Royal Enfield Rider Mania 2014, Vagator, Goa.
Royal Enfield Rider Mania
Another reason for Vagabonds to wander out, away from the city life’s hustle bustle and get onto the highways, the Royal Enfield Rider Mania 2014 was just about the break I was looking for my new classic 500cc Royal Enfield motorcycle.
With a motive of finally getting the motorcycle up for a real long ride of approximately 1400 kms to and fro, I was gearing up for the event almost a month in advance.
The registrations were done online at the Royal Enfield website http://royalenfield.com/ for rupees 600. The events were scheduled for November 21st to 23rd 2014. I had almost a month in hand to travel. One of the good things was that I did not have any foreign travel coming up in this month.
This meant that I was free to plan out the trip my way. So, the next thing was to get other known people involved and spread the word that “the Royal Enfield Rider Mania” is here. And there had to be responses. It is the Thump that binds all riders. And Rider Mania was all about that thump and sound heard beyond, it was about “Music-Mates-Motorcycle”. I managed to involve around 4 more guys from my office and a few in my friends’ circle. Out of which one Ayush Mishra one of my school juniors and Sandesh Damle my office colleague managed to come.
I got in touch with the Royal Enfield Bandra store. Met a fellow sales and service staff Adesh Sawant, whom I later became friends with. Adesh was a key person who was to organize the whole ride from Mumbai to Goa and back. It was a group of almost 30 Royal Enfield / Bullet riders. Joined by a quite few veterans of highways and some of the first timers like me going for such a long ride. The team had made their reservations at Anjuna Resort, Goa. Some of us had missed that, and hence had to make out own accommodations. So a few remaining booked a nice homestay kind of place, called Martha’s breakfast home in Anjuna area. We all remained close to the venue of event Hill-Top Vagator, Goa.
Next thing was to prepare the accessories for trip. This was a long required list for me, as I had almost nothing. The purchase started from motorcycle twin saddle bags, which would comfortable sit on both sides of the rear seat. I got a pair of dirtsack saddlebags. These are also available on their website http://www.dirtsack.in/. Then I bought some bungee elastic hook chords, to be used to tie up some extra luggage in case needed. I got myself a brand new Royal Enfield full-face helmet as this is must for long rides. This one was all while with graphics reading “MLG 1901 – made like a gun”, done is pure classic styling font. AVG the manufacturers have done a neat job in making this helmet. It is lined in interior by a tan fabric sued, which is pure comforter and houses thick cushion padding. Then there was an armored jacked for myself. I gifted myself a Royal Enfield branded Fabric jacket that came in with all in build armors, namely shoulder pad, elbow guard and back padding. The jacket also had a nice Royal Enfield branding on back done with a 3M reflective scotch under-type. A pair of Cramster long gloves followed. These came in with ample protection at knuckles, fingers and palm areas. Longer gloves meant I could ride them for long distance and in colder temperatures. I thought I will buy special shoes but my budget had been shooting beyond now. So refrained and rather used my Black high ankle leather boots from Oxford-Bridge that I had purchased a year ago from Honk Kong’s Mega Box shopping mall. The shoe was stiffer earlier but with time, it has softened in interiors. It was important to wear these boots as they have long protective leather for ankle and stiffened toes to take care of shifting gears, applying brakes and flying stone rubbles on highway. The last thing on my list was knee / shin guards. I assumed that I would get them easily but http://www.snapdeal.com/ did a poor job. Even after repeated requests, they still did not deliver my Raptor Shin guards on time. As a result, I had to borrow the extra pair from one of my fellow riders.
The night before, on 19th November, I was almost prepared with the purchase. I charged my camera batteries and packed in both my Nikon D7000 and Nikon D600 full frame bodies along with set of 3 lenses, a 50mm prime, a 10-24mm for wide and a 70-300mm for those beautiful telephoto shots, in my canvas Retrospective series sling camera bag. The ‘vanguard uprise-48’ backpack was another option but then that would not fit into my dirtsack saddlebags. All my clothes were packed in a ready-to-go Wildcraft Sling Duffle bag, which on folding could easily come in a tiny pocket. (Working at VIP Industries and using Wildcraft product was a corporate sin I was committing; but then we didn’t have something like this in our range of bags.) This was a lightweight option. I put in this duffle in one of the sidesaddles along with a pair of sport shoes and slippers. Into other sidesaddle went in my Camera bag. I also packed the essentials of water bottle, some medicines, sprain lube Volini and the extra bike spares of accelerator and clutch cable that were recommended.
At 3:30 am we were all reporting at the Royal Enfield bandra store. Guys poured in till 4:00 am. We had morning tea and some chit chats by the store while we got to know each other. The leader and Wing Commanders briefed us in for rides. All of us were given a number sticker each that we were supposed to stick onto helmets or the motorcycles. I was number 7. Ayush was at 9. Adesh was carrying the “RE” flag and was to be one of the Wings for the riders on roll. Vijay, who is also an expert mechanic at RE bandra store, was to be at the tail with his veteran ride RE 350 bullet. From the front we had a couple of experts of the machine and veteran of many Rider Mania, Mr. Sunil Karnataki and Mr. Mandar Thali. They knew highways like back of their hand. Mr. Ramesh Hariharan was another veteran holding wings of the ride.
After the briefing it was time, and leaders said, Pad Up. And all present quickly
Padded up and buckled up tight. Then the words came in ‘Mount’ and we were all on our machines. Keying it on, kicking in and turning the throttle, the 25 odd Royal Enfields, the tigers of the highways, woke up roaring and their 350, 500, and 535cc hearts started thumping as they were all lined up together in a single strand. Wing commanders did a final check front to back. And then we surely did not hear a ‘go’ from within the helmets far ahead, but surely saw a hand waving to proceed. And the bullets, the Enfields , the roaring tigers rolled out one behind the other, all at once onto the Linking road. Lo and Behold, what a thrill of Goosebumps I felt. A sight to wait and watch for when by passers in their most expensive cars gave way to the passing caravan of Royal Riders.
As the long line of roaring thumpers, bulleters and Enfielders passed the yet so sleepy city in its wee hours of morning, the lull was broken. The silence in the air was zipped open by not only we 30 motocyclists, but as well there were many more who were to be a part of the Royal Enfield Rider Mania, and were equally ripping the streets off its sanity. The caravan passed Navi Mumbai Palm beach and halted at around Panvel from a where remaining few of the lot joined the gang. After a quick tea and early morning snacks there, there were the final words of ‘Pad-up’, ‘Mount’ and ‘Go’.
We rode all 30,
And rode in darkness,
Rode with the winds,
And rode in the chills
We rode up the hills.
We rode all along.
And we thumped in dark,
Thumped all aloud
And we 30 thumped all along.
30 brave hearts, we all thumped within.
It was twilight while we had crossed beautiful hills of Lonavala. A little far ahead of Pune on the highways and were again in flatter lands. Sun had come up and 30 machines were glittering in the golden light. It was time that we took a halt after almost a 90 minutes ride from Panvel.
. ………… . …..to be continued.