The trail was littered with rocks the size of fists, of potholes big enough to cause serious damage to the under-chassis of any car daring (or foolish) enough to run at high speed, of ditches that a wise rider on a dirt bike would best avoid (unless he doesn’t mind wearing a cast for the next few weeks). Low-hanging branches whip at my helmet as we swept past, and little kids waved at us while others took pictures like we were celebrities.
The scenery is a typical mountain scene – clumps of bamboo trees standing like quiet sentinels, a few animals grazing whatever is left of the grassy patch on the knoll, a cluster of trees providing shady and looking shady, like hiding secrets of trysts and bodies thrown and left to rot to hide a crime.
Up ahead, I would later find out, is a steep incline – or make that decline – a 30-degree angled slope that leads to a shallow stream.
But we managed to run roughshod all over them – literally.
Or at least the ATVs we were riding did.
THE ATV: THE QUAD BIKE
All Terrain Vehicle.
And when it says all terrain, it really means that: all terrain.
It can traverse trails that are too narrow for the sports utility vehicle, and can navigate paths too rough for a dirt bike.
The ATV, for the uninitiated, is built like motor bike, but has four wheels instead of two. Also called a quad bike, it looks like a cross between a power bike and a monster truck (other leisure ones are build more like go-karts, with smaller wheels).
And, as mentioned earlier, when it says all terrain, it really means that: all terrain.
“That was even a safe trail,” Engr. Rane Joseph Saril told DNX Lifetstyle, referring to the total of four kilometers of rough road we navigated that Saturday morning when we had joined the ATV riders on their trail.
There were even times, he recalled, when riders would spill over especially when the trail is especially rough.
Saril is one of the many ATV/UTV enthusiasts who formed the Trail 6100 ATV/UTV Club, a group composed fellow enthusiasts and riders including Saril’s own son, Pierce, the Equipaje Brothers DK and GP, and Nacho Zayco among others.
At that Saturday morning, the riders were converged in front of Spoon Trail Café in the village of Alangilan, a quaint classy diner owned by cyclist Michael Morcilla and wife Jojane.
Safety is utmost priority when it comes to any sports hobby – or indeed, any hobby at all – and ATV/UTV riding is not an exception.
Everyone was in full battle gear, and Saril – yes, if the name rings a bell it is because he and his son Pierce were consulted for their technical expertise in the swab mobile clinic launched at the height of the pandemic in the city – sees to it that health and safety protocols are observed.
Which means, masks and social distancing.
And one shouldn’t just be protected against the virus. One should also be protected against sprains, and bruises, and broken bones and necks (furiously knocking on wood).
“We should be wearing these,” he enumerated, “full helmet with goggles, body armor or vest, shin guards, elbow guards.”
It was like going to battle.
DK Equipaje, who is riding enthusiast along with older brother GP, pipes in: “Never ride alone.”
Tall and wiry, with distinct Chinese fetaures, DK says that riding the ATV/UTV has a lot of benefits and perks.
“You get to see nature,” he said.
And appreciate its fury sometimes when the ride is done shortly after a rainshower, with mud splashed against the tires and mudguards, like Jackson Pollock paintings against a black canvas.
And more importantly, it reinforces that feeling of being accountable for somebody else.
“No man is left behind,” he firmly said.
That, more than anything, makes Trail 6100 more than a club. They are a band of brothers, literal or otherwise, bound by passion, by the thrill of it.
And by the love for the sport.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Nacho Andrada has always loved the great outdoors.
And the ATV (or in his case, his UTV) has afforded him just that. Plus, it gives him a chance to bond with fellow ATV enthusiasts, an opportunity he welcomes.
This writer was given the chance to write pillion (or ride bitch) on Andrada’s UTV (Femme Fatale co-host Yasmin Pascual-Dormido rode shotgun on Pierce’s UTV).
It was a really safe ride, as Nacho made sure to avoid rocks and potholes that he would have no second thoughts of running over if I hadn’t been behind him.
The ride was total of four kilometers.
There were bumps for sure (part of the thrill!). And the glorious splash of the water from the stream (a bit used to it – having lived one-third of my life in a village were streets were always flooded, so it brought back childhood memories).
This ride is NOT for the prima donna, for the petulant crybabies who think pedicabs and tricycles are “rough”, for the gentle souls who cries “ouch” the moment their airconditioned cars hit a road bump.
But for those who love adventure, for those who want to try something new, for those who want a little thrill, a little adventure, a little danger – the ATV/UTV is for you (DEFINITELY FOR ME!!!).
It was thrilling. Exhilarating. Exciting.
Nothing like it.
And for sure, anybody who wants a little excitement in their life would want to try the ATV/UTV too.
Because, YOLO, right?