Promoting motorcycle tourism and enjoying the love of our
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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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