Lighthearted read: Bicyclist shares weekend morning ritual of bikers

Lighthearted read: Bicyclist shares weekend morning ritual of bikers

10/06/2022

There are 3 distinct classes of these road warriors. The veterans have made their millions and their steed is a Ducati Panigale V4S or BMW M 1000 RR.

BHPian Secretariat recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Please don’t take this thread seriously! This is just to elicit a chuckle or two from the casual browsers of this forum. Whoever said petrolheads are not capable of an occasional laugh at themselves. Sit back, relax and smile once or twice.

On Friday evenings, the owners of Nandi Upachar and Indian Paratha Company (two well-known food joints on the outskirts of Bangalore) can be found in the wholesale market for vegetables buying up all the potatoes in the market. It is a well-known fact that the price of potatoes in Bangalore jumps up 50% on Friday evenings, solely because of the antics of these two. Why are they doing this? They are preparing for the hordes that will descend on their joints for the next two mornings!

For you see, Saturday and Sunday mornings are the domain of “The Vroom Vroom crowd”.

This is the morning routine for the esteemed members of this crowd.

  • 5.00 AM – Wake up (actually they have been pretending to sleep for the last one hour as they could not contain their excitement, but feared the wrath of the lady of the house if they got up)
  • 5.00 – 5.04 – Morning routine completed in a world record time of 4 mts
  • 5.04 – 5.42 – Lovingly lay out the leathers on the sofa, admiring them, brushing off the occasional fleck of dust, lovingly caressing the folds. Repeat the process with the helmet.
  • 5.42 – 6.04 – Don the leathers and continue the process of admiring in the mirror, brushing off another fleck, lovingly caressing, etc etc
  • 6.04 – 6.05 – Softly ease out of the front door (taking great care not to wake up the aforementioned lady of the house)
  • 6.05 – 6.19 – Stand admiring their Harley / Aprilia / BMW, whatever. More flicks, caresses, etc.
  • 6.19 – 6.27 – Phone calls / WhatsApp messages to their fellow brethren who are all doing exactly the same as above. Choice insults hurled at Alok who had to be woken up (lazy bum)
  • 6.30 – Engine start

Individually, or in small groups, they are roaring on the Airport Road. Their riding is rather unique and will be of deep interest to petrolheads who read this. For, they are just not going at top speed on the road, as you would expect them to if you didn’t know better. I have closely watched their riding style as I am usually riding my bicycle on the same road at the same time and have first-hand experience.

I am sedately trying to climb a flyover when I hear a distant rumble of thunder. As the rumble builds up to a roar, there is a strong whiff of testosterone in the air. Suddenly there is a rush of wind. The roar is now ear-splitting, the gust of wind has reached galeforce and a blur of green is a momentary blur before it vanishes. From long experience I know it’s a Versys 650 (Price Rs 7.36 L).

But if you thought he has already reached Nandi Upachar / Indian Paratha Company, which is only 20 kms away, you would be dead wrong. No self-respecting member of The Vroom Vroom Crowd ever goes straight up there. At the next U-turn, the Versys 650 has turned and is coming roaring back on the opposite carriageway. A mile later he has turned and is now back to buffetting me again – I have hardly gone 100 metres in the meanwhile.

If you are wondering why he does this, then there are complicated reasons. First and foremost, he is trying to show the V-Strom (Price Rs 8.88 L) guy riding with him that his is an infinitely superior bike and therefore he has to pass him at least twice. Secondly, the joy of roaring is not simply reaching a top speed of xxx mph. It’s to Vroom Vroom as he works up the 17 gears he has. Thirdly, it is to warn any mere Royal Enfield riding wannabes that they are not welcome on this road and they should peel away to the Doddaballapur Road. Fourthly, there are always the Ground staff /Flight Attendants standing roadside waiting for their pickups and some of them, shall we say, is rather pleasing to the eye. Our hero wants to parade past them a couple of times too. And finally, it is simply not cool to reach Nandi Upachar first. He can only reach there after at least half the others have.

5 kms later, I am huffing and puffing, when on the side, I see the same Versys and V-Strom guys parked roadside. Two more CB650R (Price Rs 8.88 L) have joined them. Also, there is a, wow, BMW F900 R (Price Rs 10.8 L). And this (double wow) – Harley whatever.

Helmets are off, the guys are slapping each other on the back and are simply milling around trying to look cool. As I pass them, I know that in 5 minutes, there will be a deafening sound as they roar past once again.

More groups are coming. My eardrums are suffering irreparable harm. My legs and arms are screaming as I fight to keep my bicycle straight and not get blown away. I can barely breathe – the air is reeking of testosterone.

After an hour or so, I reach Nandi Cross. As I near it, I see a crowd of bikers who have descended on the Indian Paratha Company for aloo parathas. A short distance away is Nandi Upachar, where I will have a cup of tea and watch the shenanigans of the Vroom Vroom crowd.

Groups have already arrived. They have parked their bikes in a long line which will beat any showroom or moto rally hollow.

