Together We Ride

Date posted on October 15, 2020
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Promoting motorcycle tourism and enjoying the love of our life.

Husband and wife riding team Raymon and Malou Gabriel in Baler, Quezon.
The couple of more than a decade with children are now enjoying the passion of adventure riding all over the Philippines. While they enjoy meeting new friends along the way, the couple is also promoting motorcycle tourism through their “Together We Ride” Facebook page and website.

Many of you may be wondering why we call ourselves Together We Ride. You see, we see our lives as a journey meant to be traveled together, thus the name. But let me tell you more.

My wife Malou and I were both sales agents for different companies. She was working for a chocolate manufacturing company while I for a chemical company. We were married in December of 2000 and that was when our adventure began.

Even before we met, Malou and I loved sports. Malou was a swimmer while I was a volleyball player of our respective schools’ varsity teams. We played a lot of volleyball and jogged regularly. Soon, cycling became our thing. But after some time, our backs could no longer handle the rigors of our physical activities so we needed to think of something else to do.

It was around that time when my high school friend was selling his big bike to me. It was a BMW R 1150 RT. I rode the bike to see how it felt. When Malou saw it, she got on the bike and rode behind me to pose for a picture.

Our first picture together on my BMW R 1150 RT.

 That was probably the first time we were both on a bike. I didn’t know how to use or ride a bike and it took me almost two weeks just looking at it and asking myself how I could ride it.

So after a week of watching YouTube videos on how to ride a big bike, I decided to try it. I also bought safety gears for my protection. I had someone watch me and help me up in case I fell from my first ride. But thank God nothing happened to me. It seemed God was listening to my prayers. So from then on, I haven’t stopped riding motorbikes because of the happiness it gave me. It was like I was back to my youth when riding a bicycle alone gave me so much joy.

Malou started back riding after two weeks especially during weekend breakfast rides up at the North. Soon later, Malou said, “Raymon, I want to ride a bike.” “Are you serious?” I said with a hint of surprise.

“Yes! Back riding bores me,” says Malou. So I told her she should first learn the basics of motorcycle riding – and so she did. She attended the Honda School in Parañaque. For three straight days, she came home very worn-out with red skin due to sun exposure. I felt sorry for my wife but I was impressed with her grit and persistence to learn.

Before her classes ended, I bought her a Ducati Monster 795 since it was perfect for her 5 feet and 4 inches height. Then later on, I bought a Ducati Diavel to match her 795.

Our first ride together on separate bikes. Malou on her Ducati Monster 795.

She was so excited to see her new bike. We practiced together after work inside our village. It was our preparation for traveling long distances. So just after two weeks, Malou learned the ropes of riding her new bike. That was the start of our journey – we haven’t been separated in our rides since.

Not long after, I was able to buy a new bike – the BMW R 1200 GS Adventure. I noticed we were able to gain more distance with the new bike so we looked for a suitable adventure bike for Malou and the BMW Xcountry 650 seemed like a perfect match. With our new enduro bikes, we began riding farther and farther away from home.

First Challenging Ride

I started riding in March while Malou in June of 2012. Because of the joy and our newfound love for riding together, we decided to join the BOSS Ironman Challenge in 2013. It’s a 1,200-kilometer ride that you need to finish within 24 hours. Imagine, we’ve only been riding for a year and yet we went for it! Sadly though, we weren’t able to finish the challenge because of the strong rains from Pagudpud to Tuguegarao.

After a considerable amount of hours nonstop 800-km riding, I felt Malou’s exhaustion whenever I saw her. When she told me that she couldn’t continue anymore while convincing me that we could do better next year, I hugged her tight and told her, “It’s okay. Let’s rest now.”

