Friday, April 6, 2012

Ride ride and away..

In olden days, a middle class well to do joint family owned one car while many bikes or scooters, unlike nowadays where there are per car per member of the family. I was a part of one such family.
I grew up seeing my father ride a bullet. He had this big bike he had bought in the year 1967. It had a sputtering sound which I always identified with him. The bike was already a decade old by the time I was born and he rode it till around I was more than 2 decades old, after that he had less use of it as his travelling decreased due to his office at home kind of work. That bike is still there, a little rusty though because of lack of usage.
That's the bike, almost an antique no?
Now, he would always ride his bullet with complete gear, meaning, he would always wear hand gloves, a well covered helmet and a riding leather jacket even in those times. I mean I saw my uncles (4 of them) always with upgraded new models of bikes, and they just rode without any gear. Papa on the other hand was meticulous and very particular about safe riding. This is also the reason perhaps why my father never met with any accident, while all of my uncles had an accident due to their careless attitude towards riding their bikes. As a result, one day one came home with a bleeding nose and another day another uncle with a fractured leg.

There was one more thing, he rode at one speed, neither very fast nor slow.
I observed riding on his pillion that when we went anywhere he would always be left behind other bikers who would zoom past us and I felt like oh why cant he ride a bit faster?! But by the time, we reached the traffic signal, I found the riders who had earlier zoomed past us waiting impatiently there. So, I realised that since we weren't actually in a race, the one who zoomed past us didn't actually win by speeding!
My father explained that driving at a constant speed increases the fuel efficiency and also enhances the life of both the bike and bike rider! I couldn't disagree with him even for the sake of the love for thrill!

Riding a bike is obviously not at all feminine in the conformed sense of the word. But what was the harm in learning to drive one? So, when the kinetic honda came along which had a small button as a starter and you did not have to kick start it, I tried my hands on it and managed to drive it. I am quite a good cyclist, so maintaining balance wasn't difficult. The only difference is that the bike certainly feels heavy to handle! I decided I was not going to be much of a rider and so gave up much practising on it.

Apart from my father, two of my school teachers rode bullets. I really looked up at them for being able to drive such a fierce machine. Even though I wasn't a rider, I really liked rides on bikes. Its thrilling to have the wind blow at your face at full speed and you feel as if you are almost flying. I missed this while driving a car, because even with the windows down, you cant romance the wind like you do when you are on a bike!

These days youngsters drive very recklessly and for this reason, my father never allowed my brother a bike. Instead he bought him a car for safety purposes. Its not just the bikers I think, its the lack of time that people have and the need to always hurry. Every other day we hear a smashed skull due to a bike accident. Last year, a class 12 student of my daughter's school died because he rode without a helmet. Its so heartbreaking to see young lives waste away because of reckless driving. I don't say accidents happen only in bikes, but a car accident is less catastrophic than a bike accident.

Bike riding is nice and fun, but please remember you have to reach somewhere and that is why you use a bike and you are not in a race where you have to come first. My father was a bike lover and a great rider, who treated his bike and himself with utmost care. When we talk of bike riding, we think of thrill, adventure and speed, but its more than just all that. It is first of all a vehicle which makes transportation quick and makes the narrowest alley accessible. It is a great innovation and a beautiful machine. A passionate rider would not be one who zip zap and zooms, rather I think he would be someone like my father who would love the machine as a man loves his better half!


  1. How saturnine! God I cant tolerate slooooow people.

  2. I liked the post, another one where Riding is synonymous with Bullet :)
    Bullet has got its own gravity. None cares, when some speedster vroom-pass a Buletteer....It's all about enjoying the ride, thump and the surrounding...not just being in cat-race to nowhere (and to stand still impatiently at signals ;)

    1. exactly.. bullet riders have their own sense of gravity and sense of control which is wowow!

  3. This is the second one I am reading about bikes as transport and enjoying biking without speed. Refreshingly different

    1. :) Speed is thrilling but not at the cost of life!

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