by Celine Tabinga, Mobility Awards Coordinator
Valerie Rose de Guzman – cycling advocate, tireless supporter of small businesses, exemplar of women empowerment–is the Padyak Champion of the inaugural round of the Mobility Awards Nationwide! In line with the Global Observance of Women’s Month, the Mobility Awards team declared Valerie as Padyak Champion last March 15, courtesy of the La Trinidad Municipality in Baguio.
Valerie is the celebrated founder of Valerides, the bicycle errands service in Baguio City that delivers Cordillera coffee and local vegetables and other goods from farmers and small businesses to customers around Baguio and in Manila and Bulacan.
Valerie is also a strong advocate of road safety. She generously donates eighty percent of her earnings to the #Makitam Project organized by Bike Scouts Baguio, which teaches bicycle commuters to be more visible and safer while on the road. Valerie also works with the Philippine National Police’s Women and Children’s desk to conduct educational seminars on cycling for women and girls.
In addition, Valerie uses her platform to inspire and empower women by showing how women can do long-distance errands using Bamboo Bikes around the Cordillera and the Philippines. Valerie says, “one of the daily challenges I face is having to carry 10 to 20 kilos worth of packages in my bicycle, but I feel empowered everytime drivers see me going uphill despite what I carry. Through that, I think and hope that I am able to inspire others, especially car drivers and women, that I am able to cycle despite the heavy load and tough terrains in Baguio.”
“Winning the Padyak Champion Awards is a responsibility. I want to use this platform to inspire others, especially women and girls, to do bicycle errands daily especially since the gas prices are increasing,” adds Valerie.
As exemplified by Valerie de Guzman as a Padyak Champion, “girl power” and “pedal like a girl” are universal calls that embody the empowerment of women, not only in climate but in the achievement of our Social Development Goals (SDG) – particularly SDG 11 (livable cities and communities) and SDG 5 (gender equality). By enabling bicycle-friendly and walkable cities, we also help make cities inclusive and empowering for women and girls on climate leadership.
Valerie’s win as Padyak Champion is a win for all. As Valerie demonstrates daily with grit and determination on the road, if you want to make cities inclusive for all – bike like Valerie, bike like a girl.