I used to think riding a motorcycle is for those who want to be “cool”.
I had this whole leather jacket, ruffled hair, speeding through streets image in my head something from the movies that makes heads turn as bikers pass by.
I am so glad I was wrong.
Earlier this year I was in between jobs trying to find something suitable and while I did I had way too much free time in hand. I lived in a hostel and spent a crazy amount of time interacting with people I may never see again. They were mostly travelers making pit-stops in the city during their trips. I even started trekking extensively around the trails in Karnataka. On one such trek I met a guy who was planning a bike ride to Bandipur National Park, which is around 224 kms from Bangalore.
My first question was bike as in “bicycle”? He said “no a proper motorcycle”.I told him I hadn’t ever ridden one. He gave a nonchalant shrug and said ” You can come with me”. He meant I could be a pillion. I told him I would get back to him.
Two days later he came to my hostel at 6:00 am with an Avenger and two helmets. Needless to say I had never been on a motorcycle for that long even as a pillion and was excited of course.
We reached our destination much before we expected and obviously had no intentions of going back considering we hired the bike for an entire day. We tried to spot tigers in the park but found only monkeys and deers.
We ate at one of those small chai-shops on the side of the road and suddenly Jatin spotted a sign board that said ” Ooty 40kms”. He asked me if I wanted to go. Of course we had both been there before. It’s a beautiful hill station with lovely weather and views. But on a motorcycle? Never.
And just like that – we decided to keep going. There are 36 hairpin bends along the way right to the top of the hill and it was the best ride of my life! I was paranoid about crashing because I am so much heavier than Jatin and the bike weighs a ton. I wasn’t sure if he could do this. To be honest he wasn’t sure if he could either!
Highlight of this trip
I rode a motorcycle for 30 kms on the highway without killing me or my friend or anyone on the road.
“When you let a motorcycle into your life, you’re changed forever”
– Dave Karlotski
Being a pillion for 528 kms can be monotonous and tiring. My dear friend Jatin sensed this from my growing silence and asked if I want to ride. For a minute I thought he is crazy and obviously joking. But he wasn’t.
What it means to feel free
You cannot imagine the sense of freedom you feel by a simple act of getting on a motorcycle and twisting the throttle. In the words of Karlotski, “On a motorcycle I know I am alive”. Your heart races, all your senses are 100% alert and you see things with a different kind of energy. Something you would never experience inside a car.
The unrestricted view
There are no windows, windscreens, doors or walls on a motorcycle. There is nothing between you and what you can see outside. It feels like the view is magnified making everything appear crystal clear. It makes you more connected to your surroundings. You feel the wind hitting your cheeks and experience a medley of smells that blend together as you zoom past the different trees and plants on your way. Everything is a blur and yet so clear!
Note: For anyone who is scared of motorbikes or thinks they are dangerous please don’t be afraid. It is one of the most thrilling experiences you will ever have and absolutely a must-try if you haven’t already. Needless to say safety comes first so wear helmets, don’t be reckless and enjoy the ride!