Bayaw Bicycle Club’s Baes
The hosts of Kontrabando take their show on the road.
Politics is a funny thing. This is why TV5’s Kontrabando is such a hit on the internet. Hosts Ramon Bautista, Lourd de Veyra, RA Rivera, and Jun Sabayton do not have to look far for their cannon fodder as they analyze every day happenings on the news beat, and present it with their inimitable brand of humor that is very Pinoy.
As with any other successful program, the hosts have taken their show on the road. Figuratively, as Bayaw Jun takes to the campaign trail for his mock presidential bid and literally, as the group of friends have formed the Bayaw Bicycle Club. “Sa ika-uunlad ng bayan, bisikleta ang kailangan!” is their battle cry, and one of their online episodes shows them traversing Quezon City to the foodie destination of Binondo, a bike ride interspersed with Lourd’s political musings in the background and the group trading potshots and tito jokes as they avoid the pitfalls and potholes along the thoroughfares of Metro Manila.
Bikes Magazine caught up with the baes of the bike club and as expected, it was a riot of funny quips, coupled with deep insights about life on the road.
Jun starts off by describing his first bike ride. “First time, so siyempre masakit! Pagkatapos nun, masarap na…” He says he first learned to ride on his neighbor’s bike. “Tapos umuwi ang tatay ko may dalang malaking kahon. Akala ko bike na, electric fan pala.” His first steel steed was a racer, brought over from Cebu, and now his friends jokingly reveal that his current one is the most expensive among theirs. “Pang tuition na ng anak niya. Upuan pa lang, halaga na ng sofa,” Ramon jests.
Lourd’s father taught him how to ride. “Kinder ako. Tinakot niya ako [para matuto].” His first sweet ride was an Easy Rider, which was very popular at the time. He also had a bike bought off a rider of the Tour of Luzon. That guy, he says, is now a newsboy in their neighborhood. “Pinagbawal kasi ang pag sponsor ng Marlboro, namatay ang Tour. Every year doon kumikita yung mga sumasali.”
Ramon learned to ride on a neighbor’s bike too, “parang sosyal na BMX. What I remember most was dinala ko pababa ng Amorsolo, tapos tumama ako sa ice cream vendor.”
“I learned to ride at 6 or 7,” RA recalls, “my first bike was my dad’s, medyo maliit na racer.” The group actually started as a marketing tool when RA was looking for a way to promote GoPro cameras on his online selling site. They have all been talking about taking a bike tour together anyway, they say. Lourd was the one who thought of the name. “At the very onset we made it clear that it was not a bike show, it was more of a food tour where we rode our bikes to get to our destination,” RA shares. “yung unang bike advocate naming sa grupo, si Tado (the late comedian/activist Arvin Jimenez ) talaga yun,” Jun adds.
They are not avid bikers, they admit. “The appeal of riding a bike for me started nung naging bad trip na ang EDSA. Isipin mo, ilang oras ng buhay mo ang nasasayang dahil sa traffic,” Lourd muses. For his part, Ramon recounts that he first bought a folding bike so he can join the Tour of the Fireflies back in 2011. His folding bike sits in the trunk of his car, and he tries to take it for a spin when he is on location somewhere. Jun designed his own bike for long trips, then got exhausted when he tried it out. “Di ko na tinuloy,” he grins.
“There are different reasons why we ride bikes, some of the ones who join un in the video make it a point to ride on the weekends. Kami siguro yung pinaka madalang, but if this movement encourages others to ride their bikes with friends, ok na sa amin yun,” RA grins. Since they are in media, their show also helps to highlight issues such as road sharing and bike commuting.
At the moment, they voice out that there are more cons to riding a bike in the Metro. “Mamamatay ka na lang. Ang tao hindi marunong mag share ng daan. Minsan ang naka-bike din balasubas – hindi naka helmet, walang ilaw sa gabi. Iniisip nila matatalino lahat ng nagmamaneho ng kotse,” Ramon shakes his head.
On the pros of going two-wheeled, RA considers the volume of vehicles that will be off the streets if only people would learn to cultivate a culture of biking. “It’s not yet in our culture, it is seen as ‘alternative’ in Metro Manila.” On the lighter side, they talk about the increase in rice consumption. “Mapaparami ka ng kanin, iikot ang ekonomiya, uunlad ang kanayunan,” RA explains.
Lourd weighs in on the matter and looks long–term. “Para sa ekonomiya, kapag nag breed ka ng isang henerasyon na masigla, mas less ang resources na gagastusin ng ‘gobyerno’ sa pagpapagamot.”
Biskileta ni Bayaw is an open club, they say, it is so open that they actually encourage people to go out and set up their own chapters. They don’t often get together to bike, because f busy schedules. What people can do is to purchase the jersey and go off riding into the sunset with their own friends. If and when the Baes get together for another tour, they tweet it and welcome those who want to tag along. “Minsan may nakakasabay kami sa daan, and they follow us for a bit. Others approach us to have their photos with us when we go on stops. That’s perfectly all right. But as a formal club, mahirap pa, kasi nga sa alignment ng mga schedule,” RA explains.
However limited their time as siklistas, they have their pilospo thoughts on the biking life, and they share it as hugot lines. “Riding a bike is like life in media,” RA smiles. “Dapat balanse ka. Dapat dynamic.”
“Alam mo ba kung bakit ako nagbi-bike kapag nalulungkot ako? Para kapag pinagpawisan ako, wala nang tutulong luha sa akin,” Jun chimes in. The clincher comes from Papi Ramon: “Ang pagbibisikleta ay parang lovelife. Sumesemplang ka diyan. Kung hindi ka handang masaktan, wag mo nang simulan.”
For more details about Bayaw Bicycle Club and Kontrabando go to https://www.facebook.com/News5Kontrabando/ and leave a like.