People often realise the benefits of a leisure pursuit long after they start, primarily because as you explore the fonder you get, it’s always the journey that builds the whole shebang. So here is my first ever spectacular experience of Rider Mania 2014 and now there is no looking back!
Friday, 21st November 2014, 05:15 am, Day 1
A year ago, never had I imagined that I for one would have the privilege to ride a Royal Enfield. Although riding was always at the back of my mind it was never something I thought I would pursue. In fact I did not even know how to ride one till I got a Thunderbird 350. My suggestion, kindly go and purchase an RE before you even start learning to ride one. Trust me! I have ridden other bikes but you can feel your pulse by only getting close to a Royal Enfield. That’s how I learnt to ride!
So here I am all geared up and ready to set off for a 600 kilometre ride for the very first time. The maximum distance covered by me before this has been 350 kms to and fro to Igatpuri, which also, in my opinion, required an iron butt. Let alone a 600km ride one way. With jitters in my stomach we set off, along with my younger sister Sana Khan, and my closest buddies who have taught me everything I know about riding, Pranav Varma and Mandhar Koli.
By nightfall, Pranav had introduced me to a bunch of other rider all singing the Royal Anthem with energy levels of a supercharged engine. We called it a night by 2:30 am, eagerly awaiting Rider Mania Day 2.
The beginning seemed normal as it was cruising through traffic until we reached Lonavala Ghats from Nerul. Now, when you are a beginner I highly recommend you to ride with an expert rider especially at the Ghats. Therefore I switched to be a pillion and Mandhar took over, and hats off. If you look at that road it may seem ok as it has curves and sharp turns that will be fun, but riding between 3rd and 4th gear and clocking 60-80 kmph and every rider concentrating on how much more can they bend, gives you one hell of a adrenaline rush. That’s when I realised this is why we ride!
On reaching the highway towards Pune we were belting our rides to 100-110 kmph, feeling the sound of our exhausts and the gush of wind, passing through the narrowest path between two huge trucks and overtaking every car/ bike/truck like a slalom. That rush gives you sense of a unique emotion, I guess! It was a combination of controlled adrenaline and absolute peace! It’s literally like leaving everything behind. You have nothing on your mind other than just riding. We continued our ride via Pune, Kolhapur on NH4 followed by entering Belgaum and then heading towards Chorla. The Chorla Ghats ride was euphoric, it was worse than Lonavala Ghats as it is a narrow two way road with much sharper turns. You wouldn’t know if there was a bus or a truck coming your way unless you catch a glimpse of it. So this part definitely requires an experienced rider! The weight of a thunderbird 350 with 90% fuel is about a 192 kgs, in addition the weight of the rider and the pillion makes the bike much harder to handle. So you can imagine these sharp turns at 60 kmph, yet Mandhar managed to touch our shoes to the ground in a smooth flow. Pranav has a classic 350 weighing 187 kgs and being a solo rider he ensured to scrape his exhaust on each turn. You have to at least once witness how beautiful it looks and feels when a convoy of fine-looking Royal Enfield bikes manoeuvre on those Ghats.
If you look at that road it may seem ok as it has curves and sharp turns that will be fun, but riding between 3rd and 4th gear and clocking 60-80 kmph and every rider concentrating on how much more can they bend, gives you one hell of a adrenaline rush. That’s when I realised this is why we ride!
During our entire ride we stopped twice for lunch for 30 minutes and thrice for 5-10 minutes to stretch our legs, which is crucial unless you have a remedy for numb bum. We were able to enter Goa at 5.15pm sharp. Furthermore, it took us about 45 minutes to get to Anjuna to our Hotel, Nirvana Hermitage where our stay was for three nights and four days. We freshened up and immediately headed towards Rider Mania.
The first look that you get once you come down the hill of Vagator is the parking lot of Rider Mania. That glimpse, my friends, is exceptional, as far as your vision can reach you can only see Royal Enfields. When you move further down towards the main entrance you have entered a zone. A huge signage greets you, “Parking for Royal Enfield Only” and suddenly a sense of belongingness runs down your spine. That is what Rider Mania is all about!
Rider Mania, is the biggest gathering of Royal Enfield riders. The three day motorcycling event at Vagator from 21st November to 23rd November with more than 5,000 riders to join three days of music, mirth, odd riding skills, art, photography and lifestyle. Various competitive and fun events are organised for the riders over three days. The festival has an exhaustive line up of motorcycling events and music performances. Everything that you need for a break from your routine is here.
We missed most of Day 1 but our friends there won trophies for Slow Race and Assembly Wars. Congratulations Suraj Naik! Oh did I forget to mention, a Kingfisher Pint was priced at 30 rupees, That’s correct! 30 Rs, so for the next three days we were all one very big happy group! By nightfall, Pranav had introduced me to a bunch of other rider all singing the Royal Anthem with energy levels of a supercharged engine. We called it a night by 2:30 am, eagerly awaiting Rider Mania Day 2.