Riding in tandem shouldn’t make us criminals.

I am frustrated by the growing bias people are beginning to have against people who ride motorcycles in tandem. Moreover, I am furious that there are efforts to formalize this bias by making it into a law. While I do not deny that there are people who commit crimes while riding in tandem, I do not think that riding in tandem itself should be made illegal.

According to Senate Bill 2344, “An Act Prohibiting Backriders on Two-Wheeled Motorcycles/Scooters and Exceptions Thereto” introduced by Senator Sotto III, “No back-rider shall be allowed on a two-wheeled motorcycle or scooter unless the passenger is the spouse, child or parent of the driver.” The minimum fine is P20,000 for the first offense.

There are good citizens who ride together on motorbikes who do not shoot other people or commit hold ups. Many ride in tandem just to save time and money. Others simply do it because it’s fun. I do not see anything wrong with these. Furthermore, I find the exception for passengers who are the “spouse, child or parent” of the driver too narrow. Among people who ride in tandem are friends, dating couples, domestic partners, and even neighbors who may have just agreed to ride to work together for practical reasons.

When told that many are reacting negatively against his proposal, Sotto responded saying, “This may be frowned upon by some members of society, but we have to think of the higher good of protecting the life and limb of our citizens.” (Canadian Inquirer) Wow! Are we motorcycle riders not citizens too? (When I bought my motorcycle, I had to pay tax. When I register my motorcycle every year, I pay tax. When I buy gas, I pay tax. Why are we being treated like we’re just secondary citizens on the road? My hope is that the taxes we pay will somehow translate to a safer riding environment for riders.)

The proposed law is not only insensitive; it is also stupid. How are the police and the traffic enforcers going to check if people who ride in tandem are indeed qualified for the exceptions? This means that they will have to stop every pair on a motorbike. This can mean that more enforcers will be needed and more traffic for everyone. This also means that every rider with a passenger will now have the burden of proof and can be flagged down even if they are not doing anything illegal. Oh, and does this mean that we now all have to bring marriage certificates and birth certificates? A driver’s licence used to be enough.

On the other hand, if I were going to commit a crime, all I have to do is avoid main roads and check points, or even just drop of my passenger a few meters before a check point. Regular commuters who ride to get from fixed point A (house) to fixed point B (work, school, etc.) without being late will not enjoy the same flexibility.

 

 

Related Articles:

https://www.senate.gov.ph/lis/bill_res.aspx?congress=16&q=SBN-2344 (This is the official government site where the bill is registered)

http://www.interaksyon.com/article/93132/riding-in-tandem–sotto-wants-ban-on-back-riders

http://www.tribune.net.ph/metro/sotto-files-bill-banning-motorcycle-back-riders

http://www.canadianinquirer.net/2014/08/17/senate-bill-banning-motorcycle-back-riders-draw-mixed-reactions/

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/371995/news/metromanila/ordinance-bans-riding-in-tandem-in-mandaluyong-except-for-family (The City of Mandaluyong has implemented an ordinance patterned after the Bill.)

https://www.facebook.com/groups/mcrightsorg/permalink/1014692505223623/  (Riders react on Facebook)

 

Photo Credit: http://www.pexels.com/photo/2120/

 

“Top 10 Reasons Why Women Should Become Motorcyclists” – Explains why I am one (more or less)

People often ask me why I ride. Thanks to Tom Roderick ‘s Top 10 Reasons Why Women Should Become Motorcyclists, I found ten instant answers. Maybe I should print the article out and bring it with me next time I go to the gas station.

I even found the article more amusing because of its disclaimer: “Just remember, ladies, this list was written by a man (who really tried not to mess it up too badly), so an open mind and a sense of humor is encouraged.”

In case you’re also considering riding, or are just curious, let me share the reasons with you, along with some of a girl’s comments (which are just mine; other women are may see differently.)

