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shashank sathe

i, THe biker
42 Year Old

Currently Riding

Kawasaki-Ninja-650

Past Owned

Bajaj-Avenger-220

Riding Experience

No. of Years of riding motorcycles : 26,
Kilometers done (appox) : 800000

Nominated For

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For you, what does it mean to be a motorcyclist?

Motorcycling is closest thing that one can be to nirvana – a relaxing, healing, humbling & introspective experience. The most humble way of experiencing grandeur & ambiance of mighty nature, up close & personal.
To see, albeit only a fraction, of this mighty tough as nails yet soft as putty great nation of mine.

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How has motorcycling changed you and your life?

Alertness, Balance & Concentration are the 3 primal ABC's of motorcycling. Riding has made me more tolerant & more humble. Riding solo in vast wilderness & open roads in the middle of the night or under the blazing sun, I've learned to respect the nature & its elements. I've also learned to live WITH the nature than against it. I've grown to identify & acknowledge my strengths & weaknesses. I know now, when to stop or when to be headstrong to keep going. Anticipating what the guy in your front will do, in advance & to be aware about what the guy coming from ur behind may do, while overtaking, urges u to be in a constant state of alertness. The more u hone ur skills & gain experience, the more composed & relaxed rider u become.

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Life tested you severely and motorcycling helped you to fight back – tell us that story of courage and inspiration.

On 15 January 1990 @ 7.30 a.m. I had my 1st motorcycle accident of my life @ Kalamboli while en-route solo to Goa from Mumbai.
Long story short, no casualties & I was admitted @ hospital.
Doc said i will never be able to ride again in this birth as my leg will be too weak to walk, let alone ride.
I touched my foot to the ground after 7 long months - 3 months @ hospital & 4 months @ physio-treatment.
The physical + mental trauma of all batch-mates becoming seniors cud be overcome only by me overcoming my handicap.
Riding was my love, passion & dream & if I let myself be deprived of that, only I was to blame.
11 months since the day i had the fall, i rode the same machine on my own to the Doc's clinic & i have been riding ever since.
I honestly feel that had it not been the bike & my passion to ride, I wud prolly have had given up.

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Tell us briefly about your 2 most memorable life events involving motorcycles?

My ride to Chandigarh, Kalpa, Tabo, Kaza has been one of the most memorable events of my life. Had always dreamt of riding on that road which cuts to mounts overhangs, the confluence of Sutlej & Spiti, the Chandrataal Lake... it was all a dream come true.
I have had 3 failed attempts of getting Leh’d thus far. Being partially deaf, AIMS affects me 10x more than what it wud for normal humans. When I go up there, due to scarce Oxygen, I often get Vertigo strokes & once I am hit by that, I am incapable to even walk a few steps, let alone, ride. I had to abort 3 times earlier, 2 times from Rohtang Valley & once from Pathankot.
But I’ve made a promise to myself... I will get Leh’d in this birth, Godwilling & Godspeed!

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As a motorcyclist, how have you contributed to the society/brotherhood and plan to do so in the years to come?

I try to do my part to return to the society what God / Fate has graced me with.
I know that there are not many who are as fortunate as what I’ve been.
When one becomes a bit successful in life, one needs to return what he got from the society, to the society.
Me & 4 friends of mine run our own K~12 school @ Ahmednagar entirely off our own means & monthly earnings.
I’ve tried to do minuscule little via XBHP for Uttarakhand victims, etc.
But again, there is so much to be done that perhaps 10 more birth also might not be adequate... yet I try

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What are the best and the worst things about motorcycling in India?

Pros:
Launch of exotic bikes
Diversified & large spectra of Commuters & mid-level bikes available
Globalization & in general awareness about road & individual safety
Motorcycling [or rather auto industry evolution]
Cons:
Incapable / inadequately trained personnel [even @ authorized service centers]
Unavailability / timely availability of genuine spares
Unreasonably overpriced spares for high end machines [N650 single horn @ 4000/- whereas same horn on Duke390 @ 300/- DaaFAAAaak!!!
Complete lack of customer focus by manufacturers AND service centers alike @ most places
Affordability of Riding gear & other accessories – thanks to the nincompoop customs & other crap duties – is about double of what it otherwise would be.

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Golden Question : How do you feel when you ride?

- satisfaction of reaching highest motorable road in the world - inner peace of watching a sunset on a beach? - intense glow of completion of a goal - sheer awe & surprise of snowcapped hills, while u r navigating thru hairpin twisties - silence within monasteries & temples @ remotest of places overwhelm u - after a long hard ride, joy of the pet-puja @ roadside dhaba - waking up fresh as a flower after a power nap, under a tree - getting off ur ride & sitting down on the tarmac to ease the sore-butt - u notice how happy, healthy, simple & selfless people still inhabit most remotest places & make u feel humbled by their deeds of sharing their shelter, food & life with no expectations - u tend to oversee all the worries u ever had & feel the true selfless joy of the ride motorcycling is a weird mix of all these feelings! :-)

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