(This article first appeared in Firefly News Newsletter Tour of the Fireflies 2013 edition)
The fact that the Tour of the Fireflies is now on its sixteenth year comes as a bit of a surprise for someone who was involved in it from the beginning. Sixteen years ago, a small group of bicycling friends, most of whom were women, thought that organizing a leisurely group ride around the Metro Manila area would be an interesting project. We were either part of Cycling Advocates (CYCAD) or regularly joined and assisted in their rides, the highlight of which was the annual century (a ride of 100 miles or 160 kilometers) held every February. The century was an endurance ride to test a cyclist‘s mettle, and attracted mostly men; the metro ride was envisioned to be a fun event for everyone, particularly for women, kids, and inexperienced cyclists, with the intent of helping them build their confidence for riding in the city.