When I began this project on Riders in Nigeria, one of the groups I had penciled down was the MetallicBull Ridaz.
While researching all I needed to know about organized bikers in Lagos especially, I kept hearing about these guys, so I hoped I was going to be able to get in touch with them. Thankfully, the Universe did it’s thing.
Nigerians used to look at bike riders through judgmental lens, now that is changing rapidly. They’re not just daredevils riding these super fast metallic bulls (I had to do it), they’re just like the rest of us. Now, I wanted to get in touch with a member of the MetallicBull Ridaz, just to discuss their experiences and the overall lifestyle but the Universe said “I got you” and I was able to interview the President of the crew.
In his world he’s known as Screech amongst other names and we were able to have a very interesting conversation.
Good day, let’s start with your name..
My government names are Kayode Ayodeji Ajibade, but in the biking community I’m known as Screech. Some people call me Odin or Borson or Ragnar.
How long have you been riding?
I’ve been riding for about a decade now with zero regrets, by the grace of God I’ll be able to do this till I leave this earth. Hopefully when I’m old and grey.
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That’s great, so in your ten years riding how has the reception from the public been? Have you ever felt like you were being judged by people?
Yes, in a way. There’s this stereotype from the past where the people that do not understand what we do, the passion and the drive behind it look at us funny.
However, to me I split the public into two different groups.
There’s the one group that look at us like we’re crazy and suicidal people. To them, we’re fearful people to avoid and that’s always been there. Then there’s the second group that look at us with admiration, just like movie stars. Wherever we go, they bring out their cameras, they’re taking pictures and making videos of us.
With the first group of people I talked about, it feels like that mentality is beginning to change. A change that I feel is happening because of the new age of riders and the amount of publicity around us. I think this is forcing a change in opinion and mentality. The people never got an opportunity to get close to riders and see us as people they can relate with but now that has changed with the amount of new riders popping up every day. Now there’s a biker around you, there’s one around your house, there’s one in almost every community. There’s a biker that’s either a friend, a sibling, a spouse, a relative, or even a colleague. What that automatically means is now, you feel a bit closer to these people and realize that underneath it all, they’re just regular human beings like you.
Within MetallicBull Ridaz, we have riders from literally all works of life. We’ve got doctors, engineers, bankers, tech professionals, policemen, military men, entrepreneurs, pharmacists, civil servants to name a few. Our members spread across every sector in Nigeria. So we’re basically your random guy next door, only difference is we ride.
About MetallicBull Ridaz, how did the group begin and how long have you guys been together?
Well, Bullridaz have been in existence for as long as I’ve been riding, so that’s a decade now. We might not be as popular as we should be and that’s because when I formed the group back then, we were just on messaging platforms. At first we were on the Blackberry Messenger as that was the vibe back then, and then when that platform died a natural death, we migrated to Whatsapp like everybody else.
We only got registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission last year and now we have a proper structure. We have our team of excos and also created our social media accounts to have a proper media presence. So now, we’re putting ourselves out there for people to see and know us. Some people might think we’re new kids on the block but we’re actually OGs. We’ve been here for a long time.
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So how many members are currently a part of the crew?
Right now, we’ve got over 140 members and the one thing that’s specific to us is that we’re probably the only crew that rides every weekend from January till December. Sometime even during the week if we have an event to attend. Basically, we’re always on the road, we have no off days.
Some crews only ride once a month, or once every three months. Some don’t even ride together anymore for different reasons. With us, we ride as a crew, every weekend without fail. From Lagos to different parts of the country, from the North to the South, we ride international as well.
Infact, next month we planned to ride to Ghana as their land borders are open now. Unfortunately, Togo’s borders are still closed so we can’t make that trip anymore. So we’re going to stick to Benin republic and ride down to Cotonou.
About a month ago, we went from Lagos to the Obudu Cattle Ranch in Cross River state. Again, we’re very passionate about riding, it’s a hobby to all of us. We all know how difficult the country is at the moment and the amount of stress we go through as Nigerians, so riding for us is an escape and a way for us to keep our sanity.
That’s amazing, but what’s the reception like when you all ride together? That many bikers moving at once
As I said before, now when we ride we feel like rockstars. The reception we get in public now is just pure warmth, that’s what it feels like. Of course, there are still people that look at us and wonder “who are these people just running through our neighbourhood” as our appearance can be intimidating.
