The three had met at a motorcycle trail riding clinic, and Gaki—who, in addition to being the drummer for Flying Ipis, is also a moto vlogger—decided that she wanted to start a Manila chapter with Erika and Carol because she loved the idea of being able to connect with other female riders while travelling. “I thought it would be cool to have a branch here because I figured other women would be looking for the same thing,” she says.
Today, The Litas Manila counts 15 members; we are women who are as diverse as the motorcycles we ride—from light dirt bikes and sexy Ducatis to beautiful Triumphs and 500+-pound Harley Davidsons. (Recently, TLM member Riza Keating bought a beautiful 2018 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Special to add to her stable: It’s a menacing, 855-pound beast that she plans to tour the Philippines with.)
Because we do a lot of different things on our own time and juggle the responsibilities of our day jobs with partner/wife/mother/daughter duties, it can be tricky to get everyone together for a long ride—something that’s been in the works for quite some time now. When we do get together though, it’s always a riot—the great kind—no pretenses, no awkwardness, no bull. You can expect crazy dance moves, conversations about a variety of topics—from makeup to motorcycles, some dirty jokes and a lot of laughter.
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To date, TLM hasn’t ridden farther than Laguna as a group. Most of its members, though, have already gone as far as Baguio, Cebu, and even Ilocos, albeit with other motorcycle clubs or groups. Each of us have had or fair share of experience riding with both genders, and while most male and female riders do show the same amount of support and encouragement to fellow riders, women’s innate maternal instincts will kick in when riding with fellow women.
Because we do a lot of different things on our own time and juggle the responsibilities of our day jobs with partner/wife/mother/daughter duties, it can be tricky to get everyone together for a long ride
“Riding with the ladies has always been this ‘You alright? I’m here; I got you’ feel. Not to say that riding with gentlemen will be the complete opposite… but I have heard that some men do ride with the ‘ride hard’ mentality,” says entrepreneur Cal Soesanto, who’s been my go-to girl for quick rides around the city.
“As much I don’t want to be vulgar, there is no sugarcoating it: I feel the difference is that us ladies are not here to measure dicks—we are here to help encourage other women to feel comfortable riding,” adds Erika. However, when I have ridden with men, I also noticed, they are very sensitive to the speed I feel comfortable going. It is nice to see them take care of you without making you feel like you have to go faster than you are comfortable.”
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Those who are up to the challenge of keeping up with faster riders sometimes ride with a predominantly male group. “(Men) just set a destination and then go,” says Erika Magpantay, who’s ridden to Baler, Dumaguete, Banaue and even Mindoro on her Yamaha MT-09. “One time, a bunch of us decided to ride to Daet on a Monday—on Saturday, we were at Daet. They don’t baby me, and I’m treated as an equal.”
Adds Nikki Orial, “(Males) tend to kick things up a notch or two in terms of speed, difficulty, technicality. Riding with them helps me upskill and push my limits. They’re always willing to share tips, cornering techniques, etc.”
Karen Kennedy is quick to point out, though, that some of TLM members can definitely push hard—and fast. “Erika M. and Riza definitely weren’t taking it easy when we rode together one time, which was really nice, too,” she counters.
The term “ride bitch” has been replaced, but it's a reminder of how women were viewed in riding communities as inferior to men or worse, mere accessories—like those bangin’ new pipes you just installed on your bike.