Rested, recharged and ready to ride again
Too much riding is possible. I never thought I'd come to this point but there it is. This is very embarrassing because over the past few years, I've thoroughly enjoyed pointing out to other motorcyclists how little they're riding and how badly they're missing out. I've done this with a rather overt smirk on my face and now I might just have to eat humble pie.
It began with the arrival of my Street Triple, Ferine. In my enthusiasm to live the big bike life, I got on it and logged just over 4,700km on it. This was, as you can imagine, a lot of fun because I got to ride it down to the racetrack, ride it there and then ride it back home again. I almost wish I stopped a lot more and took more pictures for my Instagram feed but that's just not my thing. In the process, Halley, Rishaad and I got to ride together over a long distance and hang out for six straight days which was huge fun and long overdue.
On our return, there were more motorcycles waiting for us. To be tested, to be shot and to be filmed. By the time I finished with those, I realised that I'd put in just over 8,000km in a span of 20 days.
At this point, naturally, I was rubbing my hands in glee because I could really rub this achievement in everyone's faces. Apart from a few truly nutty riders I know, no one else I know clocks this kind of mileage.
Best laid plans... it didn't work out. Suddenly one day, I fell sleep at 9pm instead of the usual 1am. I didn't wake up at the usual 7am and slept right through to 11am. The four day long weekend we recently got? I didn't ride anything. I was in bed, being lazy, lounging around. DTDC, the courier company, had managed to turn my minty-fresh leathers into a moldy mess but I didn't have the energy to clean them either. In short, I was finished - out of energy, out of zeal, out of action.
My wife, always the sane one, realised what was going on and she summarily (temporarily) banned motorcycles unless absolutely required. I think I argued that I absolutely had to ride to Pune for something or the other and log a 350km day and she smiled and pointed out that I was fooling no one, as usual.
And so I got to experience a short version of what happens in Europe when winter takes hold and riding isn't possible. I sat in cabs on the way to work and started looking at what Euro-folk were doing with their Triumphs, for instance.
Day one. I spent Rs 2,800 purchasing a front sprocket from the Daytona 675 for my bike. Lower gearing should be fun, right? The next day, I discovered a nice set of fork protectors that cover the... the details don't matter. Within a matter of days, my credit card was smoking once again and packages from all manner of shippers and sellers were winging their way home. A friend has a consolidated shipping subscription in the USA. That was no help either.
By the time I was rested, recharged and ready to ride again, I may have been a lot richer in terms of what doo-dads my motorcycles were about to get but I was in the coldest, hardest way, a lot poorer.
On the other hand, I was so happy to ride again after that break. The bikes, whether mine or the test bikes, felt fresher and better. I felt renewed and it was such a pleasure. It almost convinced me that riding all the time - my usual preference - wasn't the right solution.
The break gave me new appreciation for riding. And for how the western annual riding cycle works. They ride their hearts out as long as the weather allows. And then over the winter they ride their credit cards, ride their passion online and when they're lucky enough to have a heated garage, they work on their bikes. All this is preparation for the thaw and the return to riding once again. In some ways, the absence from riding over the winter makes their passions stronger.
I'm back on a bike, meanwhile. They tell me it's super hot outside nowadays and it's nearly impossible to ride in. I believe riding is impossible when traction is zero, not when Centigrade is forty. The latter's tough but not unconquerable. I am grateful to have a tough summer rather than a tough winter. And I'm going to make the most of it. I'll sweat a lot but smile a lot. I'll need umpteen showers daily but I'll survive that as well. And then once the rains come, I'll ride smoother and better too. See you on the fun side!
This column appeared in the June 2015 issue of OVERDRIVE.
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