“1. For The Same Reason Men Do, Because It’s F’ing Awesome”

This is the most accurate part of the list. Being on a motorcycle is an awesome, exhilarating, fun, spiritual, physical, challenging experience. On the bike, I don’t just see the world around me. I experience myself as part of it and as asserting who I am in it. Riding is my metaphor for freedom.

Riding is also awesome because of a host of practical reasons. The motorcycle consumes less gas. It’s also easier to find parking and I get to my destinations much faster.

“2. Be Sexier, Happier And More Confident”

While this comes from survey results released by Harley-Davidson, which I would tend to take with a grain of salt because this information also serves as their advertisement, I have to generally agree. Riding has positive effects on how I feel about myself. I’m not an expert, so every little improvement and every new learning, is for me, a success worth celebrating.

“3. Be An Inspiration To Other Women”

I haven’t really thought about this until now, but it’s true!

I visited a friend one day, and the daughter of his friend’s neighbor saw me arrive on a motorbike. The little girl was shocked. With big round eyes on her face, she exclaimed, “You’re a girl!” I pointed to her bicycle and told her that she doesn’t need to be a boy to do the things she’d like to do. All she has to do is practice.

Other women riders have also inspired me. I admire Elena Myers who is the first woman to win in AMA Pro Road Racing. She’s a young woman with a fun personality who keeps her Facebook updated. She’s open about her feelings of defeat and victories. She’s a winner who shows that life is not just about the trophies.

Liz Jansen is a new discovery. I’m excited about her blog and podcast. She explicitly hopes to empower other women.

“4. Reduce Wrinkles, Tone Your Thighs And Firm Your Buttocks”

I wish. I must admit that this part isn’t very true. If you want to improve on your thighs and buttocks, riding a bicycle might be a more effective way of sculpting your figure.

But, riding does involve the whole body and a lot of muscles too. We can never just drive motorcycles; we can only ride them.

(Which is also why I don’t drive my husband crazy.)

“5. Be the Be The Coolest Soccer Mom Around”

I’m not yet a mom and I don’t know if I will be but this sounds like a good plan.

“6. It’s Riding A Motorcycle – Everyone Should Do It”

In my country, motorcycle riding is often associated with working and lower classes. It is also often associated with criminal activity. For this reason, we often experience discrimination on the road, too many check-points, intimidation, and a lot of other awful stuff.

If #6 were to happen, many biases could be overcome. Yes, I hope more people would at least try riding. It’s a good way to develop alertness, respect and compassion.

“7. Reveals Men With Ego Problems”

A guy once told me that he chased a girl as soon as a red light turned green just because he couldn’t accept that a girl on a motorbike went ahead of him. Really serious ego problem here.

“8. Men Dig Women Who Ride”

I’ve often encountered extreme reactions. Some men seem to hate that I ride (#7) while some men find it really cool (#8). I must admit that I appreciate the positive attention, but I consider this to be just a bi-product, since my main reasons are #1 and #2.

“9. Stock Up On Leather Apparel”

Leather. Yes, there’s always a discount somewhere, and not everyone has a reason to wear it. Riders always do… well, okay, not exactly always. In my country, we only have two weathers: sunny and rainy. Both aren’t the best for leather.

However, I could still pull off wearing leather without looking entirely stupid. After all, I can still say that leather is for safety, right?

“10. Do Something Most Females Don’t”

Being unique is indeed one of the many perks, but this is double-edged. It’s both interesting and annoying.

Until now, the riders I know call everyone “Bro.” I still haven’t found gloves that are really my size. And, people still call me “sir” before I remove my helmet.

Guy? Gay? Girl?

 

Riding Self-Defense

I used to take self-defense classes and I remember my instructor telling me that getting away from danger is still the best way to defend oneself from an attacker. Don’t try to copy the stuff that happen in the movies. The aim of real life self-defense is not to win a street fight, but to survive. Try to avoid the scenario wherein you’ll have to fight. If it’s a hold-up, just give them your stuff. Your life is more valuable. Run away to a populated and well-lit area as soon as you can. In the event that you can’t run away, use whatever it is that you can use to prevent your attacker from hurting you, and then as soon as you can, run away!

