I am unhappy about the fact that riding on weekends isn’t considered an essential activity.
I can say I am an avid traveller but more than that I am an avid rider. The one reason I got this job at MotorBeam is that I love to ride anything on two wheels. But then the job has its own perks as I got to do multiple travelogues and race against the Rajdhani which led to travelling the distance in the night as well. After that, I would say yes to any and every opportunity which would let me ride motorcycles and I would rather review them over a longer distance.
The last travelogue I did was on the Suzuki V-Strom 650XT where I travelled for over 2700 kms in just five days but I had to head back to work. Yeah, everyone would say that it is a dream job to ride motorcycles and write about them. But, it is the passion that fuels the motor within, rather than just the riding. When riding motorcycles becomes a job, the focus on just enjoying the ride changes. It jumps to understanding what is happening where and there is a need to summarise it too.
Hence getting out on a few travel stories or just the sake of holidays where there is no dependency to write or record anything is a kind of getaway. Although, these getaways weren’t as frequent as the workload had increased and BS6-ready motorcycles and scooters had started coming in for reviews. The best way to rejuvenate that adrenaline rush within was riding on weekends for a short duration with friends or with acquaintances.
Remembering The Ritual Which Became A Habit
The main aim of the weekend getaway was to ride for about 100-150 kms and enjoy different delicacies along the highway and head back home. While this happened quite frequently, we would ride almost once every 15 days on a Sunday. The trend of weekend breakfast rides started growing on me as we would get our bikes ready the previous night, get up early on a Sunday morning and head to a food joint or a highway dhaba as it would be breakfast time and then have some Irani food, dhaba breakfast or a Maharashtrian delicacy before riding back home.
This ritual of riding on the weekends became a habit. But rather than riding early morning on a Sunday, we would catch up late at night on Saturdays and head to South Mumbai instead. We would try different kinds of street food, ride on the city roads during the night and then chill on the beachfront at Marine Drive, Carter Road or Worli Sea Face. There is a saying that the city of Mumbai never sleeps and it’s true. We would encounter traffic even during mid-night at popular food joints.
My earlier plan was to write about the breakfast rides only but then such night rides also would set us free and we could enjoy some time with our friends. It is also said, that you live more in those 5-minutes riding flat out on the highway than anyone could live in a lifetime. But to keep things safe we would always be close to the speed limit. We would also regroup at our self-made checkpoints so none of us is left behind as we ride to the destination and then back home.
So What Now? We Got To Stay Put?
As we are entering the 10th weekend after the lockdown started it’s been quite a while that I’ve gone for a weekend ride. Although the lockdown 4.0 has eased quite a few things, Mumbai is still a Red zone and hence we are only allowed to head out for essentials. I wish riding on weekends would be a part of the essential activities but honestly, it is not safe as we might endanger others who are out there. The ritual which had become a habit is no longer happening until things get back to normal which will take quite some time.
It is not going to be the same anymore as we would have to follow social distancing, be safe and limit ourselves from trying different street food fearlessly. Looking out for hygiene will be a bigger concern than anything else. But since we are all in this together, we should accept the fact it is definitely not going to be the same anymore. I probably didn’t mention this but even though I got chances to ride different kinds of motorcycles every now and then, weekend rides were the best on my own motorcycle.
The combination of freedom and confidence you feel when you ride your own motorcycle is just something else. You always build a trust factor with the vehicle you own, always! The types of weekend rides I’ve focused on today aren’t just from Mumbai or India itself. this trend is emerging exponentially, I have seen and heard about the crazy stories from random people who became friends due to such rides. I hope to meet new people and start riding with my buddies as and when things get normal and I believe everyone would enjoy their freedom when we are out of this.