For this bike-through article, we are biking from the bike-friendly cities of San Juan and Pasig all the way to Cainta in Rizal Province.
The Corridor to the East
Ortigas Avenue stretches from its San Juan endpoint at Boni Serrano Avenue all the way to Kaytikling Junction in Taytay, Rizal. It is however known as “Ortigas Avenue Extension” once it traverses eastward past the Manggahan Floodway. For most of the commuting public residing in Rizal whose workplaces are located in Metro Manila, Ortigas Avenue is the one and only direct option to go through. Private cars, public utility jeepneys, buses, vans, and taxis all cram through it every single weekday.
In fact, its bumper-to-bumper traffic is comparable to the situation in EDSA. A ten-kilometer commute along it on a light day may take about half an hour. But just a single traffic altercation that happens on say, EDSA or C5 can have a critical effect on the traffic along Ortigas Avenue! If that happened, two hours might not even be enough to get out of it!
Which is again why I choose to bike through along Ortigas Avenue. And I guess the same goes for everyone else who takes their bike to get to work and back home daily.
From San Juan to Cainta
Biking through Ortigas Avenue keeps commute times more or less the same. (hmm, but doesn’t bike commuting in general have this effect? 😉 ) I’ve encountered situations before where there was that abhorrently-heavy traffic… But because I’m on my bike, I only got delayed from my usual commute time by only about five to ten minutes! As I would tell friends, you know that traffic is already that bad along Ortigas Avenue when my bike commute takes longer than that additional time. Wouldn’t you want that instead of a two-hour commute everyday?
If you reside in the East, it’s also a joyful ride home after work, since the eastbound path is downhill from the area of Ortigas Center. You even get to shave a few minutes while enjoying the cold wind.
An end-to-end commute from San Juan City to Cainta would take about half an hour on a leisurely 15 kph average speed. There’s really no need to hurry even with heavy motorist traffic around. Just take your time and pace yourself.
Here’s a bike-through video you can watch! Just take note that the video has been sped up to 2x! I don’t bike that fast — I’m usually just chilling on my bike commutes!
Boni Serrano to EDSA
- Length: 2.6 km
- Travel time: 11 minutes
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, San Juan City has introduced “pop-up” bike lanes along the stretch of Ortigas Avenue within its jurisdiction. The video showed orange plastic barriers being used to demarcate the lanes. As of September 2020 however, actual bollards were used to improve it.
Stuff to watch out for: Lane merging for some service roads
There are a lot of business establishments along this stretch. Some have service roads where cars go in and out regularly.
EDSA to C-5
- Length: 2.5 km
- Travel time: 9 minutes
Upon crossing EDSA, you reach the Ortigas Central Business District (CBD). Going from here to C-5 is mostly a downhill ride so enjoy it while it lasts. Take note that there’s a sliiightly uphill climb from Lanuza towards C-5, but it’s a good part of your “leg day” training. 😛
Stuff to watch out for: Rumble strips!
Rumble strips are nothing to worry about for motor vehicles. For bicycles, they are an absolute pain. Take utmost care when going downhill especially when reaching this part near The Medical City and Lanuza Avenue. If it is possible to slow down, do so.
Aside from these, there are also some badly-asphalted manhole covers towards Ortigas East (Tiendesitas) directly in the path of the bike lane painted by the Pasig LGU. Thin tires are especially at risk of endo if you pass through them at an unfortunate portion.
C-5 to Cainta Junction
- Length: 4 km
- Travel time: 15 minutes
Biking through Ortigas Avenue towards the last stretch takes us to the border of Metro Manila in Pasig City to Cainta, Rizal. This usually has the location of the heaviest traffic along the highway. Despite using a bike, you would still find yourself stuck and unable to go past cars and motorcycles.
Stuff to watch out for: Road hazards!!
Road hazards are aplenty! Be on the lookout for unfinished asphalting jobs, manhole covers sticking out of the road, as well as rectangular drainage covers which have a wide-enough gap for yet another endo risk. If the heavy traffic forces you to slow down, then maybe that’s a good thing. If the traffic is lighter, make sure you have sufficient lights to see these hazards on the road in the evening.
Traffic congestion: Solution in sight?
If you’re already bike commuting, good for you. If not, then this development might entice you to do so. The MRT-4 is an upcoming monorail project that will [most likely] worsen travel times during its construction. As was mentioned, there’s barely any alternative to Ortigas Avenue, so if and when this train line commences construction, bike commuting will probably be the only sane way to get around.
We’ve seen the bike-through in its entirety as well as the commute segments in between. Going through Ortigas Avenue is difficult especially during rush hour — if on a vehicle! Using a bike or similar personal mobility devices might help traverse it. In any case, enjoy the ride, and as always, be safe!