I thought that that was really sound advice. Fortunately, I have never found myself in a situation wherein I seriously had to find out whether I could use any moves I learned from him.

However, there was one time, when I found myself in a situation wherein I was able to apply his “get away!” principle.

There was this creepy guy at work who used to make me feel uncomfortable. I already told him I wasn’t interested but he would still try to get close to me.

One evening, I got off from work and found him also there at the parking lot. His motorcycle was parked near to mine.

Creepy Guy: Hey! Since we’re both done with work, let me bring you home so that I can also find out where you live.

Me (as politely as I could):  Thank you, but as you can see, I’m already on my motorcycle, and I’m about to ride away from here on my own, so I don’t really need help going home.

Creepy Guy: I insist.

Me: (Not out loud) Oh shit. (Out loud) No thanks, bye!

I have never valued the fact that my bike had an electric start instead of just a kick start as much as I did at that moment.

I rode out of the compound as quickly as I could. But, he was after me! On the high way, vehicles were packed all around us. Cars were moving slowly. Traffic! I took advantage of every space in front of me as quickly as I could so that I could get away, but Creepy Guy was still close behind me.

My instant impulse was to ride faster. I knew that my motorcycle could go faster than his on a clear road. However, my better judgment kicked in and told me not to go for it. Creepy Guy could be a better skilled rider. I might also endanger myself if I go beyond my comfortable speed. There must be another way to get away. I had to think fast!

I did want to get away from creepy guy, but not at the cost of my own life. I didn't want anything like this to happen.
I did want to get away from creepy guy, but I also didn’t want anything like this to happen.

And then, a flash of insight! I deliberately slowed down. Apparently, Creepy Guy didn’t expect this so he suddenly found himself ahead of me on the road. All I needed to do then was find a turn. It was easy. He lost me.

Of course, I had to take quite a long detour but I didn’t mind it. I felt safer.

I must admit that my thought process when I slowed down wasn’t very clear to me. It all happened so fast. Survival instinct? Intuition? What I found crucial is that I stopped myself from just thinking about outrunning Creepy Guy. A realistic assessment of my capacities and limitations, as well as the environment, somehow enabled me to find a safer option.

After all, I wasn’t in a race; I was in an act of self-defense. The point was not to compete in order to prove anything or win anything. The important thing was to survive.

How about you, do you have your own experience of being followed? How did you deal with it? Or have you had to defend yourself whether on the road or off the road? Self-defense tips are also welcome.

 

Photo Credit: http://pixabay.com/en/sign-icon-symbol-drawing-40000/

I am a Cat

A poem written by another motorcycle rider entitled “I am a Dog” caught my attention. I felt myself relating to many of his experiences but I also saw how different mine is at the same time. This inspired me to write a little response entitled “I am a Cat.”

I ride a 135 cc Kawasaki Rouser. This is much smaller than what would internationally be considered a big bike and admittedly less powerful. My bike however, is already perceived as “too big for a girl” from where I’m from. I also ride in cities with terrible traffic. Getting to my destination requires some squeezing-through skills. 

Riding is also a very solitary experience for me. With my head inside a helmet, I become aware of nothing but myself looking out into the world. While this situation offers much room for introspection, and affirms in me a sense of speed, power and independence, it at the same time urges me to recognize my own vulnerability on the road amidst huge trucks, faster motorcycles and uneven roads.

I am a Cat.

cat

I am a Cat.
I purr when I ride.
And I ride where I please.

Balance and flexibility
Keep me on the street.
Even when I fall,
I land on my feet.

I can squeeze my way in
And squeeze my way out.
My fur is never a mess
As I roam about.

While a dog is man’s best friend,
From me, you can’t have that loyalty.
Cuteness is my quality
But so is ferocious felinity.

I am a Cat.
I can’t do tricks.
But I can ride.

M&M

Photo source: http://pixabay.com/en/tabby-cat-close-up-portrait-feline-114782/

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe; one will stay and the other will go

Is there real value in “sentimental value”? Is “improved” the same as “better”?

