i, THe biker
33 Year Old
No. of Years : 9,
Kilometers done (appox) : 50000
For you, what does it mean to be a motorcyclist?
“Four wheels move the body, two wheels move the soul” in essence that’s what it means for me to be a motorcyclist.
Quoting from the popular book Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance “In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You're a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame.
On a cycle the frame is gone. You're completely in contact with it all. You're in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.”
Another important thing I realized is that there is a common thread that ties all the motorcyclists around the world. When two riders pass by they acknowledge each other.
How has motorcycling changed you and your life?
Lao-Tzu said 'A journey of a thousand miles begins with a small step'. For me ‘A journey of many miles begins with a twist of the throttle’. A chance to test ride the Harley Davidson Iron 883 brought a complete change. I had been riding commuter bikes mostly 150 cc class and the experience of riding the HD totally changed my view towards biking. It got me thinking and I had the urge to go out and explore the world on a bike. I am making a humble beginning towards that and hope to continue in this direction.
How would you justify the inherent dangers and risk involved in long distance touring on motorcycles?
Dangers are always going to be part of long distance touring. The best thing one can do is gear up for it, wear appropriate gear like jacket, trouser/jeans, gloves, protective gear, helmet, etc. Its also a good idea to let someone know about your tour plan and if possible to keep them updated regularly.
Very importantly as a rider one should be wary of the surroundings and should be in a thinking mode constantly. Despite all this the rider should not miss out on the thrill and exhilaration that’s part of a long distance tour.
“Riding a motorcycle on today's highways, you have to ride in a very defensive manner. You have to be a good rider and you have to have both hands and both feet on the controls at all times.” Evel Knievel
Tell us briefly about your 2 most memorable motorcycle tours?
Recently in August 2013 I was on a vacation to UK and I went on a one-day ride to Scottish Borders from Edinburgh. It was one of the best experiences I had, with awesome roads and scenic views throughout. Also it was my first experience riding abroad and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Will definitely do something like this in the future.
The second one is not really a tour but way back in 2003 I did a few trips between Ghaziabad (where I was doing my post-graduation) and New Delhi on a Hero Honda CBZ. This bike was truly India’s first sportsbike and it was pure adrenaline rush doing a number of to-fro trips.
As a motorcycle tourer, how have you contributed to the society/brotherhood and plan to do so in the years to come?
Frankly I haven't made any contribution as such. But I would definitely like to do my bit in whichever way possible. Some of the things I can think of are:
1. Do an awareness ride with some bikers for a cause or a particular section of people, etc.
2. Get a chance to ride in different parts of the country and elsewhere in the world and document the best practices of riding/touring which the brotherhood can imbibe.
What are the best and the worst things about motorcycle touring in India?
I think the best part of motorcycle touring in India is that there is a biking culture in place which people realise and we see a number of groups formal/informal that are involved in touring. Also the last few years has seen a tremendous change with Indian manufactures coming out with new models suitable for touring and also foreign manufacturers setting shop in India, which is very encouraging.
The flip side that I see is that infrastructure is not upto the mark for touring in India. This exposes the biker to a lot of dangers and risks. Also there are no proper rules and regulations for highway riding (I saw this in the UK and people adhere to it). If these issues are addressed then motorcycle touring India will be a more wonderful experience.
Golden Question : How do you feel when you ride?
Well riding a bike is a totally different state of mind. It gives a sense of being connected to the world around you. Its the 'wind in the face' experience which gives me a new high while riding. I am in no hurry to reach a place, because the journey is more important than the destination.