A great gathering of Filipino cyclists at History Con 2017 that led to utter disappointment

Media used for the promotion of the event

The Facebook event hosted by Jhay Galang entitled, “Bike History at HistoryCon 2017” was announced months before History Con started. A ton of cyclists that saw the event and got in the hype of making Philippines hold the world record for most number of cyclists moving in one line. Cyclists would encourage other bike groups to join to increase chances of beating Bangladesh who currently holds the record of 1,186 cyclists in a moving line.

As a cyclist who was also excited to have my name be placed in the record books, I asked help to get my bike ready in time for the event and got people to know more about the event resulting in a strong domino effect. I went to the World Trade Center with my friends as a member of SuperBikers Philippines. People from far away places were also preparing to flock to Manila to participate.

The Facebook event and the crowd it gathered

Screenshot taken from Google’s cache since the event was deleted on Aug 13.

The description, despite being short and a bit lacking in detail, was enough to captivate the hearts of cyclists all around. There were so many groups that wanted to join, check out the list from Unliahon taken from the event. Not only that, but also soloists came in to join too. The hype was real, momentous and exuberant. All wanted to have a piece of that giant historical cake.

On the day of the event

Panoramic view of the gathering. Credits to Cristoffer Marx.

As the early morning sun rose on August 13, loads of cyclists were already filling up the streets. You could feel it in the atmosphere, they were all excited for what was about to come. After cyclists registered for the event, they were left waiting. Waiting for someone to announce something. The air got heavier as more and more cyclists came to the area, the road and parking lot was filled with bikes.

Cyclists coming together to participate in the world record breaking attempt. Credits to PinoyMTBiker Community.

The faulty execution

As the cyclists were about to head out, lack of organization was observed with the following:

  • No MMDA or volunteer marshals to guide the crowd
  • No water stations along the route
  • No portlets stationed on the road
  • No coordination with the local guards (they were only advised to keep the crowd in the parking lot)
  • No coordination with the traffic enforcers (cyclists blamed for causing traffic)
  • No representative of the Guinness World Records was present (organizers were only asked to take a video of the event and send it to them)

As a result, dissatisfied cycling groups parted from the crowd and decided to have their brunch at some restaurant nearby. Others who were determined to push through with the event had to endure the confusing ride.

One really long and confusing ride. Credits to Fusion Bikers.

Earlier attempt at Iloilo

A few months back, the world record was attempted by cyclists at Iloilo. But sadly, it didn’t beat Bangladesh’s spot since Guinness organizers only counted 1,147 cyclists due to some lapses on the part of the bikers. This was mostly due to some technical difficulties encountered during the event.

Credits to HeliCam Philippines.

Other than the wonderful footage taken of the event, it is easily noticeable how organized everything was. There were officials present to administer the event, marshals to keep the cyclists in line, having a well prepared for event truly brings great results.

Conclusion

This attempt at History Con 2017 left many feeling distraught. It was a poorly managed event but there is no doubt the Philippines would have held the world record had there been better preparation for the event like that seen in Iloilo.

Things to look into for the next world attempt:

  • Having sufficient number of volunteer or MMDA marshals present to guide cyclists
  • A large reserved area for executing the world record attempt
  • Preparing necessities such as water stations, portlets, medical staff in case of emergencies
  • Getting coordinated with the local government to assist in crowd and traffic management

To the cyclists out there who are reading this, let’s focus on preparing for the next world record attempt. It may have been a flop but it was a great opportunity for other bike groups to get together again and bond as a community. Keep cycling and stay safe!


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