Easy Riding to Caliraya
“The best alarm clock is sunshine on chrome.” – Author Unknown
I have always been fascinated with motorcycles, but until recently, I was only a backrider.
One of the first out-of-town trips I took was with the Alamat Crewsers Motorcycle Club, a group of individuals who consider themselves “brothers on and off the road.” A few years ago, Art was invited by one of the members to ride with them Caliraya, Laguna. I decided to tag along and to see for myself what this “biker culture” was all about.
In the show True Blood, werewolves seem to be stereotyped as bikers. I guess there’s a similarity between running with a pack and riding in a group. The riders may seem tough and their bikes look really bad-ass, but they’re also one of the friendliest people you’ll meet.
The ride started at a gas station along Marcos Highway going to Masinag, where we met up with some people for breakfast at a fast food joint. From there, we rode as a pack all the way to Antipolo, and down to Teresa to meet a few other people.
Riders look out for each other. This was evident in the formation of motorbikes, with a leader up front, setting the pace, and a sweeper behind, to ensure no one got left behind. Riders in front would use hand and foot signals to point out potholes on the road so those behind could avoid them.
Along the way, there were several stops to regroup and check if the bikes were in good condition. Early on, others noticed that Art’s rear tire was underinflated, so we had to make another stop at a gas station to get the tires pumped.
The group made a quick stop in Famy, where everyone chipped in to buy meat and fish at the public market, for barbecuing later that night. After a couple more rest stops, we were ready to go.
Throughout the ride, the group couldn’t help but attract attention. With all the cruiser’s engines running at the same time, our arrival was announced in a grand style. People on the side of the road would stop and stare at the group as we cruised by. Little kids all pointed and exclaimed in excitement at the sight of the machines.
The pace of the ride was relaxing, with the stretch from Famy to Caliraya being the most scenic. Other riders aboard underbones and sportbikes impatiently zoomed past us, but the group preferred to cruise at a more leisurely pace. I enjoyed the feel of the open road and the wind, and cruisin’ allowed me to better appreciate the scenery. Riding a cage (car in biker lingo) simply could not compare, and it’s no wonder why for riders–it’s all about the journey. With no windows blocking the view, you feel like you’re one with nature. It’s probably the closest thing you can get to flying.
I saw egrets flying over the lush green rice fields. Parts of the road were covered with palay left to dry by farmers. The mountains meanwhile loomed before us. All of these made the long ride an adventure.
I remember the last stretch going towards Caliraya being very bumpy, with lots of loose gravel and a narrow strip of uphill road that caused the group to slow down. Finally, after hours of being on the road, the calm waters of Caliraya lake welcomed us.
Being a backrider then, I don’t think I got the same experience out of the ride as the rest of the group, but it was still quite an adventure. In a way, that experience inspired me to eventually buy my own motorcycle and learn to ride for myself, and even if it hasn’t been that long, every ride has been a blast!
To the Alamat Crewsers, who just celebrated their 3rd Anniversary last Saturday, thanks for letting us feel what its like to ride in a pack. As another biker did say: May the gods of the open road bless all of us with more epic rides.
This is my entry to the Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival for September 2011 with the theme “Unforgettable Human Encounters on the Road” hosted by Marky Ramone Go of Nomadic Experiences.