Mar 4, 2006

Fair weather fiends

For those used to a year's worth of sweat, Mumbai has thrown a frozen-over spanner in their routines. It's been nippy these past few mornings and I can tell you, I've never woken up feeling more gloriously awake and in the immediate motorcycle. Which set me thinking. Would it not be perfect, if the weather were always to be like this, just a bit nippy, just enough to focus the mind? And surprisingly, the answer I came up with, was no!

Let us take the example of the British motorcyclist. Since everybody there seems to be deeply into riding, you have to be outstanding to command automatic respect at the coffee shop, or at the pub. For instance, you could be the guy who laps Donington Park on a stock litre class bike, within six seconds of the MotoGP lap record. You're god. Or, you could be the sort who rides a Honda CRF450R dirt bike, and there isn't a part of the wee isle that hasn't been under your wheels yet.

But both of those sort of motorcyclist pale in front of another sort. In the classifieds, his bike is always the bottom of the pile. It says simply, 'ridden the year round, rusting exhaust pipes, corroded wheels...' When a prospective buyer does come around to look at the bike, he bends a little more than normal into the handshake, and there is deep, if grudging, respect. Why? Because this madcap rides the year round. He doesn't slink guiltily into his car at the first hint of extreme windchill, sleet or snow. This is also the man who has the most riveting over-the-Guinness stories and the man who will usually find himself answering questions like, 'so how many times did you fall going to the shops last Christmas eve?'

We are blessed, in a sense, with round-the-year riding weather across most of our land. But I think it's the difficulty of the ride that makes it special. You only ever recall the ones you had trouble with when it comes time to regale friends with tales of derring-do.

So what's the big deal about riding in 47 degree Delhi Julys. I did it for years. And all I had to say was, 'Man, I sweated buckets and stank.' Not something to tell the grandchildren, eh?

It's that drenched to the bone ride from one end of Mumbai to another in the middle of the night. Or the sheer uphill task that is the Manali-Leh ride. Or the December nights spent apexing half of Delhi, ignoring the rapidly blue-ing fingers boosted finely by a rocketship of a Yamaha twin.

So we Indians do have the edge when it comes to the expanse of the riding season. But those of you who chicken out in the rains (in Mumbai), in winter (in the north) and at other times... You are missing the best part.

3 comments:

Elton said...

yup, the wet weather can be a put off... have u written on riding in the wet as yet? i haven't gone thru all ur posts on riding just yet, but i'm working my way there...

rearset said...

It can be a put off, but they're the rides you remember...

No, I haven't approached the wet ride skills bit yet, but soon...

The BATFAN said...

So when can we expect the wet riding manual ...