Two Wheels to Move the Soul

Writing about my motorbike rides and other motorcycle related stuff


June 2013

Four Wheels Move a Body, Two Wheels Move the Soul

So, why do some people get up at unearthly hours on a weekend, sneak around the house quietly so as to not disturb anybody else, wear uncomfortable gear and quietly steal out of the house. All this to then sit in a fairly uncomfortable position for a few hours, straining various muscles in the body and burn some fossil fuel. On top of all that, these people endure bad traffic, unfriendly vehicles, bad drivers and a lot more.

Seriously, why would anyone do that. Once, I had described how I woke at 4:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning for a 200 kms ride, the person I was talking to gave me an incredulous look and said, “you do this for fun?”
Which brings us back to the question ‘why on Earth would some people do this to themselves”. It is of course very easy to quote the Bollywood ghazal and say
hosh walon ko khabar kya, bekhudi kya cheez hai”, 
thus implying you would know it if you did it. 
But really it’s not that simple to get away from it. (bad translation – “what will the sober ones ever know about getting a high”)
Do all runners, cyclists and bikers have a masochistic streak in them which makes them torture themselves for fun. I think not!
I asked a few of my biker friends what makes them tick, hoping to understand my own affliction. The responses I got were interlaced with words like ‘meditation’, ‘love’, ‘freedom’, ‘exploring’, ‘camaraderie’ and others of a similar ilk.




I think all of these are part of why we ride.

In my own case I feel a surge of joy and freedom when I rip the throttle. Wind in the face, an engine between your legs, gently leaning in to corners and turns and in general being one with the machine. All of these things happen to me every time I ride. When you ride the mind clears up and you get a feeling of liberation where your mind is de-cluttered, all you have is the road in front and the machine below. I think the only thing that would come close, though I have not personally experienced it, is flying. I don’t mean flying an aircraft I mean actually flying like a bird, or maybe sky diving might give a similar surge; need to try that one day.
Even as short a trip as the neighbourhood store to get groceries is made joyous by the bike. Probably sounds silly to those who do not share a similar passion. For them of course I would point to the above quote.

Riding makes you feel like one with a machine. It is a strange bonding. You need to manage the beast with your whole body, not just the hands and feet but almost every part of you. When you turn, that is when you feel it the most. When a car turns it is trying to stay on course and is pushed outwards off the curve and the driver controls it to keep it in line. When a biker turns, the bike leans in to the curve and becomes one with the road. You really need to be a rider to fully appreciate this I guess.

Besides all the above things which are kind of solo, there is the camaraderie that you get. When you are riding with 10 other people, in formation the sheer joy of being part of a group of like-minded people and the wall of sound that you create which drowns out the world around is something to cherish.
Bikers are a homogenous group, while every biker is a complete individual, there are cruisers, dirt bikers, street bikers, but one thing that binds them all is that they are bikers. The moment you know the other person is a biker there is an automatic connection established between the two of you. This connection stays and binds you together like a family. The camaraderie is there for as long as you wish it to be.

The best part of riding a bike is the sensation it leaves behind long after, somewhat like Wordsworth’s Daffodils. I take the liberty of mis-quoting him here.

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And roars on the road of thrills.

You could be behind your desk immersed in work and suddenly take a few moments off and be back in the saddle to burn the moment’s stress away and get away from it all. Of course just looking forward to a weekend ride is also a great way to get through the week.

There are many latent riders around. I often find people coming up to me saying “I have been thinking of getting a bike as well”. I sincerely urge them to just go ahead and do it. There is no joy compared to the release of riding, don’t hold yourself back at all just go for it. You don’t need to spend money upfront, you can hire bikes or even borrow them. Get in to the saddle and you will release the rider inside. 

Thunder down the road and leave all the worries behind in the exhaust fumes !!
Some fun quotes to do with bikes and biking ! 

Manchanabele Reservoir Ride!

Guest column, courtesy of Shalin Shukla  – thanks Shalin for contributing. 

A truly Classic Picture – has to be with three Classics in it !

June 9th 2013, the second coming of the Bullet Riders. We are still experimenting with the name, watch this space – we are currently called the Enfield Explorers. The thing is we have 2 Harleys in the group so we still need to find an inclusive name. 

Plans were initially formed for an overnight ride to “The Rappa” but brought to naught due to the unavailability of some. The families do have a way of making demands on our time on weekends.

However, the riders inside us and the machines in their parking spots were getting restless. So we took a call to do a shorter day ride.

After deliberating options within the 100-200 km range from home, we decided to do a breakfast run to Savanadurga. It is situated on Magadi Road – about 35 km from Bangalore. The Savanadurga hills are supposed to be the highest monolithic hills in Asia.

Robert and Anand had expressed inability to join. Pankaj was back home after eight weeks of work travel and going on a ride would have been quite unfair to his kids and deadly to his marital happiness (no pun intended). But he promised to ride with us for a short distance and then head back home before parenting or husbanding was needed.
Come Sunday morning, few of the alarms ceased to function, mine included. The start point was the  usual one, Adigas on Bannerghatta Road at 6 am. Only five of us managed to get there on time. Pankaj joined in a bit later. Nikhil woke up post multiple calls at 6:30. The enthusiastic Iron Man (christened by Bipin) still managed to reach the rendezvous in 30 minutes – God Bless the Harley. The ride actually started at around seven.

