Viral > OMG

Much ado about Motostreat

Does the tambike venue now only allow 400cc (and up) bikes and Vespas?

Small bike, big bike, Vespa...who decides whether your motorbike is worthy? PHOTO BY ANDY LEUTERIO

A common pastime in motorcycle culture is the so-called tambike. A bunch of friends show up on their bikes at a designated meeting point, and they spend the next couple of hours chatting, eating, smoking, and generally just having a good time in the company of like-minded folk. There are many tambike locations now, but Bonifacio Global City was one of the first to actively court the patronage of the motorcycle community by designating a portion of Bonifacio High Street as “Motostreat,” the main draw being free parking in the middle of an open-air shopping and dining district.

Unfortunately, good intentions were no match for bad manners, as by February the management had to close it down reportedly due to numerous complaints by local residents of the noise generated by rev-bombing big bikes. Before things came to a head, I had the pleasure of enjoying one or two late afternoons with friends there, once on my big bike and another on my Japanese scooter. The guard asked no questions when I rode up on my KTM, but asked me politely if I was planning to dine there when I came another day on a Suzuki scooter. My friend on a Vespa got no such queries.

BGC is not affiliated with this Facebook page. SCREENSHOT FROM MOTOSTREAT

Fast-forward to late Sunday night, when a member of a Vespa owner’s group happily reported that—according to the security guard who was manning that post—Motostreat was now open again, but only to 400cc and above motorcycles, as well as Vespas. Right away, I felt something was off about that rule, not because a private property shouldn’t have the right to impose its own rules, but mainly for the optics.

Personally, if it were true, I wouldn’t have a problem going there whether on my big bike or a scooter, because I do own a Vespa as well. But what if I just didn’t want to use it that day? If the goal of the rule was to filter out deadbeats who wouldn’t be spending money at High Street, it would be very shortsighted as many people with disposable income actually choose not to own a Vespa but prefer something else.

True enough, in less than 24 hours, social media was burning hotter than the Manila Central Post Office yesterday, with critics slamming BGC’s supposedly discriminatory policies, elitists applauding the move to weed out the supposed kamote riders, and everyone else in between. A Facebook page named “Motostreat” supposedly got the fire going by posting all about it, and we admit sharing it just to humorously say that, unlike the site in question, we are open to everyone. Really, we are.

It was an interesting day for BGC's social media manager, to say the least. GRAPHIC FROM BONIFACIO GLOBAL CITY

Anyway, by 4pm, Bonifacio Global City finally came out with an official announcement denouncing the Motostreat page, as well as affirming that, no, Motostreat (the venue) was still officially closed: “Motostreat is open only at this time for management-sanctioned events and meetups subject to new rules and regulations.”

Alright. So, BGC denies being affiliated with “Motostreat,” a page that had been running since 2020 and actively promoting Motostreat-related activities up to February of this year when the venue was closed. I don’t know why anyone would bother maintaining a page like that for that long unless he/she had an incentive to do so, but…fine.

But wait! There’s more. According to “Motorsiklo News,” the viral post that started it all did not actually come from the unofficial Motostreat Facebook page, but from another motoring page. So, why did BGC single out “Motostreat”? Is your head hurting like mine now?

Going back to what the gentleman posted in the first place (a post that has since been deleted), he got his information from the venue’s security guard. Now, unless the security guard suddenly appointed himself as the site administrator, he definitely got his clearance to open up Motostreat from someone higher up.

When good vibes lead to unintended consequences. SCREENSHOT FROM VESPA CLUB OF THE PHILIPPINES

So, what really happened? Was something lost in translation?

A plausible explanation is that, yes, Motostreat was open to motorcycles 400cc and above as well as Vespas only for May 21 (Sunday), because that was also the day of the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR) and Motostreat was an event partner. Never mind that official participation in DGR was restricted to vintage/retro bikes only, and late-model Vespas were not counted.

So, Vespa rider came up to Motostreat and was informed by the guard that he could park there. Manong guard then told him that only such and such bikes were allowed. Vespa rider relayed the news with an unwitting embellishment (or omission, depending on how you look at it), and social media spread the word.

This is like that team-building game of “Pass the Message,” where you have a long line of people verbally passing a message from one person to another. By the end of the line, the original message of “Harry bought dog food for Sally’s Border Collie” has been mangled into “Harry bought food from Sally at the border.” Along the way, pent-up frustrations, insecurities, and confirmation bias become evident and people lose their minds.

Whether Motostreat decides to open up for all kinds of bikes, restricts itself to certain days, or some such combination, we’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, if you really want to shoot the breeze with your biker friends, why not patronize a local establishment? Call ahead, mind your manners, give them some business, and they’ll be more than happy to host your tambike.

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.