SOUND OF COM­FORT

Jeri­cho Ros­ales is a free man when­ever he’s zoom­ing down the free­way

Northern Living - - FRONT PAGE - TEXT OLIVIA SYLVIA ESTRADA PHO­TOG­RA­PHY JAKE VER­ZOSA

Jeri­cho Ros­ales hardly needs an in­tro­duc­tion. But here we are get­ting to know him once more, this time as he talks about his pas­sion for bik­ing. What started out as some­thing that piqued his fas­ci­na­tion turned into an ad­vo­cacy. Af­ter half a day’s shoot, he talked an­i­mat­edly about the Brap Pack, his group of friends whom he rides with and how they pro­mote road safety and cau­tion. But in be­tween se­ri­ous mo­ments, he mixes in a bit of hu­mor. “It’s the sound of the bike. Brap. Brap. Brap. It’s all we seem to do.”

The biker iden­tity, though some­thing that’s al­ways been with him through his fa­ther’s in­flu­ence, has also given him anonymity. On our way back to Manila, we man­aged to catch up with Jeri­cho at a gas sta­tion, full hel­met and mask on. He’s just an­other per­son on a jour­ney back home. No one stops him for a selfie and there’s no need to be too con­scious about his en­vi­ron­ment or his sta­tus. Just like ev­ery­one else, he’s just an­other per­son on a mo­tor­cy­cle, mak­ing his way around the chaos.

How did you fall in love with mo­tor­cy­cles?

When I was lit­tle, my par­ents gave me a mo­tor­cy­cle toy. It was in die-cast metal and had a key that you would pull [so it would run.] Ba­si­cally, that’s when I started be­com­ing fas­ci­nated with mo­tor­cy­cles. I was an imag­i­na­tive and cre­ative child, so as

a grown-up, [rid­ing what is prac­ti­cally] a rocket and hav­ing my own li­cense [to ride it] are amaz­ing.

Why does bik­ing mean more than just trans­porta­tion for any­one who rides?

Any ride trans­ports you not just to any lo­ca­tion but to a dif­fer­ent state of mind, a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive, a dif­fer­ent con­di­tion. [On a mo­tor­cy­cle,] you’re one with your sur­round­ings. You feel the nat­u­ral con­di­tion of your sur­round­ings. You hear sounds and you get closer to peo­ple. Mo­tor­cy­cling is nice be­cause even if it’s a sin­gle-seater or [even if you’re just alone on your bike], it brings peo­ple to­gether be­cause of the ex­pe­ri­ence it gives ev­ery rider.

What’s the best thing about get­ting on your bike and go­ing on a trip?

The small free­dom, def­i­nitely. You are wear­ing a hel­met and a mask, and even though you’re out there, peo­ple don’t know it’s you [un­der­neath the pro­tec­tive gear]. Just hav­ing that feel­ing that no­body knows who you are and you’re free to move like a nor­mal per­son is great. No­body gives you false re­spect. But with mo­tor­cy­cling, you’re just like the oth­ers. There’s none of that crazy ado­ra­tion or starstruck fac­tor. You’re just a nor­mal per­son when you’re on a bike.

Why is it still im­por­tant for you to have this sense of your­self out­side show­biz?

Ev­ery­one should feel they are spe­cial and unique, so you shouldn’t feel as if you’re ex­tra spe­cial—that’s what the bike gives me. If some­thing goes wrong with the bike, I pull over my­self. Some­thing goes wrong with traf­fic, I’m stuck with ev­ery­one else on the road. It’s a great equal­izer. [ When you’re on a bike,] you’re liv­ing in the mo­ment. I

even think rid­ing is some sort of me­di­a­tion [that flows] out­ward. It makes me aware of my sur­round­ings—con­scious and aware. Isn’t that some sort of med­i­ta­tion?

You did a trib­ute ride re­cently for your dad. Tell us why you did it.

I was go­ing through his photographs and then I saw a pic­ture of him, rid­ing down the San Juanico Bridge. I told my­self, I will repli­cate this pho­to­graph. It was some­thing I needed to do, not nec­es­sar­ily to feel closer to him, but def­i­nitely I felt as if he were close [dur­ing the ride]. It helped me come to terms with the fact that he’s gone. I think that was my way of mourn­ing and my way of re­lease. It helped me un­der­stand what kind of per­son he was [and why he loved ad­ven­ture]. It helped me un­der­stand my­self [bet­ter].

What did you learn from that long trip?

That you have to pre­pare for ev­ery ride, phys­i­cally and men­tally. It took 72 hours and 1,200 kilo­me­ters. It was three days long and we had just three to four hours of sleep. On the way back, some­where in Nueva Ejica, I started pal­pi­tat­ing. I still had 100 kilo­me­ters to go, but I had to stop and let the boys go ahead. But stuff like that gives you an idea of your ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Why do mo­tor­cy­cle bik­ers iden­tify as more than just mo­torists?

Be­cause there is a sense of al­ways con­quer­ing some­thing aside from traf­fic. A car driver [uses a car] more for util­ity. But with a rider, there’s a sense of ful­fill­ment in be­ing able to bal­ance. There is some sort of ex­cite­ment when you ride a bike, and also when you in­ter­act with peo­ple. There’s al­ways a story to tell.

“When you’re pop­u­lar, you get a [free] pass all the time, and some peo­ple abuse that pass. But with mo­tor­cy­cling, you’re just like the oth­ers.”

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