It is fascinating to watch the bikers come. As they dismount and park, they are in no hurry to go inside to eat. First, they will admire their bikes for a while, and do the now familiar routine of flicking a spec of dust, caressing, etc etc. Then they will, from the corner of their eye, look at the other bikes. The bikes that are roughly in their class, will come for close inspection. As a group gathers there would be many comments on the merits and demerits of each bike, with some encouraging words to the owner as to the excellent condition in which the bike is in. The owner will disparagingly wave it off saying that the ceramic coating has slightly peeled off and he ought to be taking it to the detailer soon. Bikes which are above their class will be secretly envied and studiously ignored!

Discussion will then progress to the relative merits of clear case vs carbon fibre for the clutch cover. From there on it will progress to whether the fork oil must be renewed at 6000 or 8000 kms, or whether Brembo brake pads or EBC chew through the rotor faster. I make a mental resolve to read a few threads on the motorcycles section of Team-BHP to understand at least a few words, since I can make neither head nor tail of any of this.

The helmets are now off and you can make out three distinct classes of these road warriors. The first lot is 19 years old and valiantly trying to grow a moustache with limited success. Their rich dads must have bought them their bikes. They watch the others and try and imitate their swagger, but it is obvious that they need a lot more practice.

The second lot are the more dangerous ones. They are 30 + and desperate to get back into their 20s. They have taken a ridiculous loan, and bought themselves the unaffordable ZX-10R (Price Rs 13.99 L). They are strutting their stuff up and down the parking lot valiantly trying to hide the beginnings of a pot belly. They are usually the loudest. And then there are the veterans, who have seen and done it all. They stand a little off and have an indulgent smile. They have made their millions and their steed is a Ducati Panigale V4S (Price Rs 32 L) or the BMW M 1000 RR (Price Rs 42 L). Note that the decimal points in the price have vanished!

The 19-year-olds are viewing the veterans with open admiration. They will slowly shuffle their way near them, and admire their bike (they desperately want to take a photo, but don’t dare). Ultimately one of them will ask what the price was and the veteran will look loftily up and say “North of Rs 50 L”.

A few of them start to go inside, but leave at least a couple of the young out. These are on sentry duty. You see, Nandi Upachar on a weekend is full of aunties and uncles (along with Chintu, Bablu and Mummy ji). When they see a shiny bike, they can’t resist taking a photo. Photo is fine, but Chintu climbs onto the bike and starts to do Vroom Vroom. This is what the sentries are there to stop. Chintu is told firmly to get down. Peace is restored when aunty asks how much the bike costs, the sentry names a price which gives aunty a heart attack and they all quickly scoot. She can be heard telling the uncle in no uncertain terms to banish the thought of even thinking about such a bike!

(minding the shinies)

I have cheekily parked my puny bicycle right in the midst of the Ducatis and the Triumphs. The bikers glare at me and I glare right back!

As I sip my tea standing out, I can see the last group straggling in. This is a group waiting for their pal who has unfortunately had a fall somewhere. The others are discussing it threadbare waiting for their comrade to show up. Invariably it’s a car that is the cuplrit and 4 wheel owners are freely cursed in colourful language. The faller then shows up and he is subject to lots of tutting and oohing. He is fine, but he recounts how he slid for 50 metres (gasp, gasp) and shows a minute tear in his leathers as a medal (it’s on his bum and a trifle embarrassing).

Everybody is now in and incredible quantities of masala dosa are being consumed. Even the fearsome aunties have been evicted from the dining area. Down in the Indian Paratha Company, the same scene is repeated, except that it is aloo parathas that are being devoured. Now you know why the owners were prowling the wholesale market buying up all potatoes in sight. The eating takes more than an hour (they have been on their bikes for less than half this time and this is why the signs of prosperity in their middles are not being controlled). I have half a mind to tell them that all these gargantuan quantities of potatoes might result in exhausts that would rival their 1000 cc engines, but I wisely refrain, fearing for my life!

On Dodabbalapur road, where the Enfield gang have been banished to, a similar scene is playing out in a Darshini. There are minor differences though – this lot does things like this:

(one of the 10 tables in this Darshini is blocked off – how inconsiderate!)

They also hang their jackets like this – the Nandi Upachar lot wouldn’t be seen dead doing something uncool like this!

(please admire my jacket)

They are all, of course, dreaming of when they can graduate to have their masala dosas at Nandi Upachar.

Back at Nandi Upachar, it’s time for me to leave and start on the way back – it will take me an hour and a half to reach back home. As I leave, I spy the local mechanic, Iqbal Pasha, discreetly setting up in the corner, somewhat hidden away. He is a smart guy and knows what is coming.