(Inspired by Pankaj’s visit and posts of the London Ace Café, Adigas Nalpak is now our desi Ace Café)

It was a quick zip to the Nice road ramp, where Pankaj turned back and headed home leaving six of us to continue the ride. The first pit stop was on the NICE corridor, after the Kanakapura Road exit. Atul and Bipin sprung to activity with their respective cameras and we had some beautiful snapshots of the start of the trip.
The NICE view

Harleys attract a lot of attention. There was a chap in a blue T-shirt wandering around aimlessly, and you thought the NICE corridor was not for loitering. He started gathering info on the bikes. The first question for the HDs is always – “Price yeshtu?”.  On hearing the reply, some back off intimidated, some have a blinking processor look in their eyes and some proceed with further inquisitiveness.

That’s Atul on his vantage capturing the view (the loiterer in blue can be seen too)

We pushed off uninterrupted till Mysore Road, where we stopped for tea. The detour from Mysore road (opposite the Featherlite Factory) marks the start of the approach road to Savanadurga.
The approach road is a beautiful rustic haven and not a silky smooth highway. We enjoyed every bit of it. Thanks to Atul and Bipin, we had a couple of magnificent shots. 

Down the hill a little further, all of us were suddenly blessed with the first view of the Manchanabele Reservoir.
We had to stop for the breath-taking serenity. And this is where, on a downhill road, Nikhil had his first argument with the Iron 883, the bike showed him who’s boss. In an effort to take a U turn, Nikhil tilted a bit too much. The gradient and an over exposed throttle meant both of them were on the road.
Nothing serious, they got up and dusted off; we turned our attention back to the view.

Vantage View Point to the Reservoir from the Hill

Amit and I noticed a lone wild boar on the hill, but it disappeared by the time I could alert 
anyone or click a picture. Pity!

It was all we could do to wait for a few more pictures before heading off downhill to the reservoir. This was a detour from our original plan of Savanadurga, but hey that huge body of water had a magnetic pull.
The road was, well, non-existent and the path lined with gravel and stones – not pebbles but stones the size of tennis balls. It was quite a bit of off-roading to the bottom (the bank of the reservoir) but it was heavenly once you reached. The bikes were lined up in the photography formation and the boys engaged in bike talk. We decided to spend some time there to soak up the freshness and peace.
At this point, we decided that riding on to Savanadurga would not make much sense. This was tranquil and we did not want to change it. 

Boys and their Toys

Reservoir Dogs ?  Nah!  Reservoir Dudes !

The rumbling tummies made us decide that, next time we should carry some snacks or finger food for places like these. Most of us had just jumped straight out of bed and in to the saddle, by now we were really hungry.
Soon, we were on the return journey. We tacitly decided to avoid the Mysore road with the heavy traffic that was bound to build up – so we took a right turn at the intersection and started towards Ramanagaram.

Kadu Mane on Mysore Road was the real pit stop with wholesome Thatte Idlys and Poori Sagu to the accompaniment of tea and coffee. Absolutely the icing on the cake.

Satiated we spent some time test riding each other’s bikes. Goes without saying that the Harleys were the star attraction. Amit and Nikhil drew all the attention – especially Nikhil with the newly adorned Screaming Eagles on his silencer.
In Bipin’s words, “if you start the bike next to a heart patient, he might not survive to tell the tale”.
With the traffic building here too, we took an inside road from Bidadi towards Kanakpura.
Just a few km down the road, we sighted another reservoir –Vrishabhavathi Reservoir (as per Google Maps). There is a shallow ford that comes down to the road. It is quite a pretty picture. A beautiful, if smelly, view. The water here is quite polluted with industrial effluents and the rapid flow results in plenty of froth. Oozing, flowing and flying froth, a sight which demands that pictures be taken.
Beautiful but …

This last bit of road was nothing to write home about, but at least it was green with some canopy. It was pretty potholed too. Almost like someone plotted them at mathematical intervals. It took us 20-25 minutes to reach Kanakpura road, after which it was a free run for all. Amit and Atul were leading the way and I brought up the rear. There were instances, when we were so lined up that I could not see anyone but Nikhil who was in front of me. Being a tail gives you some awesome views of the group. Wish I had a camera on me and Atul’s acrobatic abilities to capture some amazing and incidental formations. But it was not to be.
Finally we reached the NICE road ramp, where we parted ways, this concluded another fantastic ride for the boys with their toys!
A Great Picture of Nikhil the Iron Man on his Iron 883 Harley
This one of Amit’s Harley made it to the India Harley page on FB – Good snap Atul ! 

Logistics –
Start – 7 am
Back – 12:30 pm
Route taken : 
UP – Bannerghatta Road – NICE Corridoor – Mysore Road – Manchinabele Reservoir
DOWN– Manchinabele Reservoir – Mysore Road – Bidadi – Bannigere – Kanakpura Road
Distance Travelled – ~150 km
Riders and their rides –
Amit              –                   HD Superlow 883
Devashish    –                   RE Thunderbird 500
Bipin             –                   RE Classic 350 Black
Atul               –                   RE Classic 500 Black
Nikhil            –                   HD Iron 883
Shalin           –                   RE Classic 500 Black 
Pankaj         –                    RE Classic 500 Black (cameo)

Photo Credits – 
All photos watermarked by Bipin are his – Bipin Thomas and those that are not belong to Atul Lakra 

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