Wednesday, August 25, 2010

She commands respect

Its beginning of 2009.
She is a curvaceous beauty, looking alluring in black with dashes of chrome. I just brought her home and am looking at her still unable to believe that I have actually taken the plunge and got into this commitment.

Pause your thoughts....
Before the readers start getting any thoughts about me getting into commitment, let me clarify ... I am not referring to a female of the human species. I am only referring to my motorcycle. I know motor cycles cannot really be classified as male or female ..but if I am riding one .. it has to be declared female.
After coveting the Royal Enfield motorcycle for several years and resisting the decision to buy one for several months, I finally made the decision and brought home The 2009 Royal Enfield Thunderbird. A beautiful, heavy (i.e. 170 + Kgs) and sturdy cruiser bike.

Play .....
I have parked it in the lot. The guy from the showroom had shown me a specific way to mount the bike on its main stand. It involved descending from the bike first and then using a handle above the rear Tyre and a lever attached to the main stand to mount the bike in place. That way the bike would balance on to the main stand effortlessly (even for some one with a lanky build like me). I followed the instructions religiously and the bike was set perfectly in place. The only glitch was that I thought it is not stylish enough if you have to descend from the bike first to mount it on the stand. After all other bikes that I had driven (i.e. a 100cc Hero Honda Passion), I would comfortable set them on the main stand just by one strong pull on the handle, whilst still perched on the bike seat.

So I start thinking there has to be a way to do the same to this heavy bird as well.
I sit on my bike and unmount it. Now I summon my energies to try and pull it up on to the main stand. First try ... the bike is just too heavy for me. Does not budge.
I am thinking ... hang on .. I am much stronger than I look. I can do this.
One more try. I pull hard on the handle with my left leg pushing the stand in place.
This time the bike shakes a little as if to indicate that I am angering her. However she refuses to get on to the stand. I say .. I can do better. One last try.
This time I summon all my energies and pull onto the handle really hard. The bike almost gets on to the main stand. However I am off balance due to the extra effort and the main stand snaps back in its place . The bike tilts to the left taking me down with it. It does not actually fall down as there is another bike adjacent to it which is steady enough to support it.

So there I am stuck between two bikes one steady and the other ready to fall on me.
I am like WTF ... day one and I have managed to get my bike to come down crashing on self without really riding it.
Some how I descend down from my bike (albeit still sandwiched between my bike and the other one). There is not enough space for me to turn around to grab my bike with both my hands. Now the bike tilts further downwards is pushing onto my ass (don't even ask how it came down onto my ass .. its quite too embarrassing already) . I can feel all the 170+ Kgs of kerb weight on the one hand still holding on to the bike's handle and my ass. Some how I push her back into the vertical position and this time I use the good old tested technique to set her on the main stand.

I realize that this is not just another 100kg kerb weight, 100 cc engine motorcycle. She is after all the Thunderbird. All 170+ Kgs of it and with the large (by Indian standard) 350 cc engine. Thus I need to afford her the appropriate respect. I have a look at myself. In the whole balancing act, I have managed to inflict a small burn on my right leg thanks to the bike's silencer which was still hot when this whole tussle was happening.

Next few weeks were spent getting used to the Thundering (not really a thunder as compared to other enfields .. but loud enough) of the Thunderbird. Every time I sat on her and started the engine, I could feel the rattling of the several moving parts and the thumping sound so synonymous with the brand. The thumping sound would start to make the heart want to pump in sync with the sound. Never again have I treated her like a 100 cc bike. If there is one thing that I realized, it is that this is one wonderful bike and she commands respect.


  1. Hehehe - well written Sandy! She sure seems to demand more attention and wants you to lift her after you have ridden her! Good humor on the same bro! Way to go! I want to catch your command on spilling humor on the blogs.

  2. @Atreyarocks : Humour ... aap hi to seekha hai na sir..
    I think some of the humour comes from watching you narrate your tales .... Been reading your posts and all I can say is you still have the spark .. only you have not written much last few years..