I am still trying to answer these questions as I try to choose between these two motorbikes:

My Rouser
My Friend’s Rouser

 

Both have the same make: Kawasaki Rouser 135. I am going to keep one and sell the other. Which one should I choose?

I have had my motorbike for almost two years now and I am still generally satisfied with it. I wouldn’t say that it is still in perfect condition because it has already gone through some repairs and minor damages, but riding it nonetheless, is something I always enjoy.

On the other hand, my friend sold me his Kawasaki Rouser 135. The motorbike has hardly been used and is well-maintained. Moreover, it has undergone many major improvements: new carburettor, new muffler, new head lights, etc. The guy who owned it just wanted the motorbike for leisure and enjoyed upgrading it in different ways. He decided to finally sell the motorbike after two years in order to achieve a more total upgrade: buying a 650 cc sports bike.

I think we can sell this motorbike for a good price, but my brother has pointed out that I will stand to gain more if I keep this bike and sell mine instead.

Here are the main differences between the two vehicles:

Year Purchased 2012 2011
Odometer Reading Approx. 10,000 km Approx. 3,000 km
Carburettor Stock Larger carburettor
Muffler Stock Open pipe, carbon fiber
Throttle Stock More sensitive throttle but loose grip
Head lights Stock LED
Spark Plug Stock Iridium
Externals No improvements Has belly pan, front fender has been modified to suit the belly pan
LTO Registration Until 2014 Last registered in 2012
Riding Experience Sufficiently powerful; can even go up a hill on 2nd or 3rd gear. The motor hardly makes noise. More powerful and accelerates more abruptly. Makes a stronger sound.

Which Value?

Both motorbikes are basically the same, but they still have some differences that matter.

On one hand, my motorbike’s parts are all original but I haven’t upgraded it in anyway. This is because I have been generally satisfied with its performance. I also make sure that it is well-maintained.

I also feel a certain attachment towards this motorbike. It is the vehicle I saved up for. I bought it on February 14 and in a sense, fell in love with it on that Valentine’s Day. I fell from it a couple of times too but also reached many different places riding it. But is there real value in sentimental value?

On the other hand, my friend’s motorbike made an impressive entrance into our garage.

That motorbike generally looked similar but it felt and sounded very different. The idling felt more substantial. Reaching higher rpm’s was much easier. And it made its presence really felt on the road. Some of my friends commented  that it sounded really “macho.” I also know that the motorbike has new motorcycle parts that are even more expensive than the stock parts.

Test Drive

More than comparing the parts, I believe that it is more important to consider the whole; and so, I took my friend’s motorbike on a test drive.

Riding it on a clear road early in the morning was fun. However, riding it later on along cars and on roads that demanded some slowing down imposed some difficulty. It was indeed more powerful and as a result, it accelerated more quickly than my motorbike but it also decelerated more abruptly when I let go of the throttle. The loose throttle grip added to the difficulty, but this could probably be easily fixed (if I decide that it’s worth fixing). The sound it made was also rattling.

I must admit that I feel more comfortable riding my own motorbike. I have more sense of control. Besides, I don’t usually prefer to ride at very high speeds. I am a more cautious driver. However, I can’t help second guessing myself. What if it’s just familiarity that makes me prefer my bike for now?

My motorbike was once intimidating, but my determination to ride it enabled me to practice hard until I was more easily able to do so. I know that if I wanted to learn to ride another bike, I could. The problem is, I am still not sure if I do.

M&M

How I Learned to Ride

My cousin asked me to teach her how to ride a motorcycle. I was delighted by her request. For me, it meant that there could be one more woman rider on the road. All I had to do was teach her well.

It turned out that teaching someone else to drive is not an easy task. Yes, seeing her ride around 5 meters at 20 kph already felt like a big achievement. Explaining how to turn the throttle moderately, how to shift gears, where to find the breaks, and other things about riding which I have already learned to do intuitively was very difficult. That experience led me to remember how I myself learned to ride.

