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The 22nd Tour of the Fireflies is happening on November 13

The annual mass ride returns following a brief pause due to the pandemic

The 22nd Tour of the Fireflies has been branded as the grand reunion following a brief pause from the pandemic. GRAPHIC FROM FIREFLY BRIGADE

After a brief break due to the pandemic, the Firefly Brigade will be holding the Tour of the Fireflies once again this November 13, 2022. Dubbed “ReCycle,” this year’s theme focuses on four points: Return, Rebirth, Rediscover, and Reunion.

Now in its 22nd year, the Tour of the Fireflies originally started back in 2000 with the goal of promoting cycling as a form of transportation. From a group of 200 cyclists, the annual event slowly gained traction up until the last tour in 2019. Some 500 cyclists from Iloilo, 600 from Davao, 3,500 from Negros Occidental, and 5,000 from Metro Manila graced the event, shortly before the pandemic saw the absence of the bike tour in 2020 and a virtual return in 2021.

Given that this is the first in-person Tour of the Fireflies in two years, Firefly Brigade also considers it as a grand reunion of sorts. The crowd estimate of 5,000 cyclists in 2019 stemmed from an initial online registration of 200 cyclists. We can only imagine how large this year’s event will be given that Firefly Brigade has received some 655 registrations as of October 18.

The 19th Tour of the Fireflies had an interesting route through the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa. PHOTO FROM FIREFLY BRIGADE

Beyond being a mere get-together, the annual event serves a very important purpose. The very first Tour of the Fireflies was drummed up to make a statement that cycling could indeed be a form of transportation in our city. From this, the group grew into the organization it is today, organizing projects and critical mass rides all around the country in an effort to promote cycling and further cyclist rights and needs. This year is no different, with the theme focused on keeping the momentum going from the growth that cycling has seen globally throughout the pandemic. Plans are still being polished for other regions, with Catbalogan City and Baguio already in the works.

If you haven't seen the Tour of the Fireflies pass by before, the sheer number of cyclists taking to the streets may surprise you. PHOTO FROM FIREFLY BRIGADE

This year’s event will kick off at Ayala Malls Manila Bay at 6am. As with previous years, expect road closures throughout the route as thousands of cyclists pass by. The organizers have yet to release the exact route, but several scout rides by the event marshals suggest that the route may pass segments of Manila, Quezon City and San Juan. You may be stuck waiting for a good hour should you be unfortunate enough to chance upon the closures, but you could also enjoy a chill ride with everyone else voicing out a path to a clean, safe and fun cycling experience for all. The event is, after all, open to everyone willing to give cycling a chance.

Hans Bosshard

Hans is the ultimate commuter: He drives a car and he rides a bicycle. He also likes tinkering with mechanical stuff.