Freeman Cebu Sports

The Mandaue Reclamation:Cebu’s best place for cycling

ALLEZ - JV Araneta - The Freeman

Before the Mandaue Reclamation Area was opened to traffic back in the 1990’s, cyclists have already been training and racing at that newly built land mass that was once part of the sea. It took almost a decade before infrastructure was built.

During those times, it was a cycling paradise. There was no traffic because along the International Port, the boundary between Cebu City and Mandaue City was still undergoing construction. If there were any obstacles, it was the occasional stray dogs or couples in early morning trysts.

But progress was inevitable. First it was the building of the Cebu Doctors University and we had to contend with the traffic going in and out of the campus. It was still ok to train and race albeit not officially. No one bothered us and we didn’t bother anyone.

As the traffic volume was getting heavier, the Il Corso was opened for use to the cyclists and naturally, they all gravitated to Cebu City. But the place wasn’t for cycling only, walkers, joggers also use the space. At the same time, beginner cyclists were also using the road which could be dangerous during bike racing.

Every now and then, racing at the Mandaue Reclamation would make a comeback but since it was unofficial, Mandaue cops would tell us to go away.

For a long time, a lot of powerful friends tried to help in getting a permit but to no avail, but I’m sure that somehow, those pleas were really heard although for one reason or another, weren’t acted upon.

Then a minor miracle happened just over a month ago when Mandaue Mayor Jonas Cortes announced the closure of the  reclamation area every Sunday from 5AM to 9AM!!! It was unbelievable! Normally, that street should have been almost traffic free since it is a detour and a side road connecting Cebu City and Mandaue City. But the three traffic lights along the main road have led to drivers taking the longer but traffic light-free side road.

This situation wasn’t only dangerous to all the road users but also it was a place where confrontation between cyclists and drivers occurs most of the time. It was a powder keg and it was only a matter of time before something tragic was going to happen.

Fortunately, it didn’t happen because Mayor Cortes made the first move of closing that stretch of road. I could not think of any local government unit to close a major thoroughfare to accommodate its citizens who would like to do a physical fitness regimen without fear of getting hit by a motorized vehicle. Only in Cebu and only in Mandaue.

How about Cebu City? Well, Cebu City hasn’t been that friendly to cycling as a sport or for recreation but with the appointment of John Pages as the city’s sports commissioner, I believe that there will be a flurry of activity in relation to cycling. I believe in the leadership and the management skills of John.

Before I end this, I would like to invite you all to the Mandaue Criterium this going Sunday at, where else, the Mandaue Reclamation Area. I don’t like politics and the elections but if I was a resident of Mandaue, I’d vote for the continuation of the leadership of Mayor Cortes. I ask all those who love cycling to do the same.

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