All set for "Bike for Hope Davao;" Biking priest joins Sen. Pia

Hundreds of biking enthusiasts across the island and those from Manila and Cebu have signified their entry in the bike for a cause organized by Senator Pia Cayetano in memory of her late father, Senator Compañero Rene L. Cayetano.

"Everything is in place and we are ready for this weekend's Bike for Hope  Davao," Ani de Leon, Bike for Hope Davao spokesperson, told sports journalists here during the weekly Davao Sportswriters Association Forum Thursday.

The youthful lady senator, known for using her passion in biking to reach out to the grassroots, will lead the participants in the advocacy fun ride that promotes healthy and fit living and concern for the environment. 

She will be joined by biking Redemptorist priest Amado Picardal who biked the route on Monday and completed the course in five hours and 30 minutes, pedaling at a very relaxed pace averaging 20 km per hour.

"It was a very wonderful ride. I just enjoyed the feeling of the wind caressing my face," said Picardal, who is also a university professor and academic dean, during the sports forum .

Picardal, known as the "biking priest" since he started riding long distances on bikes to push his advocacy for peace and good government, said the participants can look forward to the "joy of riding a bike", most especially since the event has a noble cause.

De Leon said seminars on various topics, including clean environment, breastfeeding, violence against women and children and the "Pinay In Action" running and fitness clinic for public high school students are ongoing in this city to usher the biking event organized by Comapañero Rene Cayetano Foundation in cooperation with Davao del Norte Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Vice Mayor Sara Duterte.

Other activities include seminars on Hepatitis-B vaccination for barangay health workers by Sanofi and public awareness against fake drugs by the Samahan Laban sa Pekeng Gamot, added De Leon, who was accompanied by tri-athlete George Vilog who discussed the route in the sports forum.

In an interview, Neilwin Joseph Bravo, spokesperson of Davao del Norte provincial sports coordinator Anthony del Rosario, said seminars will also be conducted in several towns in Davao del Norte where the fun ride will pass by.

Kicking off at the Shell station in Barangay Ma-a here, the advocacy ride will proceed to Davao del Norte, passing Panabo City and the towns of Carmen, Sto.  Tomas, Kapalong and Asuncion, and will end at the Davao del Norte provincial capitol compound in Tagum City.

Mayor Duterte was invited to fire the starting gun, signaling the start of the long bike journey for hope.

Bike for Hope was first organized by Sen. Cayetano and her siblings in 2004 following the death of their father  from complications of a liver illness. The event has been raising funds to support indigent liver patients and assist unfunded health programs in public hospitals across the country. It has been staged in Bicol, Laguna, Misamis Oriental, Ilocos Region, Cebu and twice in Baguio. (Rico Biliran / MindaNews)