Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Winter RIDE - A taste of the Other SIDE

Photo-- > Bikes at Ponmudi mountain-top

We have all enjoyed the thrills of biking on the Bullet – Being one with Nature, the accompanying courageous thump, the wind on our faces, the fresh smell of nature and speed to thrill our hearts faster, the skill of riding and negotiating the roads not forgetting the scenic places we cross.

Silver Bullets Winter ride -- A pretty long awaited one after the 2000 km Goa ride in October. And unfortunately it also gave us a taste of the other side of Motor biking – Accidents.

We were supposed to start at 8.00 am on Sunday, 24th December 2006. 8 changed to 9 and then 9.30.am we could start off. We assembled at Kowdiar square. Our pal Ajith also turned up to see us off. Our bikes were all in excellent condition – if anyone were to ask us to go a 1000 km at that instant – the bikes were fit for that. That’s our confidence in the Bullet and the way we take care of that.

Anil – Machismo RE 350
Babu Tharikh (BT) – Electra RE 350
Jayan – (JSR) 500 cc RE
Jay – (Moderator) 500 cc RE

We planned to reach Ponmudi, a distance of about 60 km in 90 minutes considering the steep hairpin bends and poor roads. Dr.Gopu was supposed to join us from Palode.

The route we planned to take was -
Kowdiar - Nedumangad - Vithura- Kallar - Ponmudi. (Probably the only way up there!)

Jay led the group, followed by Jayan, BT and Anil. The loud Goldie exhausts of the 3 bikes did make heads turn more. The Christmas Eve traffic didn’t let us speed much above the 60 speeds. The roads were pretty bad after the rains and were narrow and winding too. - We were spending more time in negotiating potholes and oncoming traffic. In the thrill we passed Palode junction and stopped some distance ahead. No sign of Gopu. We stopped for tea at Vithura junction. Gopu called asking us to proceed to Ponmudi, as he would be late.

Photo-- >JSR,Anil,Jay,BT

We passed by Kallar up and reached Ponmudi mountaintops. The zigzag roads up the mountains made for interesting riding. The Bulls too had an easy time climbing up the steep mountains. It was mostly 2nd and 3rd gears.

There are about 22 hairpin bends. It was like moving up a refrigerator to the freezer – cooler with every couple of zigzags. The thick clothing and jackets we put did not let us feel the difference, but I had opened my helmet visor to feel the fresh air as I rode up the mountains. Some of the climbs were real steep. One wrong move and it would be a long fall for the motorbike and rider.
I must say all must do a Ponmudi mountain climb on the Bullet. You can learn negotiating sharp curves along with traffic in opposite direction and steep dangerous slopes on one side. No Risk – No Gain.

We were basking in the hilltop sun for sometime and taking a few snaps. That’s when Gopu called us to say that that he was stuck in the 17th hairpin bend. His Bullet 350 standard would not start. It seemed like the piston was stuck. We rode down and joined him. Despite all our attempts, the starter would not budge. We put cold water, some oil and petrol hoping that the piston would budge. We munched on biscuits and mineral water as we tried stunts to get the bike started. Well the Bullet showed real “BULL” behavior by refusing to start. We had no option but to roll it down the mountain. Gopu took it down the mountain while we followed. At the bottom of the mountain we went to the junction. A jeep driver offered to take the bike to Trivandrum city for Rs.700. Steep and we had no choice. So off it went with the front wheel stretching out slightly. The hot sun had made us more tired.

We rode on to Vithura junction and had simple meals. We then headed to Trivandrum – approximately 40 km. We did 60 plus and the curvy roads were empty. As we reached Anad junction, Jay sped away followed by Jayan. Anil approached the junction - a scooter guy crossed the road. Anil turned the bike to the left quickly but had to slam the front due to lack of room. The front wheel got locked and bike fell on its right side and Anil hit the ground.

He had a deep cut on his chin and blood flowed. The scene was gory as any accident scene is. Jay took him to Nedumangad taluk hospital and later to KIMS. If he had a full-face helmet, he could have just dusted himself and rode ahead.

After this incident, Silver Bullets has made Full-face helmets mandatory for group rides.

