Friday, June 25, 2010

Its a motor cycle thing

I was born in India but it still became a new way of living for me after a lifetime abroad. In May 2009 I had to climatise to a new culture, diet, weather, make new friends, learning the languages, behave as rude as a taxi driver (or spit as far as he could), learn to bull-shit (and take some) and found that the Arabian Sea air wasnt always what the doctor had ordered!

To keep up with my global friends base and save time in individual letter writing, I started publishing a monthly, the Bombay Blaggg. This was latterly renamed Mumbai Blaggg to be politically correct and prevent me being stabbed in my sleep by some fanatic.

After twelve months of my new habitat on the 18th floor of a high rise block of apartments, I felt there a reduction of my former liberties. The immobility made life like a prison, granted of my own choosing. Putting up with the heat, giving up smoking, cooking, alcohol, meat products and being nice to people who had no hope left with me was a further erosion of my luxuries from the past. I like to see and say things as they are without maliciously hurting anyone.

The Indian climate and amount of bikes on its roads started getting under my skin. I wanted one – a bike that is. My desire of ownership was matched by equal resistance from my wifey person. Nothing would convince her to give her sanction. Stubborn little petal she can be. Once she digs her heals in, she can be an immovable object. After all the arguments were shot down her blessings were still not forthcoming.

Where there is a will, there is a way.......

Amongst these notes and Pdf's I wish to share some of my thoughts, laughs and experiences on how a motorcycle integrated with my other passions of lifes education, food, photography, sharing stories and meeting decent people leaving me at peace with myself. I enjoy every journey whether solo or in a group. Each location, journey or destination throws its own rewards for things dear to my well being and interests. Along the way I manage to make new friends and meet real hard-core life and people of a particular region. I have found in general they share similar traits in dignity, humility and passions in life as myself. I have found the majority to be welcoming and hospitable to travelers. A completely different environment to the sometimes strained, ego driven and 'politically correct' world we live in.

I also got to learn that serious bikers opposed to commuters, are a different breed from travelers of other means. They share an unrivaled togetherness, comradeship, union and passion with their machines and fellow bikers like no other road or off-road user. They welcome bikers of all nationals, races and classes as though they are all equal under the sun. If you ride with them, you have a bond and affinity that is like no other. That is not to say they dont lust over other bikes, after all, we are only human!

Biking I soon found can be back breaking, butt numbing, grueling, enjoyable, fun, thrilling, gave me freedom, cleared my mind and head, kept me fit and throw in the odd soft tumble it was occasionally bruising. It was also the centre of many 'discussions' with she who is 'fair and lovely' with me being 'fair and handsome', in particular as it led to my 'biker image' facial hair in the form of a Van Dyke! All said and done, motorcycling allowed me to see the world from a different perspective than by traveling in a car or plane.

Documents shown here as Mumbai (Bombay) Blagggs are full extracts from the monthly issues. The ones relating to biking are presented to you as explained later, RoadTrips. The full compliment of Mumbai Blagggs are available to people I know personally or by request as they make some references not for public consumption.

Writing the Blagggs as a monthly issue led to one problem.. News worthy, family or broader audience items got pushed to the front whilst topical items such as bike thingies had to be fitted in when possible. For example a ride in January was published as a Mumbai Blaggg as late as June the same year. In the same month it led to the creation this thedragonrides blog so I could post my biking things in more real time as news worthy topics..

Now that you have a little about the past, lets get up to speed.

Not having much riding experience, I decided my motorcycling style was cruising. The Bajaj Avenger worked its way to the top of my list considering my criteria.

In July 2009, as luck would have it and importantly, at my Sweety Pie's request, (she often coins the phrase 'By the grace of God' tantermouth to Bhagwan ka daiya), along comes a smart opportunity for me to do a photo-shoot at Bajaj ProBiking at Kangur. This gave me the chance to see an Avenger at closer quarters than had I just walked into their showroom.