When all the heroes come back fully satiated, about 3 bikes will refuse to start. Immediately a group forms around each, offering helpful suggestions that the drive chain slack needs readjustment or that the headstock bearings need lubrication. The owner will absolutely not admit that he doesn’t have a clue. Instead, he will sigh about the poor servicing at the Kawasaki shop where the bike was just the other day. He will wave the others off and say that he will sort this out himself. Once everybody is gone, he will discreetly roll his bike to Iqbal Pasha who is waiting for precisely this opportunity. He knows what is wrong but will take at least 17 minutes to set it right. The bill will be Rs 4325/- which the biker will sheepishly pay – never mind that for a similar job on a Pulsar, the mechanic would be beaten up if he charged more than Rs 43.25. But everybody is happy now. Iqbal Pasha has made his weekly killing and our hero gets to ride back home.

Meanwhile, everybody else has reached home straight – no time for strutting. They are met at the door by the good lady at home and promptly despatched to the nearby bhajiwala with instructions to buy 1 kg aloo and half a kg pyaaz and not to pay more than Rs 48 for it! The poor soul bemoans his fate of having to park his Ducati and walk to the bhajiwala on such an expedition!

I simply don’t understand bikers. They have travelled precisely 40 kms (capital cost per km Rs 1 L). They have spent far more time strutting around and admiring their bikes than actually riding them. They have spent double the time polishing off all the potatoes that were cleaned out of the wholesale market the previous day. And they will do this all over again next week.

No wonder I am content with my bicycle. I haughtily thumb my nose saying that I am fit and power the bicycle myself, unlike these lazy showoffs. But then we bicyclists are an even more strange lot. But that’s another story to tell, for another day!

Meanwhile, I am ducking for cover and reaching for the helmet to deflect the blows that are sure to come. And I think, I will give Airport Road and Nandi Upcahar a strategic miss for a month or two!

Here’s what GTO had to say about the matter:

Us car guys are no different too.

@ All, as secretariat posted, this is a light-hearted read. Please don’t make any serious comments or attacks on bikers. We don’t want this turning into a debate or attack.

@ bikers, nothing personal meant. Secretariat / anyone else is free to start an equally witty one on car guys.

Thanks for the support & understanding.

Here’s what BHPian Red Liner had to say about the matter:

As someone who has been owned by a Versys 650 in the past, I can testify to the truth of this satire that – yes, that actually does happen, lol!

These so-called breakfast rides are exactly that. Ride out 60 km for a stupid breakfast which could have been had next door. I hate these rides and used to avoid them studiously because – it would take me longer to get my gears on than the actual damn ride!

These breakfast riders are a menace on the roads over the weekends. There is very little time to let lose the adrenaline and thus invariably there are only short stretches to open dangerous throttle. Second, the herd mentality of these Wildebeest is such that if one does it, everyone follows suit.

Most of these guys are shit scared to leave the perimeter of the city because Kawasaki service centers don’t exist elsewhere. Only iqpals and pashas abound.

The whole bemoaning of service centers not doing a good job reminds me of many many ownership logs where that is exactly half the darn log!

Occupying an entire table for riding gear is something even I am guilty of. God help the family that tries to clear that table to have their food!

Once on a longish ride to MP, I was approached at a gas station by a local family enroute to Hyderabad. The mum asked if I was a biker. I was stunned. Is the term biker an occupation of some sort? Like how you would ask if someone was a lawyer or a doctor? I simply replied that I was just traveling on a motorcycle. It was simply because of all the safety gear I was wearing. Truth be told, I would have preferred a car on these driveways.

Here’s what BHPian swami69 had to say about the matter:

Very nice and funny read, and I see similar stuff at ECR, Chennai on the weekend mornings – riding up to Mahabalipuram, spending a good amount of time having breakfast and all that stuff you have written. But, I should say, some of the TBHP breakfast meet (cars) also end up, opening the bonnet and scanning the air filters, looking at the audio system, surrounding each other’s car etc., so, the four-wheeled guys and gals are not much different.

Here’s what BHPian Amey Kulkarni had to say about the matter:

Very interesting discussion! A few points which are amusing at times and feel nostalgic about (from the other side of the table) –

  • My mom once said – Good, you’ve started riding. At least you wake up early now. A person who’d sleep until 11 am and noon on the weekends how suddenly started waking up at 5ish am.
  • Doing repetitive routes to the same breakfast spot never felt monotonous. Strange but true! E.g. Lavasa for Punekars is a playground. Even after 7 years of riding big bikes, I can still do Lavasa every weekend.
  • Ask me to wake up for the office at 5 am. I of course wouldn’t but for rides, I may not even need an alarm. Such is the mindset.
  • Quietly firing up my Street Triple and then the Ducati 959 in the colony and hoping no one notices and that slight guilt.
  • A journey from owning amateur riding gear because of limited knowledge to buying some of the best stuff in the world is another discussion altogether. But, when you look up photos from the past and start laughing out loud at yourself.
  • Spending more on bikes than your cars or even family and never regretting it. Susshhhhh! LOVE IS BLIND!
  • The camaraderie between folks is unmatchable and Friends becoming families through these rides is heartwarming. Overnighters, bonfires etc. are just the tip of the ice of what fun bikers have.
  • Little kids, families running towards you to click pictures and you’re flattered by the two-minute conversations.
  • DO NOT TOUCH MY BIKE!

No wonder they say cars move the body but bikes move the soul.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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