Gopu saw our bikes later on from the jeep and came across. He rode Anil’s bike back to town. A bent footrest and broken headlight. I rode to KIMS where Anil was waiting for the surgeon to stitch his chin in the emergency. Jayan joined us later with Ajith. He was discharged next day.

Some things on riding I thought I should mention – Chance favors the prepared rider.

1. Always wear protective gear while riding – Full-face helmets, jackets, thick/riding pants, gloves, and shoes.
2. Switch on your headlights while riding in daytime also. You increase your visibility on the road.
3. Take your bike and the road at your pace. - One mans cake could be another mans poison. [Roads will have different traffic at different times. Your pal might have sped away. But when you arrive at that spot probably you have a different traffic situation. ]

Thump safe.

Photo-- >Anil,BT,Jay,Ajith

Photos by JSR - For full set http://picasaweb.google.com/jayansr/Ponmudi/

Monday, November 27, 2006

RE - T shirts :-)

My parents called up to say there was a courier from Royal Enfield…(seemed to contain some spare parts they said.). Spare parts. ? Well I had been waiting for the 2 T-shirts for the 2 of my ride write-ups published on the RE site. But spare parts...?????

When I finally got the package, yes it said, “RE Genuine spare parts”. I broke open the package in no time. WoW --- 2 dark blue T-shirts with a cool embroidered logo.
Saying “ Royal Enfield – 50 – The Legend Rides on”.

My wife and I put on our RE – T’s and headed to Town on the Bullet. We were proudly sporting it. People definitely took notice of us sporting same T’s. The logo is similar to the Bullet logo on the RE Standard bike fuel tank.

But the extent of publicity came as we passed by Jay’s office (our Tvm Bulls moderator) and dropped in to see him. One of his colleagues said he had seen us at Saphalyam shopping complex and guessed that we were part of some Bullet club!

Thump On !


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Who will Bell the Cat ?

The Thin Line – Moderating Biking groups.

Being a moderator is no easy task – You have to brush aside your personal preferences, egos, and bias and even sometimes kill your jealousy, anger by saying please and try to be a neutral person. This is not for your interest. It is in the larger interest of the Group and its members.
As a moderator, the group and its members are larger than everything. And as in a democracy, most of the times the majority wins.

E-Groups are all about communication and sharing of ideas,experiences, pictures, videos, meetings and all fun the related group can have crossing the boundaries of distance and time worldwide. We all live only once.– And we may never meet many of the people in the group.

The moderator has to draw the line in many cases relating to comments or information by the members. Diplomacy, patience, tolerance and a persuasive nature are the main ingredients.
One of the Primary concerns of the moderator should be to ensure that the members are not attacking other members in the group through comments of the nature of – Racism, Hate, Political views, Abusing with foul language. Etc.

More importantly, “the moderator should control his language” irrespective of the outbursts of the groups members. If the moderator starts using the same language – he basically stops being a moderator and joins the Hoi Polloi. So basically then you have a Group that “does not have a NEUTRAL moderator”. This results in a fend for yourself situation where the group members have a choice to either support the Moderator or the supposed offender who posted the (ok or not ok) remark. Or have a field day …saying whatever they want.

This is a wanton waste of Time and Energy.

Again if the moderator finds some remark unsuitable, asking for an apology in the “first instance” is TOTALLY WRONG unless it’s that gross or a national crime!

Group members are valuable people. The moderator has to respect them and act diplomatically. We live in a free country and can voice our opinions. The moderator’s victory lies in restoring peace in the forum in the event of a controversial remark, and by retaining members from leaving the forum. So basically by his moderation he can make or break a Group.

I do hope this helps in making better e-group moderators.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Post Graduation (R.E) and success

Spirit – i.e. strength, courage, character, guts, will, force, fortitude, moral fiber, determination, chutzpah, heart, mettle [Do you find anything that the Bullet doesn’t represent or doesn’t have?]

Probably no. And all these attributes are imbibed by most riders of the RE Bullet who have the spirit. I do find that in most Bullet riders that I met, they have a personality and passion, which is extra and different - and are a class apart.

I’m not talking only about my Bullet Club pals. Yes, beyond doubt they are a class apart. I’m talking about people from other walks of life too, that I have met and found these qualities. I’m of the opinion that owning, caring and riding a Bullet makes a person more responsible, powerful and rich in spirit. And once you have the spirit – Life is an easy ride.

