Thursday, 17 December 2009

Biking Maniacs

There are two kinds of people in the world.

The Bikers……and the rest…….

Yup, it’s a pretty simple classification of petrolheads. I’m gonna go on a limb here and say that biking is by far one of the most complete man-machine-road experiences you are going to get. Yeah, even better than being enclosed in a 4 wheeled room with screaming kids and nagging wives, or vice versa if you are my Uncle Asif.

I’ve always been fond of bikes. The freedom of just being alone with a machine on an open road, on a cold dawn, a bandanna on your head and knuckle gloves on ur palms is unmatchable in any other automobile. Cold air whipping at your face as you gear up 1st and the torque almost pops a wheelie, the air just increasing in its speed at you as you work up the gear box, the howl of the engine through the 3rd and 4th gears building into a scream where your heartbeat increases its credence along with the engine’s, and when the engine can scream no higher, a swift engage-disengage of the clutch with the intermittent gearing up, all in a fluid second, resulting in the fresh howl of the engine in top gear…….

Trust me when I say, it can’t get any better than this. Just can’t.

So you could imagine my childish excitement when I first realized that I’d be biking to work with a friend. Rumour had it that he was a maniac on the road. I remember being a sort of a maniac whenever I used to get a bike. We biking maniacs are the rare breed you see weaving in and out of traffic with surgical precision using instinct as our scalpel and adrenaline as the sedative. Yup, you need to be as calm as an unconscious body to pull of that kind of nonsense and live to tell the tale.

Although, there is one thing about us maniacs worth knowing. We acknowledge each other and respect each other. But we sure as hell don’t get on each other’s bikes without a pretty large chunk of doubt in their menace (unless you’ve rode many times with them, in which case). In any case, the first ride with a fellow maniac is filled with doubt.

Bike in question, Yamaha RX-135. The successor to Yamaha RX-100, which if you are a biker in India, would know that it is more than a bike, it is a Legend. Also the first bike I learnt to ride, popping a wheelie in my first go. The absolutely massive torque in the 2 stroke 98cc Engine was so insane that Indian government banned it. Probably coz they didn’t want the youth sacrificing themselves at the altar of speed, leaving the country in the hands of the TVS Scooty riders. Both these Yamahas were only superseded by the Yamaha RD350. **ALL BIKERS SALUTE**

In terms of pure bike royalty, it would be the RD350, RX100 and everything else comes next.

RX135 is a more tamer version of the RX100. So I didn’t give a second thought to the fact that I was sitting pillion with my friend, wearing the dorkiest helmet money could buy. I wont even put you through the agony of having to imagine what it felt like. All I can say is, I’d rather be shot dead at point blank range with a howitzer cannon than wear a helmet like that again. But it was Yamaha, and it demands you keep your helmetty pride aside.

He kicked, and the engine howled to life in the car-shed of my building, resonating and waking up every person in the ground and first floor, (For better waking effects, try a YEZDI ROADKING or a BULLET)

The air was chilly and wind was at about 14knots. And the highway was free. From Dubai to Sharjah, morning traffic is almost nil. From Sharjah to Dubai, its Hell. Imagine a 5 lane highway, about 10 kms long, taking you not less than an hour (in the least) to cover. Yeah, people spend 1/3rd of their lives here with their butt on the carseat.

But my side of the highway was open, and the maniac at the handle went beserk.

4 lanes of highway, when compared to the dual carriageways of India, are huge. The wind whips around the light bike like it was made of cardboard, and holding it steady is more a challenge than it seems. I was getting suspicious that I just might be getting into a wee bit of trouble, i.e. my last bike ride.

The bike would scream itself hoarse on the top gear, and just when the road ahead cleared off with someone changing lanes, he’d gun the throttle higher, damn thing had torque even in top gear.

We did come to a traffic jam, its inevitable. But when we did, we just passed between the hundreds of cars and casually walked right up to the front of the signal. Its like being in a ticket line for a movie everyone wants to see, and you come from behind, walk through the queue with a sarcastic “Excuse me, hehe, pardon me, haha, Ooops sorry about ur side mirror, ROFLOL” (except of course you cant ROFLOL on a bike, but you sure can LOL)

And then you get to the front of the queue, and get your thing done, and no one can say or do a bleddy thing about it.

Heights of sadistic pleasure that….;)

The lights turned green, and he took off. My legs were like…. “LETS GOOOOO,” and the rest of my torso was like, “NAAH maybe next year….”

I kid you not, I felt quite a crazy pull in my upper thighs whenever my friend gunned the engine. He had told me he’d installed an RX100 Bore in the engine, I understood the implications of that now. To those who dont, imagine Pierce Brosnan with Sean Connery's heart....

I peeked over his shoulder to see the speedometer to gauge what speed we were going at, and I saw the speedometer needle broken and just spinning round and round and round.

Suspicion had turned into Conviction….I was dead meat.

A curve in the road approached, and at the speed we were going, we had to lean the bike over so as to keep the turning radius of the curve. And then my friend did the best thing a maniac could do, half way through the curve, he gunned the engine. Oooooh the centripetal pull of the bike in the cradle of the wind….It gives you a rush which makes you forget all your worries and think, you are indestructible to the problems of the world.

Who says bikers cannot be thinkers??

I didn’t have a full face helmet, so at that speed, the effect of wind to my skin was equivalent to a sandpaper on peanut butter. And my frame was bigger, much bigger than my friend, so every time he changed gears, the bike threatened to lift off into a wheelie, for which I had to consistently move myself around on the back seat so as to keep the centre or gravity pushed in the middle of the bike.

Painful journey, although fast.But worth every screaming groaning howling decibel of the 14 horses. I got off the bike with a big grin on my face, and arrived at office feeling fresher than ever in the last 6 years of my grown up life. :D


Anirudh said...

yeah.. i dont ride bikes but know enough about Yamaha RX100 (a cousin had one) and the Yamaha RD(Rajdoot) 350 :D

the first bike i rode (learnt, or atleast tried to) was RX100

Cyman said...

I love the RX100 :D
Nothing beats it B-)