Three-time Tour de France green jersey winner Robbie McEwen (center) flashes the thumbs-up sign as he joins celebrities Ysabel Ortega (left) and Marco Gallo (right), Sun Life chief marketing officer Mylene Lopa (second from left) and Princess Galura, general manager of the organizing Sunrise Events, Inc. during the launch of the Sun Life Cycle Phl  at Seda Hotel in Bonifacio Global City Friday. The seven-category event, the first of the two-part SunPiology, an annual fun run fund-raiser founded by actor Piolo Pascual, drew 1,200 participants.

Fun on the road with Sun Life Cycle
Kristina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - November 18, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — Biking beginners and enthusiasts got the thrill of riding with three-time Tour de France green jersey winner Robbie McEwen and celebrities in the inaugural Sun Life Cycle Phl at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig yesterday.

Around 1,200 participants enjoyed a friendly ride in seven different categories – the tricycle ride (100-m distance for two- to three-year-olds), kids’ ride (500-m for 4-5), family ride (30-minute ride for 6-15 with adult companion), solo ride (30-minute ride for 6-15), short distance ride (20-km for 10 and above), long distance ride (40-km for 10 and above) and Bid-2-Bike – where riders pedaled alongside McEwen and Star Magic artists led by Piolo Pascual.

Edmond Reyes, who enjoyed sharing the road with actors and recent Sunrise Sprint Bohol age group podium finishers Jake Cuenca and Gerald Anderson and many-time Ironman 70.3 Philippines finisher Matteo Guidicelli in the 40K division, said that the event encouraged him as a beginner.

“I was encouraged. Even if I was a beginner, I could keep pace with them,” said Reyes after crossing the finish line together with Cuenca.

Reyes has been cycling for just a year but has already joined a couple of triathlon and duathlon events.

Former Ateneo Lady Eagle and cycling newbie Gretchen Ho liked the non-competitive format of the biking event dubbed as a “ride” and not a race, with no podium finishers and every participant receiving a medal.

“I was happy when I learned that it was non-competitive because it’s my first time to do a 40-km course. When I first tried biking, I fell and I got a scar so I developed a little fear. I don’t bike aggressively. But through this event, I realized that I could join races because I finished strong. My fear of running into danger as I bike was gone because everyone was helping each other on the road and motivating each other to be better,” said Ho.

Ho plied the 40-km two-loop course from BGC to Kalayaan Flyover toward Buendia and Roxas Boulevard then back with brother Justin, a pediatrician, as Sun Life Cycle Phl stayed true to its goal of making it a family event.

Father-and-son pair of Elgene, 39, and Terrence Calixtro, 11, were among those who conquered the 20-km route together.

“It’s fun, exciting and cool (to ride with my dad),” said the younger Calixtro, who has been cycling for a year and dreams of becoming a professional cyclist.

Australian cycling legend McEwen noticed the improvements in the local cycling scene as he rode alongside former junior national cycling team member Rex Luis Krog of Go for Gold and celebrities in the 40K.

“Looking at them at times riding along at 40-km an hour and they look completely comfortable, it’s obvious to me that the level of Filipino riders over the last four years has really improved. I  can see them more at ease with the bike and riding faster, looking stronger,” said McEwen, who is in his fifth time in the Philippines.

SunPiology founder Piolo Pascual was happy with the turnout, as his favorite sport, cycling, was added for the first time to his annual fun run event with an aim of further promoting awareness on keeping a healthy lifestyle, diabetes prevention and helping less-privileged kids sustain their education.

Sun Life Cycle Phl served as a fundraiser for the scholars of Hebreo 12:1 Foundation, also founded by Pascual.

“It’s important for us in the entertainment field to be able to put it out there for people to realize that living a sedentary life is boring. For us to be able to enjoy life, get out, go enjoy the outdoors and live your life but exercise and live a balanced life,” said Pascual.

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