I have been riding motorized 2-wheeelers ever since I was about 12 years old. I started out with my Dad’s Vijay Deluxe (1977 model) scooter in Goa. It was good. Real good. I liked it because it was different from other 2 wheelers on the road or what my friends Dads had. – Priya, Lambretta …. And the ubiquitous Bajaj. I never really like those scooters. Why ? Well Lambretta was pretty bulky – I always felt it was wearing a coat 2 sizes larger. As for Priya and Bajaj scooters, their huge curvy sides created a distaste in my mind. (However, now I have a different opinion on curves after knowing about the female species!) Somehow I always felt that Vijay scooter was slim and could go faster. A child’s Perception probably.

Anyway I fancied the Vijay scooter a lot that I did take it to my +2 days in college also in 1989. Those were the glory days of the Yamaha RX 100. Dad migrated to Vespa T5. I was probably the only guy with the Vijay scooter in college. Dad refused to buy me a motorbike at that time.

Flamboyance - Most Adolescents want that. So did I.

So I got my Vijay Deluxe painted fine in complete dark blue. The wheels hubs were bright yellow. I can still see the picture in my mind. I did make my mark at Chowgule College with that scooter. Mileage was something I never looked at with petrol prices at Rs. 10 per litre.

There was one hardly 5 ft, thin guy who used to come to college on a shiny Black Royal Enfield Bullet occasionally (– because he borrowed the bike to show off to chicks). Yeah he was successful in impressing the chicks. No doubt that the RE Bullet had a major contribution. Many times I wondered how thin and short guys could manage to take a Bullet around? Or was it the other way round – Was the Bullet riding these puny people!

That did give me confidence, if they can ride, then I too should be able too. I used to visit my uncle once a year in Kerala. He was my only relative with a Bullet. I asked him about riding it. He said. If you can push it around and put it on the center stand then you can ride it. True. The Bullet fascinated me – No doubt, there was an inner thump.

I came to Kerala for my graduation. In 1994 my lodge mate happened to be a Bullet owner. He’s not tall – probably around 4 feet or slightly more. To better describe it, in bulletictionary, when he sits on his Bullet, his feet don’t fully touch both sides of the ground. He rides it wonderfully. Probably for him the Bullet signifies POWER. And riding it makes him feel powerful despite his height. This power is transcended in all his activities and in his personality.

My inner thump continued, when I proceeded to New Delhi to do my MBA. One of our senior successful guys in the firm I worked was a Bullet fan. He owned a classic bullet. I too considered buying a new Bullet in 1997…the red, black chrome Machismo was awesome. But then changed my mind due to work reasons.

I never wanted a second hand Bullet and finally got myself a brand new Bullet in 2002.

So do Success and Bullets go together?

Well it is a debatable topic, but I have found that those who are passionate about their Bullets are a class apart and a Bullet helps them through their personality to be successful in life.

Each one has a different definition of Success. One person may define success if he is able to afford a Bullet and ride it in the city, whereas for another person success could be a position in the workplace, or for someone else it could be purely materialistic – owning a posh house or Mercedes.

I have a piece of advice for the successful people who do own a Bullet and are passionate about it. If you are successful and in that endeavor a Bullet helps you, don’t hesitate to mention it given an opportunity. For example, if in making your music video or documentary, you have used a Bullet – mention it! If you are getting an award, show your passion on stage.

DON’T wait for your passion to be sponsored...... passion needs no sponsorship. It is natural. Otherwise maybe its really not your passion ! :-)

Happy Thumping

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Electra 350cc Photoshoot :: BT

Hey...i didnt expect you here...Nice to meet you !


Now dont i look a natural part of the scenery ?


Gigantic ! - See i dont fit in your camera too !


Aha...i luv this .... 100 + is a cakewalk ;-)


His majesty, the Royal Highness of Enfield has stopped..... Now you may pass.


Glimmer among the Greens


Another Rock among the Rocks


Bye guys..Silver Bullet's gotta Go ! Thump on.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

2000 km ride on Bullet in 94 hours !

Hi, my writeup on the Goa ride is below. It is more of a motorcycle diary.... more joy for the riders who actually went on the ride to relive the moments. Raring for the next ride !