And, remembering has evoked in me so much gratitude. I am specifically thankful for three men who have all been part of my sloooooow learning process. They are: my father, my boyfriend, and a friend.

Let me tell you about each one.

My bike was around this size, but I think it was pink. :p
  • My Father

My father doesn’t know how to ride motorcycles. He doesn’t really like them either.

However, it is he who taught me the most fundamental skill I needed in order to ride–balance. He did this by teaching me how to ride a bicycle. I can still remember how he decided to take of the training wheels of my bike even when I felt I wasn’t ready yet. He pushed my bike and let go even when I was afraid. His hands on method forced me to take courage and learn.

  • My Boyfriend

I never thought I would be using my biking skills to ride motorbikes, but my boyfriend had a broader imagination. He learned how to ride a motorcycle and then he taught me. Balancing was not a problem because I already knew how to bike. The challenge was controlling the gas and shifting gears. Because my boyfriend’s motorcycle did not have a clutch, learning to ride it should have been simple enough, but I found it very complicated. I made many mistakes. I fell a couple of times. And I stepped on something wrong more than a couple of times. Nevertheless, I survived and I learned.

My boyfriend even lent me his motorcycle for the practical test I had to take in order to get a licence. That favour and the fact that I passed are two things I am truly grateful for now.

  • A Friend

Time came when I wanted my own motorbike. I eventually found one that I liked and I started saving up for it. However, the bike I was eyeing was bigger than my boyfriend’s bike. It also had a clutch. In short, I was aiming for a bike I didn’t know how to ride yet. People around me were trying to convince me to buy a small scooter instead.

Fortunately, I found a friend who enjoyed challenges. At first, his eyes almost popped out and he did snicker when I asked him to teach me how to ride his bike. No one was really willing to believe that I could do it. Nonetheless, I managed to convince him that he might be able to add being able to teach me to ride among his list of impossible achievements.

It took him a few weeks, but he was finally able to add to that list of impossible achievements. It also took me around the same amount of time to finally prove to myself that other people’s expectations are not the limit of what I could and could not do. Courage had a greater role in determining capacities.

It may not be easy; but it’s possible.

A few months later, I was finally able to buy and ride the bike I was saving up and training hard for.

I’m thankful for the guys who have helped me. I’m also grateful that I took the chance to pedal on even when I was afraid,  the opportunity to learn even when I made mistakes, and the courage to believe in myself when no one else would.

M&M

I Confess…

I have a confession to make. I was very careless on the road today. Yes, I know, it’s Christmas so we all should be caring and nice, but my boyfriend and I had a misunderstanding that caused me to be very emotional on the road.

Before we left for our destination, I noticed that it was unusually overcast. It was mostly sunny the whole week but it seemed like it was going to rain. I told him that I didn’t have my rain coat. Because we were in a hurry to fetch her sister, he simply told me, “Bahala ka!” (“That’s up to you” or “that’s your concern.”) His retort made me feel quite upset because it seemed to give me the impression that he didn’t care about whether or not I get wet when it rains.

To make matters worse, he left in such a hurry and left me. I drove quickly but failed to catch up with him and so I decided to wait in a gas station near the LRT Santolan Station where he told me we would fetch his sister, and then I called him up from there. After five missed calls and more panicking because it seemed like it was about to rain, my boyfriend finally answered my call and told me that he and his sister were already in Sumulong Highway on the way to Antipolo. This call was very choppy and the sound of the other vehicles was drowning our voices. I was barely able to discern a few words from him. “left LRT Station,” “after the U-Turn”, “Sumulong waiting for you.” I understood this as: “We already left the LRT Station and proceeded until after a U-turn where you can still follow to Sumulong. We are waiting for you.” Even more upset… Already furious, I set off to catch up with him where he was waiting for me somewhere after a U-turn so that when I find him I can punch him scream and cry.