I recall saying every prayer I knew because I can see Malou’s hardships. We had a strong start at the Ironman Challenge but we had to take a number of stops because of Malou’s small gas tank. Also, we often stopped to take pictures of the beautiful sights of the North. All this took a big portion of our time. I guess talagang baguhan pa kami. But we were still thankful for the experience and our safety. We never expected to reach so many places using only our bikes. From Tuguegarao and onwards, Malou rode on the backseat of my bike and happily traveled through the scenic places we were seeing for the very first time. It was really a remarkable experience. We became closer to each other and I don’t think any other experience could compare. It was truly a once in a lifetime event that I will never forget for the rest of my life.

Moving Forward

A year has passed since the 2013 BOSS Ironman Challenge and we’ve already added more places in our “have been to” list. Also, we’ve increased our knowledge in riding motorcycles. There came a point in time where we’d go out and practice or roam around anywhere every weekend. This is because as they say, you’ll need a lot of ‘saddle time’ to be better on the road. We were able to go to different places together with motorcycling groups close to us such as Hombre’s, Saturday Poser’s Group (SPG), Ducati Desmo Owners Club of the Philippines (DDOCP), BOSS and BROSS.

Our ride to the Mountain Province of Benguet.

Some of the places we have been to in 2013 include Clark, Subic, Bataan, Tarlac, Baguio, Mount Data and Banaue in the Cordillera region, Ilocos Sur, the Mindoro loop together with PAR Motorrad, Tagaytay, and many others.

By this time, I got into the habit of recording our major rides and making videos. Most of our rides can be viewed on our Facebook page or on my Vimeo account. This is where I share to fellow riders our collective riding experiences in places we’ve been to.

New Challenge

In preparation for the 2014 BOSS Ironman Challenge, Malou’s bike was replaced with a BMW F 800 GS. We thought this was the bike she needed so we could finish the 1, 200-kilometer course in 24 hours.

Anxiety and apprehension greeted us on the first day but many people reassured us and gave wise advices. A strong stamina to endure the ride and perfectly-conditioned bikes were what we needed to finish the challenge. At the starting point, friends and family were there to support us. We used it as fuel in hopes of reaching the finish line.

As we rode through the course, Malou and I came across with father and son Marty and Miggy Escalona who were on Ducati Hyperstrada and Multistrada bikes. In this type of ride, your smarts and skills aren’t the only measures to finishing the challenge. Your companionship and camaraderie will also be tested.

After 21 hours and 32 minutes, Malou and I were able to finish the long ride, keeping the memories we’ve gathered forevermore. We became the first husband and wife to finish on a separate bike. If I may say, I think I am one of the happiest men in the world to have a wife whom can share my difficulties and successes with. A wife who is also my partner in this hobby I have chosen – motorcycling.

Motorcycle Tourism

After the successful 2014 BOSS Ironman Challenge, we decided to roam around the whole country using our bikes. We want to promote motorcycle tourism to show other Filipinos that our country is beyond beautiful and that we can experience its beauty, first hand, on two wheels.

For people who would like to explore and travel the Philippines, I would like you to know that it isn’t too late. You will need hard work, determination and courage to overcome your fears. Let’s continue to dream that we can do anything we want together with our loved ones.

As Malou has said, “If men can do it, then so can women.”

At the moment, Malou and I are still constantly on the road. Most of the time, it’s just her and me. We find peace when we ride and we hope you do, too.

We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to, first and foremost, Al Camba who allowed us to publish our story. Also to our family, friends, Sher Motorcare, Touratech, Motoworld, GNC, MPH, WRU, Nano Energizer, Raychem, Direct Shopping, and BMW Motorrad for your full support and belief in us to finish traveling around the Philippines on our bikes. To our God up there, for giving us the opportunity to ride and inspire others, salamat.

We hope to see you on the road promoting motorcycle tourism and enjoying the love of our life – Riding a Motorcycle. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! For updates, follow and like our Facebook Fan Page “Together We Ride” and visit our website www.togetherweride.org.

– Raymon Gabriel

This was published in Maximum TORQUE’s 2016 Issue Number 4

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