The Pleasures of Motorcycling
This is an adaptation of an excellent write-up by Sachin Rao in one of the issues of BS Motoring magazine. Sachin was a part of the BS Motoring editorial team till a few years ago. Later, he moved to UK for further studies.
Motorcycling is the last genuine form of everyday adventure left to the urban man. Riding astride a motorcycle is reminiscent of riding horses in days gone by. The thrill of accelerating, of weaving and banking on a twisty mountain road is addictive. Once bitten by the motorcycling bug, you're never shy of it. When static, the bike's engine throbs with latent power underneath. On the roll and moving fast, the rider and his motorcycle are a roar, a flash, more so a windswept blur riding a wild banshee howl from the engine, pulling their own little hurricane of wind and noise behind. The motorcycle sets you free. It grants you the opportunity to overcome the limitations imposed by fear and fatigue. From a mere human who can just walk on two legs, the rider can live at being faster than the swiftest cheetah! Such is the romance of motorcycling. So lets share the pleasures of motorcycling and add to them.
The Pleasures of Motorcycling
The pleasure is in doing three-digit speeds for hours on end when most consider 60 as dangerous and 80 as fatal!!
The pleasure is in tying the luggage so well on the back seat that the Bike seems to have come fitted with it from the showroom!
The pleasure is starting your bike's engine for a long-distance ride on a cold morning and listening to its steady comforting idle while you prepare for the ride.
The pleasure is in listening to the crackling clicks from the hot engine and exhaust as they cool after a fast blast on the road.
The pleasure is in racing a train speeding along parallel to the road and beating it, at beyond a 100 kmph!!
The pleasure is in watching a row of several single headlights trailing in your mirrors, the group on the move.
The pleasure is in watching a bunch of gleaming bikes knifing together through fast highway traffic.
The pleasure is in knowing a split second before the car in front panic-brakes. You were more focussed than the driver of that car. You survive and smile!!
The pleasure is when your upshifts and downshifts are so smooth that the Bike feels auto-geared.
The pleasure is in tooting a salute to truckers who safely wave you past on a blind mountain curve.
The pleasure is in glancing up at the cloud-darkened sky for a moment and guessing correctly how far ahead the rain will catch up with you.
The pleasure is in riding with a bug splattered visor for long, trying to look from between the squashed mosquitoes.
The pleasure is in cleaning the visor at a tea stop and seeing the world clearer through it as it had never been before.
The pleasure is in greeting a dhaba-owner you meet after 2 years on a remote highway, like you greet an old lost friend.
The pleasure is in washing your muck-covered Bike beside a cool mountain stream.
The pleasure is in being treated as special because you are on a bike, something that would never happen if you arrive in a car.
The pleasure is in knowing that your wife loves riding as much as you do, even as a pillion!!!
The pleasure is in the easy companionship of a riding group.
The pleasure is when the group gets together weeks after a long ride and talks about it like it happened just yesterday.
The pleasure is in seeing photos of a re-grouping stop when everyone in the group with helmets on look like astronauts with overgrown heads!!
The pleasure is in hearing seven identical bikes start and rumble together while warming up for a long day on the road.
The pleasure is in smelling spilled diesel on the road before your tyre hits it.
The pleasure is in watching other road users gawking wide-eyed as the group does three-digit speeds together in formation.
The pleasure is in entering a road-tunnel on a bright day with your sunglasses on and remembering the fear of riding blind for even a few moments.
The pleasure is when you fix a puncture by the roadside in the dark and nothing goes wrong with it for months afterwards.
The pleasure is in having just the right tool and spares at hand when something goes wrong with the Bike in the middle of nowhere.
The pleasure is when you finish your dayís ride, and reach in one piece. Youíre the smallest vehicle on the road, and youíve survived.
The pleasure is when you take off your wristwatch, and see a band of untanned skin.
The pleasure is when your motorcycle and you move as one single united form. Whatever shape the road takes, whichever end of the compass it leads to.
The pleasure is when you use your hands, arms, thighs, knees and feet to steer.
The pleasure is when you take off your riding jacket for a break, and feel the breeze dry your sweat.
The pleasure is when you sing to yourself on an empty road. Youíre the worldís best rock star.
The pleasure is when your rear wheel slides, and you bring it back, when the front wheel lifts, and you take your time bringing it back.
The pleasure is when you cut through air, at 50 kph or 100.
The pleasure is when you reach a place youíve never been before, and someone youíve never seen before asks you for a ride. And comes back grinning.
The pleasure is when you wave to village kids, and they wave back.
The pleasure is when you almost, almost fall. But donít.
The pleasure is when you fight the wind, and win.
The pleasure is when you get up that narrow path for the view youíll never forget.
The pleasure is when you view the world at an angle.
The pleasure is when you eat bugs at 90 kph.
The pleasure is when you look at a dust-streaked face in the mirror after a 12-hour ride, and donít want to wash up.
The pleasure is when your pillion moves with you.
The pleasure is when you can see the petrol after a top-up.
The pleasure is when your throttle hand has calluses.
The pleasure is when you jump a speedbreaker.
The pleasure is when you stop to help push a stranded car to the side of the road when you had the choice of riding past but didnít.
The pleasure is when you stop at the smallest of towns, and somebody asks you deep technical questions about your bike.
The pleasure is when your roadmaps gets dog-eared, rain-splashed and tea-stained.
The pleasure is when you give a stranger a lift and he loves it.
The pleasure is when you have battle-scars, each one a lesson in survival on two wheels.
The pleasure is when you can feel the cool morning and the hot afternoon, the light rain and the damp fog.
The pleasure is when you leave four-wheeler traffic standing in a jam.
The pleasure is when you arenít lulled by an air-conditioner.
The pleasure is when you are free. Open. Independent. Liberated.
The pleasures, ladies and gentle, are all yours for the taking.
Ride long and safe...
Text: Sundeep Goswami [Old Fox]