Photos: (my camera film wasnt loaded so lost a lot of pics :-(

These are from Anils cam. :-)


Thump on .....


Friday, September 22, 2006

Rainy Varkala Beach Ride and the code (Da Vinci?)

Below write up has been published on the royal enfield website also.

:: However for the unedited version...... here goes - ::

Unplanned rides can sometimes be very enjoyable on a Bullet because there is an element of surprise in every turn. 21 September Oh-6, being a bank holiday, I was at home. In the back of my mind I knew I would be going somewhere on my Enfield Electra 350cc bullet. Where, when, how were all blanks.

Sunny morning – after a week of nearly incessant rain. Wow! – What more could a biker want ? Sofi, my wife who loves travel by an Enfield bullet popped the question. Why don’t we go to Kovalam beach? It’s a nice sunny morning. I was in two minds – Kovalam beach seemed like a local market to me. As they say, when you stay at one place, you don’t realize the importance of it. (Did someone say one of 50 must-see destinations in the world…Yawn!!!!!)? I said to hell with Kovalam beach. Why don’t we go in the opposite direction? – Suddenly I remembered Varkala beach cliff and the ride I went with Jay and Anil some months back. (Varkala beach is pretty clean and similar to Goa!) That’s one place Sofi would like to see. I suggested Varkala beach and a visit to her aunt’s place in Vakkom (via Attingal). Deal sealed.

My heart thumped – It surely will be 100 odd km on the Bullet. :-)
I dropped my 3 -year-old son to the play school. He had a slight cold and I felt, better he avoids the ride.

We put on our dirty jeans and T-shirts. I had my helmet on; she put her visor and covered her face with a shawl like a terrorist!

09.30 am: I started the Bull and we headed towards the Chavadimukku main road. I just took my usual bag containing one set of Raincoat (jacket and pants.). I also thought it will be great to have a warm up ride before the TVM Bulls Goa ride next week. My service mech @ Marikars had just done the de-carbonization and service for the Goa ride. don’t touch high speeds..keep it under 60! L He told me to cover 500 km and reset (tighten or loosen!?) the valves before leaving for Goa ride.

The Bull thumped fine. It just reminded me of the chat I had with my pal in Bangalore and I told him – given a choice I would prefer a Bullet to owning a Honda city!
We had hardly gone 2 km when it started to rain as we passed Kariyavattom University. We stopped at a shop for the rain to stop.

But the rain had other things in mind other than stopping. 2 mints and bubblegum…and still waiting. No way said the rain as it also continued to chew the ground.

I told Sofi – Well, what the hell? Are we going to stand here and admire the rain? No way. We were not going to let the weather hamper our trip. My shining silver Bullet in the rain also seemed to invite us…lets zoom!
Pouring Rain. 1 jacket. 1 raincoat pant. 2 people. And a Bullet raring to go.

Well Ladies first. So Sofi put the Jacket, me the rain pants. Made sense too. I wanted to take all the beating raindrops on my chest. (You can’t expect to do these crazy things when you are 50 years old !!!!!).

So leaving behind the starry eyed people at the shop, we rode ahead in the rain. I kept a constant speed between 50-60 km/hr. More importantly my mechs advice & supplemented by the slippery roads and low holiday traffic. The rain beating on my helmet and my T-shirt fully wet. I tested the Bull brakes at some points on the roads as to its performance in the rains. There was a slight problem with the horn button on the way. The new vibro-mini horn set was loud. I need to check that out once we get back!

The rain stopped when we passed the CRPF camp. As we proceeded to Attingal, the climate got warmer. We stopped to get a 2-litre mineral water bottle at Attingal. We sipped some water. (Little did we know that we would not need the water anymore on this trip!).

We proceeded and dropped some money at the Kaduva Pally on the way (Thank God for the Bull!).

As we were approaching Kallambalam, the rain started to pour real heavy. I had my parking lights on already. (The cute parking lights are one of the bullets best features! I wouldn’t trade it for any shi@#y American chopper!)

