Sunday, February 20, 2011

Well, This One IS About The Bike

If Lance Armstrong doesn’t have a problem, I can look at writing a book ‘It’s About The Bike, My Journey Through Life’ and only hope that it won’t sound like a spoof of his book. But that’s too much of an assumption. So I’m just going to write a blog post about this and end the story. I won’t have to hunt for publishing houses yet I guess.

So this one’s about my bike, a Hero Honda Pleasure that I am in possession of since the 3rd of August 2006. For the record, and this is for each and every one of you who has said ‘Why should boys have all the fun eh?’ after hearing my bike’s make, I didn’t buy it for the tagline. Heck I wasn’t even aware of the tagline for a while until it was rubbed in my face. I bought it because Hero Honda was the one who promised delivery within 3 days unlike Honda who said there was a 2 months waiting time for the Activa back then…I mean yeah, if Honda can send a chauffer-driven car for my commute to office everyday for 2 months, why not? Plus I test rode the Activa, Pleasure, Bajaj Wave and Scooty Pep and frankly the Pleasure is what I liked. The Activa has too much power for its small head and the Scooty Pep just feels too small, almost 60 cc-ish. The Wave was okayish too. The Pleasure is perfect for the power and its size, and riding comfort too. 

It’s a separate story that the Hero Honda Pleasure is capable of letting a girl go beyond the boundaries of traditional city riding. So yeah, why should boys have all the fun?

My bike, any bike, represents a few important things to me. It stands for independence, which is necessary for any city girl to have these days. It’s nice to have a guy or friends pick you up or drop you off places but most cityfolks are not that nice, trust me. Plus its just inconvenient and a waste of time to depend on others all the time, which includes that race called the Autowallahs. So you’ve got to have your own ride!

A bike also represents the spirit of exploration. It’s incredible how many lanes and by-lanes I have discovered in Bangalore simply by virtue of riding around on my own, places autorickshaws (ugh, that word itself gives me nightmares these days) won’t go because they’ll take the same old routes to any place in town. It’s the one thing that’s enabled me to know Bangalore so well in just 4 years.

Having a bike lets you do more with life by virtue of the independence and flexibility that you have. So you can catch up with a friend for breakfast, go to work, meet friends or go for a play reading or whatever in the evening and maybe catch the late night movie too before you go home! If life must be lived, it must be lived fully and having a bike takes off at least one excuse to not do so.

In the four years that I’ve had my bike, I’ve made it do some crazy stuff. The first was when I rode it all the way to Doddamakali from Bangalore, 130 km away. What made it really crazy was the condition of the NH209 back then. Let’s just say any kacha road could put that National Highway to shame. To add to that, the last 4-5 km of the ride were down a spiralling gravely mountain path. And yet, my bike made it. And it made it all the way back on the Mysore Highway (the State Highway chosen over the National Highway because there was some tar on it) at 80 kmph without getting overheated or anything. (yeah snigger all you boys; on a 100 cc, 80 kmph falls in the red zone unlike the monsters you own and ride at 120 kmph or whatever). What a ride that was! Unforgettable.

Then there was the ride to the Big Banyan Tree. It’s not too far from Bangalore as such but the road beyond the Banyan Tree to the Manchinabele dam is quite gravely again. I had taken my mom on that ride and we rode on a nice June weekday on the NICE road. We spent some peaceful time at the Banyan Tree wondering at the ecosystem a single tree can support before attempting to reach the dam by a non-existent road. Good sense prevailed and we gave up before we could roll off the curves over the gravel. Anyway, my bike brought us back safely too.

I rode to Dobaspet from Bangalore last year to attend the Get Off Travellers Meet. This place is near Tumkur and by my odometer it was about 85 km odd from my house. The road was good for most part except for the last 2-3 km odd which were, again, an off-roading stretch. There were some folks who had come on their Enfields and the rest had brought their cars or taken the Tempo Traveller. It was a proud feeling to see my small (literally) bike parked amongst all of these vehicles and I think I generated quite a bit of amusement with my stunt. By way of a disclaimer, the bike rode perfectly well for the whole stretch and was probably a more comfortable ride than the other thumping machines. I came back all the way without so much as feeling tired of riding about 90 km!

And then there was yesterday. We were trying to figure out conveyance for Fireflies and frankly it was getting exasperating. For a fleeting moment I imagined myself riding to the venue but dismissed the thought when I thought about the 4.5 year-old bike that has not been serviced in 3-4 months. But when a friend suggested that he could bring his bike and we could ride together, there was no chance I was going to let that suggestion go! And so I brought out my little warrior and the 4 of us set out on two bikes (the other one a Pulsar for the record). At my own steady low speed, back again on the NH209 (this time with tar on it), I rode with the low beam illuminating the pitch darkness until Kaggalipura and then rode on the kacha village roads and gravel to reach the Fireflies Ashram. It was easier than I thought to get to the Ashram! With the bike resting on farmland for the night, we enjoyed the dusk to dawn music festival and had a pleasant ride back in the morning with spring punctuating the roads.

Even after 4.5 years of wear-and-tear, my bike continues to be an adventurer and remains a faithful companion for my crazy endeavours of the road. Life in this city would have been totally something else without this companion and I have my bike to thank for giving me such a memorable 4.5 years in Bangalore. Here’s to many more days of riding, exploration, adventure and independence! Cheers!

3 Thinkers Pondered:

Nirupama said...

Loved it! Definitely an important element of independence - a bike! And I am witness to the adventures your bike can do :) A great read D :)
Keep writing (more often please?)!

Banupriya said...

Hi Anupama,

THat was a dedicated Post to the Pleasure. Even I owned one for the past 3 years and it was just superb everytime I set my hands on. Of course "Why should boys have all fun".. And then long trips in Pleasure - quite risky. You are just too adventurous lady.. Nice words you had put to share your experience.

I had to disown my pleasure but then again I own a Aviator now. This is also good. Scooterette are becoming valuable companions to women.

You could have put a picture of your Pleasure. What colour do u own? Have a safe ride always.. Take care.

Anupama said...

Hey Niru,

Certainly sweety, will try and be more regular :)

Hey Banupriya!

Very nice to know you owned a Pleasure too! That is one good bike...I am sure the Aviator is nice too if the body is big enough to handle the 125 cc engine...at least it looks very comfortable to me :)

Will put up a picture soon, once I have cleaned my bike :) It's a dark grey Pleasure...I hope that gives you a fair idea.

You ride safe too! Tc and thank you so much for the comment!