You know when you’re on a bike, you don’t have the safety a car affords you with seat-belts and airbags and all. Hence our outfits, the jackets, the riding pants, the balaclava, the helmet, the boots, the Kevlar vests and the saddles. Now when you’re fitted in all these, you look very intimidating, like Robocop. However, these things really just keep us safe. In the event of an accident, they protect us to a large extent and 90% of the time depending on the impact, you get to just get up, dust yourself and walk away without any major harm.
Really though, the reception now is just warmth as I said. If you look through our Instagram page, you’ll see that we visit a lot of monarchs. We’ve visited Oba Elegushi, Oba Oniru, the Alake of Egbaland, the Aseyin of Iseyin in Oyo state, the Onigbokoda of Igbokoda, and most recently, the Commissioner of Tourism at Badagry and the Mobi of Badagry.
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People just always seem very warm towards us. About two months, we visited the Ooni of Ife while he was in Lagos at the Eko Hotel in VI. As we prepared to leave, we were stopped by this white guy who apparently was the owner of the Lagos Irish pub. He saw us by our bikes and basically invited us to come chill with him at his pub with food and drink on the house because he loved our appearance. We had a good time with him to be honest. That’s the kind of reception we get these days. I can’t speak for every riding crew in the country but I would like to believe the reception is pretty similar. I believe it’s all in how you carry yourself and how you move, the way you look and how you ride.
So still on the topic of reception, how does the crew relate with community around them?
Community is very important to us. We do a lot of charity work, it’s one of the key things that we believe sets us apart from everybody else.
Coincidentally, we’re having this conversation now and in a fortnight the MetallicBull Ridaz are commissioning a charity project in Ogudu, Lagos State. We identified a community that lacks clean water, an area of about 28 streets in Ogudu where the residents always have to go far to get clean water. Furthermore, we met with the Oba of the community and he gave us permission and even an area beside his palace where as we speak right now, we have dug a borehole with three taps attached, all tiled, all brand new. We also got two storage tanks already set up with the borehole to help store water. Right now, this community now have clean water from that borehole.
This is just one of many as we have taken on a lot of charity projects in our 10 years, with many more to come. This is what MetallicBull Ridaz is all about, we believe in positively impacting the community around us and not just ride and ride. It’s our way of giving back.
Talk to me about the Pillions hangout. I saw it on the group’s Instagram account. How often do events like this happen?
Oh, the Pillion hangout happened about two months ago, we were invited by Ope Odogwu, it was his event and we decided to support him by showing up. To be honest, events like this happen all year long. We have a group for Bikers in Nigeria. In the group, we plan everything we’re doing so as not have events that may clash with other Motorcycle clubs. So in the group, the clubs share their event calendars so no two events from two clubs would collide.
I can tell you for free that from January to December, there’s an club somewhere in Nigeria holding an event. Infact, this Saturday, there’s the Ondo Motor Rally happening in Ondo State. Unfortunately, we can’t be there as one of our riders is getting married in Lagos and we’re all going to be present for his big day.
Also on the Instagram page, I saw the recent ride with Deepak Kamath and the visit to Badagry…
Oh yeah, Deepak Kamath is an Indian adventurer, just like the stories of Gulliver’s travels we read while growing up. He’s been riding across the world for many years, literally visiting all seven continents. Right now, he’s on his tour of Africa and by the time he gets back to India he would’ve completed his mission to ride across the world.
He came into Nigeria through Calabar and we were invited by the Indian High Commission to host him to a dinner which we did about three weeks ago. When he was ready to continue his journey, we decided to escort him to the border as he was heading to Ghana through Cotonou and the Seme border.
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We met him at his residence in Ikoyi and then rode with him to the Seme border but first we stopped over at Badagry as he wanted to see the slave trade monuments. Here, we met the Mobee of Badagry and he invited all of us to his palace. We visited the point of no return as well, with a tour guide the Mobee assigned to us.
Before we left, an indigene even slaughtered a ram and made barbecue for us. One way or the other, we always get received very well. When our little excursion ended, we continued to the border. You know, Deepak even invited us over to India, that’s how well he enjoyed our reception and hospitality.
So yeah, that ride went very well if I must say so myself.