I turned left at Kallambalam junction and headed towards Varkala beach. It rained hard. The visibility was poor. In the pouring rain, we must have looked like a crazy honeymoon couple as we rode ahead. In the heavy rain I missed the Varkala cliff road and passed by the temple to reach the beach. As we passed the water logged road by the temple, my Bull sound changed to a slight sputtering – some water had managed to get into the exhaust. But it did not stop. I proceeded accelerating a lot. I was afraid if we got stuck, getting a Bull mech on a public holiday might be like trying to light a candle under water! .

I stopped at the beach to ask for directions to the cliff. The rain poured. My wife strolled towards the beach coolly. I was also completely drenched. People looked at us as though we were some Aliens. I detested the thought of getting off the Bull to ask for directions. Luckily an old man who was passing by using an umbrella gave me directions to get to the Helipad cliff. The ride up the cliff was real cool and smooth - with the clear thumping pick up of the Bull. (I should have done Decarbonisation earlier…no probs you always learn from the first Bull!)

We soon reached the helipad. My teeth were slightly chattering after so much riding in the cold rain. We headed to the first restaurant on the cliff. I took the first table overlooking the sea. The same table Jay, Anil and myself sat during our previous ride here. But the rain continued to pour. We moved to the next table.

Hot coffee and French fries. The pony-tailed waiter thought we were non-mallus due to our constant yap-yap in Hindi lingo. The coffee and the fries took its own time in coming. I was afraid; the waiter had gone to Varkala town to get them!

We strolled down the cliff top street - window-shopping at the Tibetan shops and trying to find a way to reach the beach below. A Tibetan shop displayed rock-salt crystals on the road. The guy explained that keeping it at home cures sick people etc. Good Rocks.

We then went to a Gujrati Handicraft shop where there were all exciting lifestyle items. Sofi picked a handbag. Good bargaining resulted from the bag price coming down from Rs.200 to 100! In Bhopal, the same thing will cost around 80 bucks. The guy Rahul is a Gujrati – who has settled in Varkala with family. He’s promised us discounts next time.

We strolled down and found a way to get to the beach. Concrete steps dotted the steep slope. We used it to get down up to a point, but after that there were only rocks and the rain had made it slippery. We decided to avoid it and return. On our way back, in one of the restaurants there was a foreigner couple sitting with a board “ANA Code Demonstration”. Curiosity got the better of us …wondering if it had something to do with the “The Da Vinci code”. On speaking to him, he said there are some big secrets in this world and has made them in to a Book and CD titled “ Little Book – Big Secret.” He seemed crazy…but anyway I took his pamphlet for later reading.
Books and CD cost Rs.500. Ooops…steep man! I got the links to his website if anyone is interested in it. Some of his claims may be controversial so I am not publishing the link.

The rain kept pouring heavily as we headed back to Trivandrum city. We picked up some fresh sea food at Varkala market and headed back. Photography was near impossible in the rain. Drenched in the rain, we cancelled the visit to her aunt’s place.

We reached Trivandrum back at 2.00 pm. The whole trip around five hours in the pouring rain with a thundering Bullet was energizing. We did not even fall sick or catch a cold.

Maybe riding a Bullet makes people also Bullets. Thumps Up!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Footrest modification on the Bullet

I came across this Bullet club in FInland where one of the guys has modified it so that the legs stay a little forward when seated. Its supposed to be more comfortable - more like sitting in a car.

:: Me and the Royal Enfield Bullet ::

My fascination for the Enfield Bullet started may be when i was a kid... seeing my uncles Enfield Bullet when i used to come home to Kerala for vacations from Goa. I cant recollect exactly what fascinated me but i think may be it was the distinct thump was what attracted me to it first ... simply awesome raw power -- and all that heavy metal (also it is an head-turner in the streets!) .

Later on we could always see the tourists zipping on in Bullets in Goa coming from all far off places like New Delhi etc. All preferred Bullets...Even today it is the most prefered touring bike in India.

When i went to purchase a bullet... a lot of people advised me -- its too heavy , brake and gears are on opp sides - and other stories. I just pushed it all aside and went and bought one. I took to riding it just like a fish to water -- (Sometimes your heart knows what you need !!!!!).

I hope to put up more stuff on the Bullet . By the way, my user name is BIKER BT .....is no way related to any motorcycle gangs (in the negative sense) -- motorbike riders are bikers and a biker by any name will feel the same thrill on a motorbike!



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