The view from Sumulong Highway is breathtaking, but falling off it will literally take your breath away.
(Credit to whotalking.com)

I was already along Sumulong highway coming from Marcos Highway when I realized that I already made it there without making any U-turns. I made a stop to call him but he wasn’t answering his phone. I was enraged beyond anything. I sped up Sumulong highway and overtook some cars. Somehow, I ended up riding beside an SUV whose driver obviously didn’t want me beside him or her. I knew I was at fault because I was already occupying a double yellow lane beside the vehicle but I couldn’t overtake at once because there was another car in front of us. The driver of the SUV made efforts not to let me get ahead. I overtook through the right (which is also wrong) and the driver of the SUV also overtook me from my left. This made me even more furious. I felt that I could accelerate faster and overtake the SUV again, but then, in that split-second between reason and rage, sound reason suddenly overtook me. I began to realize that I was behaving very dangerously. I was taking my anger out on someone else on the road. Worse, that someone else happened to be a driver of a much bigger vehicle and that road was Sumulong Highway which twists and turns along a mountain side–we’re talking about blind spots, trucks coming down from uphill, a really fatal ravine on the right. Also, I had to realize that I was the one who was out of place. I was the one who provoked the driver with my careless driving in the first place.

So, I decided to just let the SUV driver go ahead. I forced myself to calm down and ride at a more reasonable speed. I reached Antipolo safely.

And then, there was this tricycle. I knew I could fit right beside it and so I tried. Unfortunately, the driver suddenly moved a bit closer towards me blocking my way. Since the paved road was around 4 to 5 inches higher than the soil beside it, I thought it better to hit the breaks than to proceed further to the side and risk falling off sideways. When I hit the breaks; however, I slowed down and reacted by putting my foot down to keep my balance. My foot landed on the lower-leveled soil beside the road and so I failed to keep the bike in balance. My motorbike fell (luckily, on the soil which caused less damage compared to what pavement could do). I was fortunate enough to have the presence of mind to stand up and not fall with my bike.

I stared at my fallen bike for few seconds. Gathered my wits, removed my helmet and tried to think of a way to lift it up. Because I’m a girl who weighs less than 50 kg and my bike’s dry weight is 122 kg., I didn’t know if I could actually lift my bike up. Fortunately, in a few moments, some guys who witnessed the fall, came and helped me.

I was still inspecting my bike for damages when my boyfriend arrived. It turned out that he was the one trying to catch up with me, while all the while, I thought that he was the one who was way ahead of me. He had a look of concern written all over his face. I was just plain angry.

He convoyed me to our destination and then we talked. Our conversation led me to realize that he wasn’t being insensitive; we just had a massive miscommunication.

He told me that, while the original plan was to fetch her sister at the LRT Santolan station, he later informed me that the meet up point was changed to LRT Katipunan station instead. I was waiting for him in Santolan while from his perspective, I left him behind at Katipunan. On the phone, he told me that he was waiting for me right after the “right turn” to Sumulong, while I heard “U-turn.” He waited for me in Sumulong and even tried to flag me down when I drove by but I failed to see him. He was driving and rushing to catch up with me when he suddenly saw me at the side of the street after my minor accident.

The experience has taught me that communication is indeed very crucial in any relationship. Moreover, aside from this lesson I learned about love, I also learned important lessons about riding. These are not entirely new to anyone. I have also considered these to be common sense, but it took me quite an eventful ride to realize how serious these lessons are. I’m stating these here for myself so that I can avoid driving carelessly again and so that I might also offer some helpful tips to anyone else who might come across this resolution.

I have learned to ride with CARE.

C – Clothes that Protect

Often, many riders, including myself, find such protective stuff to be a hassle. We hardly find it useful anyway (in the sense that it only gets to be used when there’s an accident and we don’t have accidents everyday). But just one accident can make a lot of difference. I guess wearing protective gear and clothing for that one time should be worth it. I was even debating with myself whether to wear my boots (bought at Cubao Expo) and I’m grateful that I did. I just noticed that my boots now have scratches from my bike’s fall. Had I not worn them, I could have gotten hurt. I was wearing a protective jacket but I had no protection on my knees. I should invest on some knee and elbow pads for long rides. I should have also brought my raincoat. Come on, the weather is never really plain and predictable. The fear of getting drenched added to the pressure I was already facing.

