Bikes > Quickshift

No, a big bike doesn’t automatically make you ‘better’

Manners make the man

The author invites riders to stay classy. PHOTO BY ANDY LEUTERIO

A female colleague of mine in the motorcycle industry recently went through a very unpleasant experience. Having been invited to a long ride, she was put into a group chat (GC) for details of said ride, then removed and put in another. Back-reading the thread of the first GC, she found sexual and derogatory remarks about her from other members of the group. Classic locker-room talk, the sort that would have your mother washing your mouth with soap—an embarrassment to these guys’ wives.

Hell hath no fury like a woman objectified, and so she posted this thread on her Facebook wall so that all may know about this disgusting incident. As I understand it, one of the fellows also happens to work at a prestigious motorcycle brand, so I’m assuming there’s also hell to pay now at this company.

Now, while this is an open-and-shut case of boys talking like scumbags and deserving of whatever’s coming to them, it brings to light something that has been noticeable within the motorcycle community for some time now. Namely, riders behaving badly and getting away with it. Heck, probably even proud of it.

Let’s remember that even though you may be able to afford a big bike, you can’t buy class.

In the age of social media, which has the power to amplify both good and bad deeds, it’s easier now to make a mistake that will quickly turn into a raging conflagration. And, in the context of motorcycles, all too often the make and model of your bike can seemingly determine your status in the social hierarchy. Chinese brand? Bottom of the heap. Liter bike? Top. BMW GS? The very tippy top (don’t ask me why the GS, though).

The very same people who look down on small-displacement riders and call them kamote can display even worse behavior on their big bikes

Of course, we educated people know that this is wrong. What you ride does not determine who you are as a person. And yet we have a toxic culture that tends to discriminate based on your bike, gender and who your connections are so you can breeze through PNP checkpoints. And this discrimination leads to a sense of entitlement—of the rules not applying to them.

The very same people who look down on small-displacement riders and call them kamote can display even worse behavior on their big bikes. And seemingly, the faster, more expensive or “better” your ride is, it’s like a license to behave like a jackass because you are now superior to everyone else. Rules that are normally applied to motorists—like regulations on auxiliary lights, speed limits, and double yellow lines, to name a few—are brushed aside by self-important morons who think they are superior to the rest. And then, when they are called out, they retort with that favorite line of Neanderthals: “Iyak ka na lang.” Well, crude behavior is crude behavior, whether you ride a Rusi or a Ducati.

Call me cynical, but I don’t think people can change overnight. Apologies are quickly issued when caught, but only because they were caught and not because they believe they were wrong in the first place. In the case of my colleague, I hope she pursues all legal means to punish these individuals and get some justice for herself.

As for us, the best we can do is behave like civilized people. Ride responsibly and be ambassadors for this lifestyle. Ride whatever you like that makes you happy.

Since a few rotten apples can ruin an entire basket, I say just sort out the bad ones and let them all rot together.

It won’t hurt to remember how one should deal with success. The more you gain in life, the more you should be humble.

Stay classy.

Andy Leuterio

Andy is both an avid cyclist and a car enthusiast who has finally made the shift to motorcycles. You've probably seen him on his bicycle or motorbike overtaking your crawling car. He is our motorcycle editor and the author of the ‘Quickshift’ column.