Our serialisation begins here,
Bombay blaggg14

By now, my wifey was beginning to think she had beaten off my wish for a bike like the warrior queen she is or I had forgotten about owning a 2 wheel Neddy. Nehhhh lad! Whenever I sneakily broached the subject especially when she was laughing – it wiped the smile off her face leading to some abusive languge, more stone-walling followed. After alot of soul searching, convincing myself it was the right thing to do, taking advice from other bikers and clubs on the web I had to tell her ‘Get used to it sweety, its coming’. She still woundnt have anything to do with the bike, so I just went and placed an order with the Bajaj men at Kanjur (the bike was actually registered on my birthday).

In early October 2009, whilst my lovely tinkerbell was in Delhi on a business trip, Hemang (a colleague who had loaned his bike to gain experience and pass my Indian bike test) and I collected the red Avenger from the bikewala. Later in the day I called her to say that we had an extra vehicle safely tucked away in the stables, (too late now eh?) surprisingly though there wasnt any theatrics but she still doesnt look it in the eyes!

Every weekend I would try to take off somewhere around Mumbai, Marine Drive was a favourite short jaunt. Often I got lost! Well I called it exploring – that way it makes me feel better. What was funny, when in the car with madam, I would say I have seen that statute or that monument before or I know where we are. She would say how come? Oh one day when I was out on the bike – I circled it about 4 times in 30 mins. (Basically I was lost). Read about the Dragons arrival and first solo run on Ahmedabad Road in Blaggg16
Bombay blaggg16

I had an adventurous solo trip to Lonavala, an all day out. The story is in Blaggg17.
Bombay blaggg17

Wifey is slowly starting to accept the new member into the family. It keeps me busy (and out of her hair) either riding or shampooing the two wheel boys toy instead of festering in front of the Tv all weekend. Instead I am now on a beach somewhere fermenting in the perspiration and Indian sun which seems crazy but loving it. I was now ready for something more challenging so took off for a solo weekend to Surat to what the Indians call 'My Native Place'. Its there in Blaggg20
Bombay blaggg20

Life was fun on the bike but wanted to power up my riding skills with help from expert bikers who knew the area and learn the tricks of my new pastime at the same time see the country. I wanted to meet with fellow enthusiasts for comradeship and who would show me the biking ropes in India. I got into contact with a super chap, Deepak Dongre who allowed me to join his ride on a weekend trip to Dapoli. He was also the subject of Mumbai Blaggg21 regarding another matter.
Bombay blaggg21

Read about the Dapoli trip with the Deepak and the Saddle Tramps in Blaggg23
Bombay blaggg23

Things are happening thick and fast, I have started adding the first editions of rides as soon as they are ready. They will be titled RoadTrips or carry appropriate titles. What gets published as the final edit globally, will also be added as a Mumbai Blaggg.

We have a few bikers in the office. Hemang (Mr Nice Guy), Sunil (Mr Quite Guy), Sai (I am still making my mind up about Sai – hardly talks), Rajesh (wont get on his own bike since he fell off), Navin (who will climb on anybody or thing) and Sidd (wont ride pillion with me, in fact no one will, full story will be explained in a later Blaggg!) Almost forgot chirpy Sanjay, he would want to ride but will come up with any excuse not to go on a ride. Think he would prefer a scooty! Perhaps its a wifey thing!

I think the office chaps took pity on my lonely rides and organised a group ride to Karla Caves near Lonavala. Perhaps a future blaggg but see the first cut in
RoadTrip Karla Caves

Solo run out to Malshej
RoadTrip Malshej

Rahul and Avishkar show me the road to Lonavala
RoadTrip Lavasa

On the triangle run with Deepak and the Saddletramps 
RoadTrip Amby Valley

Avishkar and Rahul take me on a 477kms trek to Bhimashankar
RoadTrip Bhimashankar

Rahul and I have a run to Alibag and Kashid Beach
RoadTrip Alibag-Kashid Beach  

Lone ride along the NH3 to Songir 
RoadTrip Songir 

Rahul invites the Goregaon boys on the Murud ride
RoadTrip Murud

A monsoon ride to Bhandadara (Wilson Dam)
RoadTrip Bhandadara

Lets do a circuit including trimbakeshwer
RoadTrip trimbakeshwer 

Just me amd him on the sequel
RoadTrip Amby Valley 2 

SaddleTramps to Hedvi
RoadTrip Hedwi

Breakfast in Mumbai, dinner in Goa with Bikenomads
RoadTrip Goa

Thanks for visiting