A – Accident Anticipation

This may seem weird, common sense seems to say that accidents ought to be avoided, not anticipated. Well, my next two point are about avoiding accidents but this one expresses my opinion that it would do us some could if accidents can also be anticipated. I believe that being prepared for an accident is also important so that damage may be minimized should it inevitable occur. For example, I truly thank my friends who gave me some advice years ago and my past experience of another fall (when my muffler burned my leg), because I think these taught me to try to stand instead of fall with the bike. Of course, there is no guarantee that I would be able to stand every time, but knowing how to react can minimize my probability of falling.

I also saw videos of how women can prop up fallen bikes so I know there’s a technique that can be done even by women with bigger bikes, but I have never practiced this. Maybe I should make the effort to learn this skill more seriously. Um, I still don’t know how to develop this without practicing on my bike and damaging it in the process though.

R  Route Planning

A lot of risk (and heartache) would have been avoided if my boyfriend and I planned our route more seriously. We could have done this by agreeing about who goes first during our ride. We also could have determined default meet up points along the way should we lose site of one another. Relying on the mobile phone was really difficult because we couldn’t text or answer calls while driving and because the connectivity is not always assured. I was lucky because our ride was short and the road was already familiar to me, but we still got into trouble.

E- Emotion Management

I admit that I let my feelings overwhelm me and my experience, especially with the SUV, led me to realize that this is really very dangerous. One wrong split-second decision on a motorbike can mean a lifetime of consequences. I noticed that I became more imprudently gutsy because I was angry. I let my anger affect the way I made judgments and behaved on the road. I really regret the way I provoked that SUV driver and I consider myself lucky that I’m still alive right now, reflecting on my mistakes. Next time, I would prefer to make a stopover to calm down and gather my wits (and maybe even sing, My Favorite Things from the Sound of Music.) To the adage, “Don’t drink and drive,” I should add “and don’t get mad at your boyfriend and drive, either.” It even turned out that I was extremely angry over some wrong impressions that could have been easily corrected.

There! I think riding with CARE is applicable even for other drivers, but it is especially crucial for motorbike riders. The motorcycle is admitably less stable and more vulnerable compared to other vehicles. Aside from this physical consideration, many drivers also do not exactly have positive feelings regarding motorcycle drivers in general, so we have to be extra careful. An unnecessary fight (that is, one that is fought without principle) that is avoided is better than an unnecessary fight won; and, and accident avoided is better than an accident survived.

So, to my fellow riders out there, ride with CARE and love with more understanding! Merry Christmas!

M&M

Christmas at Marikina Riverbanks

I drove to Marikina Riverbanks the other day because I was feeling a bit down. I thought some exposure to nature would make me happy. Well, I sat down by the river but the experience wasn’t exactly rejuvenating. Assorted garbage floated here and there. The water was murky even under the sunlight. And the sight matched the stench. I felt even more depressed. “It’s such a shame,” I thought. Marikina River must have been a wonderful river. And having some place nice to go could have been a treasure for city people like me.  It’s such a shame that more and more generations are deprived of beauty that could really have been.

But then, the place turns into something very different at night; it comes to life! I went back to Marikina Riverbanks and saw some great stuff and activities outside the mall beside the river. The place turned out to be a nice venue to spend time with friends or with a loved one without spending too much. I would even recommend that you check it out. The guard told me that the place is open every night until 12 midnight up to January 16. Here’s the place at night:

Romance and Friendships

Shopping and Bargains

Of course, I have to make special mention: Under the “shopping and bargains” category are also motorcycle stuff and riding gear.

*As mentioned in one of the captions, the helmets are locally made and bear BPS (Bureau of Product Standard) stickers. For more information about this, please refer to my other blog post ICC Stickers for Helmets to Mark the New Year, to Information on the Safety of Motorcycle Helmet by DTI, and Manila Standard Today‘s report about DTI’s requirements.

