffic
  • you tend sweat a lot while biking so those going to work may need to bring change of clothes or need to have a place to shower at work
  • limited parking options in some places

Pros:

  • fast, efficient & can take you places with ease
  • more affordable to buy and maintain than a car
  • lots of styles & models to choose from (scooters, underbones, manual motorcycle, sport, street, etc.)
  • can help you transport heavier stuff more easily
  • lower fuel emissions than cars
  • can easily weave through traffic
  • can be used even during rainy season
  • can carry 2 (or more) people at a time
  • you can explore long distances
  • cool, fun, thrilling
  • can be used for business for transporting goods and for motorcycle taxis
  • great for sightseeing, travel and touring out of town

READ MORE: 10 beginner-friendly scooters available in the Philippines

Cons:

  • more expensive to buy and maintain than a traditional bicycle
  • higher learning curve if you don’t know how to drive yet
  • more vulnerable in traffic next to other motorized vehicles
  • still fuel-dependent
  • you need a license to drive & it requires regular registration at LTO
  • can break down if submerged in floods
  • danger of getting into accidents
  • not allowed on bike lane
  • you need more space or a garage at home for secure parking
  • more likely to be flagged at checkpoints
  • discrimination from car owners and traffic enforcers
  • can sometimes feel too fast and efficient to use for errands when there are travel restrictions (ex. the “tiny bubbles” policy that limits people to their own city only)

Pros:

  • faster commutes than traditional bikes
  • very easy to use
  • does not require sports training or a specific fitness level
  • helps you avoid traffic
  • doesn’t require gas or parking fees
  • more affordable than motorcycles
  • eco-friendly
  • quiet
  • doesn’t require a license to drive
  • can be used on bike lanes
  • you can wear anything while using it because you won’t sweat a lot
  • ideal for regular employees/business professionals who need to travel short to mid-range distances in the city daily (20-50 km per day)

READ MORE: Ride Review: Nakto Breeze City Cargo e-bike

Cons:

  • more expensive to buy and maintain than a traditional bicycle
  • limited places to recharge in some cities
  • long charging time (some e-bikes take 6-8 hours to fully recharge)
  • limited range for travel and touring
  • risk of getting stolen
  • may be risky to use in heavy rain
  • can’t be submerged in floods
  • stock parts (ex. wheels) may need to be replaced if you want to take it on rough roads
  • won’t really give you a workout
  • when the battery is dead, it’s heavier and harder to use than traditional bikes
  • requires specialist technician to repair
  • battery can be expensive to replace once the warranty period is over

Pros:

  • extremely compact and portable
  • very easy to use, anyone can drive it
  • does not require sports training or a general fitness level
  • easy to park
  • environment-friendly
  • no license required to use it
  • ideal for short distances
  • can be used on bike lanes
  • fun
  • using it makes you feel like a kid again
  • you can wear anything while using it because you won’t sweat a lot
  • ideal for business professionals and condo dwellers who need to travel short distances (ex. within BGC, Makati, etc.)

READ MORE: Ride Review: Lenovo M2 e-scooter

Cons:

  • limited carrying capacity
  • requires specialist technician to repair
  • not suitable for use in heavy rains and floods
  • easy target for thieves
  • won’t really give you a workout
  • the smaller wheels means you feel all the potholes on the road
  • limited range compared to some other types of vehicles
  • limited places to recharge in cities
  • can be tiring to use for prolonged periods

Pros:

  • compact
  • fast
  • easy to handle and ride
  • does not require sports training to use
  • maneuverable
  • environment-friendly
  • great for recreation areas and city sightseeing
  • cool design
  • fun

Cons:

  • expensive
  • slow
  • heavy
  • hard to lock up
  • bulky to park in places with limited space
  • can only be used by 1 person at a time
  • not as easy to weave through traffic than more compact vehicles
  • more suited for use indoors like inside shopping and warehouse complexes and airport terminals rather than outdoors
  • can’t use in heavy rains and floods

Of course, there are other personal vehicles available out there including skateboards, mopeds, roller blades, unicycles, etc. but I think the ones I listed above are the most practical options for Filipino urban commuters.

If you were to ask me, my personal choice is a motorbike for overall practicality for urban commuting if you need to travel mid to long-range distances or for regular daily use and for travel and touring on the weekends (assuming cross-border travel is allowed).

However, the traditional bicycle still wins in terms of value for money and overall fitness, and general practicality for short to mid-range travel and fun city exploration given all the restrictions these days caused by the pandemic.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to your intended use, style and preference and budget. I hope this helps. Stay safe on the road!



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