A couple of weeks ago, I was in Subic with my good friend Gardo Versoza for a bike ride. I took advantage of the chance to interview him about the bike group he founded. And so over coffee and breakfast, he shared to me the story of how he started Cupcake Bikers.
How it started?
Gardo picked up biking as a form of exercise sometime in 2012. He was playing tennis with wife Ivy for quite sometime already when he decided to look for another sport that was easy on the joints. He felt that he was not getting any younger anymore and tennis as a sport was demanding. He was introduced into biking and together with Ivy, started riding in the safety of gated villages and subdivisions.
Then sometime in 2015, while waiting for his turn for a movie shoot, he thought of creating a Facebook group of cyclists to pass away the time. He invited cyclists to join that Facebook group which he named Cupcake Riders at first. Gardo’s intention was just to reach out to fellow cyclists and share his passion about bikes and riding. His online group started to have a following and by August 2015, he thought of having a Meet and Greet ride for his newly organized group.
Gardo then set the very first Meet and Greet ride of Cupcake Riders on August 16, 2015. He chose the Manila Cathedral as the meeting place. The choice of the cathedral was very symbolic for him because he offered the ride as a thanksgiving to God for the newly organized group.
And so the first Meet and Greet happened on that day, which until today Gardo commemorates as the foundation day of Cupcake Bikers. He biked from his home in Pasig up to Manila Cathedral. There were around 30 bikers who joined him on that first meeting. He was elated to meet several bikers coming from different parts of Metro Manila and nearby provinces. He took it as a sign to continue organizing and reaching out to bikers.
After several Meet and Greets, Gardo felt that there was more to just taking pictures during their rides. He thought of making a difference to people in need through his bike group. He then organized the very first Charity Ride of the group which was set in Antipolo. In attendance were more than 70 bikers who pooled various amounts and was donated for the benefit of the children of Brgy. Inarawan in Antipolo.
Since then, Cupcake Bikers have held almost 30 Charity Rides already, benefiting the elderly, sick infants, children, even artists who have been away from the limelight.
Why Cupcake Bikers 143?
A lot of people, especially new members of the group, are curious how the group got its name. Gardo named his group at first as Cupcake Riders. However, motorcycle riders joined his group during its early days because people thought that it was open to any rider. Wanting it to be just exclusively for cyclists, Gardo changed the group name into Cupcake Bikers, then added 143 later to symbolize his goal of spreading love to the cycling community.
Gardo wanted to have a term of endearment for all members of his bike group. A term that would be inclusive of all members, no matter what age or gender. He started calling his members “CUPCAKE” because it was neutral and all encompassing.
Where did the term “Cupcake” come from?
Gardo has been called cupcake for quite sometime now in showbiz. He got this moniker while shooting the teleserye “Kung Mahawi Man Ang Ulap”. He wanted to change the term of endearment in the script to something more unique and peculiar. After several suggestions, somebody suggested “Cupcake” and it stuck with him ever since. In the Cupcake Bike group, he is referred and called as Mother Cupcake because of his caring concern to all members.
Third Year Anniversary
This coming August 26, 2018, Cupcake Bikers 143 will celebrate its 3rd year anniversary already. It will start with a group ride from Tiendesitas going to the venue at Ciudad Grande in Pasig. It will be followed by a program to celebrate the success and blessings of the bike group for the last 3 years. Proceeds of this Charity Anniversary Ride will benefit a sick child who needs to go through surgery.
Gardo’s charity works through Cupcake Bikers is his way of giving back to the community. Biking has been good to him ever since he took it as a sport. It has even landed him an endorsement deal of the popular bike brand Trinx Bikes since 2017.
And so as he looks back at the humble beginnings of his bike group, Gardo has committed even more to make Cupcake Bikers an instrument to help more people in need. He is indeed living up to his philosophy in life that, “hindi mo na kailangang maging pulitiko para tumulong sa kapwa mo”.
Congratulations to Gardo and Cupcake Bikers 143 on your 3rd anniversary. Here’s hoping that you may continue your Charity Rides so that you can help more people and make a difference.