I have a motorcycle.
I prefer the term ‘motorcycle’ (bike, for me, indicates a bicycle, unlike for most Indians). I am buying a bike in foreseeable future (Trek or GT for off-road cycling on weekends); so it is necessary that I demarcate the two for clarity.
My motorcycle is a Yamaha: SS 125 (erstwhile Gladiator; the user manual still uses the name Gladiator). Yamaha is too famous and reputed to be discussed here; ask anyone the lure of the then Yamaha RX if you are the uninitiated. Yamaha does not rake in volumes in India unlike the Hero Moto, TVS or the Honda but it has prestige, power, and reputation more than its competitors. Yamaha owners become Yamaha lovers and this love lasts really long as Yamaha motorcycles age really well. And yes, you don’t buy a Yamaha for mileage: you value quality if you have chosen a Yamaha.
Until late 2010, I had no clue about the how-to on riding a motorcycle. I quickly and effortlessly learnt it in late 2010 with a Bajaj XCD125 with the help of some expert friends. I wanted to learn riding without the intention to buy one. I have been riding a bicycle and using public transport whenever needed and a motorcycle seemed out of place.
After learning how to ride, I got my driver licence made without any hassle. I began reading and researching about motorcycles with a feeble desire to own one sporty looking commuter motorcycle. I read pages after pages on the web, read reviews, real user experiences and came close to buying a new Honda motorcycle. At the same time, I was also trying to find an almost new but used motorcycle (“second hand”). I found a software engineer selling his sparingly used new (okay, 6-months old) Yamaha SS 125 at a reasonably good price. I checked the bike, found it to be as good as new and I bought it the next day.
I had plans to go on long rides but to date I could not find the time for it (I have made many late night trips to India gate by the way). I will surely do it in future. My driving licence card says: Drive only if you must. I kind of follow it. Though I like riding, I use it mostly for genuine purposes (commuting). I still use my bicycle and public transport as far as possible. Still, I have an unfulfilled desire to go on a long ride to Shimla or Ladakh on bike. They say you do that on a Bullet but I think I will use my own motorcycle for it.
I am a long distance runner and a cycle lover. Motorcycle is definitely not my first preference but it does not have a subsidiary status in my life as it is very useful for me. I ride sensibly: follow traffic rules, keep speed up to 50 kmph as far as possible (that also ensures more mileage) and do not use it for racing. My bike is 1.5 years old, but even a new bike in the showroom does not look as new! See the photo attached here; Robert liquid polish (by Pidilite) works wonders on its body! It gives a return of 57 kmpl in city riding.
I like observing people and my motorcycle gives me a big opportunity to do that. I am studying people on the red light stoppages, observing the traffic, observing how people behave when the traffic cops are not watching them, observing how motor vehicle rules are flouted in tinted glasses or designer number plates, observing the impatient and honking riders who want to get past fellow riders and observing how many people move on road without indicating or slowing down at roundabouts. I like observing the ‘organised chaos’ on Delhi roads; the front disc brakes have come in handy on many occasions as I cut through the chaos.
My motorcycle, being not so common, also gets some attention as I attend to the riding world around me on the roads (some even enquire the make and model and ‘kitna deti hai’).
I look forward to long life with and on my motorcycle.
Written for the Indiblogger Castrol Biking contest.