Food and Drinks

Rides and Games

What I saw in Marikina Riverbanks is the Filipino’s undying spirit— the Filipino’s undying capacity to smile in the midst of problems, to give despite hardships, to find humor in the simplest things and to celebrate life no matter how difficult life may be. The sordid state of the river has not prevented many from riding boats, dating along the banks, shopping and enjoying family time. The tiangge, the rides and all the food remind me of how we Filipinos like putting things together– as we often also do when we decorate our jeepneys, when we mix the main course with the dessert when we eat at parties, and when we prepare halo-halo. All these mark celebration.

I think this smile sums it all up.
I think this smile sums it all up.

At the end of the day; however, after January 16, when the Christmas lights have been turned off and when the decorations are once again put back in their boxes, we have to remember to clean up the river (and many other rivers). After all, Christ came into our the world on that first Christmas to change this world because God meant it to be “very good“. May our celebration remind us of a common hope for a better world and give us the strength to transform our everyday lives, hard work and, yes, even rivers into something that is always worth celebrating.

Spot the Difference

I have two sets of pictures to show you. Can you spot the difference between the two sets?

Set A:

Leslie Porterfield
Deborah DiMiceli
Chithra Priya

Set B:

“Girl on Bike Wallpaper”
“Biker Girl Motorcycle Wallpaper”
“Sexy Girl with Motorcycle”

At first glance, it’s quite easy to notice that Set A presents women fully clothed while the women in Set B are barely wearing anything. The women in Set A are just on their bikes while the women in set B are posing seductively. Moreover, the two sets of pictures come from very different websites. The websites from Set A feature women who are actual riders or those who would really want to ride. Leslie Porterfield is the AMA Racing Female Rider of the Year in 2008 (source: www.big-diesel.blogspot.com), Deborah DiMiceli is a rider from Los Angeles featured by Harley Davidson for Women’s Month in Vanity Fair (source: www.talkingmakeup.com), and Chitrhra Priya is the first Indian woman to finish the Saddlesore Challenge (source: www.motorbeam.com). On the other hand, the websites from Set B simply present these pictures as photos or wallpapers and present no name or story behind these women. One might say that in Set A, the women are subjects who relate to their motorbikes as riders. On the other hand, the women in Set B are objectified–they and the bikes on which the women seem out of place simply function as eye-candy.

Why am I pointing out these differences? I am doing so primarily because of the similarity that, though may be hidden in the two sets,  is truly fundamental. In both sets are real women–whether named or nameless, whether with stories that are told or untold. In both cases (as in all cases), women deserve respect. It is because of this fundamental similarity that I feel obliged to point out the difference. Sadly, it is only in the first set that women’s ability to actually ride and relate is recognized and respected. The types of motorbikes found in both sets require skill to ride–naked sports bike, cruiser, sports bike (Set A); chopper, cruiser, sports bike (Set B). Don’t get me wrong, I am not against women who look pretty and sexy, but I believe that every woman should be recognized and portrayed to be more than a pretty face or a sexy body.

M&M

10 Gift Ideas for the Filipino Motorcyclist

I just really have to repost this entry from “rider ako”. It’s also sort of a wishlist. Haha.

riderako

If you are looking for a gift for a motorcycle rider, you are in luck, it’s very easy! You have dozens of options if not hundreds. But don’t just go buying any motorcycle accessory you see on the shop. In fact, I discourage you from getting anything of that sort unless specified by the “giftee”. How would you feel if you get a mascara from me that I just picked randomly from a row of identical canisters not knowing what your preference is?  Instead, get them something they would like and can be useful at the same time.

giftidea_gift

Actually, there’s a big probability majority of the Philippine motorcycling population might not like some of the suggestions I have on the list but I came up with this giving priority to a rider’s safety and well-being.

REMINDER: Most of the items here are Class A products. Here’s the list….

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