Yeah, yeah I know I’m a lazy ass guy who always keeps ranting about completing his travelogues one day, but then that day never shows up because eventually I forget most of the details that made the trip worth it in the first place, heck! I suck at this! Either way thought I’d pick a common element from all my rides and write an ocean about it, Yup! Bingo! Motorcycles!!! If you’re assuming that this is some random shitty post about generic motorcycling facts mixed with a couple of quotes by Hunter S Thompson, then you’re wrong, this is my experience with motorcycles and how it has helped me rediscover myself, how can someone rediscover or redefine oneself? Read on my friend!
But before that, let me tell you a little about myself, not much to say in fact, just a typical NRI brat who grew up in various hostels throughout his academic life. Always made it a certain point to keep away from trouble and mind my own business, never have travelled in public modes of transport alone, now you get the picture right? If not let me further simplify it, I used to be a pathetic nerd!
So what about motorcycles? How did they help me?
The Karizmatic Phase
My first ride was gifted to me by my dad in 2011 when was 19. A Black ZMA, decent motorcycle, I did experiment a lot on this, you name it, I’ve done it even to the extent of a VM28 transplant. In spite of the abuse it never failed me or left me stranded en-route, at least not for long! Yeah, right the stuck valve syndrome. 😀 Only ZMA people would get that one 😉 I let it go after a ground up restoration to showroom spec, she had done a total of 55.6k on the odometer. I’ve done a couple of memorable rides with her, the Biriyani ride from Kollam to Kozhikode and back which was around 800kms, the Kolli Hills ride from Kollam to Kolli Hills and back which was a record for me at the time at 1340kms, the pointless 1000kms ride from Kollam to Kollam via Tamil Nadu was another one that comes to mind, I learnt a lot about motorcycles, internal combustion engines and also found the DIY’er in me, but that was it, deep down I was still the same person.
The Discovery Phase
Now came along the second ride, the Discover 100 DTSi, man the D100 was something! This was again gifted to me by dad in 2013 as I needed something to ride in Bangalore for my 2 year tenure. Got and registered it from my hometown i.e Kollam. The initial intention was to get the motorcycle to Karnataka and keep it there, but something happened in between and instead of parcelling my ride off to Bangalore I rode it there for the whole 750kms alone, being my first solo out of the state trip I was cautious and careful, maintained a decent 50~60kmph, but after 650kms and somewhere between Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri, I was exhausted and completely out of steam, this was after 15 hours on the saddle, that was my defining moment, at a roadside coffee shop sipping on some coffee and smoking a cigarette almost at the brink of tears, contemplating whether I should leave the motorcycle there and get on a bus and come back for it later or whether I should hire a truck and get it transported to Bangalore, I got into a trance where I was talking to myself;
“Is this all you’ve got? This moment would determine every single decision you take for the rest of your life, are you going to walk the talk or are you going to choose the easy way out, like always?”
And that was it, the decision was made and I reached my hostel at Bangalore in the next 2 hours riding the D100 with the throttle pinned at WOT most of the way. Now you may feel that I was a tad too dramatic, but I assure you 100% NOT! Why do I say so? Cause you were not there at that moment in my shoes. The last 100kms of that ride changed something in me for the good. I’ve been through tougher times with two consecutive accidents and a busted knee on my Kollam to Bangalore run just within 50kms of reaching Bangalore, it took over a month for me to walk straight and over three for the pain to completely subside, slides are a part of a bikers life but having one when you’ve been in the saddle for over 12 hours drains the spirit out of you, having two was just….hmmm.. Fate! Then that’s not all, there’s also mechanical mishaps, on the same night between both accidents I tried to cross a water passing (yeah during heavy thunderstorms there are water passes en-route Bangalore, no need to look for them, if you are unfortunate enough they will find you!) meter console deep and in the middle of the stream my motor conked and the time was way past 12 AM, the motorcycle was hydro locked and after an hour of hurried pulling things apart, draining things and kicking the shit out of the kick starter all in total darkness with the only source of light being the fading headlights of bigger vehicles that got hydro locked, she came back to life!
The adventures I’ve had on this motorcycle is numerous though I’ve only sparingly used the motorcycle, the only real time the mileage started to seriously climb was during my two month internship where I would shuttle between Kollam and Trissur, a total of 440kms on the trip meter by the end of the day
So finally the good times had to end, after a ride back home from Bangalore, I did the unthinkable and traded the Discover 100 for a Pulsar 220. Though I parted with the motorcycle the stigma still stays, be humble, do your thing, and be true to yourself. The motorcycle has also made it possible for me to meet other awesome riders who share the passion for motorcycling (NOTE! NOT MOTORCYCLES!) though their rides are small they have big hearts, they are the kind of people who really matter, one of them who rides a 125cc even rode all the way from the heart of Tamil Nadu to my hometown for a meet-up when I was recovering from a motorcycle related mishap, if that doesn’t show you that there are a select few motorcyclists who are above the general breed that values an individual based on the price tag of his motorcycle, then I’m uncertain what can change your perception.
The Pulsating Phase
The fling with the once ‘Fastest Indian’ still continues, and like the previous rides again gifted by my old man BUT! Unlike with the Karizma there were no excitements, and unlike with the Discover 100 there were no revelations. Though it did teach me a thing or two about being practical, now I don’t push myself like I used to, now I’m fine with stopping for the night, now I’m fine with riding in 3rd gear for eons within city limits, now if I’m not up for a ride I don’t force it on me. Yup! You got it, the Pulsar 220 has taught me moderation, and it has shown me my limits. After 2 high speed rear-end bumps from cagers and a shifted pelvis from pulling of a strenuous ride, the motorcycle has taught me that I am human and I have my limits.
So that’s all folks!
And finally a few words for the aspiring motorcyclists don’t bother to be something you’re not cause if you do so you won’t remain happy; you catch the motorcycling bug when it’s the right time for you, if you try to force it.
You would soon start to regret a lot of things.
Oh! Wait! I’ve also got a bonus tip for you, for bearing with me throughout this… this… ordeal.
Motorcycling is not only about the motorcycle and the journey, but it’s also about the people you meet en-route. When you get into motorcycling there’s going to be a lot of people you meet, and you’d be wanting to be friends with some of them BUT! Make sure you’re doing so because you have something other than motorcycles in common and that common factor is not something superficial, cause believe me when I say this, I have friends that would even go to the extent of pinging Modi’ji if I’m stuck somewhere and in need of assistance, and then there are those who turned their faces away when I went down the displacement scale. But nonetheless don’t get discouraged cause there’s a long way to go and a lot more to learn.